Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gallery of Tacky Rings Found on Ebay pt. 3

In this issue, I'm cheating a little because some were found off of websites. However, they're still for sale and they still cost too much. Rings of questionable taste are a hot topic on the jeweler's forum I'm on. A new facet of discussion is whether or not we've actually seen anyone wearing these items that wasn't:

1) a severly obese opera diva
2) a southern televangelist's wife (must have big hair)
3) Cher or drag queen doppleganger
4) Liz Taylor or drag queen doppleganger
5) all of the above

Recently, one of the guys from DiamondTalk posted a reenactment of how the bench jewelers felt when the scrotum crab ring (featured in pt.2) was finished. It's probably very accurate:

So, onto new frontiers of ugliness!

This one has got to be the gaudiest most over-done piece of bling possible. Why, who needs a chandelier when you've got this baby on? I swear those briolettes (those amethyst tear drop thinggines) are hanging off of wads of aluminum foil. Seriously though, aside from the aluminum foil garnishes, the workmanship is actually quite impeccable. Look at how finished the underside of the ring is and that's quite a lovely citrine this ring holds. I guess the jeweler figured if he was gonna make something this gaudy and overdone, gosh darn it he might as well do the best job ever even if it kills him-which is probably what he was hoping for after he saw the client sketches.

On the other end of the spectrum we've got one with no workmanship. Just head on over to your local Home Depot, grab a roll of wire, rummage in your seat cusions for some baubels and tada! Finito. You're done. You don't need a stinking jeweler to make this for you. Furthermore, if you ever need to fix your fence, you've got pleny of wire on hand...on your hand.

There's a reason why shoulder pads went out in the 80's. Either the amethyst is an executive transvestite ready to make a business deal or the artisan wanted to make a ring that could pick locks as well.

A dentist must have held a bench jeweler at gun point to make this ring for him. Shit. Look at the size of this thing. I bet it was an endodontist. What the hell is this? It looked like it was pulled out of the mouth of a Vegas show animal or something. Apparently it's a semimount, but the crazy thing is that it is diamond encrusted. Not only is it a tooth, but you can use it as an industrial abrasive! Either way, no one is bidding on this item. I have seen it relisted on ebay multiple times. Please stop and just sell it for scrap. You'll get more money out of it.

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before...Da Dah DAHHHM da da dah daaa duuuuhmmm!

Why look. Here's a new lifeform! It must be a friend of that other ring from the planet Zogg. Maybe its a tribute to the alien from the Simpsons. Either that or some jeweler decided to gold plate a Morel mushroom.

If you're not into the exotic Morel musrooms, then you can have a lovely ring depicting regular white button mushrooms. Look at the poor turquoise trapped amongst all that ugliness. It almost looks ashamed. I love how the auctioneer took pictures from multiple angles. As if we really need to see all facets of its ugliness.

This ring is so cool it can stand on it's own. Literally. Actually, it looks like the rocket that Mr. Morel Mushroom ring above traveled on in order to rendevous with the Enterprise.

Would anyone like a piece of gum? (For the record, the green stones are tourmaline.)

I'm not sure what bothers me more: the fact that the ring looks like a seat cusion or the fact that someone would wear something with that many bows.

Man, is someone REALLY excited to see me. Of all the boobie rings I've come across, I've never seen one with nipples like that.

If you're into something kinkier...

Oy. This is just ugly and people bid on it! I don't think the peat bog was ready to give up a diamond yet when this sucker was harvested. I don't think the stone is even transparent, so to put it in this type of setting (micro pave work is time consuming to do) is such a waste.

Sure you want a lot of bling. Maybe you can't afford a huge diamond, but for God's sake quit setting small diamonds in massive settings. It looks like the center stone is about to get swallowed up as dinner by PacMan.

Once again we have one of those "organic" looks. While this isn't as bad as golden poopie ring the fact that this ring contains incredibly high quality diamonds and a top quality pink sapphire upsets me. This ain't a cheap ring. Maybe the jeweler had too much to drink and his hands weren't steady....or maybe a mineral mine had his turn after the gold ore mine took a shit.

This looks like something that belongs to Paris Hilton. It's pink. It's guady. It looks cheap but probably costs a million bucks.

Basic rule of thumb: If the Queen won't wear it, neither should you.

