Saturday, June 9, 2012

Finding Inspiration Under the Surface

One of my goals in writing this blog is to present the dark and mysterious that hides in everyday life. Pretty much any topic or event contains a spooky element, if you've made up your mind to look for it. My hope is that I can then find some beauty in the darkness I've managed to uncover.

Some of this hidden darkness was discovered yesterday, when I attended a concert being held by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra performed several pieces, each very different from the next. One of these works Ex Nihilo (meaning "out of nothing") was so spooky that I was reminded of you home haunters. This experimental sounding piece of classical music would be perfect in the background of your haunted house or in a scary movie.

I really wanted to share this music with you, but I cannot find it online. This is probably because the composer is sort of sketching out ideas with this piece. He was just sharing what he had created so far with the audience. If I ever find the finished piece online, I'll be sure to share it. You'll just have to take my word that it was spooky!

Throughout Ex Nihilo, there were large pauses between little plucks on the bass or harp. Slight noises out of nowhere can be unsettling! Ex Nihilo reminded me of a two part Criminal Minds episode (No Way Out) that is played non stop around here. In fact it's on TV so much, that you've all no doubt seen part of it while switching channels. I have this episode more or less memorized by now, because I keep watching the reruns for some reason. By this point, I know just the places in the episode where I would splice in Ex Nihilo!

To put it briefly, the episode involves a woman who has a secret admirer. The admirer happens to be a serial killer. He leaves her wind chimes made from the bones of his victims when he travels through her town. Ex Nihilo reminded me of the scene where we hear the "chimes" in the wind:

The No Way Out Wind Chimes Scene

Unfortunately, I was not permitted to embed that scene on my blog. So, just click that link to get a good laugh. Well, at least I did. If you'd like to see the woman who these little gifts were intended for...

Meet Jane:

"A psycho with a whistle, that's not too weird."

I'm sure that the composer of Ex Nihilo was not inspired by anything along the lines of crazy Jane and her bone chimes.

Isn't it funny where my mind wandered while listening to that music? I'm not sure if any of you are this way, but I've always visualized scenes to go along with the music I'm listening to. It's sort of like I'm making up my own music videos. Visualizing music scenes used to entertain me as a kid while listening to my Walkman in the car.

During the concert's intermission, I wrote down a lot of notes for this blog post. People probably wondered what I was writing down so furiously. After making a list of all the blog points, I happened to look up and notice something I'd never seen before. I'm sure it had been suspended there for years, but I just never bothered to see it:

I saw this speaker and thought to myself "that looks like a head." Then I noticed the ear! I learned that what I saw is the Neumann Dummy Head Microphone.

The head is a microphone and inside each ear is a "condenser element", which is supposed to replicate human hearing.

It's amazing what we can notice when we take the time to look around!
In other music news, I was lucky enough to snag some free tickets to a preview showing of Rock of Ages this past Thursday! I got the free tickets from a site called and you can get free tickets too! That is if you live in the U.S. and there's a participating theater in your area. How it works is that you are emailed the weekly movie and you must reserve your tickets right away. It's first click, first served with this site. What an amazing deal! I wanted to be sure to share this resource with you guys, and that's the only reason I mentioned the movie. There's not a lot of spookiness going on in this one. Well, not aside from some of Tom Cruise's facial expressions.

I really enjoyed Rock of Ages! It's full of 80's music and a lot of funny moments. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are priceless! That's all I'm going to say. Actually, the trailer says it all:

Sometimes it's fun to just sit back, laugh, and enjoy some good old music!

Back to the topic of finding inspiration in everything... A source of spooky visual inspiration recently came from my garden. Some of the veggies I planted from seed have already been harvested and eaten! These radishes, whose roots supply the creepy inspiration, were great. Here's a silhouetted photo of one straight out of the earth. It still has dirt clinging to its roots.

I forgot how hot and spicy homegrown radishes can be. The other pics are of the lettuce and arugula that I also grew from seed. All of these plants were really low maintenance. I just covered the seeds with dirt and watered them occasionally.

The herbs in this photo are parsley and dill.

So, if you'd like to start growing vegetables, and be successful very soon, try radishes and lettuce. If you're a visual artist, you might be inspired by these roots!

Don't the roots look like crawling, tendril-like legs or spindly arms reaching out toward you?


