Friday, September 27, 2013

the way we get by

today on ridiculous life stresses: money! and problems! and money problems! (or, why i am profoundly terrible at budgeting even though i am apparently a goddamn adult.)

this ought to be read through a lens of #firstworldproblems, because i'm no way in the gutter. i'm not affluent either, though; i'm solidly middle class, as i have been my entire life. but there have been times in my adult life when i've had more money, and times when i've had much less money, and we're sort of in the latter end of that right now, and damn if it isn't hanging over me at the moment.

this will probably be a boring blog post.

i now have two strings of those lights (i bought red ones as well), and i refuse to disclose how much i paid for them. i get a little nauseous when i think about it. but hey, they look pretty! also, i suck.

i've been thinking a lot about an article i read on xojane last month, wisely titled how to avoid "i deserve it" purchases (and the consequences that come with them). man oh man, did the stories in that piece ever hit home for me. it examines this psychological idea that, if you've gone through periods of time in your past when you've restricted your spending, you're more likely to overindulge once you've got cash because you feel like you "deserve" things since you went without for so long.

Saying “I deserve it” is one of the biggest culprits behind failed diets—and failed budgets. You see something that you want to buy (or eat) but you don’t really need, so you tell yourself no. Then that “no” starts gnawing at you and you feel deprived.

that's me to a tee. there's always things that i convince myself that i need or that i deserve to have, when really, i don't on either count. i do just fine with what i have, but something in my stupid brain says hey, no, you totally deserve to get that thing. you need it, don't you? (related note: i really need to stay far, far away from red flag deals.)

case in point: shoes. i was perusing the payless website a few days ago because i figured hey, i need a couple pairs of flats. but do i have the money for new shoes? no, no i do not. and so i tell myself no, but then my inner self gets petulant and annoyed that i'm depriving myself of new shoes, and reminding me that it makes me look crappy to not have decent footwear. like, these are my "give-no-fucks chucks":

i've actually started wearing these to the office because i'm running out of options.

shoes are goddamn expensive, and mine all seem to fall apart at the same time. right now, my boots are cracking along the soles, my cross trainers are tearing, and i don't have any winter footwear. and come on, just look at my chucks, there. so now i have to figure: are new shoes really a priority, or can i make do with what i have for a little while longer so i can save money? (i routinely wear shit until it falls apart.)

see, it's a weird toss-up with me: either i'm blowing cash on stuff i'm convinced i need (when i don't) or i'm drawing stuff out for as long as possible to avoid spending money. my priorities are just a little bit skewed, i think.

i think the last time i really had to watch my finances was when i lived in vancouver. vancouver is crazy fucking expensive, for one, but i'd also just relocated my entire goddamn life to the other side of the country, which came with a hefty price tag. my bachelor apartment was literally a shoebox, but it was also reasonably priced (actually the cheapest rent i'd ever paid) and in a good neighbourhood (kitsilano) with a gorgeous view from the balcony, so i didn't complain. i was pulling maybe $12-13 an hour at my job running the cafe, and i tried to walk to and from there as often as possible to save money. i didn't have a tv, so i didn't have to pay for cable, instead relying heavily on my library card to get me books for free. i was lucky enough that the bank mistakenly thought i was still a student and so they didn't withdraw more than the bare minimum monthly to pay off my student line of credit. i ate the same cheap things every day -- flax cereal and half a banana for breakfast; rice cakes, carrots & celery with hummus, and yogurt for lunch; an apple for a snack; a bowl of soup & crackers for dinner or maybe a peanut butter sandwich. (i was a vegetarian at this point, which also saved me some cash. i supplemented the rest of this meagre diet with samples of the cafe's cuisine and unlimited cups of coffee.) i rarely bought any new clothes unless they came from thrift stores or could be purchased with the gift cards that my parents sent me. i didn't smoke much, drank even less, hardly ever cooked, and barely went out for the first few months i lived there. i think the biggest expense i made during that time period was my trip to los angeles in october 2007.

