Happy Friday the 13th!
I hope you guys are doing well amidst the madness. Things are heavy, and every one of us is feeling it. So what do we do? One thing that helps me is to focus on creating and maintaining ritual practices. Making a point of doing things that are good for me every single day, no matter what. That doesn't mean that I magically feel great. In fact, when I'm unbalanced I find myself resenting those practices, but I do them anyway. Yoga, dancing, walking, spending time in nature, reading, writing, spell work, meditation and listening to music. Those are key for me. That doesn't mean that my depression and anxiety magically melt away, but it does allow me to focus on something other than those things.
That's another thing to pay attention to. Where is your focus? Something I learned from yoga is that where attention goes, energy flows. Seems obvious, but it took a while for that to sink in. I got to thinking about how often my attention is placed on others, and how I've been giving a lot of my energy away. So I started changing things up a bit, particularly with social media. While I think it's important to connect with others and not go full-on hermit, I also think that stepping away to turn your focus inward is extremely important. I've started logging out of social media platforms for the majority of the day, or at least while I'm trying to put my energy into other things. It's amazing how much I'm able to get done or how many creative ideas emerge without notifications popping up. That said, we still need our distractions here and there, right? So I have included social media as part of my ritual practice, by checking in at least once per day, but I give myself a time limit.
Today is an excellent opportunity to honour one of my favourite rituals, or traditions if you will, revisiting some films from the Friday the 13th franchise. I haven't decided which ones yet, but I'm leaning towards watching Jason Lives, followed by Friday the 13th (2009). This mid-2000's reimagining is one of my favourites in the franchise. I saw it in the theatre and was blown away by how good it was. They didn't try to do anything incredibly outlandish or new with it, but rather created an entertaining installment where Jason's just back to his old antics, kicking it old-school, and I love it.
It's pretty fucking great that we get a Friday the 13th in November, isn't it? I mean, what better way to curb the post-Halloween blues than to have a spooky sequel? I'm sure most people don't give too many shits about Friday the 13th, but as someone who was born on such a day and loves the horror franchise, I happen to give a lot of shits. Also, I think it's funny how superstitious people actually are about it. It's pretty ridiculous. I have written about this in an older post, so I won't get into it, but good God are people fucking stupid. Story at eleven...
So how are you guys feeling about the Halloween season coming to a close? It certainly was one for the books, that's for sure. I had a great time hanging out with a couple dear friends, dressing up and scaring the crap out of kids and watching horror movies. It was a much needed celebratory evening, and on a full moon, too! I hope you guys had fun. I'm sitting here smiling thinking about it. Vlad (the inhaler) is smiling, too, but he's also looking forward to resting in peace for a while, as am I.
One thing I like to do after saying goodbye to Halloween is to reorganize and cleanse my creative spaces. This includes my bedroom (heyo), altar and desk area. I start by clearing the space, then dusting and finally smudging with sage or palo santo. Clear space, clear mind, or whatever. I almost said clean mind, but who the hell am I kidding? Here's a picture of my desk. As you can see, I never really say goodbye to Halloween. Why would I? Every day is Halloween.
I've been trying to surround myself with whatever brings me joy, especially when things get dark, and my desk is a good example of that. Another cool thing I did the other day that I highly recommend you try is creating a playlist of feel-good songs, without really thinking about it. What I mean is, I started with one song and just kept adding songs, without spending time trying to create a certain vibe. I just let my mind wander wherever it wanted to go. What I ended up with is a 5 hour monster of a playlist that starts with Big Country and ends with N.W.A. That is truly me in a nutshell. And I had no idea what I was going to put on this thing or whether or not the songs were favourites from favourite artists. Many are, of course, but some are just songs that make me smile or dance or sing or feel goofy. Because that's who I am, really. I'm a goofball, and I can't let myself forget that, especially when things feel heavy.
Now I will leave you with that monster playlist, titled "Are You Kenna Rae?" Not sure how many of you remember that annoying yet catchy song "Are You Jimmy Ray," but that's what inspired the name. And, no, that song is not on the playlist. Feel free to have a listen, guys. Of course I don't expect you to listen to the whole thing, but let me know if you actually do, because I will be impressed. Also, please share your feel-good playlists with me, or mention any songs that just put you in a good mood. I'd love to hear it.
Here's a pic of me listening to that playlist while waiting in the cold for a bus. It really lifted my spirits. I actually didn't mind waiting at all. And here is a picture of someone who puts me in a great mood, the man of my dreams and favourite linebacker, T.J. Watt. Damn. Sometimes I fantasize about him pretending I'm a Cincinnati Bengal and destroying me.
Wishing you guys a wonderful weekend, and hoping for another Steelers victory. Let's make it 9-0!
HERE WE GO!
Greetings, boils and ghouls.
It's now October, and you know what that means...the neighbours won't be so weirded out by my spooky décor.
It also means that we're all starting to consider our plans for the Halloween season. Well, those of us who give a shit. I, for one, am not planning on doing a lot event-wise. I'll probably go to the pumpkin patch and maybe ride the "terror train" on the farm, but I doubt there will be as many haunted house attractions to attend. To be honest, that's just fine with me.
It's a weird time and we've all got to adapt, but this time of year is fun every night, no matter what. Lighting candles, plugging in jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin lights and watching horror movies is a great time! I do that kind of thing year-round, but it feels more special for some reason during this month. And, contrary to what you may have heard, Halloween is not dead. The show must go on. Speaking of shows...