  1. Mandrake Radish, anyone?

    Awesome post, Justine!!!

  2. Onlookers might have thought you were reviewing the performance when they saw you jotting down notes during the intermission. I bet they were curious as to what you were writing! ;)

    I've seen that episode of 'Criminal Minds' but it was quite a while ago. That show is very disturbing. I always find stories about psycho killers far more unsettling than anything supernatural. I guess because I accept the concept of evil in the supernatural realm, but it's always saddening to see the depths that human beings are able to sink to.

    "A psycho with a whistle, that's not too weird." Haha.

    I love Reid's character. Can you imagine Reid and Sheldon Cooper in a room together?! ;)

    Your veggies look fab and the photography is wonderful! I remember the one time I attempted to grow strawberries in a pot... every time a baby strawberry would begin to turn red, the birds would get it. I tried a few deterrents but the expression "bird-brain" is pretty misleading. They're actually devious little devils! :)

  3. "I'm not sure if any of you are this way, but I've always visualized scenes to go along with the music I'm listening to"

    I remember one summer night my best friend (who is a classical music nut) and I (minor classical nut thanks to John Williams no doubt) were listening to Vivaldi'a Four Seasons and during one of the pieces, I forget which, we just started narrating a story to the music. It was one of those terrific moments when everything seemed to be in synch as we would keep the story going.

    Thanks for sharing gofobo, I'll have to check it out.

    I went to see Rock of Ages when it came to Boston. Constantine from American Idol was the lead. I thought it was really good because the music is not just in my wheelhouse, it makes up a whole lot of it!

  4. Isn't it amazing the images great music inspires in our minds??

    And seriously, I think I'm going to dream about killer radishes tonight!!

  5. What a fantastic post! I always find beauty in darkness.

    I am trying to catch up on Blogs this morning!

    Happy Sunday!

  6. I also saw RoA live in Detroit when Constantine was lead. I can't wait to see the movie - I hate going to the movie theater, but I've already promised my daughter to take her. She listens to enough 80s music with me, she should enjoy it.

  7. Pensive ~ Thank you! :) Oh, the roots weren't Mandrake level scary, but they were rooty enough. :) These were "Early Scarlet Globe" radishes, which is probably why I was able to harvest them already. I also bought some "Sparkler White Tip" radish seeds which should produce half red and half white radishes. All my veggie seeds came from Dollar Tree this year, and cost 25 cents a pack!

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ Oh, I hadn't considered that. Well, I probably didn't look 100% like a professional reviewer since I was writing these notes on the back of the program notes. :)

    So, this old Criminal Minds repeat has even made the rounds across the world! I bet that it's playing somewhere in the world as I type this... I don't know why TV stations choose this one to play over and over. The villain is sort of a goofball Hannibal Lector ripoff. It's a weird episode for me, because half the time I'm laughing at the lines, and dare I say, camp. ;) At other moments, the plot is dead serious.

    I agree that it's sad. In fact, as entertaining as I find this show, I can't watch two episodes in a row. At first it's fun in a creepy way and then it gets too depressing. I guess because of the semi-reality of it all. I'm mostly just watching to look at the Derek character anyway! :)

    Reid and Sheldon in a room together. Hmm... Sounds awkward. Reid is at least kind of sweet! The other day I saw someone writing about how it would be to have Sheldon and Sherlock in a room together. (The Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock) By the way, have you started watching that yet?

    Thanks for the compliment on my veggies and photos! Oh, if you think birds are devious, you outta see the rabbits and chipmunks. Every day it's a battle of me vs. the chipmunks. It sounds like a joke, but they're messing up my plants. They rip the veggies out of the dirt and plant sunflower seeds in their place. So on the plus side I have probably 50 sunflower plants growing in a pot! Mind you, I have nowhere to go with all those.

    Dex ~ Hey, that's pretty cool! Do you remember what your story was about? I think it's interesting to compare what we all see when listening to the same music. Vivaldi's Four Seasons makes me think of nature, and birds flying around. :) It's all very pleasant and inspires a totally different feeling than the piece I mentioned here!

    I hope that gofobo works for you too! Let me know if a theater around you is participating. I'm curious to know how this works for people in different states. You can't beat the deal they offer! A free movie that you're seeing before it even hits theaters! Well, other theaters anyway.

