Sunday, April 28, 2013

long time gone



since this part of the continent right now is focused on spring and renewal and green things and whatnot, i figured i might as well do a retrospective blog post to close out april. let's look back at where my life was at this time, year by year, courtesy my neurotic blogging habits for the last decade or so (...holy shit, i've been keeping blogs for over ten years now):

at the end of april 2002, i was registering for my very first web domain (which has long since expired, mostly because i'm cheap) and making the grandest of plans for being a fledgling webmistress. i was also still in kingston at this point - though it was my last summer at home until moving to toronto that fall for school - and i had just started guitar lessons, thus: "I've now been going strong for a month and can play all the major chords, three minor chords and three evil dominant chords. I have to say that it's quite hard learning how to play guitar after doing vocal work for so long as your only means of musical ability. When I try to play a song I know, I have a hard time separating vocal notes (and usually piano notes as well, since they're often relatively the same) from guitar notes, so I'll keep on trying to play the notes that are being SUNG, rather than the guitar chords in the background. Mrrrrrgh."

at the end of april 2003, i was living it up in my first springtime in toronto, and continuing to make my favourite rock bands the center of my universe. things i was also really into at this time: drummers, getting drunk, buying birthday presents for musicians, drunkenly emailing musicians, and not studying for final exams. "I thought about it for a brief second, then smiled sheepishly and replied that I couldn't, I had things I still needed to do here. And it's true. I feel like I do...like I'll be leaving so many things unfinished by leaving in nine days. Especially that." oh, that.

at the end of april 2004, i was still gallivanting around ontario to see david usher shows, with the most recent one being at living arts place in mississauga (they played "deliver me" as an encore, and i predictably died because it's a pretty obscure moist song, and david also declared to the audience that i was "kevin's favourite person" which made me die twice over). plus, after the previous year of dipping my toes in the water of the indie scene here, i was jumping right in with the intent to make as big a splash as possible -- including making lots of new, er, friends among the musicians. and then, this: "I think I'm gonna do it right this time. All of it, or as much of it as I still can." oh, self.

at the end of april 2005, i was struggling through final essays, presentations, and exam-studying in my third year at the university of toronto (i absolutely don't miss school at all, by the way), running amok through the toronto indie rock scene with many new boys, staying up til 1 a.m. with bands and then writing reviews until the wee hours, and all the other madness that you can pull off when you're 21 and stupid. oh, and i made dubious fashion choices: "I'm wearing my red plaid kilt + black blazer + red dress shirt + black necktie + knee-high leather boots combination, and it never fails to remind me of the time some chick came up to me at Funhaus and told me how much she liked my outfit, adding, "It looks like a Scottish Nazi or something!" I had to try hard not to die of either mirth or mortification."

at the end of april 2006, i was writing my very last exam for university ever ("fini, finis, finito"), then taking off in a mad rush of work, selling used textbooks, and packing all my worldly belongings before moving from the annex back to the east end of toronto. (i'd end up living in a basement out there for another year and a half before decamping to vancouver.) also: "A woman at the Bovine told me that I look like Chrissie Hynde. I haven't received a compliment that awesome in ages."

at the end of april 2007, i was gearing up to go back on the road with a rock band -- this time for almost three weeks across north america. on the last friday of that month, i'd be on a plane to winnipeg, where i'd meet up with the band and get in the van and head off on a trip that would be one of the most defining times of my life. (can't say i didn't see it coming, though.) i still want those days back, more than anything in the world.

at the end of april 2008, i was saying goodbye to vancouver, where i'd been living since the previous october. (it was something of a process to undertake, but i was more than motivated by the thought of bringing my long-distance relationship face to face.) within the following few days, i would be on a one-way trip back to toronto, and i haven't left since. my relationship may have ended, but i'm still in love with this city. this is my home; this is the only home i ever want.



at the end of april 2009, i was scrambling to plan for two cohabitational moves within three months, and also being worried for my then-boyfriend going on tour as well as impending "swine flu and earthquakes". hey, remember swine flu? that wasn't a lot of fun. (plus i headed off to revisit vancouver the following month, and travelling at all at this point in time was kind of dicey. reading the stand for the first time didn't help much, either.)

