Monday, September 28, 2015

kryptonite

so last friday i saw my first-ever pro wrestling show and it was just about the best thing ever.


the fact that i'm a longtime wrestling fan has surprised some people; it's true that i haven't really talked about it in a while, at least not until my boyfriend (also a longtime fan) got me re-interested in it about six months ago. but here's a fun fact: from ages 15 to about 17, i watched wwe (then wwf) religiously, raw on monday nights and smackdown on thursday nights. (i tried to watch some wcw in order to be a well-rounded wrestling fan, but i hated how cheap and crappy it looked and i didn't care about any of the talent.) although this worried my pacifist parents - combined with the fact that my favourite type of video game was fighting games, i think they thought i was going to grow up to be a violent sociopath - but since i was at that middling part of adolescence where you kind of have to admit that your kid can start to make their own adult decisions, they eventually let it slide.

so even though i don't remember why i started watching it, as anyone who's into wrestling will know, that shit's addictive -- especially if you really get into the cheesy soap-opera plotlines and the rivalries and the feuds week after week. it's like, you can't miss the next episode. and i think for me - devotee of fighting games - it was a bit like a real-life video game, which made it that much cooler. heroes! villains! costumes! pyro! so i tacked up posters of the hardy boyz in my locker at school (i'd already chosen high-flying alternagoth jeff hardy as my favourite) and away i went.

yet although my browser's homepage was set to wwf.com, this was before the iwc (internet wrestling community) was a big thing - i was mostly a fan from 1999 through 2001 - so i never really had anyone to talk about it with. sure, i liked reading fansites and wrestler bios and match recaps, but aside from a couple fellow weirdos at school, i had no other fans to be with.

moreover, i did feel kind of weird liking wwe. it really wasn't great towards women at that time period, and even at 15 i could recognize that. there were valets and bra & panties matches and pudding wrestling and women as objects and women as prizes. the womens' division was mostly women who could barely fight and were mostly there to tear each others' tops off. and look, i was raised by feminist parents; i wanted equality. i wanted to see kickass women with awesome fighting skills that could equal the men. (fortunately, wrestlers like lita and trish stratus were on the rise at the time, overtaking the idea that women were just there to be eye candy and arm candy. i idolized lita; high flyers were/are my favourite type of wrestlers, which makes it strange that i've never gotten into lucha.)

then came a few more sea changes in my life: for one, around this time period is when i fell in love with rock music and bands, which basically supplanted everything else in my life completely. for two, in 2002 i moved to toronto to start university, and since i didn't have cable, i couldn't keep up with wwe and checking the website for the results just wasn't the same. and although wrestling's very easy to get into, it's almost as easy to fall out of, and then before you know it you're a million miles behind the current storylines and you have no idea what's happening with anyone.

cue me about six months ago, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in the current incarnation of wwe, 15 years after i left it. (turns out quite a few familiar faces are around, but everyone's in different roles, and there's a ton of new talent, and they have a developmental league now, and john cena is a thing, and triple h is an executive, and 85% of the wrestlers i used to know are dead. but! there are also a ton of amazing and talented women wrestlers now!)

fortunately, i had my boyfriend to bring me up to speed. as it turns out, he'd been a fan for years as well, and still kept up with it (he and his brother were both current fans and they talked about it/watched pay-per-views together all the time). so it was kind of a hilarious moment for us each to realize that we both had this shared interest that was kind of hidden. i didn't mention it because i honestly hadn't thought about my old love of wrestling in 15 years. he didn't mention it because, in his words, "it's not exactly something to admit you like."