Last night I revisited one of my all-time faves, My So-Called Life. I intended on just watching the Halloween episode, but then I decided to start with the pilot, which lead to watching 5 more episodes. This show is everything to me. When it first aired, I felt like there was finally a show with characters I could relate to. I'm sure many other teenage girls (and guys) felt the same way. It was one of those special shows that really meant something, and just as fast as it captured our hearts, it was snatched away. But, you know what, I'm kind of glad it only lasted one season, because it's preserved as this perfect little time capsule in television history. On the topic of perfect, I must say that the Halloween episode is just that. And it's not your typical Halloween special. It's not particularly scary or goofy, although there certainly are some creepy and hilarious moments, but it's also sad and touching and sincere. Basically, everything that made the show so incredible in the first place.
In "Halloween," Angela discovers that her library book was once taken out by Nicky Driscoll, a former student who died in the '60s, under mysterious circumstances around the time of the school's Halloween dance. Angela begins having visions of Nicky around school, and is transported back in time to get a glimpse at what really happened. The storyline is dark and spooky and intriguing, but this episode is also packed, as each episode in this show is, with other equally interesting scenarios.
Angela's sister, Danielle, dressing up as Angela for Halloween is one of my favourite moments. It's so funny and cute and touching. She does such a great job portraying Angela; it's a treat to watch. Also, Angela's parents are the fucking best. They have such great chemistry, and the show never shies away from marital challenges, but this Halloween episode has them letting loose and having fun, and getting sexy. It's adorable and, honestly, kinda hot. I'm now the same age as Angela's parents, so it should come as no surprise that I find myself relating to their characters quite a bit. They are easily right up there with some of my favourite TV parents, and I can't get enough of Rapunzel and the pirate.
As far as dressing up goes for me, I will once again be abandoning the idea of going as bandaged Julia from Hellraiser II. This time, for different reasons. As it turns out, I will be lucky enough to get two periods this month, one of which is scheduled to land right on Halloween. Haha. For me, that means double the cramps, double the back pain, double the bloating and double the fun! Cue the Doublemint Gum jingle. Anyway, it is what it is, and I'll make it work, but I don't think that Julia getup would be very comfortable. Luckily, I have a great backup plan! I'm going to wear last year's Sam Trick 'r Treat costume. Why the hell not?! It's big and baggy and super comfortable. So yeah, things are going to work out just fine. It's Halloween after all, so how bad can it be? Also, how bad do you think I want that NECA Julia?
Well, that's all for now, folks. The night is young, so I think I'll watch a couple more episodes of My So-Called Life, and might fuck around and watch Hell Night or The Other Hell. In kind of a Hell mood. Now I will leave you with a gif of Jordan Catalano and my October playlist, The Hunt For Dead October. I made a playlist of the same name a few years ago, but I've since updated it and made it twice as long. I present you with three hours of doom and gloom, and a little unconventional spooky fun. I'm sure some of these tunes will be on a few Halloween playlists, but I made an effort to add something different to the mix. Something to capture that October ambience. I hope you guys enjoy! Feel free to share and spread the magic of the spooky season.
It's beginning to look a lot like Witchmas...Gem is already itching to scare the neighbourhood children.
Autumn is creeping up fast. Time to dig out your sweaters and boots and, if you haven't already, those Halloween decorations. Funny, right after I typed that bit about sweaters and boots, the sun's rays blinded me through the window. It made me smile, because this is the first day since the wildfires began that I can actually see the sky. It's blue and beautiful and calming.
I tend to enjoy the transition from summer to fall, but this time around I felt like summer was ripped away so fast. Just a couple weeks ago I was sunning myself in the backyard and yesterday I was caught in a chilly downpour. No complaints, though. With the equinox approaching, I can officially bid farewell to a lovely, leisurely summer and welcome autumn in all her GORE-geous glory.
I was about to say that I'm already in full fall-mode by drinking lots of tea, reading and writing and watching horror movies, but I do that shit all the time. I am starting to enjoy the feeling of being cold again, though. Nothing like curling up in a cozy blanket with a good book.
While I'm still enjoying reading true crime and horror, lately I've been getting into a bunch of other shit, too. Some shit to help me figure out my shit.
I used to be one of those types who rolled their eyes at self-help books like I was better than them or something, but I'm starting to see things differently. The way I approach that kind of thing now is to take what I need and leave the rest. I don't need to be so critical and cynical about it, I can absorb the information that resonates with me and skip over what doesn't. That's kind of the way I'm approaching most things lately. It just feels right.
I'm starting to feel more in touch with the energy I'm putting out into the world and the energy I'm allowing into mine. It's been quite eye opening, actually. It's funny what little thought I give to silly things I say or do, or things I post on Twitter or wherever. Case in point, I recently tweeted about my high school penpal, with a picture of him, and shit blew up. So many people were retweeting it, trying to track him down and I started to feel overwhelmed. The breaking point was when this woman tweeted at Ellen, Oprah and Jimmy Fallon. I immediately made my profile private and later deleted the tweet. Like, how the fuck do I know whether or not this person would be comfortable with his picture and name being shared around? Obviously it wasn't my intention to make anyone feel weird. It wasn't even my intention to necessarily find him or attract that kind of attention. I was just curious. But if you speak into the void, even with a whisper, sometimes it echoes back. Something to keep in mind.
On another note, I'm a witch now. Haha. Not exactly, but I'm working on it. I've always been interested in witchcraft, and lately I've been learning about spells and rituals, and intend to incorporate them into my routine. I've had a ceremonial altar in my room for years now. I typically kneel down in front of it, light candles and incense and meditate. Sometimes I'll say something or talk to the picture of my cat, Beans, who is no longer with me in the physical sense. Lately, I don't even feel like she's gone. The other day, I was doing yoga and one of her whiskers appeared beside my mat. It was strange because I have dusted and vacuumed many times since she died. There's no way it could have just appeared...and yet it did. Since immersing myself in books about witchcraft and self care, I find myself talking to her more and feeling her presence. She's even come to me in dreams. It's quite magical, really, and it's comforting.