    How was Constantine in Rock of Ages? I was surprised to learn that he played the role of the younger man and not the role Tom Cruise has in the movie. I guess because Constantine doesn't seem innocent and naive in any way. Although, he was younger when he was in the musical. I should try to find some YouTube clips of his performance. I love the music in Rock of Ages, and I might just have to buy the soundtrack! Actually the music mashups from the movie have been spinning through my head all day. :)

  8. Lil Dreamer ~ It is amazing! Probably most of us see images corresponding to the music, but maybe not. There are different ways to interpret music. I'm a lyrics person, but some people I know don't seem to hear the words in a song.

    Haha! "killer radishes" :) If it makes you feel any better, the radishes pictured have been eaten by now!

    LuLu ~ Thank you! :) I know you do. We're similar in the way where we combine beauty or cuteness with dark or Gothic things. I see that with your adorable baby heads, or skeleton decorations! Thanks for stopping by, I was surprised that you had the time with all that's going on! Happy Sunday to you too. :)

    Lisa ~ Oh, I think you'll enjoy the movie even if it is in a movie theater. The experience actually felt more like being at a concert than being at the movies. If you and your daughter love 80's music, you should love this movie! Although, you already know that from seeing the musical. :) Let me know what you think after you see this!

  9. I wish I could hear the music. I love new composers, especially those with a dark side.

  10. Jessica ~ I wish you could hear it too! I would have loved to have been able to share the complete piece of music with everyone. If Ex Nihilo is ever posted online, I'll be sure to share it on my blog!

    If you're interested in the composer, here is some information on him:

    Matthias Pintscher Wiki page

  11. I only vaguely remember our narration was about an adventurer hunting a dragon. I wish I could remember the whole thing, it was a fun exercise in improv storytelling.

  12. Nice job on the vegetables, I'm impressed! :)

  13. Love that last photo of the radish ~ most creepy. :0) I love radishes but only the mild kind. And I have yet to grow a mild radish....LOL

  14. Dex ~ An adventurer hunting a dragon sounds like a cool plot! I've never tried improv storytelling to music. When I was in high school, my friends and I would sometimes tell stories where each person only got to say one sentence at a time. It would kind of go in a circle. This was more entertaining than it sounds. :)

    Matt ~ Thank you! I'm pretty happy with how they're growing this year. I've never tried growing so many different types of veggies at once! Nice userpic, by the way.

    Jeanne ~ Thanks! Oh, I had no idea how spicy these radishes would be. It's not like any warning was given on the seed package! Those packages should be printed with either "mild" "medium" or "hot" like a bottle of salsa. :)

  15. Wow, I love seeing such amazing visuals. I am now following. I hope you can check out my site: I am hosting a wonderful Princess Vera Wang Giveaway which includes an exclusive sneak peek of her upcoming junior's collections. If you want to enter go directly to the site link and read to found out how to win. Well, I hope I hear from you soon. :)

    steven b.

  16. Steven ~ Thanks! :) I'm now following you as well. It looks like you're hosting quite a generous giveaway. I'll be sure to enter to win, assuming I can figure out the entry form...

  17. Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the concert. Hopefully you'll be able to find a sample of the music soon.

    My wife and I are looking forward to seeing Rock of Ages as well!

  18. Hallowdean ~ Yeah, I had been so confident that I'd find at least a snippet of the music online. I'll try to remember to look for it again sometime in the future. I'm not sure how long it would take a person to finish composing a piece of music...

    Are you and your wife already fans of the Rock of Ages musical? It's actually coming to Milwaukee, and I might go see it. It will be interesting to see how they show some parts that were in the movie. It would be difficult to perform some of those scenes on a stage. Let me know what you think of the movie once you've seen it!

  19. Justine- I would imagine it can take a fair amount of time but perhaps it just sounds difficult to me.

    I won't lie, I'm generally not a musical fan but I'm making an exception for this one! I'll be happy to let you know what we think of the film once we've seen it!

  20. Hallowdean ~ Yeah, I was thinking it might take him a few more months to finish the piece. That's a total guess, though.

    I usually like musicals, but I can understand why some people wouldn't be into them. This one is different from traditional musicals, though. It's more modern and lighthearted.