Tuesday, June 26, 2018

the old sorrow

it's time for a blast from the past!

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

backstory: last year, out of nowhere my dad asked me if i wanted an ipod. apparently he had one that he barely used, and he wanted it to go to a good home (and he knew i use an ipod nonstop daily - for real, i've never gotten into listening to music on my phone, it's my ipod when i'm on the go or nothing). i shrugged, assuming that he had maybe an ipod shuffle or something, and said sure, i could always use a backup.

what i got was a full 160-gb ipod classic, one of the original and best models that sell in the range of $200+ now, and it was in near-mint condition.

smash cut to now: my own ipod - a nano i got for christmas in 2015 - has been on its last legs since last year. remember the saga of me getting the fucking thing fixed? it never fully recovered, not even after spending a month in the shop to be repaired, and not even after i had to take it back the following week because the led faceplate had started to fall off. a real shoddy job, there. anyway, it's been holding on ever since - okay fine, it's been a year, i can finally admit that my ipod originally got fucked up because i was drunk and barfed on it - but the faceplate was still unstable and one of the panels on it was threatening to fall off all the way back in december (it's been scotch taped).

so here i am with a failing ipod nano and this stellar retro ipod classic in my possession, but i hadn't yet moved anything to the classic. i wasn't sure if i should attempt to sell it; i knew i could make some good cash. but finally, i realized that 1) i was too lazy and/or paranoid about trying to sell it to a stranger to even attempt it, and 2) i kind of....didn't want to? i mean, my dad gave it to me, for me to use. at the end of the day, i felt kind of squirmy and gross about selling this thing that was a gift, even if i knew my dad probably wouldn't mind.

anyway, all this led up to last week, when i just decided i'd rather put the thing to use instead of having it sit in a box with the intentions of one day selling it (though there was a 98% chance i never would). i factory-wiped it, installed the up-to-date software, and synced up my entire current music library (which still only filled, like, 1/100th of the ipod's space). so now it's my main listening device, even if i have to once again adapt to the fact that it's a little bit heavier and more bulky than i'm used to. (also, it doesn't fit in pockets as easily, sigh)

spending of music and nostalgia and #memories, i read this retrospective on warped tour 2005 last week and it got me right in my soul. if there's one thing i love, it's thinkpieces on time periods in music scenes that i've lived through, or at least can remember happening.

i'd tried to read meet me in the bathroom: rebirth of rock and roll in new york city 2001-2011, thinking i'd find something of my past in there, but i just couldn't relate. there was too much hopping between names and assumed familiarity with key players, and you really had to know the nyc scene inside out. i mean, i just liked interpol a lot, you know?

but that had been my goal for ages: get through university while building a freelance music journalism portfolio on the side, then go down to nyc after i graduated in 2006 to try and pitch for a music journalism job. clearly that didn't work out - and lol at my naive thinking it ever would - but a part of me has always kind of 1) longed for new york and the life i thought i'd have and 2) felt nostalgic for the nyc scene i missed out on, and had to try and take part in from a distance.

i digress - this wasn't the case with the pop-punk of the early-to-mid 00's. sure, i wasn't as in it as some people, but i had the tangential edges mostly through my love of kill hannah (one of the last of the trl-popular bands), and i knew all the big players because i was just starting out as a music journalist then. it was more the feel of that scene that i remember so well, and that piece from billboard really captured that moment in time. the early-to-mid 00's were a special time for popular music, and it totally felt like something unique was happening - even if its time was limited, it certainly didn't feel like that. in the moment, it felt like things would stay that way forever.

sometimes i think i have a problem when it comes to spatial awareness of time.

i'm not good at grasping the concept that things won't stay the same forever, and somehow it always comes as an unpleasant surprise to me when things change. so it's hard for me to explain the weird, empty sadness i feel at the knowledge that a time that i look back on with so much nostalgia will never come around again. there will never again be another time when mtv and muchmusic are huge, and music videos and magazines and myspace are tastemakers, and the internet seemed less vicious and cruel. there won't be another time like then, when i was still constantly daydreaming what my future would be, and when the world seemed less stressful and chaotic.

both professionally and personally, there's never any going back. and i've always found the concept of "never again" to be hard to reconcile with.

i guess a lot of that stuff is stories for another time, though.