.....okay, you know what, i'm going to divert this blog post for a second here and discuss the idea of shitting on something somebody else loves.

i know people who've cut me off immediately when i try to talk about wrestling. even my parents audibly rolled their eyes over the phone and said "oh, honey" when i told them excitedly that i was going to my first wwe match. and then, of course, the clarion call of the disdainful masses as they pity your supposed naivete: "uhhhh, you know it's fake, right?" (yes. but it's not. but it is. just watch this video for an explanation in the most entertaining sense.) despite the fact it showcases some of the best athletes on the planet right now, it's still considered lowbrow entertainment for rubes who don't know it's fake. and so there's more than a few adult fans who are sheepish to admit how much they love wrestling, just because we all know the looks we get from other people.

but here's what i don't get: why shit all over something that someone else loves just because you don't like it? i get that it's the easiest form of trolling possible, but it's begun to drive me nuts lately. why do people need to take your passions down a peg just because they might not approve of them? why not just let people have their fun?

here's an example: i don't like baseball. but do i openly bitch and complain about the flood of blue jays news all over my social feeds? no, because i know people are excited and happy and i want to let them have that. i don't want to crap on their joy, just because i do not like something that they like. if i'm suffering from baseball exhaustion, i just log off and read a book or play a video game or something. it can be far easier to smile politely and then quietly remove yourself from the conversation, rather than make snarky comments or throw a fit about how much you hate something that someone else loves. sean and i have been talking about this a lot lately, and we both agree that it's low-hanging fruit in terms of troll jobs, but it can be hurtful and alienating for the person who's being targeted.

in short, never feel ashamed - and never let anyone make you feel ashamed - for the things that you love. (unless they're actually genuinely distasteful and/or offensive things, like murder. don't love murdering, okay?)

anyway, i digress - with our mutual love for wrestling affirmed, sean and i haven't missed watching a ppv together since royal rumble, and we regularly watch at least one weekly show together. (our mutual favourite is seth rollins, who very likely is the best athlete on the planet right now.) so when we heard that a house show (a smaller scale wrestling show, not televised) was coming to toronto, we bought our tickets the minute they went on sale. it was going to be the first wwe show for both of us, and to say that we were excited to see our faves live in person was an understatement.

off we went to ricoh coliseum!



it me, seth rollins superfangirl. (if there's one thing in life i know how to be, it's a fan.)



i kind of went all out with the seth colours. yes, those are matching knee socks.



sean matched his seth shirt to his jays hat for a+ synchronism.



byron saxton came out to announce the show would be starting and i got very excited!!!!



first match out was the new day vs. prime time players for the tag team championship belts. (spoiler alert: belts never exchange hands in off-tv house shows. but it gets the kids excited, i guess.)



fireflies out in force for bray wyatt's entrance, by far the coolest one in the fed.



cesaro prepares for a top-rope spot. #cesarosection allllllll day.



sean took this photo of our hero, the current wwe world heavyweight champion (that's the big prize btw), crossfit jesus, traitor in leather pants, seth rollins. he's pretty much the top weasel-king bad guy right now and we love him so much. (sean and i had great fun walking around the arena in our seth shirts and sneering at all the little kids who booed us for supporting him. it was the best.)



this was where he got on the mic and berated us for not showing him respect. sean got video of this and i'm pretty sure you can also hear me losing my mind in the background. (this was the main event of the night, and we were a couple beers in, so we both went crazy when seth's music hit and he walked out. he's real!!)

also, it was good fortune that we had a decent crowd to be with. there were two dudes sitting behind us and two dudes sitting to the left of us who all knew their shit, so we all took up each others' chants and laughed at each others' jokes and cheered at the same things. it was a lot better than being seated in a section full of tiny children wearing cena merch (and there were tons of those). plus it was also just fun to be walking around the arena beforehand and during intermission and just being with our people. sure, it was probably 70% excited kids and their sheepish-looking parents, but it was just cool to people-watch and see which wrestlers had the most t-shirts and try to spot our fellow rollins devotees. i only saw one other girl wearing a seth tee, so i felt a little special (although some smartasses did ask my boyfriend if he'd bought my shirt for me).