Related Links:
Gallery of Tacky Rings Found on Ebay Part 1
Gallery of Tacky Rings Found on Ebay Part 2


White Ghost Shivers: Everyone's Got 'Em

How did I go through my young adult life and not know about these guys sooner?

I'm talking about White Ghost Shivers and they did a concert at Emo's recently that apparently rocked the socks off of everyone. Unfortunately, I missed it as I was back home trying to help my mom deal with a massive colony of honey bees that set up shop in her roof. I kid you not. But, the fortunate thing is that I have seen them before.

The first time I head of White Ghost Shivers was when they performed a crazy rendition of "The Continuing Story of Buffalo Bill" during the Strings Attached presents the Beetles White Album concert a couple of weeks ago. Intrigued, I made a mental note to visit their website and check out some of their music. I should mention that there's TONS of media on their site with generous links to photos, music and video (be sure to check out "runs like a girl" and the photo op video). While visiting the local Cheapo's used CD store, I found a copy of their album Everyone's Got 'Em and fell in love with the 1920's flapper sound immediately.

These guys would nestle quite right on a compilation CD featuring the Asylum Street Spankers, Ditty Bops and the Dresden Dolls. Check em out!

Listen to:
"Weed Smoker's Dream"

White Ghost Shivers Myspace
Official Website
Buy albums at Chicken Ranch Records

(photo from Official Website)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lucid Dementia: The List

If you wanna get in touch with your nihilistic gothy side, Lucid Demetia is a good band to experience if you haven't already. I say experience because you really need to see them live to get the full effect (it's all true about the puppet show and I'll leave it at that...) although the music is fantastic on its own. Make sure you turn it up loud. I have a copy of The List and it has been on high rotation all year. Combined with Forever is Never's A Sad Clown Affair this makes for a great goth punk listening experience. I'm a little shocked they're not signed yet giving the solid following they have. Lucid Dementia has opened for acts such as Switchblade Symphony, Razed in Black and Clan of Xymox. Plus, get a load of the music awards they've received in Austin for 2004-2005:

-Voted Best Industrial/Goth Band
-Voted 4th Best Metal Band
-Voted 3rd Best Punk Band
-Sheldon Reynolds Voted 2nd Best Record Producer for his work
on "The List"

(*edit* Go here for exclusive remixes from The List)

Official Website (exclusive tracks)
Lucid Dementia's Myspace
Buy The List from CD Baby

Contrast Podcast #9

Tim Young from the Face of Today already has CP#9 up with the theme of "local" which was submitted by the effervescent mp3 blogger Bethanne from Clever Titles are So Last Summer. Keep in mind, Tim gets contributors from all over the world, so even though the theme is local, you'll hear music from far and away as well, not to mention some attractive foreign accents during the intros as well. Oy! Marcos and Colin...*swoon.* :)

Get it:
Contrast Podcast #9: Local

So far, the contribution by Simon from the blog You Can Call me Betty entitled "Spirit Fingers" by the band Fourtet is my favorite on the set. There's plenty of great music from all wide variety of genres and I'm sure you'll find something you like and something new on there.

I was lucky enough to contribute to this podcast and I had to admit it was a really tough choice which group I should pick. Salim Nourallah, Schrodinger's Cat, Asylum Streem Spankers, PONG, Alpha Consipracy, Das Mobius, ...these were all on my possibles list.

I ended up choosing Numeralia because at the time I was tending to my little baby fig tree (there are 5 figs on it!) and noticed all the wild flowers cropping up in the backyard. There's also a batch of tall sunflowers growing near the church that I pass by everyday on my way home from work. Somehow, picking "Sunflower" just seemed perfect. The lyrics are based off of a Blake poem that I've loved since I was kid, so this song is close to my heart. How's that for mush?

Ah! Sunflower by William Blake

Ah! sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire;
Where my sunflower wishes to go.

(photo from Texas A&M University)

Victor Scott: Happy Days

Victor Scott's music is sexy.