As I continue on this path heading into fall, it only seems fitting to watch something witchy. Last night's double feature was The Blair Witch Project, which I've seen a few times, and Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, a first time watch. Here's what I think:
I swear I like The Blair Witch Project more every time I watch it. I think this was probably the 4th time I've seen it. I didn't love it when it first came out. In fact, I remember finding in kind of boring. Plus, there's so much yelling in it, which is annoying. I still hate the yelling, but my appreciation of this film continues to grow. I enjoy the unravelling of things, and watching the characters spin out into chaos. Plus, I love the setting. It's so simple yet effective. And who doesn't love that final scene? Minus the yelling, of course. It's so creepy and unsettling, and I love how the story just ends and you need to decide what happened. I don't always love films like that, but it works well in Blair Witch. Now, cue Book Of Shadows.
I have heard so many terrible things about this movie, and I must say that they're all true. But also, I liked it. I knew I was going to like it when Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Fargo Season 2) appeared on screen. I would watch that guy in anything. He is an incredible actor and cute as all hell. So basically I just watched him the whole time and enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, the movie is essentially terrible. I can't lie. But also, I laughed pretty hard through most of it, so I had a great time. The plot and the characters are ridiculous. It's so incredibly stupid, and the effects are awful. Just awful. And the music is even worse. But I can't hate it. I like this movie. I was also pretty stoned when I watched it. I wrote down a couple quotes, and they still make me laugh, so that's a good sign.
"Goth: A Way Of Life. A documentary about you."
"Do you think your makeup and black clothes give you power?!"
"I hate nature."
I honestly got a real kick out of the characters, the goth chick and wiccan chick in particular. I love the stereotypes and how the characters actually talk about those stereotypes. It's so, so dumb, but so entertaining. What can I say, sometimes bad movies are the best kind. Especially when you're stoned.
On that note, I'm going to have a few puffs and get ready to watch another movie. Maybe a good one, maybe a bad one, but one thing's certain. I will have a good time. I hope you guys are having a good time this weekend, too, and that you're getting excited about the spooky season intensifying. Light your candles, cast a spell, watch some movies and go to hell. Just because it rhymes.
Until next time, here is a picture of my current fall inspiration, and a witchy tune.
Stay spooky! And GO STEELERS!
Who's at the door? Dan Stevens. Come on in!
But something equally appealing is also here...the start of the spooky season! Here's what I've watched so far to kick things off:
"Ding dong!" is exactly what I said when Dan Stevens' face first appeared on screen. Despite several people recommending this film for years, I watched it for the first time last night. News flash: I often ignore recommendations, so it's really not all that surprising that I waited so long. Just as I don't always give a fuck what others have to say, you likely don't give a fuck about what I have to say either. But I'm not mad about it. Not everyone has good taste.
I must say, however, that those of you who recommended The Guest have very good taste. This film is a blast, start to finish. It's well written, with well thought out characters, a top notch cast, killer performances and loaded with non-stop action. And the soundtrack? Oh boy, is it a gooder. This story also happens to take place during Halloween, which makes it a perfect film to add to your October lineup. Now I'm thinking of diving deeper into Adam Wingard's body of work, including You're Next, which I tried to watch a couple years ago but turned off after about 20 minutes. I didn't find it interesting at the time, but your perception depends on your mood, and I was not in a great one. Maybe You're Next will be next up! Both The Guest and You're Next are currently streaming on Prime, in case you feel like checking them out.
I first saw Fade To Black when I was a kid and thought it was the weirdest, coolest movie. I also forgot what it was called for years, and had a hell of a time trying to track it down. Luckily, by the grace of the witch, it's now available on Shudder. I'm not sure if you guys know how rare this opportunity is, but this film is extremely hard to get your hands on. I highly suggest you waste no time and get your Binford on before time runs out.
I loved revisiting this movie. It's funny as hell, but also pretty disturbing. I mean, Eric Binford is a fucking creeper. When I was a kid, I thought he was cool because he was cute and different, plus I was always intrigued by the darker side, but this time around I found myself cringing a bit. Not in a serious way of course, as we're talking about a horror comedy, but there are some scenes that are fairly uncomfortable to watch. And then there's Mickey Rourke. SIGH. I mean, if that's not reason enough to check this film out, I don't know what is.
1983's One Dark Night stars Meg Tilly and Adam West, and for some reason I had never seen it. This might be a bit of a hidden gem. Until coming across it on Shudder, I hadn't even heard of it. The film's premise, however, sounds very familiar..."a young girl must spend the night in a mausoleum." That said, there is something special about this film.
The atmosphere is wickedly creepy and the score is so, so good. The opening scene had me locked in immediately, and the creepiness gains momentum as the story wears on. The last half hour is absolutely bonkers, and some of the best stuff that 80's horror has to offer. Ridiculously over the top, with super cool practical effects. As someone who loves cemeteries and mausoleums, there couldn't be a more perfect setting for a horror film. Those scenes of Meg Tilly wandering around alone are unnerving, even without any added action or scares. While some of the plot is a bit wonky for me, I still recommend checking it out and think it would be an awesome addition to any Halloween lineup.