then i moved back to toronto, and two things happened: for one, i started a relationship (which would later lead to cohabitation and the splitting of bills); for two, i got my first real adult job (aka something that paid more than just above minimum wage). it wouldn't be until my second adult job that i actually started making really good coin and could finally relax the stringent budgeting habits i'd lived on since the vancouver days.

but then, of course, i swung the other way: spending too much on too many dumb things i don't need, as i've already detailed in this blog post. however, i've since left that job, so now i'm sort of back to square one: constantly struggling with my impulses and priorities and such.

my apartment is my biggest expense, obviously. but you know what? i feel like it's 100% worth it, because i fucking love my apartment. i've said it before, but it's like my own little sanctuary, here. it's bright, it's quiet, it's well-maintained, it's in a decent neighbourhood, it's within walking distance to all the good stuff. one thing it's not, though, is cheap. but with that laundry list of good points, i am okay with paying what i do for this place. hell, sometimes i feel like i got a deal.

i mean, seriously:

i love where i live. it is lovely. it makes me happy. full stop.

in the times when i stress too much about money and budgeting and saving and spending, i remind myself of all the things i do have. i have my apartment. i have my health (including a healthy cervix!), and i'm actually sleeping right through the night these days. i've started using the lift app as a way to track my little victories and to remind myself that i'm not a massive failure at life. i've got the holy trinity of close family, good friends, and cool coworkers. i'm okay. i'm not living in a box on the street. for the most part, i am really doing okay.

deep breaths, deeeeeep breaths. whew.

anyway, enough with the stressors -- my father will be en route to the big city tomorrow, so i better stop drinking and start cleaning my apartment now (with the leafs game on at the same time, of course). there will likely be dumb commentary and goofy photos on my twitter and instagram tomorrow, so watch for those. catch the fever! or something. later, dudes.

[ music | leafs vs. wings pregame commentary ]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

pioneer to the falls

early autumn, you's all over the place. but at least i managed to see niagara falls for the first time in my life(!):

i got a little photo/filter-happy, what can i say. niagara falls! birthplace of my father! (also where my parents had their honeymoon, which sort of squicked me out the more i thought about it. i mean, my hotel room did have a jacuzzi in it.)

anyway, i spent last thursday, friday & saturday there for the annual company retreat, which was really more part-conference, part-town hall, part-crazy costume party. it was a seriously fun melee and nothing like any work get-together i'd ever experienced. also: bonus pride in the awesome company i work for (which shall remain unnamed in here because i'm still scared of the googles). hurrah!

the theme for the costume party this year was "rock stars," so i did my best robert smith of the cure:

decent resemblance? i'm mostly just pleased at how easy and cheap it was. (i already had black pants and all the makeup & hair products, so all i needed to get was a men's triple-xl black sweater from the salvation army for $3) i mean, many employees go all the fuck out for this thing, but i'm living on limited means right now while my budget's in the toilet, so.

at least i came home with a box full of dark chocolate kisses i packed away from the party's candy table:

however, i'd gotten home from the pre-retreat revelry on wednesday night to find a scary-looking letter from my doctor's office.

inside was a neatly-typed message informing me that they had been trying to reach me but were unsuccessful in doing so (read: they didn't have my new phone number on file so they had to resort to snail mail), and i needed to contact them at my earliest convenience regarding my recent lab results.


so yeah, this would unnerve anyone, but see, i'm a bit of a hypochondriac (if you've never heard the "vancouver spider story," get me to tell it to you in person -- it's somehow gotten even funnier over the years) so there was no fucking sleep happening that night. instead, i lay awake thinking of all the worst-case scenarios, eventually narrowing it down to cancer (obviously) and uncomfortably pondering how i would break the news to my parents that their youngest daughter was going to die painfully and horribly. (the only tests i'd had done on that visit - my annual physical - were a pap smear and routine bloodwork, so it was either cervical cancer or, like, low b-12.)

