The Art of Darkness

Apps for the Afterlife

July 31st, 2013 by Cobwebs

QR TombstoneA relatively new thing to worry about upon dying is what happens to your digital self. Not only do many of us have friends and family that we keep in contact with through social media, as more businesses and services migrate online it’s important to allow someone to “inherit” our passwords (if for no other reason than to erase our browsing history).

A number of interesting websites and applications have sprung up to meet this need; when triggered, they send email, post messages to your Twitter feed, or otherwise carry out your post-life instructions. Many are self-triggering, using the equivalent of a “dead man’s switch:” If you don’t periodically log in and reset them, they’ll activate after a set amount of time has elapsed. A few of the more elaborate ones require the input of one or more associates to whom you’ve provided specific passwords. Here’s a look at a few of these services:

Social Media

ifidie – This Facebook app allows you to create a video or a text message that will be published after you die – Allows you to create a series of messages that are published to your “social networks” after your death; I’m a little fuzzy on how many social networks they cover, since only Facebook and Twitter seem to be prominent on the site.

_LIVESON – Promoted as “your social afterlife,” this service uses a program which analyzes your Twitter feed and learns your likes, tastes, and syntax. It begins tweeting on an auxiliary feed and you can train it to more accurately mimic “you.” Once you die, it’ll keep tweeting in your stead.


Cirrus Legacy – Central hub that keeps track of your email accounts, online banking, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, web hosting, etc. and allows you to specify what happens to them upon your death.

AssetLock – Electronic “safe deposit box” which allows you to upload files and save passwords and instructions to be released to predetermined individuals.

LifeEnsured – Online storage for files and passwords. Provides “digital estate planning” and allows you to specify what happens to your online accounts.


Death Switch and Dead Man’s Switch – Both services send out email automatically after they stop hearing from you for a predetermined period. Both offer upgrades to add more recipients.

Ghost Memo – Also sends email to designated recipients, but takes a more active approach in that it periodically sends you email; if you don’t respond after a preset period, it triggers.

EmailFromDeath – Sends email but also offers the option of mailing a physical letter.

FutureMe – This is slightly different from the others in that it allows you to schedule an email to be sent at some future date, whether you’re dead or not. You can send an email to yourself several years from now. Some people choose to make their messages public, and reading through them is interesting.


Great Goodbye – Create an online memorial and pre-set emails which can include photos, video, and audio recordings.

Bcelebrated – Create an “autobiographical legacy website,” write password-protected private messages, and send emails.

Virtual Eternity – Service which allows you to create an interactive avatar and train it to accurately reflect your appearance, voice, personality, and “life experiences” in order to stand in for you posthumously. This one’s sort of science fictiony-y and creepy.

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Geeky Interlude: Doctor Who Pinafore Knockoff

July 30th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Doctor Who Pinafore

I suppose that Doctor Who is technically more geek than goth, but the show did give us Weeping Angels and The Silence and also he met Satan one time so it’s gothy enough if you squint a little. Shadaughter happens to be a huge fan, so when I saw Darling Army’s splendid gender-bent 10th Doctor costume I wondered how difficult it would be to DIY something reasonably similar. A few weeks later my local fabric store had a sale on suiting fabric,* so I decided to take a crack at it. If you’d like to try your own version, here are my build notes.

The DA version has a wrap front that is meant to mimic a suit jacket’s lapels. I was concerned that might gap and look sloppy, so I instead opted for a smooth front with a bit of a plunging neckline. The pattern I used was Simplicity 4015, with a couple of changes:

  • I lengthened the skirt by 3″ so I’d have more to work with if Shadaughter opted for a really poofy petticoat.
  • Part of the instructions tell you to sew the lining to the bodice except at the back and bottom, then baste those raw edges together. Later, you sew the skirt and zipper over this basting, leaving you with all kinds of unfinished seams inside. Oh Simplicity, why you so crazy? Instead I sewed the skirt and zipper to just the bodice, then turned the lining edges to the inside along the seam lines and sewed it in place over the big ugly skirt seam and zipper. Presto! Finished seams! (I also flat-felled the seams in the skirt because unfinished edges make me stabby.)
  • I used the belt pattern as a general guideline but cut two pieces instead of one, adding 9″ to each. I sewed these two pieces together at one end, folded that in half, sewed around the long edge (leaving a little gap for turning), then turned it right-side-out and sewed the gap closed (if this doesn’t make any sense, see the illustration below). This left me with a long, wrap-around belt with curved ends, which I stitched to the waist in front.