[ music | rammstein, "feuer und wasser" ]

Thursday, June 21, 2018

facing forward

hah so apparently i am a prophet:

remember i was just saying in my previous blog post that i had to be ready to go once rammstein announced their new tour dates? well, here it is - or rather, it looks like a special two-night holiday one-off in mexico, where they're insanely popular (and will probably be making very good bank for these shows). but because of this, the ticket prices are jacked way up, like:

and they'll sell that out, just you watch.

....i mean, i won't say it isn't doable for me, because it is, but i don't think i want to take the plunge here. it'd be super epic to see my good german dads for new year's, but i've never particularly wanted to go to mexico (especially by myself), and i would honestly rather save up my money to go see them in europe instead. i still bet they'll sell this one out, though; they're massive in mexico to the point where there's, like, fan riots. another reason for me to nope out, really. (if i had the extra $5000 to spare, clearly i would be doing the 4-night hotel package, but i don't even have the cash to cover anything beyond one, maybe two tickets right now)

also, i'm not sure i believe the above when they say both that the new album drops before the end of the year, and the two mexico shows will be the only dates they play in 2018; if the album comes out in, say, the fall, why wouldn't they do some dates around that? i mean, it could make sense if they release the album in the holiday season, but who knows. everything is speculation at this point, but you better believe the fanclub forum is going nuts. things are finally happening!! like, there'll be new promo photos and a new set list and a new stage production and uhhhhhh yeah, new rammstein songs for the first time in nine years. i'm so excited.

2019 tour set wish list: bring back "der meister", "weisses fleisch" and "adios", add "das modell", "rosenrot" and "amour" (as well as whatever bangers are on the new album). i just wanna dance and maybe cry? idk

hey look it's absolutely me:

but i mean, if you're here reading, you're likely used to my yelling by now. this is my yelling place.

otherwise, i feel good about how things are going in terms of life stuff - while i may not have enough money to fund a new year's trip to mexico to see one of my favourite bands play on a goddamn beach, my savings are growing and my debt is finally getting more manageable. my health is getting on track, my job's going well and i'm really thankful i have it, and i'm just having a moment where i'm grateful i've got all the stuff i've got, you know? plus i've been busy laying out plans for july and august, which include many wrestling shows (obviously), a few big concerts, some more house/cat-sitting, and not one but two(!) late-summer trips to kingston. i am that nerd with a wall calendar in her bedroom that she scribbles on to keep everything straight.

speaking of, it's a busy weekend ahead - my dad is coming to town on saturday for a quick visit (i haven't seen any of my family since uhhhhhhhhh december), then sunday a bunch of us are doing brunch and world cup-watching for sean's birthday before i have to run home and record a wrestler interview(!) with my old pals at the big gold belt podcast. i am very okay with conducting interviews that i don't have to transcribe later.

also here's my astrological chart because i feel like it'll be important at some point (basics: sun in libra, moon in scorpio, virgo ascending):

(it's not that i assume i'll end up with anybody who's astrologically compatible with me, i'm just more interested in seeing which particular traits ring true for me - you can find yours here)


[ music | florence + the machine, "big god" ]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

buying your freedom

hello from a very sunny and extraordinarily warm toronto!

(a bunch of girlfriends and i went to the rugby yesterday, because when it's hot as balls outside sometimes you need to go watch some sports and drink some cold beers together)

so montebello rockfest has come and gone this weekend, and i....was not there. like i said, even though i won the free passes, i was unable to find a way to make it happen. saddest. i just had to keep reminding myself that there's always next year, and hopefully i have a longer lead time to plan (and there's actually at least a few bands that i really want to see. but it was still a nostalgic bummer to see all the photos and stuff out of quebec this past weekend and know that i'd had tickets to go :( (also it would have been rad to just post "surprise i'm in montebello" with a photo on social media, sigh)

then again, i keep noting that my focus for next year is definitely drifting towards wacken open air:

i'm keeping my eye on the prize here: next summer i want to be standing in mud in a field in rural germany, chugging beers and throwing the devil horns. 2019 goals.