at the end of april 2010, i was preparing for my first work trip (to a business conference in florida -- i'd only been with the job for a month and a half, so this was a huge goddamn deal), and trying to cope with the first nagging internal discomfort at getting older and having my life shift to something more stable. (this was probably my first indication that you should never try to ignore that little voice inside you that's telling you that something's wrong. listen to that goddamn voice.)

at the end of april 2011, i was recovering from my third gum graft while taking my first stab at growing a balcony garden, and celebrating the coming spring. (yeah, these posts hurt a little, but that's what comes from being a writer -- sometimes you have to face up to the rose-tinted days of your past through the cracked lens of knowledge of what's yet to come. and then there's articles like this, which remind me that perspective is sometimes flawed, and i need to remember the bigger picture.)

at the end of april 2012, i was getting gordon lightfoot's autograph for my mom (while sick as a dog), looking for a creative outlet (i was super bored), and recollecting bits of what happened in my "murky, messed-up past" (from a place of much more contentment, though i suppose it didn't last for long -- again, the internet only shows what you want it to show, and there was so much i wasn't saying).

what did i do today, on this sunday april 28, 2013?

i went to spin class. i baked a cake for my coworkers. i walked to the junction and back. i did two loads of laundry. i cleaned my apartment. i cooked a steak. and i scribbled these simple lines in my paper journal:

spring is here. get the fuck over your shit.

well, i'm working on it.

in the meantime, there'll be a pretty epic retrospective blog post coming on the first of may. (if you know me at all, you might have an inkling as to what it's about.) keep in touch.

[ music | depeche mode, "the policy of truth" ]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

she's crafty

it's coming. slowly but surely:



springtime, bitches!

in the interim, though - this messy brownish place of transition between crappy half-dead winter and happy green days of spring - i've been keeping myself busy with a variety of typical things that make me happy. (it's really the only method for getting through to the other side, where warm weather and patios and good times with friends await.)

the omnipresent baking:



although the office i work in now is actually larger than the one i came from, my core team is smaller and more intrinsic, and i have quickly learned that they love treats. (most of them are dudes, and dudes are generally less self-conscious about mowing down on sugary things in front of everybody. this is a sad but true fact.) i've since brought in numerous types of homemade cookies and bars, and the ones above, i think, were the best received -- if you consider people practically fighting over the last couple cookies a good reception, that is. (i certainly do.) not to say that people don't appreciate baked goods, but i was involved with a man for five years who didn't have a sweet tooth, so. i'm just saying that it's just nice to have your handiwork be well-received.

fun facts that i've likely mentioned before!: the above chocolate chip cookies are my favourite recipe, the only recipe i use for them (i refuse to try any others); they were my mother's speciality (she slightly altered a recipe from the crisco box); they were the first thing i ever learned how to bake on my own. they are also dangerously easy to whip up. eeeeep.

continuing on with the home-ec projects, this is what happens when i get a glue gun and get drunk (on a sunday night while watching game of thrones):



constructed from a $3 headband and an ass-ton of fake flowers from the dollar store. also probably my first real arts & crafts endeavour since, like, elementary school. sadly, the thing is so crazy huge and gaudy i can't really wear it without looking like a parade float, so it's instead hanging off my balcony doorknob as a pretty little decoration. (i was aiming for something like this but i think i went a tad overboard.) that's fine, i guess, since i ended up going out the next day and just buying a more expertly-made one:



it's a little less flamboyant, but not by much. i have no idea where i'm going to wear these things, other than the occasional wedding and summer party; i figure i'll just throw them on with a plain tank top and cutoffs and motorcycle boots just for the hell of it. i like to own the fuck out of weird fashion bits on the streets of toronto -- anything to make me stand out in the crowd. (this was a thing that happened, by the way.)