I have said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE this movie! Not because it's incredibly good or anything, but because it's one of those special gifts to horror fans. Much like Alien vs. Predator, we have two horror icons facing off. It's what we always wanted, and we got it. While I don't have as big of a hate-on for AVP as many others seem to, I do prefer Freddy vs. Jason. The kills are just so much fun and I love seeing the two compete for teens to hack to pieces. Also, it's a real treat to see Freddy and Jason fuck with each other. The fight scenes are absolutely legendary. Freddy's always been my favourite horror villain because he says the funniest shit and pulls the most insane antics, and in this installment he's in peak form. What can I say, I like a man who makes me laugh.
So that's what I've watched to kick things off. I feel like these films were a great segue into the spooky season. I'm a witchy woman at heart, with jack-o-lanterns lit year-round, but I still consider September to be the official launch.
Now I will leave you with a song that I adore, which you can find on the soundtrack to The Guest. I know I just recently shared a track from Love and Rockets, but I got excited when this song played in the movie. I can't resist. I hope you guys are getting into the spooky spirit. The leaves are changing colour, the temperature's dropping and I've been digging out the decorations that I keep stashed away. I am officially in it, and it feels good.
Until next time, boils and ghouls...
The vagus nerve connects to multiple organs and has a direct impact on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps put your body at ease.
The Vegas nerve, however, is just a real pain in your ass.
If you don't already know, a couple days ago the Canucks were eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in game seven. It was hard to watch because the Nucks were exhausted and ran out of gas. Both teams were tired from playing game 6 the night before, too. How the NHL committed to that schedule, I will never know. In any case, Vegas was the better team that night and deserved to win the game, but man the Canucks deserved better for the effort they put in during this post season run. It just feels like it was cut too short. One win away from making it to the Conference Finals. One. Win. Away.
But maybe it was just their time to go?
I just finished watching Final Destination, and it got me thinking about when your time is up. Death has been on my mind in a major way for a couple years now. It was almost exactly two years ago that I received the news of Ben's cancer diagnosis. That cancer claimed his life a year and a half ago. Woah. I can't believe it's been that long. While the pain of that loss is still very much with me, it's also very different. My feelings about death are also different.
I don't just think about death a lot, I actually feel it. When I really think about my own mortality, I start to feel my organs tensing up then releasing, and I imagine them starting to shut down. This happened to me the other day. I was lying down in the backyard. It was a beautiful sunny day. I had a few puffs, put on some calming music and stared up at the sky. While watching the clouds drift by, I started thinking about my life and getting older and how my body isn't functioning the way it used to. My shoulders tensed up and my breath became shallow. Then I thought what if I just died right now? It kinda freaked me out at first, but then I began to relax into the idea. What if this is my last moment here? I closed my eyes and felt total peace and equanimity.
This was well before game 7. Actually, I think it was a few hours before game 5, if I remember correctly. Whatever the case, it was a good place to be. I really enjoyed my time outside. I watched the birds and squirrels hop around the yard, and was quite OK with the bees buzzing around my face. I smiled a lot. I was also mega stoned.
Back to Final Destination. I hadn't seen this movie in years and I really enjoyed it. Tony Todd (Candyman) plays a character named Bludworth, who also happens to be the grim reaper, and there's actually a character named Clear Rivers. I mean, come on! This movie still holds up and has some pretty creative death scenes. The franchise is known for them. Final Destination 3 is full of wicked ones, and is probably my favourite. That tanning bed double kill still fucks me up and makes me laugh. There are some great kills in the original, including the very bloody drawn out kitchen scene, but my favourite is Seann William Scott's decapitation. Also, I relate to his character so much when he desperately whines "Tell me I'm gonna see the Jets win the Super Bowl!"
I guess that's how I feel about the Canucks. I mean, they've been around for 50 years and still no Cup. You start to wonder if you're ever going to see it. I've been lucky enough to see the Habs win twice, the Jays win twice and the Steelers win twice. Hell, I've even seen the Raptors win once. But there's certainly that ticking clock when it comes to the Canucks. On the plus side, I will say that this is one of the best teams we've ever had and one of the most fun teams to watch. I could see them being the group of guys who brings it home. I see it happening. Very soon. Until then, I will continue watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, even though I don't have a horse in the race. I'm actually about to watch Vegas in game one of the Conference Finals against Dallas. I'll cheer for the Stars because fuck Vegas, even though I do like Lehner and Fleury and still have a soft spot for Pacioretty, but also because Jamie Benn is on the Stars, which means the Cup could end up in Victoria. Gotta get excited about something, right?
Now I will leave you with "The Pina Colada Song" in hopes that we get to hear it many more times in the future, following big Canucks wins. Also, I happen to think this song is one of the most realistically romantic songs of all time. It's about a guy who is bored with his relationship, so he responds to a personal ad that's aimed at someone who's just like him. Someone who also likes pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, etc. When he shows up to meet this new love interest, it ends up being his girlfriend. She's also bored and looking for something else--someone who likes the same things she does. So it turns out, these two were the right match after all. They just never really got to know each other and didn't realize they had it all right in front of them. It's pretty funny. A beautiful, honest no bullshit love story. That's the kind I'm into.
Until we meet again...
I just spent a couple hours outside, reading David Reichert's account of hunting Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer), and watching birds. A hummingbird buzzed so close to my face that I was tempted to reach out and touch it. But I doubt I would have gotten away with it.
Speaking of not getting away with it, yesterday the Golden State Killer was sentenced. 26 life sentences for the motherfucker. I watched the whole thing while doing yoga. It's a little time I carve out for myself that I like to call "murder yoga." I watch true crime while doing my poses. It's a good challenge to remain focused while your blood is boiling.