suffice it to say, having that sort of shit hanging over your head is a tad stressful -- especially when you can't get through to your doctor the next day - at all - and have to leave voicemail instead. now, none of this is a knock against my doctor -- he's seriously rad and i'm very happy with him as my gp. if anything, this whole snafu was my fault for not giving them my new cell number. but letters are scary, people. like, that looks like serious fucking mayo-clinic-everything-is-cancer business right there.

i eventually just decided to get drunk and forget about it, and sure enough, my doc's assistant called friday morning - while i was at the company town hall and boxed in by chairs that i basically had to climb over to get out - to politely and calmly inform me that my iron levels were low (no surprise -- i've been anemic on and off for like five fucking years now) and that my hormones were low (whatever that means), and to come back and see the doc if (tmi) my periods don't return to normal within 3-6 months. such is life with athletic amenorrhea, aka one of those things i could easily fix but can't be arsed to and so i should just shut up already.

my parents were relieved, obviously, but still concerned, and probably more so at how *shrug* i was at the diagnosis. "well sure, i'm tired, but everybody i know is tired," i said to my mother. "we're a generation of tired. we work too much and party too much and sleep is an afterthought. there's just too much to do." and it's true. and really, my outlook on having low iron and low hormones(?!) is like well, okay, it's not impeding my life and i'm not dying from it, so whatever, i'm fine. plus supplements cost money and i am a poor. (i've taken palafer in the past and found absolutely no change in my energy levels. plus it made my guts hurt.)

this may come back to bite me in the ass when i'm old and breaking down. sigh.

there was something a little more to this past weekend, too. maybe it was the notion of facing my own mortality; maybe it was the day full of inspirational videos and people; maybe it was being out of my usual environment. but i was talking with my mother to tell her the good news that all was cool with my cervix, and i ended up drunkenly blurting out something about how i was just so tired of me.

look: being self-absorbed is a young person's game, and i'm turning thirty in two weeks. and you know what, i'm kind of sick of me. i'm tired of being so focused on myself. as i said to my mother, it is fucking exhausting to be constantly analyzing myself and how i look and feel and obsessing over what i do and what i think. the solution for this is, clearly, not to find someone else to fixate upon; me having a pet or a boyfriend or a kid (blargh!) or whatever might even make things worse. i don't do things half-assed -- if i'm focused on something, i'm all the fuck in. and that's not healthy, be it for me or others.

what would probably be best would be for me to find a cause to be passionate about, or start a career or business i'm proud of, or begin some sort of personal art project or productive hobby that i enjoy. that's the kind of thing that i ought to aim my laser focus on. my mother has been telling me this for years. but i haven't found any those outlets yet, and sometimes i'm worried i never will. i'm not even lying when i say i have nothing else but me myself.

i can't go another ten years having only myself to focus on. i need something more in my life than just me, you know? i can be a self-centered brat, for sure - hello, welcome to the blog i write all about me - but like i said, i'm getting tired of it. it just fucking saps your energy, is all. i need something else.

there's a whole lot more i could go into here, but i won't. too close to the surface.

but it's the season, really. it's the chill in the air and the smell of cigarette smoke and the sun setting early and my heavy leather jacket settling over my shoulders and the leaves slowly turning colours. it keeps me turning inwards, even though i know better.

and sometimes i think about the imprint someone else's skin leaves on yours, even long after things end, and i wonder if the memory of me has been erased so easily.