speaking of cutoffs...short shorts season is coming! like so:



i swear by american eagle outfitters' denim cutoffs as my favourite fit (i have two pairs already, though they're in different sizes and one usually fits better than the other depending on how much sugar i've been ingesting), and i was pretty quick to jump on their "buy one pair of shorts, get a second pair for $10" sale that was just happening online. so i got a good deal and i now have two more pairs of short shorts on their way to me in the mail. this is a win-win situation. love me some daisy dukes. (although many would see having long legs to be a boon, i've never been too wild about it; when your dumb legs make up three-quarters of your body, it means that you have a weird short torso to compensate, and it gets kind of tricky to shop for clothes/pants especially)

but also, i wanted to draw your attention to the shirt i'm wearing there, because i called it, motherfuckers -- the leafs are going to the playoffs:



see that little "x" there? that means that the leafs have officially secured a spot in the stanley cup playoffs. for the uninformed: this is the first time that they've qualified for the playoffs since 2004. and when they clinched their spot with a win over the dumbass ottawa senators last saturday night, my little corner of the internet blew up with victory .gifs and ALLCAPS shrieking. the internet has definitely made sports bonding that much more fun -- and now we all get to experience the glory of playoffs together. sure, there's a high likelihood that the leafs get utterly fucking eliminated in the first round, but i have the optimistic feeling that they might surprise a lot of people. they're a scrappy bunch, this group is, and more than anything, they're out to prove people wrong. and i don't give a fuck how crowded the bandwagon gets -- i want this city to be out en masse in support of the team. i'm already behind those crazy kids in the blue & white 110%. so yeah, expect me not to leave my apartment much during playoff time, or at the very least to schedule my social life around leafs playoffs games. i've only been waiting nine years for this, after all.

and to close out, this song:



never has a title been so apt. this is my current dance-around-my-apartment-in-my-underwear song. (the video of that, however, will not be televised. sorry, hopefuls.)

[ music | icona pop, "i love it" ]

Saturday, April 20, 2013

anyone's ghost

further observations about attractions and relationships, et cetera.



so, i've officially been single for around ten months now. and while yes, there have been silly flirtations at bars with random dudes and phone numbers exchanged and so on -- nope, i've firmly stayed out of relationship status, or even just the dating scene. to me, it still feels a little too soon, and i would rather take this time to work on myself (and my own problems) rather than go back to giving myself away to someone else (and dealing with their problems). remember, i was involved for five years, which spanned me being 24 through to me being just under 29 years old. there's a lot of personal growth one can have in the late twenties, and i don't know if i really got the full extent of it, being safely cocooned in a relationship. that's the way life goes, i guess. i won't get those years back, but i don't think they were a waste.

lately, though, because it's almost been a year since things ended, i've had people asking me why i haven't attempted to get involved with anybody yet. but see, the people telling me that "you won't be single for long" and that "you'll find someone soon" and that i should put myself out there and start meeting guys...these people (though i know they're well-intentioned) just irk me, because here's the thing: i'm not looking. i don't need it. i have no desire to go out and flirt with guys i may not be into and date around and sleep around and make casual temporary bonds with casual temporary people.

what i need is the connection.

i know exactly what the connection feels like -- as i've said before, it's like a fucking atom bomb blast to my chest. it's chemistry that could cause an industrial fire. and seriously, i would much rather hold out for that feeling than waste time faking it with somebody that gives me anything less.

"how do you know if you don't try?" people will point out smugly, and all i can answer is: i'll know. i know very clearly how i feel when i'm actually, legitimately attracted to somebody - when the connection's there - just as i know how i feel when i'm not. and given the choice between attempting to jam a square peg in a round hole, as it were, and just being single until i find what i'm looking for...yeah, well. no contest for me.

however, the one big caveat - one that i'm well aware of - is that this type of spark is more atypical of a reckless infatuation, and so it tends to burn out real, real fast. it's not sustainable at all, and it's a shitty thing to try and build a relationship upon, and damn if i don't know it. but for me, right now, i can't settle for anything less than that. as i said, in that case, i'd rather be single.

the other caveat - for me, at least - is that i always have to like/want/need the guy a little more than he does me. it's that pursuit and challenge that turns my crank like nothing else. the problem with that, though, is that everything from matchmaker websites to relationship self-help books to stupid evolutionary science says that the guy needs to be the pursuer, not the pursued. that if you're the one giving chase and giving everything up to him too quickly, he'll lose interest, because he's got nothing to strive for if it's just being handed to him. and sure enough, this has happened to me over and over again, but i've never been able to hang back and play games. i can't pretend to be coy or shy or disinterested. if i want something, i'm basically a bulldozer, and gender power roles can go to hell.