Lately I've been engaging with lots of true crime books and documentaries. I highly recommend reading Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone In The Dark and watching the documentary series (available on Crave) based on the book. Without McNamara's relentless pursuit, I doubt I would have had the pleasure of watching the Golden State Killer brought to justice from the comfort of my home, in a cobra or plank pose. Another recommendation I have for you guys is Trish Wood's documentary series Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer (available on Prime). This one is astonishingly good. It's not your typical Ted Bundy doc that focuses on the same grisly details we all know from the cases. This story is woven from a woman's perspective and focuses primarily on the victims, which is actually pretty rare. Because the series is listed as "season 1" on Prime, I can only imagine that there is more to come, which gets me very excited.
Wanna know what else gets me excited?
That's right! After a five year playoff drought, the Canucks are back in a big, big way. They knocked off the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round and just last night, defeated the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, advancing to the second round! This is the first series win since 2011 (sigh) so it means a lot to Canucks fans like me. This is the stuff I live for, and I'm planning on celebrating every victory to the fullest. Given the current climate of things, I think that's what we should all be doing, no matter how big or how small the victory. The Canucks are facing off against the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow to kick off round two, and it's sure to be a doozy. I'm hoping they keep this momentum rolling so I can nickname them the Golden Knight Killers. Whatever the case, I am grateful to see them live to fight another day, and look forward to more exciting hockey.
For me, sports restores a sense of normalcy and purpose. Without sports, I feel pretty out of balance, which is one reason why summer is my least favourite season. Having hockey in August has been a blessing. Having said that, the reason we even have hockey right now is because the world is plagued and everything is crumbling. But what can we do while things fall apart? Keep doing the things we love. Maybe for you that doesn't mean watching hockey and doing murder yoga, but find whatever it is that makes you tick and just keep doing it.
Lately I've been feeling more alive than ever. That's not always a good thing, but it's a thing. What I mean is, that I'm noticing more. I'm feeling more, and that can sometimes be quite painful. But I'm here for it. I'm reading about death and pondering my own mortality, and it's got me thinking about what I'm spending my time doing and what I ought to be spending my time doing. It's also got me feeling pretty lucky. Currently, death seems ever-present. It's a scary time, full of anxiety and uncertainty. But there was never any certainty to begin with, aside from the fact that we're all going to die.
Maybe that's where I'll make my exit.
I will leave you with one of my favourite songs that instantly takes me right back to a simpler time. A time when I would watch this video and stare at Kevin Haskins with dreamy eyes and wonder how many drummers I would date as an adult. I'll keep that number to myself.
Thanks for stopping by, dear friends. Now, enjoy this tune and go do something (or someone) you love. And GO CANUCKS GO!
I hope you guys are doing well amidst the madness. Lately, I've been needing to hunker down and take cover. I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling this way I turn to the same thing for comfort—music. But it wasn't always that way. Recently, I got to talking with a friend and discovered that we both stopped listening to music during a traumatic time. We unintentionally robbed ourselves of the one thing we found soothing. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe our minds were trying to protect us from those painful emotions? I don't know. Whatever the case, I'm glad we had that conversation before some shit hit the fan.
Remember in that last post when I said that I was learning to appreciate the shitty stuff because it's giving me opportunities for growth? Well, I just keep on growing!
The day after that post, which happened to be my birthday, I discovered that something wasn't what I thought. Actually, some people told me that it wasn't. I thought I had a thing with this guy I've casually known online for years, but it turns out that thing was just a dick. I was in a vulnerable place at the time. My cat recently died, and I wasn't in the right frame of mind to recognize the warning signs. And there were many. Many signs, and apparently many women. Much like these women, I wanted to trust the things he said but had my doubts. And doubted myself. Some of you likely know this "man" I'm referring to, and I think we all wanted to believe that he could be trusted, but when his own friends warned me about his behaviour I knew something was amiss. Well, I knew when accusations from other women started surfacing.
I don't want to get into too many details, but it wasn't good. To believe that someone cared, only to find out that they didn't was hurtful. And it hurt more to learn of what he did to others. He manipulated women to get what he wanted then fucked off and tried to make them look like the bad ones. MAN-ipulated. Just thought of that. Anyway, I was suckered. No lie. And I felt like shit about it. I still wanted to believe him when he said that he really did care for me, but after hearing countless stories from women that started out exactly the same as mine, it became pretty impossible to believe. I thought I knew him and believed that he was a good person deep down. But, honestly, if you have to dig that deep, that ain't so good, is it?
So that was some bullshit, but it was a lesson. A reminder of the fact that I deserve so much more. And so do you. I'm talking to all of the women he hurt. All of the women who, like me, blamed themselves for being vulnerable. But vulnerability is not a fault. In fact, it's a pretty great quality. Don't lose that just because you got dicked around by some dick. And to everyone out there who supported him and continues to support him, I'm not even mad anymore. I get it. You want to see the good in others, and that's a pretty great quality, too. Just be sure to keep a safe distance and keep your clothes on.
Now cue the music.
Music saved me from dipping down into a very low place. Music and George Stroumboulopoulos. Strombo chatting and playing music on his Instagram Live videos comforted me. Plus, he retweeted something silly I posted and has replied to my Instagram stories. He's a sweetheart, and he probably doesn't realize how much he's lifted me up. Canada's boyfriend saved the day. I appreciate him so very much, and I'm glad he's around doing his thing, making the world a better place.
The other night, after listening to Strombo, I got cozy in blankets and started listening to The Carpenters. I got to thinking about the incredible tribute album If I Were a Carpenter, which made me binge cover songs. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourites with you. I picked ten, just to have a nice round number, and they're in no particular order. I hope you enjoy. I linked the Spotify playlist below for you to check out. You'll have to open up your Spotify to hear the whole songs. Feel free to comment below with some of your favourite covers. I'd love to hear 'em.