speaking of shirts, not so good fortune was not being able to find any womens' fitted shirts for sale at the merch table, aside from ones for the bella twins (yes, they have a pair of hot twins wrestling; i would say some things never change, but they can actually work rather than just provide t&a). but sean managed to pick up the last medium-sized new day t-shirt, and i got him a john cena rally towel (as a gleeful joke), and he got me one of the connor's cure donation bracelets, and we made friends with some kids in line at the merch booth, and it was just a really cool, fun environment.

for those familiar and/or interested (and also for my own memory), here was the card and results for toronto, september 25 / 2015:
  • new day def. prime time players (tag team championship match)
  • braun strowman def. damien sandow
  • curtis axel & el torito def. los matadores
  • chris jericho def. luke harper
  • kevin owens def. ryback (intercontinental championship match)
  • dean ambrose w/ dudley boyz & ryback def. bray wyatt w/ luke harper & braun strowman (no holds barred match)
  • big show def. cesaro
  • becky lynch & charlotte def. nikki & brie bella
  • john cena def. seth rollins (u.s. championship match
so that's it! kind of sad that i didn't get to see one of my other favourite heels, bo dallas, and that seth lost (the bad guys always lose to the good guys at house shows, primarily to send the kids home happy), and the lack of ladies' size shirts, but those are all minor nitpicks that wouldn't stop me from going again. there'll be another toronto house show in december that sean and i will definitely be attending, and next year we'll likely start looking at making a trip for a televised show (for which i, former rock-concert sign queen, will absolutely make a sign). it's really just nice to be a part of a community again.

to finish this very long blog post, please enjoy this masterpiece of our time, the roman reigns song:



[ music | none ]

Monday, September 21, 2015

is this happiness

remember how, two blog posts ago, i was talking about how fall is introspection season for me? more of it has been cropping up lately, especially since the air is cooling off and i'm juggling my last-quarter-of-the-year budget and trying to figure out what i ought to be doing with my life.


besides watching early-autumn sunsets from my balcony.

the boy is a big devotee of game grumps (we watch it together sometimes and i totally enjoy it too), and he recently paraphrased a wise quote said by dan: "never compare your behind-the-scenes footage to someone else's show reel." and it's true! i know it is. but holy crap, is it ever a trap we all fall into, no matter how hard we try not to. i've even written about this before, but it ebbs and flows, and some weekends can be more brutal than others in the game of "what they have that i don't".

one thing i've really been thinking a lot about is former coworkers. thanks to facebook, i know that since we worked together however many years ago, a lot of them have gotten married, bought houses, got pets, had kids. some of them have changed jobs and are moving forward with their careers. some of them are moving forward with their lives in general.

what have i been up to? well, i changed relationships, i moved a few times, and switched jobs a few times. and, like...that's it. no huge life-changing revelations or grown-up decisions for me, really. nobody's died, i haven't toured the world or anything, and i'm still sort of at a loss when it comes to figuring shit out.

i might feel even more crappy about this if, as a kid, i'd had Big Life Plans about where i wanted to be at x age -- but thankfully for me, i've never thought like that. (i did assume i'd be married before i turned thirty, though. but like, life happens, and i wouldn't hitch myself to somebody just to feel like i fulfilled some dumb childhood wish.) moreover, i might also feel more depressed if i was the kind who wanted kids (because my biological clock is ticking down), but i'm not and never was. as such, i'm mostly just morose about this because i wish i could have big life plans to report. i wish there were things about me and my life that are drastically different from who i was even five years ago. just something interesting, you know?

maybe that's part of the reason why i want to get a cat so bad. having a pet would at least give me something notably different in my life, and it would be a nice marker of "i'm a grown-up". but yeah, i absolutely know that "having a weird life crisis" is not really a good excuse to get a pet. (in all fairness, i've been wanting to get a cat of my own for years, but only now are things aligning in a way that could make it actually possible, weird life crises aside.)

in the meantime, i do love me some neighbourhood sweeties:



this friendly cat's pink heart-shaped tag identified its name as "cheesie" and i died a million times from the cute.