but, again -- not a sustainable foundation for anything more than something that flames up bright and fast before burning out. well, shit. still, that is the only way i know, and nothing makes me feel more alive or fulfilled in the moment. anyway, that's all i have to say about why i'm not dating.

anyway, here's one more related belief that was imparted to me by my mother, and i do absolutely hold faith in it:

the people that you make a connection with - whether guy or girl, romantic or not - come into your life for a reason. they're there to serve a specific purpose, and it's to be fulfilled no matter how long (or short) it takes. i've had people come into my life, blow things up then quickly disappear; i've had people come, then go, then come back years later; i've had people arrive and stay with me. and these particular people are/have been in my life for a reason. they've taught me lessons, they've helped me through some serious shit, they've forced me to grow, they've been my support system when i've needed it the most, they've set me on the roads that would change my life. they've been my guides. they're still my guides.

also, i feel like it works vice versa -- you can never know what purpose your presence served in someone else's life journey, but it's there. we all leave footprints on others, and sometimes there's a ripple effect that comes back years later, like an echo.

though this doesn't necessarily need to be a mutual thing, i've found -- sometimes someone can mean a shit-ton to you and have a real impact on your life, but you might not have the same effect on theirs. and that's fine -- that's universal balance. that's the way it's meant to be. this whole principle works on the belief that everything's meant to work out the way it's supposed to, and that's been the closest thing to a religious belief that this little agnostic has ever had. i don't believe in a big bearded guy up in the sky, but i do believe in intuition, and things working behind the scenes, and trusting in the universe.

...it now seems very appropriate that i'm writing this on 4/20. (i'm not high, i swear.) maybe i should do more writing while hopped up on three coffees.

[ music | blonde redhead, "spring and by summer fall" ]

Thursday, April 18, 2013

growing old is getting old

so, i used to have a myspace blog that i just remembered about last night. let's take a look at some old entries! (there will, again, be a "read more" jump cut to save all of you reading on the main page from a wall of text. let no one say i am not a considerate blogmistress.)

september 22, 2004:

as seen on a campus billboard today:

"Who is the #1 ranked professor in the university of life? JESUS!"

I don't think anything amuses me more than randomly hilarious signs. So far I've found SATAN EAT ME, ZYON COMETH, $5.99 BUTT STEAK, and now Professor Christ.

*

september 24, 2004:

Today in Romantic Poetry & Prose, I actually heard the guy behind me use the word "funner." (I think he was talking about Doom 3.) There is no such word. And this class is for English majors. help.

But studentkind was slightly redeemed by the guy behind me in Contemporary Literary Criticism Theory, who ranted for five minutes to his friend about how you could cut out all the scenes of people staring each other down in 15 instalments of Dragonball Z and only have enough footage for three episodes. It's true.

Also, Dance Dance Revolution wants to steal my soul.

*

october 9, 2004:

My 21st Birthday Party: A Recap.

- Drank two vodka Red Bulls.
- Lesley came over; switched to vodka tonics.
- Eventually drained three-quarters of the bottle of vodka.
- Went out to the Bovine; stayed there for five minutes or so.
- Went next door to Shanghai Cowgirl in an attempt to eat something to absorb the alcohol; ate half a sandwich and some salad before getting the rest to go, and promptly forgetting it on the table.
- Cabbed home immediately.
- Rambled incoherently at Lesley before heading to the bathroom for what I then referred to as "puke time"; amazingly managed to hold the toilet seat up with one hand and my hair back with the other.
- Relieved stomach of all its contents.
- Passed out on the bathroom floor.
- Woke up as Lesley left; stumbled to my bedroom.
- Passed out on my bedroom floor.
- Woke up, dragged myself into bed and blacked out completely.

This was followed by my alarm going off at 5:30 a.m. this morning, me groggily throwing together some clothes for the weekend, drinking Pepto-Bismol straight from the bottle, and spending the three-hour bus ride home contemplating which would be a better death: 1) gunshot to the head or 2) overdose on horse tranquilizers. Happy 21st, self.

*

october 24, 2004:

Being hyped up on caffeine in the early hours of the morning is the strangest sensation. It's like your entire body is exhausted and shutting down and hollering at you to drag yourself to bed already damn it, yet your mind is wide awake and alert. Most interesting.