    Belt Illustration

For a final Easter-egg detail, I hand-embroidered “Bad Wolf” in rough letters on the back of the skirt near the bottom.
Bad Wolf

The petticoat (not shown here) was Simplicity 3847. Since Shadaughter wanted only a little bit of poofiness, I used a softer tulle instead of the netting called for in the instructions. For Extreme Poof, use stiffer netting and/or add more layers.

The trenchcoat was a fairly plain women’s winter coat, Burda 7855; the only changes I made were to shorten it so it matched the dress and to not put in pockets; I just sewed the flaps in place to give the illusion that they’re there. This was ostensibly to make the line of the coat a little smoother but actually because I fricking hate putting in welted pockets. The fabric is a more trenchcoat-like heavy cotton rather than wool; I’m mildly annoyed that the color is a bit too light–the one in the show is more of a tobacco–but I didn’t realize my error until I was halfway through making it and I was insufficiently annoyed to start over. It is, incidentally, lined in the appropriate TARDIS blue.

The shirt was Simplicity 2741; I could have used a purchased shirt but I am somewhat demented where hand-making costumes is concerned. (Also, making it myself let me choose a soft, feminine fabric and pretty floral buttons which I couldn’t get a good photo of; sorry.)

The necktie is a vintage tie, courtesy of my vintage husband. If you want an “authentic” pattern, blogger Steve Ricks has you covered.

Although there are a lot of individual pieces, none of them were particularly difficult; the only bit that was even slightly fiddly was the collar on the coat, and even that was straightforward once I realized what they were getting at. The cost wasn’t rock-bottom because there was a lot of fabric involved, but the total was probably around $65 (plus a lot of my time). This amount could be reduced quite a bit by making only the pinafore and getting everything else from a thrift store (you might have to shorten and re-hem the coat, but that’s easy).

Overall, this was a fun project and I’m reasonably pleased with the results. There’s still plenty of time before Halloween to make one of your very own!

*Fun fact: The Doctor’s suit is blue if the episode takes place in the future and brown if it’s in the past. This also holds true for the 11th Doctor: His bow tie is red if they’ve gone forward in time and blue if they’ve gone back. The more you know!

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 5 Comments »


July 29th, 2013 by Cobwebs

This clip from The IT Crowd features recovering goth Richmond (Noel Fielding)’s new business venture. Seems like a viable idea.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Young Link Dumps in Love

July 26th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Random Name Generators – Loads of generators for helpful things like titles of magic books, fairy names, and aliens.

Clouds – This Medium Large strip made me giggle.

It’s Worse Than We Thought – Insanely-complicated cross stitch based on a panel from the Walking Dead comic book.

Epic Star Wars Wedding Photo – It’s not goth, but I adore the layout.

Insectomanie – Wonderfully creepy embroidered bugs by artist Catherine Rosselle.

“The Ring” Wake-Up Prank – Guy decided to see what his girlfriend would do if she woke up to find a “ghost” emerging from the TV screen. Other than “get a new boyfriend.” (Reading about other pranks he’s pulled in the video description, he sounds like kind of a dick.)

North American Lake Monsters – Collection of short stories by Nathan Ballingrud. Tor has one of the stories, The Monsters of Heaven, available free online.

The Best Black Plants – A roundup, plus a book recommendation. (Hat tip to Terri)

Night Witches – Interesting article about female fighter pilots in WWII who had one of the most badass names ever.

Motomichi – Site of artist Motomichi Nakamura where you can buy things like a Mongolian Death Worm plush and Mothman wall decals.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Nothing to Prove

July 25th, 2013 by Cobwebs

A thing that occasionally bubbles up in various fannish circles–gaming, SF, fantasy, and comics amongst them–is the infuriating argument that women who claim to enjoy that fandom are posers. That we’re (at best) only shallowly familiar with the fannish thing or (at worst) simply pretending to be fans in order to wear revealing costumes. Dork Tower encapsulates that mindset here and here, and Scalzi has a couple of the most marvelous takedowns here and here.

Girl band The Doubleclicks has released a song addressing the issue, and the video is just splendid:

You can buy the song on Bandcamp (or get the whole album). They’ve also started a Tumblr for submissions that didn’t make it into the video and are expanding the project by asking people to submit their stories.


Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

Seen Online

July 24th, 2013 by Cobwebs

IDEA: rental ghosts to create “cold spots” in houses during heat waves.

I’m a morning person. Then, around noon, I turn into a horse.

spiders are just wee furry eight-leggedy things; think of them as two kittens taped together and you’ll be fine
— Friend of xJane’s seen via FB

Literally thousands of chameleons in your house right now and you don’t even know it.