[ music | fol chen, "cable tv" ]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

i can't wash you off my skin

here's a story that i'll try to keep brief. (no promises, though.)

i was at wvrst a while ago for beers and sausage with a friend, and as i was eagerly awaiting my much-needed bottle of aphrodisiaque at the bar, i noticed a gentleman examining the tattoo on my inner right forearm. when he saw me catch his gaze, he politely gestured to it and said, "that's a very specific phrase you've got done there. why'd you pick that?", this was far from the first time somebody's asked about the meaning behind one of my tattoos, but that particular piece has actually gotten more questions than the others. it's probably the enigmatic wording - it's strange and almost nonsensical but it fits, in a poetic way - and i guess a lot of people don't understand why i'd get something so puzzling inked under my skin for the rest of my life. but, as i always do when asked, i just smiled briefly and explained that it was a line from a leonard cohen poem (i rarely mention that it's also a title of a sisters of mercy compilation album, since most people have more of a frame of reference for cohen's works than von eldritch's), and that i got it because i just liked the way it sounded. then grabbed my beer and excused myself to get back to my table.

but what i really wanted to say was this:

"i got it because of what happened with a boy. not for him - i wouldn't give him that much credit - but rather, i got it done as an apology of sorts, because i knew i'd lost the chance to say it to him myself. i wasn't sure if he'd ever notice or ever see it, but i wanted it under my skin to remind myself to not make those sort of mistakes again.

"because yeah, it's true -- some of us do wander by mistake. some of us don't mean to stray off the path, yet some of us do it because there's more adventure and opportunities. and then it all comes down to a game of risks -- the ones you know about and the ones you don't; the ones that you take willingly and the ones that you don't mean to until you're right in the thick of it. and then it all comes down to how you deal with the consequences.

"i didn't deal very well, i guess. i still don't deal too well. because once upon a time i wandered, intentionally at first and then by mistake, and i found my way back, but i left a lot of myself behind. it's a bit like having a phantom limb -- you know there's a part of you that's missing, and it eats away at you, but you can't seem to get it back or figure out how to fix it. and that boy reminded me of the phantom limb. he reminded me of what i left behind, and you know what, he fucking fixed it. when he was around, i actually felt whole again. i felt like the girl i used to be, and that was the thing i wanted more than anything.

"it was borrowed time and i knew it, but that didn't make it any easier when the final reality check landed. it sucked. i mean, it really fucking sucked. because once he was gone, i was left with all the mistakes i'd made. trust me, those were some big fucking mistakes, too. and it's hard to cope with that stuff alone -- knowing that you fucked up big time and having no one to blame but yourself. so somewhere in the middle of that mess, it just made sense to me to get that line from 'teachers' inked. because the words may sound cryptic and weird, but to me, at the time - and even now - it summed everything up perfectly. some girls wander by mistake.

"anyway, i'm not sure i'll ever see that boy again. i'm certainly not trying to; i've self-exiled myself from seeing him, if i can help it, since i feel like i've probably made enough of an idiot out of myself already. but for a time, that boy in my life was one of the best things i had going, and losing that was an awful process. so i got that line tattooed to remember how i wandered, and how sometimes you can't fix things -- and how others can't fix you. you can't rely on someone else to make you whole. at the end of the day, you have to fix yourself."

[ music | our lady peace, "in repair" ]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

autumn beds

i have no idea what it about the change of season from summer to fall, but i swear my skin fucking blows up every goddamn year with zits all over the place. it's like i suddenly turn into pizzaface. no thnx. (if you can recommend a cover-up regimen with better makeup than what i'm currently using, please feel free.)

i'm gross. anyway.

now comes the fun part: trying to put together a fall full of awesome plans and good times and stay on budget.

yes, sadly, gone are the days like last fall when i had a whole lot more money to play around with. i'm running a much tighter ship these days by necessity, and so budgeting is a must in order to have enough money to, uh, live. don't get me wrong, i always pay my bills and rent -- it's just a matter of having enough left over to have fun with. it's not quite the early university days when i was rationing cheap toilet paper, though. when you're at the toilet-paper rationing, you're at a low point. just saying.

but, as i mentioned last year, i kind of need to stay busy in the fall, lest i drop into a pit of nostalgia-and-seasonal-affective-disorder despair in which i spend most nights lying on my couch in a funk and drinking glasses of straight vodka. so, here's what's on my schedule so far, finances permitting, in a handy bolded list format:

- leafs preseason game with my dad: this won't be a huge strain considering that i'm buying the tickets below cost from a work buddy, but leafs tickets are always overpriced anyway, so oh well. still, my father's coming down to toronto in a couple of weeks for a joint birthday celebration (our birthdays in october are two days apart, but he's going to be in europe this year), and it just happens to be on a day when the leafs are playing a preseason game against detroit. although i had to cajole him a little bit - my father has this strange aversion to staying in toronto after dark, and never overnight - he finally agreed, so i snapped up the tickets and now i'm taking my dad to his first leafs game at the air canada centre. (for context, the last time he saw the leafs play was at maple leaf gardens, and i think it was in the 1960's.)

- i'm having my closest girlfriends (and their significant others where applicable) over for a wine & cheese party the weekend before my birthday. this was in the works for a while; i had quite a successful wine & cheese party for my little apartment's housewarming last fall, so this is the second edition. my core friend group is at the point where we use birthdays as excuses for all of us to get together, since our schedules are getting to the point where we basically need an excuse to have a social gathering. also, wine and cheese are two of our collective favourite things, thus! october pre-birthday party. (i will also likely be buying one of these because yolo)

- and on that topic: birthday. apparently i am aging. this sucks. although it's a good excuse for the aforementioned friend get-togethers, it's not something i particularly look forward to, especially now that i'm hitting my third decade. still, that's a bit of a milestone in itself, so i feel like i need to do something to mark the occasion. top of the list right now is 1) a new tattoo (though i can't make a concrete decision on what i want, which generally isn't a good sign) or 2) a psychic reading. however, neither of these options are cheap, so i might just have to put them aside in favour of saving my money for potential plans later in the month. budgeting. sigh.

- also tied in with birthday: going to kingston thanksgiving weekend, which is the usual plan. i kind of can't not go, since it's a family get-together and all, but it's not like i'd consider the alternative anyway. i managed to get advance train tickets on sale a few weeks ago, but there's a reason why i only go back to kingston 2-3 times a year. stupid expensive trains. (my mother offered to pay for my trip as a birthday present but i declined in favour of straight up moneyz)

- i'm planning on spending october 17-20 in chicago, which will in itself rack up quite a few expenses: the flight there + bus ride home; needing to get my chicago flag tattoo finally touched up; possibly going to both the vince clarke (of both depeche mode and erasure fame) show and the leafs vs. blackhawks game; and typical costs for booze, dinners out, trader joes & binnys runs and general merrymaking. it wouldn't be cheap, for sure, but i haven't been to chicago since last winter so i'm overdue. i was talking a lot with brother adam before and after the mission uk show, and now i miss him more than ever. (plus this fall means we'll have been friends for nine years now, which is pretty crazy)

- halloween plans: nothing concrete for the day itself yet, but the lovely sofi is having a pumpkin party that week, which makes me happy because i get to bake something delicious for a crowd (and i am always willing to work baking into my budget). been browsing costumes online and trying to snag something suitably skanky for under $50. because that's how i do. remember last year?

so good.

in between all of that madness: one more tiff screening this saturday evening (lucky them, aka holy shit someone made my life into a movie), brunch at the drake this sunday with friends, dinner with more friends on monday, work retreat in niagara falls for almost three days next week, and not one but two fantasy hockey drafts. so, calculate those costs all together, and you have a rollercoaster of fun and hopefully very few headaches.

when in doubt, this helps.

on the off days with no plans, i will make the choice to stay home, keep the drinking to a minimum to save cash (not smoking is also good for saving $$$), not splurge on costly foodstuffs (thankfully i like soup at this time of year), and go to the gym a lot since i'm already paying for the membership and all. hello, i am boring.

cooking is also cost-effective, and again, something i'm very thankful i enjoy anyway. (i think i purchase my lunch at work maybe once a month, if that, and i can count on one hand the number of times i've thrown out edible food in the last 5-6 years. if it's not moldy or smelly, i'mma eating it.)

and that's all for now. if you know of a place in toronto with cheap cheese boards, holla at ya girl.