When I say sexy, I mean in the *baum-chicka-baum-baum* Kristal champagne feather boas and heels make-out party way. Mr. Scott was kind enough to hook me up with a promo copy of his album and I really enjoyed it. Even though he showcases a lot of styles, the album is a slick and cohesive package. At times the sound he creates is invitingly seedy (think Soft Cell) such as the rhythmical 1970's porn-esque chanting in the title "Gotta Go." Other moments his music has a 1950's smarmy quality like in "Summer Rain." A few tracks are flat out zany like the song "Underpants" with its lyrics I love my underpants... the pants that go under my over pants. Not too big, not too small. Just the size of Montreal and "Air Stream" which would be perfect on a mix tape with DJ Gorowski's "Space Bandidos." This London born musician, who now lives in Vancouver BC, Canada has had ample training in jazz guitar but decided after 7 years to pursue his own compositions. You can hear a lot of jazz influence on his tracks.

Sultry, charming, fun and reminiscent of bygone eras. There's something for everyone on this album. Most importantly, Victor Scott is a unique artist and I'm definitely looking forward to his future releases. A bloody good album as Take Your Medicine put it. Indeed.

Listen To:
"Gotta Go"
"Air Stream"

Video for "Fortune Favors the Brave" (by Take Your Medicine)

Official Website
Victor's awesome photography
Victor Scott's Myspace
Buy Album at SVC Records

Monday, May 29, 2006

Gemesis Diamond and related rambling

God, these are fucking ugly:

Don't they look like piss?

What you are looking at are a pair of Gemesis light canary yellow diamonds. For the record, they've got the color wrong. Canary is much less saturated and does not exhibit the wonky greenish undertone that these have. I bought these after reading an intriguing Wired Magazine Article about the rise of cultured diamonds. I'm dissappointed that there was no mention of the differences during and after the cutting process. I cut stones myself and I can tell you I can "feel" a difference especially during polishing. Also, keep in mind these are real diamonds but grown above ground. They're not CZ or any other simulant. These are synthetics. Owning some conflict free diamonds was really appealing to me, but I think I'm going to have to return these.

The amount of nitrogen in the air is simply to high to lab grow a diamond that is colorless. However, I was expecting these to be a light yellow not some super-saturated piss yellow. Blargh! The issue is that the image of the diamonds was taken with a flash:

BTW, Be wary if you ever purchase something descibed as lab grown diamond (especially on Ebay). Russian Brilliants are fancy CZs, not lab diamonds. Asha dimaonds are also CZs. The only places that make genuine lab grown diamonds are Chantham, Gemesis and Takara. Often people mix the words sythetic and simulant up--even the Diamond Guy fucks up the terminology (recently, he claimed that Takara made CZs which is not true). If you ever want good diamond advice on the web, got to Diamond Talk or ask to speak to one of the lab people over at GIA. I'm also a good source of info too, by the way.

Local Honey. Seriously.

Going home was nice, except for one thing: Freaking bees! Agh! I am near phobic about bees and my mom had an entire hive growning underneath the roof section that connects the garage to the house. Seeing the few cans of bee and wasp killer in the garage was near comical considering how many of them there actually were. She sweettalked her carpenter to remove the hive for her. He obliged wearing his regular clothing a platic bag with a few holes on his heard. The man got bitten all over the freaking place (it was sort of endearing seeing my mom tend to the poor sap as she dabbed alcohol on his welts). My brother thinks he deserved it. I sorta have to agree as well, but oh well, I guess it was a way for him to make some quick cash.

What freaked me out was the amount of honey that he managed to get out of the hive. Bucket of dead bees, honey combs and honey. Notice all the roofing he had to remove:

This isn't even all of it as a bunch of honey dripped down the side of the house and got all over the carpenter dude:

Too bad we can't eat any of it. For one thing, the dead bees are all mixed into the honey and there's probably equal amounts of bee killer in the mix as well:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dolly's Pillbox

Dolly's Pillbox is fantastic indie pop group from Taipei Taiwan that was formed practically on a whim in 2003. Taken from their website:

In starbucks, while eating breakfast, cathy and jubow were joking around about renting a practice band room where they could take pictures of cool, fake rockers together for fun. but unaccountably, the rumor of forming the band was let out and jubow and cathy earnestly started looking for band members....

Over the years they've established a solid following appearing in numerous music festivals in Asia. Their low-key starry pop sound is addictive especially coupled with Cathy Tang's sugary sweet vocals (Her vox is a cross between Lisa Loeb and Stina Nordenstam). "Cute and Shy" is how they describe themselves, and well, one look at the website and CD graphics (designed by Cathy Tang who works as a graphics artist by day), that's certainly true. Their sound is also adorable, for lack of better words. You just want to cuddle with these guys when you listen to their songs.