curmudgeonly old cottonball cat, spotted frequently on my way to the gym, always lounging in the same corner of his front yard's garden. he usually isn't in the mood for me but i try to sneak some pets in anyway.



a new neighbour in one of the ground-level units! i call this one "soft cat" because she truly is very soft and affectionate (though she's run away from me the last two times i've seen her, which has been a bummer).



i've only seen this cool tiger guy once, but he was all about the love.



and as always, this beautiful girl, the queen of the floofs. she's my favourite.

but yeah, the pet ownership thing. it'll probably happen soon. i feel sad knowing that all of my siblings have pets except for me, and like i said before, i'm working from home a lot so that means i can be around in the early months. plus, i'm pretty sure my boyfriend wants a cat even more than i do, and so if i have one that means he'll have one by proxy (he's not allowed pets in his apartment). and really, it might be nice to have something to look after besides myself, and know that i won't fuck up taking care of a living creature. all of my plants are still alive and thriving, after all.

alright, time to begin the day. have a good week! xo

[ music | lana del rey, "honeymoon" ]

Friday, September 18, 2015

#Reverb15: School's In

We're all headed back to school this time of year - whether it's in spirit, or watching our kiddos head out the door, or going back ourselves. What's your best/worst first day of school tale? Were you the awkward new kid? Were you the cool girl who stood up to the school bully? Did the mean teacher come around and show you his heart of gold? Tell us your stories of school days!

haha, oh man. school stories? i have so few of those -- my tenure as a student was pretty unremarkable. as an elementary school student, i was the girl who got bullied solidly until grade 8 (in which my older bullies moved on to high school and i ended up making friends for the first time); as a high school student, i was a real tomboy -- one of the fringe weirdos who ate lunch in the library and watched wrestling and ran the anime club, all while wearing her stepfather's beat-up leather biker jacket. so yeah, i was never a popular kid, but by the time i was a teenager i learned to embrace it and ignore those who didn't like it, or me. plus, by then i'd finally met some of my fellow weirdos, and we'd all accepted each other. it's easier to be yourself when you're surrounded by people who like you for who you are. "one against all" is pretty difficult when you're young; it's always better to have someone who's got your back.

i remember clearly how i felt in my final year of high school -- grade 13/oac, from september 2001 to june 2002. i'd already put in applications for my universities of choice, so from there it was just a waiting game to see where i'd end up. but it was that whole sense of things changing that i loved -- the knowledge that finally, i was moving towards my future. no more wasting my time dicking around in high school in my boring hometown. i was going to get out of there and be something, damn it.

similarly, i remember how i felt right in the first week of my third year of university. it was a totally dismal and depressed realization of "oh my god, even after i finish this year, i still have another year after this." a four-year honours b.a. program really starts to feel like a slog, even before you hit the final year and spend the majority of it holed up in your apartment writing essays for two months straight and you go a little bit insane by the end. (not that this happened to me or anything.)

you know what i do remember, though? the first day of my third year of university. why? because of, um, my choice of outfit. at the time, i was going through a hipster androgyny phase (it was 2004, and i was about to turn 21) crossed with a sort of goth punk thing, and so i wore a red dress shirt under a black blazer, a red-and-black schoolgirl kilt, matching legwarmers, converse sneakers, and a black fedora. i might have also thrown in some fishnet gloves, and it's possible i was also wearing a lot of heavy eyeliner and dark red lipstick. yeah, it was something.

anyway, it's weird that i absolutely do remember getting the strangest looks at 1) the university common room, 2) my classes, and 3) the subway, but that's probably a testament to the fact that yes, i looked more bizarre than i did cool.


basically my look at the time.

lastly - and i guess this is a pretty scattered brainspew of a post, but anyway - i take the time to walk around my old campus in september every year, and it really does bring back a lot of random memories. crowding into the cafeteria hall to get a massive breakfast on weekends. crashing into the squishy red couches in the common room. doing the metro crosswords in the few minutes i had before each lecture. enjoying the relatively new sight of toronto at twilight while i went to my evening classes. finally, i felt like i was getting somewhere -- and more importantly, i'd found the city where i belonged.

also i no longer own that fedora.