[ music | cayucas, "high school lover" ]

Monday, September 9, 2013

cult of celebrity

the last week of my life has definitely given me reason to reflect on my own personal gods.

it's been a busy time for me over the last while, that's for sure (which is generally out of the ordinary for this little introvert), and once all the madness was over, i was in bed and fast asleep by 9 p.m. on the weekend. no joke. but the cause for recent revelry was both music and movies, which means that these worlds of these two artistic mediums have been colliding for me, and it's given me some interesting perspectives and personal reflection on both.

first up: movies and the toronto international film festival. as i mentioned before, this is the first time that i've attended any tiff screenings, and it was kind of a deal. since the screening of only lovers left alive i saw was a special presentation, a bunch of the stars were there on the red carpet, and i got to witness just how apeshit people - especially teenage girls - go for celebrities. you could tell when tom hiddleston showed up because the screams got to eardrum-piercing levels. the girl standing next to me in line nervously asked me if i would hold her spot while she ran to get an autograph and photo, and i laughed and said sure, then watched from a distance as girls swarmed and shrieked. and i smiled, because i remembered that. i remembered being them.

but it was different, you know.

it's funny, but i've never been an actor girl. i never had posters of movie stars on my bedroom wall growing up. if you ask me who i think the hottest actor is, i generally have to think for a while before answering (i inevitably come up with joseph gordon-levitt, obviously, and also tom hiddleston because yep i'm one of those). there's something missing in it for me when compared to musicians. although you can draw analogies between having a film on DVD and having a recorded album - both are products that you can play back and experience whenever you want - i can't see anything actors do that could equal a live concert. there's a level of magic there, a give-and-take of energy between rock star and audience that's kept me firmly in their camp for so many years now.

sure, both actors and musicians are artists, but i've never felt like the connection happens with actors and fans that does with musicians and fans. how do you even make a connection with an actor beyond a breathless hello and maybe a photo or autograph? okay, sure, the same could be said about bigger-name musicians, but even they seem more accessible to me than actors.

i don't know. maybe it's because i know the ways in. maybe it's because i once shrugged and said to a friend, "if hanging out with band members was easy, everybody would do it" and they replied, "yeah, well, clearly you are not everybody." maybe it's because i've had one foot in that world since i was 17, leaving a huge part of myself in it when i was 21. maybe it's because i've stayed despite everything.

then, on friday night, i saw the mission uk.

look, it says right there in my blogger bio -- i love 80's goth rock. it's my jam. i adore it to fucking pieces and i revel in the fact that the majority of it is pretty terrible and most people don't like it because of that. but me, i love the pomp and the bombast and the overwrought dramatics and the dark, dark romanticism, because i am a dark romantic with a soft spot for tongue-in-cheek cheesiness. retro goth rock hits all those markers for me. i love that shit. how can you not fucking love it? i ask you.

and i love the sisters of mercy. like, i love them so much that i got one of their album titles tattooed on my arm. i love them even though their singer kicked me out of their dressing room -- in fact, i think i loved them even more for that. (quoth a pal: "for you, it's like getting yelled at by morrissey.") theirs was some of the music that saved my fucking life back in 2007-08 when i was really just having a hard time with everything in my narrow little world. i present this as evidence of their awesomeness, from the legendary royal albert hall show in 1985 (the "wake" concert, which has since been immortalized on dvd and you're damn right i own a copy):

i've really never seen anything like eldritch's performance throughout that entire show. the intensity in his vocals just floors me every time. (fast forward to 2:08 in the above video to see what i mean.)

anyway, as the story goes, the guitarist and bassist in that video - wayne hussey and craig adams - split off from the band soon after and formed the mission (later appended with "uk" to avoid conflict with a pre-existing american band of the same name). the mission uk then went on to release about a bazillion albums over the following 20 years or so, and then they went on hiatus, and then they kind of broke up or something, and then they got back together with the original lineup (minus the drummer because whatever they mostly used a drum machine anyway) and put together this brief north american tour, the end. i've always loved the mission for their proximity to the sisters of mercy, and also because their own music is crazy fucking good in its own right.