Listen to:
"Bedtime Plus"
"Blah Blah Blah"


Dolly's Pillbox Myspace
Dolly's Pillbox Official Website
Island of Sound Profile

(all graphics by the lead singer, Cathy Tang)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bobby McFerrin: Circlesongs

I love Bobby McFerrin. If the only song you know of done by him is "Don't Worry Be Happy" ...a pox on you!

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. In fact, I had this album in my bag so I could listen to on the bus while on the way down to work. Hence, I was surpised to see that Eric from the blog Marathonpacks contributed track 6 from this CD on the last Contrast Podcast (for the record, this song is 7 mintues 50 seconds long, so darn close to 8 mintues). If you liked Toby Twining's Shaman then you'll love Circlesongs

All 8 tracks are vocal jam sessions with an acapella ensemble of 12 singers led by Bobby. You really hear his full range on these recording. Tribal, earthy, rich and hypnotic is how I'd describe the sound.

Listen to:
"Circlesong 1"
"Circlesong 8"

Bobby McFerrin's Official Website

Plastilina Mosh: Aquamosh

If you need a pick-me-up at work, check out Plastilina Mosh. Their latin hip hop sound is perfect for summer. My buddy PiccoJ introduced me to this group last year and I was instantly hooked by the grooves these guys from Monterrey produced. How do they describe their sound?


That's about right.

Apprently, they've got a new album out (haven't heard it yet in its entirety) and you can check out sound samples from Juan Manuel off of their website. The songs below are from the first album Aquamosh.

Listen to:

"Nino Bomba"
"Mr. P Mosh"


Plastilina Mosh Website
Yahoo Music Profile

more sounds to check out...Johnny Luck update

Tim Young has uploaded a new episode of Contrast Podcast this time featuring a theme by Matt of Earfarm another most excellent mp3 blog. Check out the show:

SAS Radio also has a new podcast up featuring the magic of time travel and psychic messaging. Kidding. Well, no not really, just check it out. Anyhow, it features great collections of good noise culled from various sources around the net. If you're into Nouvelle Vague you're in for a big treat as well. Tracks and artist info found here:

Short Attention Span Radio #7


Since you've read this far I figured I'd share with you another zany song from my brother who has no idea I'm posting these. Ha!

Listen to:
"Salad Dressing"

Johnny's Myspace

Monday, May 22, 2006

Poor Kitties

We had to shave the cats due to all the matter fur and shedding. Shelling out the $200 for a good quality razor made a HUGE difference because neither cat really noticed that their fur was coming off until they were near naked.

I decided to leave Molly with Cavalier boots:

Sunday, May 21, 2006

pendant for my momma

I've decided not to sell my princess cut ring. Instead, I'm going to take the center stone out and create a pendant with it using a 3 ct. pink sapphire I've been hanging onto for some time now.

Here's a sketch of what I'm thinking of:

Here are the stones. The princess cut diamond is about 1/3 ct. and almost perfectly square which is kind of unusual.

Stay tuned for the finished product. I'm thinking of using 14k gold and reusing the ring setting as well. Mom's got a 1/4 ruby heart that might look cute in that semi-mount.


Because I'm too embarassed to put this in my music blog....CD Purchases

What ever happened to good records stores eh? Yeah, yeah...the internet is great, but I miss the fun of browsing through a music store, the clatter of CDs as you madly flip through the stacks and the excitement of ripping open the cellophane. Downloading music is quicker and cheaper, I know. But, I miss listening to an album on the player while reading the liner notes and admiring the CD art. Surely people know that the compressed mp3 file format is inferior in aural quality compared to an actual CD. I guess with pop and most rock, it's not an issue since the layers aren't as dense. I also don't really expect people to listen to an entire symphony while jogging with their ipod nano, so all is well. For the record though, the last movement of Mahler's Resurrection is great exercise music. Same goes for Rachmaninov's Flight of the Bumblebee. Anyhow, I bought these CDs today:

Oh man. These are a couple of attractive men. I mean the music is good, but jesus. For the record, Joshua Bell has been on People Magazine's 50 most beautiful list, so it just ain't me.