In other news, I feel it's important for you all to know that I finally got my beloved turntable delivered to Toronto last week. In celebration, I promptly went out and spent $55 on vinyl -- all recently released albums which I already own on CD. I'm not sure whether this makes me hardcore (hxc?), or a really big dork.

I love how everyone around me is in mutual consensus that I should start dating again. However, the emphasis is on "normal" guys; "normal" meaning "not musicians." Funny, I thought I was the abnormal one.

*

november 4, 2004:

Recently, a male acquaintance of mine jokingly said, "I feel sorry for all the regular joes who hope to have a chance with you. They can't measure up to the rock stars you keep going for."

Sorry, ordinary guys. :(

*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

glamour girl

(this will be a ridiculously shallow girly blog post. let no one say i didn't warn you up front.)

in which i discuss cosmetics and general beauty supplies, and what i use in my daily makeup/hair routine. thrilling stuff! dudefolk, be sure to come back next week when i discuss the complexities of my menstrual cycle. (just kidding -- it's not that complex.)

some background: i came pretty late to the makeup game, relatively speaking. when i was a little girl and very much a tomboy, i considered makeup to be an elaborate lie. i had read somewhere that adult women wore makeup in order to look like they're not wearing makeup, and this struck me as completely stupid. if that were the case, then why bother? i don't even think my mother - habitual wearer of dark red lipstick and black mascara only - could answer that for me, and i was a child of logic, so. fuck that noise, basically. (also, growing up with feminist parents meant that very little emphasis was placed on my physical appearance as something important, which had its good and bad results as most parenting does)

so throughout early adolescence, i was bare-faced (aside from the requisite vanilla lip smackers, that is) -- up until i was about 16-17 years old, upon which my post-pubescent hormonal skin just got to be too much, and the heavy usage of concealer and cover-up stick was needed. (even now, i have pretty terrible skin, so i'm at least a bit thankful that i had all that early practice. i hate to admit it, but i've never had such good skin as i did when i was on the pill, but even that's not enough to make me go back to ingesting fake hormones every day.) but for the rest of high school, that was all that touched my face, right up until i moved to toronto in 2002 when i was eighteen. here, then, was a big city full of beautiful women, and i finally understood what had eluded me as a kid -- that you wear makeup to enhance what you've already got. ohhhhhh.

well, okay, but i still didn't have anyone to show me the ropes, and i wasn't smart enough to go to sephora or m.a.c. or whatever for a makeover by the experts. it would be another year before new friend rhea - who had taken me under her wing and introduced me to many big-city things, such as predrinking with a posse before going clubbing while wearing pvc - suggested one saturday night that i ought to try some eyeliner. i was game, so i tried to stay as still as possible while she applied black liquid liner around my eyes -- and holy shit, it looked great. i felt like a piece of my developing big-city-girl identity had locked into place.

in fact, the very first night i ever tried applying eyeliner myself (not too long after that fateful saturday) was the night of the blackout in toronto. i can remember very clearly sitting on the front stoop of the east-end house where i was living in the basement, watching people go by in confusion and amusement and panic, and mostly just feeling odd about the fact that i had what felt like raccoon eyes. (in retrospect, i probably did. it took a while to get a steady hand with the kohl pencil.) if you've never worn makeup before, once you put it on, you have this weird sensation of feeling like you're wearing a mask or something. and all i could think was, well fuck, the power's out, so i have no idea how crazy this looks on me. but still, i liked the way i felt with my eyes ringed in black, and i decided to keep it up, even when i wasn't booty-dancing in the clubs.

ten years later, here we are.



after so many years of pockmarked skin and skater-boy clothes, i finally look like an adult! i hope you're happy, mom.

this isn't to say i recommend makeup all the time; in recent years, i've gotten more comfortable going out without eye makeup on, when i used to rather die than leave the house without eyeliner. yet i always try to throw on some concealer, mostly because i'm still super-conscious of my generally volcanic skin (and also the fact that my natural complexion shade lies somewhere between "sallow" and "corpse-like," so some powder blush is usually a must).