[ music | great northern, "home" ]

Monday, September 14, 2015

free at dawn

fall. fall is just the best.




not yet, but soon!

longtime pal brad posted this link on twitter the other day, and i absolutely feel it. i am ms. autumn woman. i love butternut squash soup and chilly temperatures and crunchy leaves and cozy sweaters and hot apple cider. while spring is the prototypical season of renewal, for me, it's fall -- fall is when everything begins again. it's when you start your new school season, or when you begin to think about the holidays, or when you really ponder about what you need to do with your life to be happy. it's a super reflective time of year and i totally dig it.

also, there's no time i'm more in love with toronto than in the fall:



there's nowhere else i'd rather be. (it also makes for a nice train ride home for my birthday/dad's birthday/thanksgiving in october. though this year i'll mostly be marooned out on the island, so here's hoping it's just as colourful a place to be.)

so yeah, about that self-reflection -- for some reason (monthly hormones?), it's been hitting me a lot harder right now. it's a weird, deep-seated intuition type of feeling that i'm not quite where i'm supposed to be. whether my weird intuition means in terms of location, career, apartment or what, i'm not really sure. but somehow, it feels like there's somewhere else i should be, but i don't know where that place is, and i don't know how to get there. and that whole feeling kind of unsettles me and makes me feel oddly dissatisfied with where i've ended up in life.

then again, this feeling usually crops up when i'm reading about other peoples' lives and jobs and passions, so maybe it's all just latent comparative jealousy. is there a word for when you constantly lust after everyone's lives except for your own? because i think i've been going through that for at least ten years now.

also, it's like... i'm not very good at explaining it, but it sort of feels like i've gotten to a point in my life where there's a lot of stuff that i can't go back to. it's probably a symptom of being in my thirties now (less than a month away from 32, no less), but more and more i'm starting to feel like i can't go back to the reckless zany weirdness and good times that i had in my twenties. there's not a lot of that that i can return to. and that especially sucks, because i try to think about what makes me happy, and a lot of it happened when i was in my twenties, and i don't know how to take those things and apply them to my current-day life, you know? so i just sort of flounder a bit, and i feel a bit lost. when you have to leave a lot of your identity behind as you age - because it simply doesn't apply to how you live now - what happens when you're left feeling as though the best times are behind you? where do you really go from there, when it feels like you have to build a new "grown-up" identity to suit your life, but you don't know how (and maybe you don't even want to)?

and here i thought i'd left all my growing pains behind in adolescence :( or maybe i just think too much.

regardless, my biggest indulgence in these uncertain times is good skin care and beauty products.











i don't even want to break myself of this habit, really. the majority of it goes towards high-quality face creams, serums, scrubs and masks -- because, as i tell myself every time i cringe at the bill, my face is an investment. i don't even mean that to sound super egotistical, either; it's more that i have a hard time dealing with the ageing process and my face inevitably collapsing, so i want to take good care of it and preserve it for as long as i can. i don't lie about my age, but i do like looking younger than i am. (doesn't everybody?)

says john hodgman: "I think the best way to reduce stress in your life is to be wealthy and attractive." i like this advice. can i make this a thing?

anyway! it's time to tidy up my apartment a bit -- sean's dad is coming over from england to visit from this wednesday to next monday, and since he's going to be staying at sean's place, the boy will be staying with me at mine (since there isn't enough room for two in his bachelor apartment). i've got the place stocked up with coffee and cereal, and i'm pretty sure i'll be keeping busy with work this week anyway, so it'll fun to cohabitate for a while. aside from the fact that i sleep with the window open and i get up around 7 a.m. every day, i don't think i'm that bad to share a space with, really.

[ music | arctic monkeys, "why'd you only call me when you're high?" ]