T: Don't you have most of the songs on that Joshua Bell cd?
Me: Well, I don't want to leave empty handed...
T: And you've got the complete works of Chopin!
Me: Different interpretations, ya know. How do I know that Mr. Li isn't a better performer? Besides, look at the album art.
T: I sense an eye candy issue here.
Me: Um....I'm not denying that at all.

The funny thing is that there's a 16 year age difference between these two (and these are recent pictures too). Bell's 40. Li is 24.

Strings Attached presents the Beatles White Album in Concert May 19, 2006

About two dozen Austin area musicians gathered together at the University Baptist Church to perform the Beatles White Album in concert with Will Taylor and the String Attached Ensemble on May 19th. The atmosphere was fun loving and casual and because this is Austin, plenty of church jokes were made (by far my fave: "Hey, that baptismal tank sure would hold a lot ice and beer!"). Every demographic seemed to be there which makes sense when you think about it.... even if you've been living under a rock all your life, you'd probably recognize at least one song off of that album.

The artists performed two sold out shows that night-- 7:30 and 10:00 pm. I attended the later one that ended well past midnight. Couple observations:
1) the crowd never thinned out
2) when you're having a great time, church pews aren't that uncomfortable

Even through my stopped up ears (I've had this awful head cold for the past few days) the music sounded great and allergy season didn't seem to stop anyone--not even the artists. A couple of performers had colds, allergies or weary chops. Even so, what impressed me was that the show went on with last minute subs and basically without any major hitches. For instance, Shel Murray filled in for her grandpa Jimmie Dale Gilmore and pumped out a soulful version of "Dear Prudence." Strings Attached was determined to present the White Album in its entirety and boy did they do so-- down to the funky interludes. How the heck did they notate the song "Revolution 9," I wonder?

By far the group I was most looking forward to was Schroedinger's Cat represented that night by Jackson Blacklock and John Pointer. They did not disappoint at all with their version of "Obla di Obla da" and meshed well with the other musicians. They looked great and managed to get ample crowd participation as usual. However, the performer that captivated me the most was Abra Moore and her delicate interpretation of "Blackbird" (for the record, that is my favorite song off of the album). Gary Clark Jr. belted out a sultry "While My Guitar Weeps" and boy, can that man make his guitar sing. I'll admit to swooning a little when he was on stage. Of course, Libby Kirkpatrick was in fine bubbly form with her two contributions "Martha my Dear" and "Julia." Other highlights included a zany "The Continuing Story of Buffalo Bill" by the group White Ghost Shivers and a crowd roaring version of "Revolution 1" performed to perfection by the lovely Carolyn Wonderland. People were dancing behind the pews where I sat on the balcony for that one. All in all, fantastic first-rate performers and they all seemed to have as much of a blast as the audience members.

The links below are live recordings from the 7:30 show. Therefore, some of the balance is off and sounds a bit raw in parts. Unfortunately, the Schrodinger's Cat song is completely sizzled sounding (as are a couple of others). Both shows were recorded. Because my antihistamines were wearing off, I decided not to wait around for my copy of the 2nd show and purchased the 1st show CD instead. I have a feeling that the sound quality for the 2nd show is probably better and you can purchase that through the link below.

Listen to **edit** a new remastered CD will be available for purchase next month:

"Yer Blues" Seth Walker
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Gary Clark, jr.
"Honey Pie" Oliver Giraud (of Eight and a Half Souvenirs)
"Black bird" Abra Moore


Will Taylor and the Strings Attached Official Homepage
Buy the live CD from the show (100% all proceeds go to CASA of Travis County)
Line up from the Show

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ack! I'm sick!

Maybe God was watching out for me and made sure my dance class was cancelled yesterday so I wouldn't over exert myself. I think I have full blown cold. My nose is all red and runny, my back and tummy hurt and my throat is all swollen up. I should note that pollen, mold and all sorts of other allergens are in the air and every year my allergies get work, but bleh. I think this is an actual cold this time. Not fun. It's so pretty outside and here I am blowing my nose and typing on the computer. What am I doing on the freaking computer?

String Attached is doing the Beetles White album in concert tonight and I really REALLY want to go. :(

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dancing in the backyard

I haven't been able to go to class for the past two weeks due to work and then finally when I have the free time and the energy, class is cancelled. Bah! So, I figured I'd dance in the backyard and get my hubby to take pics. Yeah, I've a little bit of a gut these days. So what? I like eating. It's all them scones...