you want ridiculously awesome over-the-top goth rock with grandiose pomp and songs about swords & sorcery and avalon and love and blood and generally weird shit? yes. this is what you want. you want the mission uk. and they played in toronto, in 2013, last friday night.

and of course, i had to dress for the occasion:

i wasn't originally planning on going, ashamedly enough. the tickets weren't cheap, and my bank account has been limping along on fumes for a week now. but brother adam was insistent that i see this incarnation of the mish, since it's their original lineup and they might never tour again, so i finally acquiesced and crunched some budgets so i'd have enough money to go. and holy shit, was i ever glad i did.

if you've never seen me go batshit at a show, apparently it's something to see. i howl, i shriek, i jump around, i dance, i pound my fists against the barriers, i sing along to every lyric at the top of my lungs. if i'm doing most - if not all - of these things at a show, then that means it's going to be one i remember for a good long time.

i pretty much did all of these things on friday night, because the mish killed it.

the show was phenomenal, they played all the hits (well, no "dance on glass" but the killer version of "naked and savage" was good enough) and they sounded ridiculously good doing it. wayne hussey had us all in the palm of his hand and damn if the foxy old man didn't know it, snarling and prowling and playing it up. i don't think i've screamed that loudly for an encore in at least a year. (they played two, and there was "deliverance" and "tower of strength" and they were so so so so good i nearly died)

in the moments when i wasn't going nuts and feeling like one of the younger/gothier people in the room (the median age was probably 45), i spent the majority of the show gazing at the stage in a swoon and trying not to throw myself at hussey's feet onstage. goth-rock gods are the best gods.

then i had the weekend to reflect (and also watch the "wake" dvd a few times, ugh so good) on if my freaking out at a really good rock show isn't all that different from the little girls shrieking at red-carpet celebrities. and again, i came to the same conclusion that i already mentioned -- i feel like there's something far more substantial when it comes to loving a band versus loving a celebrity. but i mean, no judging here -- i know at the heart of it what it feels like to be a fan of somebody.

i've been asked why i stick around -- why i still love the boys in the bands, even when it gets hard, even after so many of them have broken my heart so many times. and i'm sure i've given a dozen different answers depending on the time and space and circumstance, but the only one i can really recall giving - with a small shrug and a resigned smile - was simple:

"because i still need them."

i may be almost 30, i may have more or less gotten my life together, but i still need their camaraderie. i still need to be there in front row, beaming with pride and joy as they rip up the stage. i still need what they give.

i may know better, but i still need them.

[ music | teenage fanclub, "alcoholiday" ]

Friday, September 6, 2013

so long summer

hello september, i love you.

fall, to me, is these things: black leather coats -- either my long leather (a knee-length duster coat) or my short leather (a biker-style bomber jacket); gloves and scarves and tall boots and knee-high socks; listening to the raveonettes on repeat; hot coffee on cold mornings; cooking up sauces and chilis and soups and storing half of 'em away in the freezer for later; feeling nostalgic whenever i walk on u of t campus and see it overrun by wide-eyed kid students; snuggling under my comforter and falling asleep by drafts of cold air from the open window; more coffee all the time; and so on.

not pumpkin spice lattes because those things are gross. but anyway. we all get the autumn feels.

apologies for the brief absence; i've been trying to go contrary to my introvert nature and actually fill my schedule to kick off the fall season (and so, y'know, i don't just end up sitting on my couch and staring at the ceiling every night). as such, i've stuck to a pretty rigid gym schedule for the last three weeks, including three spin classes per week and, this past week, two classes of the ominously-named "JILLIAN MICHAELS BODYSHRED™". i'm sure you can all imagine what a treat that is. (related: my ass and leg muscles hurt. like, a lot.)