Look at those beautiful faces! Also, don't Thurston Moore and Richard Carpenter look alike? Sonic Youth and The Carpenters are two of my all-time favourite bands, so it's no wonder this one made the cut. Honestly, though, If I Were a Carpenter is full of gems. I highly recommend you give that album a listen. Shonen Knife's cover of "Top of the World" blows the original out of the water. I don't even like that Carpenter's song. Props to Shonen Knife for being so badass. Back to Sonic Youth, the reason I think "Superstar" is an incredible cover is because it actually sounds like an original Sonic Youth song. I love covers that take on a new life. And as much as I adore Kim Gordon, there's something cool about Thurston Moore doing the vocals. Just changes the whole tone completely. Love, love, love this one.
"Always on my Mind"
One of my favourite Elvis songs of all time. So touching. I happen to adore two other versions of this song, but rather than going with my love, Willie Nelson, I went with The Pet Shop Boys. Their cover is just so unconventional, and it makes me want to dance. Aside from eating and sleeping, dancing is probably the thing I do most. Just ask my neighbours. Anyway, I think this is an awesome cover. The dance music doesn't detract from the sincerity whatsoever. Equally beautiful. Brilliant cover.
I'm almost positive that I heard the Nine Inch Nails version first, on the soundtrack to one of my favourite movies, The Crow, but man do I love Joy Division and this song. I must say that I do prefer the cover. It's heavier, and immediately transports me into that dark, scary Gotham-esque world of The Crow. Plus, Trent Reznor.
"Song To the Siren"
Man, are these two incredible. Both of these songs have helped me get though some difficult shit. There is no way I can pick between the two. They're so different and so beautiful. Tim Buckley wrote and performed the original, which makes be sob, and This Mortal Coil's cover instantly takes me into the mind of David Lynch and reminds me of one of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite films, Lost Highway. It's fairly common to have cover songs in film, and there are actually more on my list. Movies and music—my true loves. Also, This Mortal Coil's It'll End in Tears is one of my favourite albums. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend.
It only makes sense to go from one Buckley to another. Some consider this to be the greatest cover of all time, and I understand why. Like his dad, Jeff Buckley had a breathtakingly beautiful voice and wrote some of the best songs ever. I still remember the day I found out he died. I was watching Much Music, and Sook-Yin Lee made the announcement. It destroyed me. What a tragedy. Such an incredible talent. As for "Hallelujah," I actually prefer Leonard Cohen's original. That man is everything to me. He once wrote me a note in a book to motivate me to keep writing, and apologized when he couldn't make it to my writing class. We never even expected him to respond to our invitation. What a lovely man. Even though I prefer the original, my God, what a powerful cover. Gives me chills.
Commodores and Faith No More are right up there with The Carpenters and Sonic Youth. I love them so very much. "Easy" is one of my favourite Commodores songs and one of my favourite Faith No More songs. What a fucking glorious cover. It's not incredibly different from the original, but it's got that FNM/ Mike Patton attitude all over it and I adore it. The video is everything, too. I remember recording it several times on VHS so I wouldn't have to rewind to watch it again. Man, what I wouldn't give to have Faith No More cover "Lady (You Bring Me Up)."
"Diamonds and Rust"
Joan Baez and Rob Halford have two of the most powerful voices I've ever heard. You can always feel their pain in their songs. The lyrics to this one have always resonated with me. I think Judas Priest's cover is a masterpiece. So hard, yet just as heartbreaking as the original. God, I love both versions so much and wouldn't want to choose between the two, though I will say that I'm a bigger Priest fan. Plus, Sin After Sin is a perfect album. I kind of want to throw that on now, actually. Here come the tears...
Here are two absolute gems for ya. The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" makes me move like nobody's business. What a fun song to dance to. It instantly makes everything better. Cowboy Junkies' cover couldn't be more different. And that's part of why I love it so much. That, and Margo Timmins' haunting voice. The Trinity Session is such a wonderful album. One of my favourite moody albums for a winter's walk. This cover is everything. Simply perfect. Plus, I can't help but hear "The whole world's comin' to an end, Mal" "I see angels, Mickey. They're coming down for us from heaven" when the song starts. Yep, another great song from another great film. Natural Born Killers was such a huge Influence—the movie and the soundtrack. What a soundtrack! God bless Trent Reznor.
"Fade Into You"
Mazzy Star is the holy grail of music. My friend Jason once said that, and I believe it to be true. Though they have many incredible songs that I prefer to this beauty, "Fade Into You" is wonderful and without question their biggest hit. Hope Sandoval has the voice of an angel, and so does J Mascis. When I die, be sure to play lots of Mazzy Star and Dinosaur Jr. at my wake. That's why I had to include this one on my list. J Mascis' cover of "Fade Into You" is equally breathtaking as the original. I could listen to both versions on repeat for hours. Sadly, we lost David Roback, founding member of Mazzy Star, this year because apparently this is the worst year ever. RIP, David.
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
I had to save the best for last. Sinead pulled an Aretha Franklin on Prince! I'm referring to Aretha's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect". Even Otis said that the song belongs to her. The reason I didn't include that one on this list is because I'm actually not a fan of the song. Don't hate me. Otis is probably my favourite singer of all time, and I appreciate what Aretha did with it, but it's not a favourite. Now back to what I consider to be the greatest cover of all time. Sinead O'Connor fucking killed this song. I love Prince's original, which I'm sure I heard after Sinead's, but man can you feel that pain in her cover. Maybe it's because it's been 7 hours and 15 days since her love was taken away, compared to 7 hours and 13 days for Prince. If so, those extra two days really fucked her up. In any case, that woman takes my breath away. That video? Good God, what a stunning woman. We all wish we could cry like her. And her voice destroys me. What an icon.