PREQUEL: “Goddamned Mohicans Everywhere.”

did you know? goths have 50 different words for despair

a baby’s laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear, unless it’s 3 am and you’re home alone and you don’t have a baby.

You never hear about a new ghost. “Oh yeah, this place is haunted since Jeff died last Tuesday.”

the movie “se7en” but each murder is based on a different dwarf

SEX TIP: keep track of multiple orgasms in the voice of The Count from Sesame Street.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Super-Terrific Giveaway Thing: VIVO Masks

July 23rd, 2013 by Cobwebs

Vivo MaskBoy, I love it when people offer to give my readers free stuff.

Josh from VIVO Masks recently dropped me a line about their products: They’re a retailer of authentic Venetian masquerade masks, hand-crafted (authentically) in Venice, Italy. And holy moly, they have some amazing stuff.

Their masks range from the familiar multicolored carnival masks, through Goblin King-esque masquerade pieces, to leather-and-spiked “erotic” selections. I’m particularly impressed with their laser-cut metal masks, like this delicate little bat and this neat skull. They even have a long-nosed plague doctor; not to mention completely astonishing confections like this. The site also has a blog with costume suggestions to accompany their masks, plus lots of party ideas.

And…they are offering a free mask to one lucky commenter! Whee!

The winner can choose any mask in their Under $50 section. They will ship free anywhere in the U.S.; if you’re overseas and would like to play you may do so, but you’ll have to pay for shipping (which according to their site will be $25).

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Friday, August 2 about which mask you might choose if you win. One commenter will be chosen at random. ResultsUpdate: The contest is over, and returned the magic number 4, which means Sisifo wins the mask! (Note that since some people commented more than once or commented but didn’t wish to be included in the contest, this number is based on individual commenters, not comment number).

I shall email her with details forthwith. Thanks to everyone who played along!

Posted in Needful Things | 24 Comments »

Epic Rap Battles of History

July 22nd, 2013 by Cobwebs

These have been around for a while but I’d successfully managed to ignore them until Shadowboy discovered them last week and played a bunch of them at me.

Epic Rap Battles of History pits famous historical and pop culture figures against each other in “rap battle” format. They are deeply surreal, featuring matchups like Hitler vs. Darth Vader, Rasputin vs. Stalin, and Genghis Khan vs. the Easter Bunny.

Here’s Gandalf vs. Dumbledore:

The whole series is available on ERB’s YouTube channel.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Link Dumps in the Stream

July 19th, 2013 by Cobwebs

The Merriest Cemetery in the World – Romanian cemetery filled with brightly-decorated headstones. (via Cat)

Blade Runner Jacket – This is gorgeous. (The “new” one looks a little too slick; there’s a photo here of one that’s been thoroughly lived in.)

Creepy Wrapping Paper Book – Collection of wrapping paper featuring things like spiders, hypodermic needles, and creepy clowns. Give the gift of paranoia!

Two Guys and Guy – This made me chuckle. (via Stephanie)

The Mortsafe – Nice article about one popular method for thwarting body snatchers. (Hat tip to pdq)

Gnaw What I Mean? – This mask is just horrifying.

Sanfranblissco – Etsy shop featuring a wide variety of interesting earrings and plugs. (Hat tip to xJane)

freeOne – Lovely deviantART gallery of body art, sculpture, and some amazing hand-decorated shoes.

Lucky Skull Teapot – Cute little porcelain teapot featuring a cheerful skull.

Scary Shower Curtain – Complete with silkscreened lurker. This would be amusing to hang in the bathroom before a party.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Tiny World in a Bottle

July 18th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Tiny WorldJapanese artist Akinobu Izumi creates itsy-bitsy vignettes of paper and clay inside tiny glass bottles. He sells them in his Etsy shop. His little papercraft creations are immensely detailed, and their staging is quite creative; I especially like the gel-candle “water” in his bottle of dolphins.

The bottles he sells are small enough to wear as jewelry (although he recommends against it lest they break). Although it’d be tough to DIY something quite that small, it might be possible to use Z-scale (1:220) or (1:450) model railroad miniatures for something reasonably similar. A bottle containing a tuft of grass and a tiny, lonesome tombstone would make a lovely pendant.

You can also use larger-scale miniatures and dollhouse accessories to decorate glass bowls or large jars to display on a bookshelf or desk; a tutorial I did a couple of years ago might be a helpful jumping-off point for that venture.

I love these little pocket worlds because they imply such a rich backstory. You can make up endless stories (and encourage children to do the same) about the denizens of your teensy universe.

(via Out of Character)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

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