Thursday, November 24, 2016

#Reverb16: Give Thanks

Even in the hard years, wonderful things happen. What has filled your heart? What will fill your stomach at the Thanksgiving table?

*pours on the schlock*

for sure, this year has been an absolute trash fire of bullshit. everything is horrible. but you have to always find the bit of the good in between all the bad, and here's what i'm thankful for this past year:

- i'm glad i got even more into wrestling in 2016, including diving in to promotions other than wwe (roh, tna, and even smash wrestling here in toronto). any time you have a thing you love and are passionate about, it just adds an extra bit of happiness to your life. it's a little perk. it also brought me a ton of new friends and an even deeper bonding point with my boyfriend. plus, it continued to give me a community to belong to, which is and has always been important to me.

- i'm super happy i went ahead and ordered the ddp yoga system back in july -- it was a great solution to helping me fix a lot of the crap that's been going weird with my body. plus, it's continued to be a solid option for me to get a workout in daily, especially if i'm too zonked to go the gym after work.

- i'm entirely thankful and grateful that i was hired for the job i got only a few weeks ago. it's insanely hard to land a good job in this crap economy, and the one i got is already proving to be an awesome place full of amazing people, and i'm really, genuinely excited about the work i can do for them.

- big shoutout to the stuff i'm always grateful for: my awesome boyfriend, the continued health of my family and friends, and never having to feel too afraid for what's to come in my life. it's disheartening to think about all the people who don't have the privileges that i have, simply because of my skin colour and sexual orientation and (lack of) religion, and i want to keep educating myself on the experiences of others and how i can be more sensitive and help make it better.

also, our thanksgiving was back in october (plus it was my birthday the same day!), but here's what my plate looked like then:

can i go back in time and eat this again? thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

tell by the signs

oh geez, how do i even begin to talk about this past weekend?

because it was epic. it was really, really epic. it didn't have that crazy road-trip festival journey feel, given that we were attending all these wrestling shows right here in our home city, but it still felt like a total break from our everyday lives. plus, there was that added awesomeness of being able to be with your people, delivering knowing nods and fist bumps and too-sweets. just the best.

(this is going to be long and fairly picture-heavy, by the way. if you're not down with that, i got two words for ya)

i guess it all really started on friday, when an old friend of mine (hi jeff!) invited me to come hang out and meet eric young and chris jericho. uh, obviously yes. so that was seriously cool (chris liked my hat!), and it went a long way towards reassuring me that i can still muster up the chill professionalism of my music journalist days and not just fangirl out all over the place.

while i was doing this, sean - with his brother and sister-in-law, who'd flown in the previous day - was a bit further downtown at a meet & greet with the nxt champ, shinsuke nakamura. suffice it to say, when we convened at my place later to make signs for the weekend shows, we had plenty of rad stories to exchange.

my two signs for the two ppvs (i didn't feel like doing one for raw, sry):

we'll come back to this in a sec.

saturday evening was the first pay-per-view of the weekend, nxt takeover: toronto. (for the uninitiated, nxt is more or less the wwe's minor league.) of course, that meant hanging out with pals, drinking a shit ton of booze, and eventually heading down to the air canada centre to take our seats. and we had a great view:

i was already raring to go in my 10 gear (niagara's own, tye dillinger - aka "the perfect 10" - is one of my top 5):

...and here's an adorable pic of our #squad, courtesy of kat's facebook:

it's definitely not a stretch to say that saturday night's show was the hottest of the weekend; since it was the first one, everyone was psyched and ready to go, plus the entire match card was stacked and exciting. (i was a bit soured by the fact that 10 lost his match - "soured" meaning "close to blind rage" - but the rest of the night was fun, at least) tons of chants and cheers and excitement. and by far one of the most emotional moments was when the tag team #diy won the much-deserved tag championship:

love u both, precious diy.

also, upon watching the rerun of the ppv the next day, sean and i discovered this:

that's goddamn right. (my shrieking-banshee facial expression makes me laugh every. single. time.)

sunday was up next, and it was going to be a tough one -- i'd barely slept, and we needed to be up and downtown early. but i soldiered through, and we got to the bassett theatre at 10 a.m., in time for the talk is jericho podcast recording at 11:

his guest was, of course, the wwe universal champion - and his best friend - kevin owens. ko's long been a fave of mine, so it was super awesome to get to be there for the podcast recording. here, sean captures me asking ko and jericho a question during the fan q&a at the end (i asked about how many of their interactions are improvised versus scripted; it's basically half and half, they said):

then this happened:

picture. of. the. weekend.