Alright, that wraps it up, folks. Thanks for stopping by. I will now leave you with my playlist of all of these wonderful covers, and one of my favourite videos ever.
Take care, y'all. Until we meet again...
Guess who's back?
Still puffing my leafs
Still fuck with the beats
Still not loving police
After all these years, I still think that this picture is the perfect representation of who I am. Kind of a dude. Animal lover. Scared as hell.
Not sure how old I am in this picture, but I'm 39 years old now. For another 7 hours, at least. Not exactly sure how I feel about turning 40, but the first word that comes to mind is lucky.
The first 40 years were...interesting. And now I'm curious to see how the next 40 (if I'm extremely lucky) play out. The past few years have felt like a bit of a nightmare. I actually began to wonder if I'd been cursed, but I refuse to give that idea too much power because it really doesn't matter whether it's true or not. I can still do my thang.
Plus, I'm actually starting to appreciate the shitty stuff, because it's giving me opportunities to grow. Jesus, who am I? Still the same ol G, but I'm learning.
I'm learning to be okay with where I am and what I've got, because it's not going to be there forever. Everything is fleeting. God, what I wouldn't give to be able to go back 10, 15, 20 years and whisper in my ear you're beautiful. Because holy shit was I ever. But I didn't know. At a time when I should have been feeling my oats, I was too busy feeling everyone else's. Ewwww. But you can't go back, right. So what now? Start where you are, I guess.
Currently I'm sitting here listening to Dr. Dre, and it's got me thinking about second chapters and his second album, which I consider to be the greatest comeback album of all time.
2001 or The Chronic 2001 (still the worst title) is pretty close to a perfect album. Seven years prior, Dre released The Chronic--perfection on every level. I'm hard pressed to think of anything better. Absolutely genius. So how do you come back after that? You hit em hard. You hit em with those legendary Dre beats. You tell your stories. You do your thang. You bring your friends, and you bring Tommy Chong.
Every single song on 2001 is fucking solid, and the whole album is such a big fuck you to the haters, the industry and the world, which in my opinion is part of what makes a great comeback album. And honestly, I think some of the best Dre beats are on that second album. Don't lie and say that you don't get amped when "The Next Episode" comes on or that you don't shake dat ass to "Still D.R.E." I'm no fool. Ass shaking aside, I will say that another thing I love about 2001 is Dre's vulnerability. It's a hard album, make no mistake, but it ends on a soft sincere note. "The Message" is about Dre losing his brother Tyree, and man if those lyrics don't gut me. Dre says that if G's don't cry then he "ain't no gangsta." That's vulnerability for you, coming from such an OG. This album has heart, and I love the hell out of it. Every beat, every Snoop verse, every BEOTCH!
As the hours tick by and I near the big 4-0 I can't help but wonder if this next chapter will be my Chronic 2001. Sure, I never really had a Chronic to begin with, but that's beside the point. What if I just give the world a big fuck you and focus more on just having fun and doing my thang. Keep telling my stories, bring some friends, and maybe even bring Tommy Chong. I just remembered that I met him by accident once at a book signing. That was weird. He said "Hey, man." and I said "Hey Tommy." And that's all she wrote.
Now I will leave you with a song and a smile, as I often do. Unfortunately it's the censored version, but I had to share the video anyway as it captures the whole vibe of Dre, Chronic 2001 and that whole era. Take care of you, dear friends. Hope to see around for the next 40!
I guess I just wasn't made for these times
Hey guys, it's been a while. I've been meaning to be better about keeping up with this blog but, hey, shit happens. I had a couple things written in March, but sharing my thoughts on movies and books just didn't feel right, because at that point none of it mattered anyway.
I was in the process of watching my beloved Beans slip away, and it was really hard. On April 19th I said "Bye, Beans, Mummy loves you so much" and I never saw her again. I wrote a lengthy post about that day and the days leading up to it, but I deleted it. I needed to write it for me, but it's something I don't want to share. Instead, I'm going to share something about my favourite animal of all time, and my favourite album of all time and why, for me, they will always be connected.
God only knows what I'd be without you
I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't listen to The Beach Boys. Their music takes me to a good place. A place I often want to escape to. My love affair with the Boys started when I was a wee one, probably with the album Surfer Girl. The title track and "In My Room" are two of my favourite songs. They just make my problems melt away. That's what The Beach Boys have always done for me. Beans was like that, too, so it's no wonder that the two would often accompany me during the toughest of times.
I had this poster in my room when I was young. Not exactly a kids movie, but I respect my parents' choices. If you were alive and kicking in 1988, you're probably already thinking of another Beach Boys song. "Kokomo" is hated by so many, which makes me laugh, because I love it so much. I think a lot of the hate comes from that episode of Full House (you know the one). For me, it's such a dreamy song. The whole vibe of it takes me back to a simpler time. Summertime at the lake...ballet classes, followed by a trip to Sportsland to get hockey cards. I could listen to that song all day. And it was so perfect for the movie Cocktail. I think it should have won an Oscar, or at least have been nominated. But what do I know.
Close your eyes and be still
Fast forward about seven years or so, to the first time I heard Pet Sounds in its entirety. I already knew a few songs, but never had I listened to this masterpiece start to finish. I was in no way prepared. I cried. A lot. Yes, I was an emotional teenager, but I was caught off guard. This was not Surfer Girl. This was so much more. It was musically and lyrically on another level. And it was relatable. Brian Wilson singing "don't talk, put your head on my shoulder...don't talk, take my hand, and listen to my heart beat. Listen, listen, listen" still turns me into a baby every time. It just made me think of when we first adopted Beans. Holding her in my arms at the vet's office, her head on my shoulder. Me saying, "mama's here." I still say that to her picture.