but in preparation for all this, i know that i have to go easy this year (yes, the entire year - next year's not going to be cheap), and maybe even be a boring homebody as i save my pennies. i mean, it's tough because i always see friends doing fun stuff like travelling a lot, getting tattoos all the time, having pets, paying for transit that's not public (or, err, on foot), and spending plenty of nights out - and like, i'd love to do all of that! i wish i could get out of town more often and add to my ink collection and have more nights out with my friends without worrying about money. (also, my sephora wish list is consistently a mile long.)

but here's the thing that i always keep in mind: the majority of my earnings goes towards my apartment. i rent a junior one-bedroom, and it's not cheap, but i've been in the same place since 2012 and my rent is actually...not expensive compared to the rest of toronto? (though i have seen what they charge new tenants for a similar unit, and it's significantly higher than what i pay now. mwahaha) this city is becoming infamous for high apartment rental costs, and even though mine's doable, it's still the biggest chunk of my paycheque. but it is so worth it:

i try not to torture myself by thinking how much money i could be saving if i split the unit with somebody, because the only way that would happen is if i had a boyfriend ready to move in, and 1) nobody even close to being my boyfriend right now, lol and 2) i feel like cohabitation right away is always asking for trouble. plus, i like my place. i like my space. roommates are a no go for me; i've done it and i'm not a fan.

so any time i feel sad or envious that i have to stay on budget and can't live a big lifestyle, i remind myself that i'm paying for my freedom. it's my actual #1 priority. i have a nice little apartment all to myself, and that's worth it to me. i have a great job and i get paid very well, but other than paying for my apartment, i also have to pay down the debt i accrued while freelancing and put a significant portion in my savings account for next year. so, it's a lot.

i do have a certain savings goal i want to hit by october, because for one october's my birthday (so it's a good time marker), and for two i really suspect the new rammstein album will drop this fall. (if not this fall, then i'd bet it drops next spring in time to tour the summer festival circuit.) they're done in the studio so it's likely the new album's in the can, and i seem to recall flake saying something about it maybe being released this fall, which is gonna be huge. huge! first new rammstein album in nine years! gahhhhhh

...then again, i also half-expect my good german dads will just announce the new album and a new tour with no forewarning, and i need to have some money saved up because wherever the first date of the next tour is, i'm going to be there. full stop. germany? france? spain? sure, i'm there. so, i have to be ready to go at the drop of a hat, basically.

so yeah, no animosity at all towards people who use their money for fun-time things while i skimp and save - we all choose what we want to prioritize and put our money towards, and for me, it's 1) my apartment and 2) paying off my debts and building up enough savings that i can run around europe after rammstein on tour next (this?) year. gotta keep my eye on the prize. i'll have my day in the sun soon enough.

in the meantime, here's me from yesterday. li'l narcissist.

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

have a good week!

[ music | rammstein, "wollt ihr das bett in flammen sehen?" ]

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

break the silence

okay i'm going to get this one off quick, because it's worth writing about: i saw depeche mode here in toronto on monday night - my third time seeing them live - and it was an experience, as always.

i don't gush about them as much as some other bands (...*coughs in german*), but as i said in an earlier blog post, depeche mode are one of my favourite bands of all time. as i said to a friend after i bought a ticket to this show (kind of last minute, because i'm a brokeass, but i knew it was something i shouldn't miss), "their music has been there with me through so many phases of my life", and that's the truth.

i fell in love with them pretty late, for me - probably when i was about 22-23 - but they've been with me ever since. not always as, like, my absolute #1 favourite band of all time!!!, but they've always been there, you know? their music has always been in the background in my life, so whenever they're nearby for a concert - because they're still touring, even though the band's in its 38th(!) year of existence now - i try to make it out.

a depeche mode show is part concert and part communion (with a bit of a dance party thrown in). this time around, they played all the hits i'd hoped for - "enjoy the silence", "personal jesus", "never let me down again", "a question of time", "a pain that i'm used to", "walking in my shoes"(!), "in your room"(!!), and more (although no "master and servant" or "policy of truth", and i think i've only heard them play "just can't get enough" like once?). they covered some of their newer stuff, sure, but the crowd - one which actually made me feel young (quoth my stepfather: "that's why i don't go to concerts. too many old people my age there.") - was obviously there to sing and dance along with the classic singles.