i've pumped up my workouts for no particular reason (unless you count the fact that i've been eating a lot of frozen yogurt lately); it's just one of those little personal challenges i've been trying out to see if i can take it. i'm perpetually trying to find ways to be better to myself, to develop better habits, and i find i better adapt to strenuous things if i do them a couple times to prove to myself: "see? you can do this without dying." if i have this knowledge at hand, i'm more likely to do it again. brain training and all that.

then again, considering the fact that i've been afflicted with athletic amenorrhea for the last eight months, maybe upping my workouts isn't the best idea. oh, well.

on the topic of developing better habits, i've also been taking week-long breaks between drinking binges, and holding to my no-smoking rule (okay, i've cheated a couple times and had a puff, but i'm fine with that). and what do you know -- regenerating liver cells + recovering lung cells + workout adrenaline = feeling pretty good about myself over the last few weeks.

anyway, aside from physical self-care, i've been keeping busy doing lots of things with various friends from various friend circles -- coffee dates, walks, beers & apps after work, dinners and brunch plans and possible scheming for a group trip to montreal next month in honour of my upcoming 30th. there was also an impromptu pubcrawl last long weekend that began at the local bar and ended with me suffering food poisoning for the rest of the weekend.

trying to play the game of life while three glasses of sangria in is not actually a great idea.

flashy footwear on patio #2. (those are my "give-no-fucks chucks.")

ladyfriends unite! (i am the only one pulling blue steel, apparently.)

said food poisoning, while rough (not to the point of puking, but i had stabbing stomach cramps for three days and even the thought/smell of food made my belly turn -- i suspect it was something in the chicken salad i ate for dinner during the pub crawl and not the mix of booze, because i know what hangover nausea feels like and holy shit it was not that), was not enough to deter me from the epic depeche mode concert last sunday night here in toronto. i saw them last time they rolled through town way back in 2009, and loved it so much that i bought a ticket for this show all the way back in april -- and i've been looking forward to it ever since. not even the threat of possibly barfing on my seatmate was enough to keep me away.

and ugh, so good. so good. i swear i could see these fuckers every day of my life and be content. i was a little bummed they didn't play "in your room" or "stripped," and it's always kind of sad how the epic bombast of "never let me down again" doesn't translate quite so well live as it does on album, but depeche mode puts on one hell of a show and it was well worth the chunk of coin i dropped on a ticket back in the spring.

then i got to snap some nighttime shots of the cne on my walk home from the amphitheatre:

ferris wheels are creepy.

and currently, my entertainment for the next few days:

i call this my vampire weekend, since tonight i'm seeing reunited 80's goth-rock grandmasters the mission uk at lee's palace (and you know i'm going all-out in what i'm gonna wear), and last night i caught the premiere of only lovers left alive at tiff -- my very first tiff screening!  i was lucky enough to get both a good seat - though it required waiting for almost three hours in the cold, bringing back ptsd-esque memories of being a teenage concertgoer - and to attend a screening that features the stars in attendance, including one fangirl favourite tom hiddleston. here he is addressing the audience prior to the screening:

the movie itself felt a little long - but that might be because it didn't end til around 11:30 p.m. and i'm an old lady who needs to be in bed at a certain time - but it was gorgeously shot and the acting was top notch. and come on, a movie starring loki from the avengers as an indie-rock vampire? it's like they're pandering directly to me. (note: jim jarmusch is the coolest motherfucker alive.) then i didn't get to bed until the early morning hours, and the mish don't go onstage til 11:15 tonight, and i might die, r.i.p. me. i plan on spending the rest of this weekend in shitty clothes with unwashed hair and just lying around my apartment doing dick all.

lastly, i covet this dress, yet i have nowhere to wear it (wedding season's more or less done so maybe hang onto it for holiday parties?):

my life, it is so difficult.  i'm out.

[ music | robyn, "call your girlfriend" ]