here's what i look like fresh-faced, and i'm generally okay with it:



anyway, mostly because i've been bored lately (and also i found that discussing preferred makeup brands and recommendations is actually a huge conversation-starter with my ladyfriends), i figured i'd scribble down what i'm currently using to achieve my daily face and what stuff i legitimately swear by. (i promise i'm not being paid to endorse any of these products; these are true-to-life recos. i love what i love, yo.) i'm gonna list off the brand first, followed by what type/colour i use in parenthesis. all estimated prices listed are canadian (which means they'll probably be cheaper in the u.s.) and i buy most of my makeup at shoppers drug mart because i am a prole.

got it? here is a jump cut to save you from a wall of text and/or product placement:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

if you want to survive

so it may be six months off, but i think i'm actually starting to be okay with the thought of turning thirty this year.





(upper photo circa 1996; lower photo circa yesterday)

complaining about my age isn't something i easily get away with in a public forum. i am technically still in my twenties, and a very large contingent of my friends - both male and female - are already in the mid-to-late thirties (even forties in a few cases), so i've never gotten a lot of sympathy when i grouse about getting old. okay, fine, fair enough. but now that i'm coming up on a new decade, i'm at least getting some reassurance from those "older" friends that the thirties are actually some of the best years of one's life. after some initial moaning and bellyaching about how i'm not ready to exit my twenties - i would prefer to be forever young, obviously - i'm starting to understand some of the benefits that may come with moving on into the next phase of my life (though still, ugh).

a couple of big touchstones: for one, i'm finally starting to feel somewhat content with myself. considering that i have spent probably the last ten years of my life worrying about how i look/what i say/what i do, this is quite the thing. when you're in your twenties, so much is in flux, and so much of yourself is just kind of...scattered, i guess is the right word. there's not a lot of stability, and you're still immature enough to be a reckless, unconscionable fuckup. (at least, if you were me, you spent a lot of your twentysomething years being a reckless, unconscionable fuckup. i'll own it.)

that's not to say i'm planning on using my thirties to push myself into "adulthood" or put aside all immature things; i'm sure i'll continue to make dumb decisions and mess things up. that's being human. but reckless youth isn't something i'll still be able to use as an excuse, and to be frank, i'd rather not. i want to be able to take responsibility for my actions, and look a lot harder at possible consequences. i still don't really do that enough, and i should, because i always know how the story ends.

for two, i almost have my student debt paid off, and it will be completely gone by the time i hit the big 3-0. this is a pretty crazy huge thing for me, considering the fact that i sort of figured i'd have that debt hanging over my head for, like, the rest of my life. to see it dwindled down to as low as it is right now is mind-blowing.

another personal-growth thing i've found is that i've subconsciously been establishing my own values and beliefs, and determining what i want to live by. like so:





see, i've spent a lot of my life in the company of people who are, on some level, deeply miserable. wonderful people, to be sure - i try not to hang out with jerks - but i tend to gravitate towards individuals who have a measure of sad and/or frustrating dissatisfaction in their lives. (i have something of a saviour complex, by the way.) over time, though, this tends to frustrate me, because i personally cannot understand why anyone would live that way. sure, it sucks when there are things in your life that are a pain to deal with -- so why not change things so that they don't suck? there's never no escape; there's always a door, or a window, or whatever. but instead of doing whatever it takes to make things better, i've known so many people who instead look for side distractions and temporary diversions rather than a permanent solution to their ongoing misery. they're just not willing to do what it takes to fix things for good.

and, as i stated in the above tweets, that can never be me. i don't want to go through life being so dissatisfied with things. what's the point? you only get one life, after all. and i'd rather fill that one life with as much happiness and as little bullshit as possible.

so, there: a personal belief of mine. more happy, less sad -- and if something's making you more sad than happy, do whatever it takes to fix it. there's always a way out, and damn whoever tries to stop you -- self-preservation above all. the end.

still, man -- almost thirty years old. here's to keeping up with the strong beliefs and a slightly dented moral compass. i really wouldn't have it any other way.