"never let me down again", in particular, has always been one of my favourites to see live; i've said it before, but it's my favourite song of any band, ever. if anyone ever asks me "what's your favourite song?" i have a ready answer, and it's that song. not rammstein, not moist, not kill hannah. it's "never let me down again", full stop. and live, oh fuck, it's something else. i took a video of the mass hand-waving right before the final chorus, but it's nowhere near as good as this:

what really got me right in the feels, though - and as expected - was this:

how do you even explain what a song means to you, anyway? it's a tough task to try and find the right words to describe how it makes you feel, and what this collection of sounds represents to you personally. i was a music writer for years, and i still struggle with it.

here, i'll try, and clearly it deviates back to familiar territory for me: their cover of "stripped" was the first rammstein song i loved, really loved, and it stuck with me through so many of my formative late teenage years. (it was the song that got me into depeche mode in the first place, to be honest.) it was probably my most-listened to song in my freshman year of university, when i was living on my own in toronto(!) for the very first time. putting "stripped" on repeat while getting ready to go out to the bars and clubs was my ritual. it made me feel cool and invincible and badass, even though in my heart i was still this awkward farm girl who somehow made it to the big city.

so now, whenever i hear that synth line - whether it's in rammstein's version or the depeche mode original - it's the most evocative sound of my shifting state of mind and personal growth in my late teens and early twenties. i mentioned that when i saw rammstein last year, "stripped" was probably my biggest surprise in the set list, and i'm not lying when i said i nearly burst into tears. it was straight-up catharsis, getting to see the song that soundtracked some of my most turbulent years played live in front of me. i didn't expect that. i never thought it was going to happen. (when jenna and i saw rammstein: paris in the theatre last march, i turned to her and said in a hushed voice, "holy shit, what if they play stripped??" they didn't, not on the 2012 tour, but i actually didn't expect to ever see it live)

and then, there it was (see above). and then, less than a week from a year to the date, i got to see the originals - depeche mode - play "stripped" live too, and it just got me right in the heart all over again. it's everything: the synth, the darkness, the deep intoning and harmonies on "let me hear you make decisions / without your television", and how it just resonates, you know? those kind of songs are the ones that take you back to the past but also keep you anchored to the present. it's an experience, and one that's wholly unique to anybody who loves music. one foot in the past, the other in the moment.

there are so few songs like that, for me; the only other song that's come close in recent years is "amour". last fall, i was going through some stuff - that's how i'll put it, anyway - and i spent a lot of time standing on the far side of my office's building, smoking cigarettes and listening to that song on repeat. even now, just hearing the guitar line takes me back to the colder weather and the smell of smoke, wondering if i was doing the right thing. if i'm still doing the right thing.

but still - no matter what band, no matter what song. one foot in front of the other.

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

signs everywhere i look

and now it is june!

aaaaaaaaaaand i blew it:

uhhhhhh anybody want to drive to Quebec this weekend

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

see, i entered rockfest's obviously-named "last chance contest" on a whim last week, figuring that there's no way i would win because i never win anything. but lo and behold, i got the above email in my inbox yesterday morning, and clearly the wheels in my brain began turning, because it's me and because there's nothing i love more than a spontaneous adventure to go see some live music.