so we got some autographs then hightailed it out of there (there was a huuuuuuge crowd waiting for the meet & greet), met back up with keith and kat, then found places for food, beers, and refuge from the cold and snow. sean will tell you that i was flagging pretty badly at this point, and it was true -- i was actually getting kind of woozy from lack of sleep, and daunted by the fact that we'd again be out until around midnight. couple that with the thought that i had to be up at 6 a.m. the next day to work a trade show, and i was pretty worried about how i'd fare up.

fortunately - and with the help of some drinks at c'est what - i pushed through, and we headed back to the acc for night 2: the survivor series ppv.

it was pretty, pretty nuts. as with the previous night, we were in a section largely without kids - but unfortunately with guys with dumb signs and drunk dudes trying to start shitty chants - and it was raucous and ready to go. the ppv had been advertised as six hours long, and even though we arrived late (missing the two preshow matches, sigh), it didn't feel like it. the show moved at a good pace, and the majority of the matches were fantastically executed. even the, ahem, "controversial" main event finish was a big deal that we all discussed and dissected long after we left the arena. so, big victory for the wwe here. (plus, it was just fun to dance along to seth rollins' and aj styles' themes.)

then yep, night 3 in a row. monday was a bit rough, since i'd had to be up so early for work, but again i soldiered through and made it to the air canada centre in full wrestling-fangirl gear for 6:30 p.m.

A photo posted by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

it's actually pretty cool how we did three nights of wrestling shows, and we ended up getting different sections every night -- so we essentially had a new vantage point every night (saturday from stage left, sunday from stage right, and monday from center). the view on this one once the show got going was sweet:

also, look at this fucking mark:

A photo posted by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

i bought a bunch of souvenir-type merch throughout the weekend (i have all the wrestling t-shirts i want right now, and they weren't selling hoodies), including the above wristbands, a pair of aj styles gloves, an official program book, an nxt: takeover poster, another connor's cure bracelet, and sean bought me one of the creepy asuka masks. nothing to break the bank, but more than enough silly tat to keep me happy.

with our final night done, we trucked back home one last time and collapsed. tit either says something about the wwe live event or the state of my sanity that i was actually sad i wouldn't be going to ottawa for night four (smackdown live + an nxt tv taping) on tuesday. (also, i'm considering going to barrie or peterborough in a few weeks to see a smackdown house show. don't judge me.)

but at the end of the day, it was just a crazy, fantastic whirlwind of a few days. my phone kept blowing up with tweets and dms and texts to say hi and chat about wrestling and compare seats and make drinking plans, which was all just a great feeling (everybody likes being popular). plus, i definitely have a new appreciation for everything that goes in to a wwe live event, from the talent to the crew to production to everyone in between. they all put in 110% this past weekend and it showed.  so if you were at all involved and are somehow reading this, thank you. we had a blast and it's a weekend we'll remember for years to come, i'm sure.

everything is awesome and i'm going to watch more wrestling then go to bed, the end.

[ music | the weeknd, "false alarm" ]

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

put 'em up

it's almost here: toronto wrestling weekend!

coming up in only a few short days, toronto is going to host nxt: takeover, wwe survivor series, and wwe monday night raw -- and your humble narrator has got tickets to all of them, plus the talk is jericho podcast taping on sunday morning. three straight nights spent for 3+ hours at the air canada centre, getting reasonably drunk and screaming my lungs out for people in spandex. yessir, it's a good life.

...yet i'm going to go ahead and proclaim that sunday night was the actual start, with smash wrestling's anniversary show in the west end, and man oh man did we have a fucking blast. we'd been to a smash show once before, but i was feeling sick and didn't have as good a time as i should have -- but sunday's show was crazy awesome. we had good seats, i drank a lot of beer, and we saw some rad indy wrestling. it's just so important to support the indys, especially since a week from now we'll be watching pyro and a jumbotron and expensive tv production values -- yet it's a total joy to watch a bunch of dudes throw down in a community centre gymnasium. you can have it both ways!

also this, one of the (many) highlights of the night, as captured by sean:

so awesome. support the indys!!

next up: the unofficial weekend kickoff party on wednesday night, the survivor series edition of wwe trivia to. this will be my third wrestling trivia night, and i've had a fucking blast at all of them so far, so i'm expecting this one to be just as fun. then the next day, sean's twin brother and his wife fly into town, and everything kicks off. i've already stocked up on coffee and anti-fatigue face cream.

anyway, if you're also going to be out and about this weekend, you will know me by my bag + button combo:

too sweet.