[ music | arcade fire, "ready to start" ]

Saturday, April 6, 2013

strangelove

so after some mad browser-refreshing after the clock hit 10 a.m. on thursday, i forked over a ridiculous amount of money for a 300-level ticket to see depeche mode at molson amphitheatre on september 1st. yes yes yessssss.

i've been planting this video everywhere just to prove why i'm so excited:



(the chorus swell is my favourite part of the song, and probably of any song by any band) that part at 0:10 where dave just raises his arms to the audience? oh my god. raises my pulse immediately, and i get so goddamn stoked about september all over again.

depeche mode haven't rolled back into town since summer 2009, which i briefly blogged about back in the day. i was pretty spoiled, though -- not only was my seat in the 200 levels, but it was free, and then i got paid to write about it. the benefits of music journalism may be meagre, but sometimes they are great. anyway, i had such a great time at the show that i swore that i'd be back to see them once they returned to toronto, and that time is coming up in (sigh) about four months. still, i go a little out of my mind with excitement every time i watch the above video and imagine getting to be part of the mass arm-waving in the audience all over again (it's done during "never let me down again" at every show, and you're damn right i enthusiastically took part in '09).

oh man, and now that i've gotten my forearms tattooed after all, i still want the violator rose inked at some point -- likely down my spine (upper back portion, since i've got a tiger tattooed on my lower back). it'll probably end up being a decision between that and my long-desired tattoo of "empire down" on the back of my neck.

...ugh, who am i kidding. i'll likely get both done at some point. all the tattoos, all the time! (though sometimes i do regret not going through with my original plan to get the rose tattooed while in los angeles on the sunset strip back in 2007. would have been foolhardy, maybe, but epic.)

so, what else has been going on?

it's been two weeks since i started my new job, and equilibrium's finally being established. it's always weird for me to start deviating from regular routines - i can be a bit of a control freak about the patterns of my everyday life - but i think everything's sort of settling down now. the novelty of new things is fun for a while, but i eventually like to get things in order in my life. plus it's always nice to have a workplace where coworkers offer to supply you with money in order for you to continually supply the office with baked goods. this is a deal i can get behind. (also: practicing my baking skills and techniques, holla)

also, what i do now is fun because i get to work with words and write things that matter, which is pretty cool. there's a marked difference between being a writer and being an editor, and while i still happily handle editorial tasks, it's a nice change of pace to be the creator of content as well, and not just editing the work of others. forces me to use my brain cells and all.

i've said it in here before, but writing is what i do. i am a writer first and foremost, and i'm lucky because it's actually a bankable skill. if you look at our main methods of communication - text messages, the internet - things are still mainly done through the written (okay, typed) word, which gives wordsmiths an advantage. this makes me happy, given that i've always been able to communicate better through writing than speaking. (i don't have much of a filter, so i tend to say whatever i feel; if i'm writing it out, i can at least think about it before i publish/send it.) plus, it's nice to actually feel confident in the work i'm doing, because writing is my thing. if it involves words, i can do it, and do it well. (i am not confident about many things.)

yet i'll say it again: some of my best work is the stuff i can't publish. i also know that those stories are the ones that many of you come here to read. but i don't know if i'll ever be able to publish them in any capacity, because i believe that, as a writer, you have to have both the courage of two things: your convictions, and to face any possible consequences of what you write. i don't know if my reticence makes me a coward, necessarily; i'd rather think i'm soft-hearted, if anything. because while i won't hesitate to tear myself down (i've found that a good sense of self-deprecating humour about oneself goes a long way on the internet), there are so many stories i can't tell because they don't just involve me, but a whole cast of characters. and i don't have the right to tell anyone's story but my own.

anyway, here, have the latest instagram'd nonsense:



i'm big on gothy lace trim on little black dresses. (though i find it hilarious how certain angles/filters just make me look like not me)

in the meantime, it is now the weekend, and i'm off to attend the bazaar of the bizarre. and lo, my post-goth heart is satisfied.