sadly, i think it's a pass for me. for one, i only won a pair of wristbands, which means i'd still have to fork over for last year's route of bus to ottawa, hostel reservations for 2-3 nights, shuttle bus to montebello, and beer. for two, uh, it starts this week. like, this thursday is the first day of the festival in montebello. it's not difficult for me to peace out of work two days early this week, but i would still feel like a dick about giving such short notice. (likewise, it's not like i don't have the money to do this, i just don't know if it'd actually be worth it. the rockfest experience is definitely worth it, but this year's lineup kind of isn't? sad but true)

emma suggested that if i wanted company, she and i could maybe just do saturday (she's locked in to work on friday), but the logistics of getting to and from montebello for a single day are both daunting and still costly. anyway, the story might be different if 1) i had another week's notice and 2) there were any bands in the lineup that i'd kill to see, but not this year. i'd much rather save my pennies for next year's festival mayhem (wacken open air is clearly a goal.)

also, on the topic of tickets: i'm not sure if i mentioned it previously, but i did have a ticket scored for the massive (and sold out) all in wrestling show in chicago on september 1st - yet a couple days ago i decided to try and sell it. combination of a lot of factors, among them: it'd be a big chicago trip and i don't think i really have the cash (i have to keep saving for europe next year); i could make some good coin by selling it; i'm not all that excited by the match card; and it turns out it's my mother and stepfather's joint retirement party in kingston the day beforehand. that last point was kind of the deciding factor for me, because you only retire once, and i probably should be a dutiful daughter and be there for it.

plus, i do have a certain goal for savings that i'm striving to hit this year, because i'm always keeping an eye on europe next year and it won't be a cheap trip. and right now, to say that i'm tracking behind on that goal is uhhhhhhhh an understatement? so it'll be good to know that i'm getting a tiny boost in september with the proceeds from selling my ticket (it went for triple what i paid for it). also, this is the truth:

sorry, america.

don't get me wrong, though - i feel sad to willingly miss out on any adventures, although i still do have many locked in. i hate to keep coming back to it, but this time last year i felt like i was on top of the goddamn world. i was 100% focused on rockfest coming up, i had so many amazing wrestling shows on the near horizon, and i didn't care at all about anything except for listening to as much rammstein as i could, learning german every spare second, and taking care of myself without worrying about what anyone else thought. it was incredibly freeing, is what i'm trying to say, and i sort of miss having that singular focus on just me and my life.

in the wake of my whole dating app adventure - which, by the way, i'm ending tomorrow, as my one-month paid subscription will either need to be continued or discontinued and i just don't care to keep going with it right now - i went back to my myers-briggs test results, and the thing about my intj personality that really hit true for me was this part:

The positive side of INTJs’ “giving up” is that they are most attractive when they aren’t trying to be attractive, working in a familiar environment where their confidence and intelligence can be seen in action. Allowing others to come to them is often INTJs’ best strategy, and if they perceive a potential to the relationship, they will spare no effort in developing and maintaining stability and long-term satisfaction.

and ooooh yeah, that's it right there. i know from lived-in experience that i attract more people when i'm not trying at all - when i'm not even thinking about it - but if i make the active effort, it never works. it really doesn't.

so with that in mind, i'm gonna peace out a bit on trying and just focus on myself instead. but this whole social experiment with online dating wasn't for a loss! a very important thing i learned - other than that i don't owe anyone anything - is that i don't have to do something if i don't want to. i don't have to reply to this person. i don't have to go on a date with this person. i don't have to do anything if i don't want to. if i want to just be the loner weirdo who stays single and watches rammstein dvds and goes to bed early, i can absolutely do that, and there's nothing wrong with it. it's my life, and i'm the only one who calls the shots.

as for the rest, i know that i do need to get stuff back on track. i need to take better care of myself, cut back on the drinking, get more sunshine and exercise, watch out for my finances, take on new work projects, and focus on just being happy and grateful for what i've got (ie. friends, family, job, apartment, health). it's a tall order to do all of that at once rather than in bits and pieces, but it's good, self-fulfilling motivation to get as much of it done as i can.

to sum up: i have a lot of shit that i still need to sort out, and i'm acutely aware that i have to do it by myself. time to get to work this summer.

talk to you later!

p.s. lastly, for posterity, because i like these tweets:

"rammstein: there's a surprise flamethrower" should be their motto.

[ music | emigrate, "rainbow" ]