so what else has been happening? well, i'm several weeks too late to write about this, but it got a whole lot of likes all across the social media sphere (isn't it weird when you make one post on facebook and it gets likes from people you worked with like ten years ago and you totally forgot about?), so here it is for posterity:

yep, that's my balcony railing mr. hawk is perched on. as the (true) story goes, i was doing yoga in my living room, and just as i turned to do a twisting lunge, i saw this big shape on my balcony out of the corner of my eye. i got up and there was my new pal, just chilling. there's a pair of red-tailed hawks that i'm fairly sure live in nearby dufferin grove, and they often swoop and soar in the air pockets between the apartments over here. i think it's safe to say that this was one of them, and he (or she) ended up staying out there for a good 10 minutes.

looking for unwary pigeon victims:

after taking those few snaps - i'm sure the hawk saw me creeping up to the window to take photos, but he didn't seem that ruffled by the weird human in yoga clothes behind the glass - i went back to my workout, and at the next break i looked out the window again and the hawk was gone. as i commented on twitter, out of the hundred-odd balconies between the apartments here, hawk friend chose to hang out on mine. was it a sign? who knows.

also, even weirder: did i mention i had another bird visitor back in the summer?

this chatty little cockatiel showed up at my window a few months ago, hopping around on the windowsill and balcony furniture before flying off when i opened the door. it was clearly someone's escaped pet, and i hope it never ended up becoming hawk food :/

i told my mother about both the hawk and the cockatiel, and she said, "well, they know your birthright. your grandfather always fed and took care of the birds, and i always have too. they know you're from a bird-friendly family." that's not quite as cool as being a secret disney princess, but okay.

anyway, it's a good thing for my avian visitors that i hadn't bought this mask:

finally, it's not even december yet and i'm already all over the winter flavours:

there is vodka in the ice cream. and yes, it absolutely tastes like a white russian cocktail (i would know).

okay, so after that brief intermission, i'm returning to the mad scramble to clean my entire apartment and wash my sheets & towels in advance of my boyfriend staying over at my place for five days straight (his brother and sister-in-law will be staying at his). time to be a good hostess!

p.s. current favourite tabby cats: evil beep, angelic smoocher (with matching kitten!), charming rainbow (also with matching kitten!), tiny dingbat, night wingding, tiny elf, crumply casper.

[ music | the kills, "doing it to death" ]

Sunday, November 13, 2016

ready to start

so hey, here's some big news: i got a job. as in, my freelancing days are over for the time being -- as of this past tuesday, i'm full-time employed!

am i excited? hell yeah. it's time, my friends. i've referred to my recent life as being "in stasis"; as in, i was just in a holding pattern until something happened. and, as i said to my mother, i couldn't live in a state of suspended animation -- i needed to move forward into the next phase of my life, like a grown-up. freelancing these last couple of years has been great fun and it's taught me a lot, but it wasn't providing me with the financial security or the real motivation to move forward. and given the fact that my boyfriend and i have been talking about moving in together (and getting a cat) for ages now, it was time that i finally stepped up and did something about it. it's important for both my life and my career.

(true to my old pr-spawned disclosure paranoia, i won't be discussing where i work or what i work on, ever. it's better to be safe than sorry.)

speaking of the things freelancing taught me, here's the biggest thing:

i am actually good at this.

honestly, if i hadn't been freelance writing, there's so much i wouldn't have learned. because i freelanced as my main source of income, i learned how to balance my time, how to double down and work extra hard, and how to multitask better. it also pushed me to do things i wouldn't have done otherwise; i swear my volume of written work has been higher and stronger than any of my previous jobs. it's true that you really do get "write for your life" stuck in your head as a motto; when your livelihood depends on every piece of work you do, you put in as much effort as possible. you can't slack off or fuck up. you have to give 110% if you want to add to your all-important monthly invoice.

but this also taught me another valuable lesson: that i can handle anything that's given to me, no matter how difficult it seems at first.

in the past, when i was younger, sometimes i'd get assigned an intimidating project and immediately psych myself out, which would stress me out big time with self-doubt. i definitely still got some intimidating assignments while being a freelancer, but the difference was my mindset of i need to do this, or i won't get paid.

and you know what? surprise -- everything got done. i'd take a deep breath and jump in, and halfway through i'd think oh wow, this isn't as bad as i thought it would be. consequently, i built up a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities, and negated a lot of self-doubt -- because i really realized that i can do a lot, and no matter what, my work will get done. and with that worry out of the way, i can focus more on constantly learning and improving.

i will definitely miss freelancing - being your own boss is a pretty sweet deal - but i'm not going to lie, it's been a pretty lean last couple of years. again, though, it taught me a lot about the people who'll be there for me and support me no matter what, and that especially includes my family (who always propped me up and made sure i didn't worry too much about my future) and my boyfriend, who told me all the time how proud he was of me and bought me little gifts to keep my spirits up and was forever available for hangouts and cuddles and general love. i've really learned how lucky of a girl i am.

so now that it's back to relegating torn jeans, leggings-as-pants, rubber bracelets, and wrestling t-shirts to weekends and days off, i'm off to go roam through my closet to piece together more appropriate work outfits.