[ music | depeche mode, "enjoy the silence" ]

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

secret to the end



- another paraphrased conversation, same time, same place -

"that's the thing with you, though - they trust you. you get them saying that they feel like they can tell you anything, but i bet you don't tell them hardly anything about yourself. nothing big or important, anyway."

i smiled slowly, pulling on my cigarette and simultaneously vowing to quit soon. maybe for lent or something. "i'm smarter than that, sweetheart."

he snorted - sort of affably, though - and inhaled from his own cigarette, staring out at some point in the distance before giving me a sideways glance. "you miss him?"

this made me pause for more than a few beats, because i had to think of the right way to answer. finally, i exhaled and said, "...i miss when the times were good. but there weren't enough good times left." the sun was close to setting at this point, and i squinted at it past my sunglasses, not wanting to look at him. "i'll cling to things because i don't like giving up, because i don't like losing, and giving up on stuff means i lose. but i know when it's time to let things go."

"and now you've let it go?"

"yeah. i had to."

"well, that's impressive."

i shrugged. "more of a necessity."

he smirked slightly, then joined me in watching the sun set. "you're going to blog about this, aren't you?"

"only if it's okay with you."

"it's okay with me. so long as i know that you're okay, kiddo."

i closed my eyes and smiled. "i'm okay."

end scene.

[ music | depeche mode, "heaven" ]

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

achilles heel

it's happening. it's finally, maybe, hopefully happening.

playoffs.



(i walked all the way to the new target off the danforth last weekend, and it was such a trek i was determined to come back with at least a souvenir of some form. the above t-shirt was my sole purchase, and hey, it made for a good selfie. though i'm not usually that innocent-looking.)

 yes, yes, i know it's not a given just yet, and i know everyone likes to howl "jinx!!" whenever you mention "leafs" and "playoffs" in the same breath, but dudes, whatever. this has been a long time coming and many years of high hopes and crushing disappointment, here. plus, i definitely care more about this squadron of ragtag scrappy kids than i did for the 2003-04 group, the last leafs to make a round of playoffs; i recall being over at a friend's house and eventually watching the leafs flame out, and we changed the channel in disgust.

but! that year was my first real year as a toronto denizen (i moved here in september 2002 for my freshman year of university, then went back to kingston for a summer, then moved back permanently less than two months later); i still have fond memories of being kept awake by honking horns throughout the downtown core, signalling a leafs win in the playoffs. the childhood hockey fan in me started to re-emerge, and the whole thing just became that much more fun, being in the epicentre and all.

and now, this has basically been my default position every night there's a leafs game on tv:



wearing a leafs shirt and cuddled up on the couch with my phil kessel doll. yep, that's it right there. (i am continually both delighted and perplexed by the fact that i look far, far younger than my almost-30 years in that photo. thank you, genetics/good lighting/habitual usage of anti-aging face creams since i was 22.)

also, i think i mentioned this before, but hockey has also become a good touchstone of conversation between my father and i. i love my dad, but it's sometimes hard for us to find points for conversation during our weekly sunday phone calls (especially now that i'm done school and all -- education is a huge topic for my dad), and hockey has filled that void quite well. my father is toronto-born, so leafs talk is common between us -- to the point where he won't even say hello when he calls, just immediately launches into a rant (or a rave) about the leafs' current progress. fortunately, things are looking up right now, which means less reasons for my father to be a crotchety old man about his hockey team. bonding over wins is far better than commiserating over losses.

(still, it's hilarious to note how much lazier hockey has made me. back during the lockout, i had nothing to do on weeknights, so i spent most of my time running errands, cleaning my apartment, or going to the gym. now? it's coming home from work, drinking a glass of vodka and screaming at my television all evening. oh, my life.)

though as i mentioned in a previous blog post, it's sort of sad for me that i have no one to share the joyful possibility of playoffs!!!1 with. sure, i have friends who understand my love for hockey, and they'll indulge me once and a while, but i don't have any hockey buddies these days. (though interestingly enough, i was texting an ex from eight years ago about the leafs on the weekend. it has come to this.) my recent ex no longer speaks to me, which i understand (yet still feel pretty bummed out about), so there goes the man who shared all my hockey in-jokes for the last five years. i'm well aware that me being a hockey fan is a good selling point - and i'm pretty sure that whatever poor sucker i end up with next will be a fellow fan - but in the meantime, it's kinda lonely over here on my island of blue and white. sighhhhhh.

but! enough of that. there is either great rejoicing or the usual despair ahead, and i'm pretty happy to have something to focus my fangirl energies on. anything's better than baseball, after all.

[ music | louis xiv, "air traffic control" ]