[ music | metronomy, "the look" ]

Friday, November 11, 2016

death of a ladies' man

so i had a whole other blog post to publish, but then last night happened, and i had to pour myself another tumbler of vodka and sit down and write the majority of this, then finish it off the next morning, which is today.

leonard cohen died, and i was crushed by it.

i'd always semi-joked that i'd hold a vigil when he eventually passed away - our venerable master of poetry and songwriting already speaking of death - but i actually wasn't aware of how hard it would hit me. (though i did joke in this post from january: "when leonard cohen eventually goes, tune in to the livestream of me having a breakdown.")

i don't really cry over the deaths of people i don't know personally; it just feels awkward and unearned to me. but after this entire week - and the realization that there will be no more songs from him, no more poetry - i just cried for almost an hour, i think. (that includes a message i left on my mom's answering machine that was almost completely incoherent sobbing.) this is my david bowie moment and my prince moment, and i'm not even ashamed.

a lot of my friends checked in on me, too, because they know how much cohen's works meant to me. it's funny, i was never a poetry person -- i took some courses in university, but nothing spoke to me until i moved out west to live with jenna in vancouver. she was a huge leonard cohen fan, and on her recommendation i spent some of the last of my meagre savings on a copy of stranger music: selected songs and poems. (i was also inspired to do so because the band i was obsessed with at the time, the sisters of mercy, took their name and also one of their album titles from leonard cohen songs.)

this was a huge thing for me, at the time; i was absolutely running out of money, unemployed and living on jenna's couch and barely scraping by, on the other side of the country from all my family and friends. but something told me i had to have this book of leonard cohen's best poems, and so i found the money to get it. and those poems got me through much of the loneliness i felt out there alone, and in many years to come.

there's even a ton of randomly highlighted sections that i did in various coffee shops across toronto, especially during the really rough years. teachers is probably my favourite poem of all time, along with i had it for a moment and many others. i got his biography i'm your man for christmas a few years ago, and it inspired me like nothing else. what a life. what a life.

also, i took my mother to see leonard cohen live in concert for mother's day back in 2009. she's an old folkie, and he's long been one of her favourites - i virtually grew up listening to jennifer warnes' famous blue raincoat covers album - and we had a blast. my mom was amazed at how long the set was - almost three hours, and leonard wasn't a young man then either - and even now, she still raves about how good a show he put on. it was one of the best times i've had with my mom in my adult life.

then there was this song, an absolutely heartbreaking cover by tori amos:

the first time i ever heard it, i was going through one of the worst, desolate months of that same adult life. as soon as tori started singing those familiar lyrics, i instantly burst into tears, and i ended up hunched over in my desk chair, sobbing it all out. that song got me through a very long winter. finally, a poem spoke to me, and just when i needed it the absolute most.

it was that same time period that i got these two tattoos, the one on the left a line from "teachers", and the one on the right a line from the immortal "hallelujah":

i've carried them with me ever since.

after i got the news last night, it was like a gut punch. i opened up twitter and saw that his name was trending, and honest to god my first thought was "oh shit, please don't let leonard be dead." but he was, and that's the sad truth of it: even your heroes are mortal, at the end. david bowie fans and prince fans understood that, sadly.

i ended up spending most of last night on social media, reading about other peoples' sadness and tributes, seeing everyone else post lines from his poems or youtube videos of his performances. there's comfort in grieving together, and i didn't really go through that with bowie or prince earlier this year, though i knew friends who did. it's a gaping sadness, a hole in the world. it feels like something good has been lost forever. what really broke me is the knowledge that there won't be any more songs or poems from him, ever again. that's it. it's over.

...but then i had to remember why i love artists: because they give us things that will live on forever. they have a legacy -- a body of work that will outlast them. and their art makes us feel lucky that we were alive at the same time as them. ("we're so lucky to be alive at the same time leonard cohen is," said lou reed in 2008.)

so i'm going to try to focus now on the beauty leonard left for us, and to feel so grateful that we got to experience it when we did.

rest easy, old man. you were the best of us.

[ music | none ]