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Beans was so different from any other animal I've known. So much more complex and layered and beautiful. If she were an album, she would be Pet Sounds. It's been almost a week since the album's anniversary and over a month since I lost Beans. I think of her constantly, and miss her more than I could ever say, but I am so grateful for this week of listening to my favourite album and thinking about her. It's like there's a whole new meaning now. When I was younger, I would lie in bed listening to Pet Sounds, thinking about stupid boys, but now I will think of her. The most wonderful cat and the best little friend I've ever known.
Now I will leave you with Pet Sounds (obviously) and a cool video of one of the recordings of "Don't Talk" so you can swoon over Brian Wilson's beautiful voice. And also, I'll share a couple more pictures of the most beautiful girl in the world. Give your pets some extra love today. Hold them close. Make the hugs and kisses last a little longer (but not in a gross way).
Take care, y'all. And remember...
Love is here today, and it's gone tomorrow. It's here and gone so fast.
I've come to talk with you again.
Things are getting moldy around here. It seems crazy to me that my last post was right before Halloween and now it's a new year. Well, maybe it's not that crazy. I do that sometimes. In any case, I'm back at it and feeling motivated to keep things rolling, but I sure didn't feel that way for the past couple months.
November was rough, y'all. I think it's typically a difficult time as things get gloomy and cold, back pain and sinus infections return and I just tend to feel yucky. Depression had a pretty good hold on me for the majority of the month, and I also learned that my dad has cancer again. So I was feeling pretty low and was pretty much high the whole month just to get through but, hey, I got through. Plus, there were some gems in there.
At the end of November, I made the trek to Vancouver to see King Diamond! I still can't believe that night was real. It was easily one of the greatest concert experiences I've ever had. The show was absolutely incredible and the King was at the top of his game.
I had a wonderful time on the journey to Vancouver with my good friend Michael and catching up with my pal, Rory, who lives over there. The three of us had a blast at the hotel, in restaurants and bars, at the concert and wandering around the big city the next day. We even hit up Vancouver's Christmas Market, which was super fun and whimsical as all hell. It was an exciting time, made even more so when Rory mentioned that one of his stories was recently featured on the podcast Nocturnal Transmissions! Here's a link so you guys can check it out--it's a fantastic story. Heaven Unearthed by Rory Say. Also, I may have mentioned this before, but Michael is a super talented musician. You guys should check out his music. Paths and Teeth of the Wolf are both incredible. I've got some talented, creative, brilliant friends and I'm gong to make a point of sharing their projects more often. That means YOUR projects. Keep sharing your shit with the world, people. I'm more than happy to pass it on so others can be inspired and enjoy.
Last month was a December to dismember, but I did my best to be grounded and avoid spinning out. I think it worked part of the time, but I can't remember because I was too high for most of it. One thing that lifted me up was a phone call I had with my former therapist. She coached me through some difficult things and asked me to slow down and go easy on myself. I've been really hard on myself this year, during a time when I needed care and compassion more than ever. I never set out to be like that, but it tends to happen when I find myself out of balance. During our conversation, she reminded me of the importance of being still. That's something I struggle with and I'm determined to work on giving in to a period of rest. I have a tendency, as many do, to turn away when things get tough or scary and find ways to busy myself. People often act like being busy is great and even something to brag about, but it can be fairly detrimental to your health, especially when grieving.
2018/2019 presented me with some of the biggest challenges I've ever experienced, including the greatest sorrow I've ever felt with the death of a dear friend. I don't think I've even begun to process what happened, honestly, and I'm suffering as a result. I still find myself checking his social media accounts as though I expect to see something new, and I continue to scroll through old text messages that I can't bring myself to delete.
A couple weeks ago I had a dream that Ben was still alive, but not in a good way. I thought he was dead but everyone else knew he wasn't. He'd been in the hospital this whole time, dying. For almost a fucking year! Because I didn't know, I hadn't been up to visit him and was warned that he had been getting worse with each passing day. I was scared to see him, though I knew I should probably visit. In reality, I know that feeling. I had a lot of anxiety each time I went up to the hospital and while visiting him at home, and often times I was even scared to see him. I never knew what he was going to be like or look like, and I was afraid that he would detect that fear and feel even worse than he already did. Sometimes I would feel so overwhelmed that I couldn't bring myself to visit at all. So I guess there's a lot of guilt there. Guilt, shame and regret. There's a lot I need to unpack and I've been avoiding that for some time.
As the anniversary of Ben's death approaches, I find myself in disbelief. I can't believe he's not here, because I feel his presence constantly. Every walk through the neighbourhood, I still wonder if I'll run into him and hear his friendly hellOOOOOO! Recently while shopping, Gowan's "Strange Animal" started playing in the store. I immediately thought of Ben because he and I shared a weird obsession with Gowan. One night after a few drinks, we binged Gowan videos and sang along, and it was so much fun. I laughed so hard that night that I was in tears. I miss him. I want so badly to accept what happened and move forward, but I feel stuck. I guess I expected to feel differently at this point. There's just no way to know how you're going to feel. I suppose all I can do is work on being kind and allow myself to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, even when I really don't want to. I guess that means cutting back on the green, hey? I've been wanting to anyway, since it's pretty much killing my motivation and fucking with my mood as of late.
What better opportunity to turn things around than the start of a new year, right? I typically hate all that shit about resolutions and whatnot, but I think it's good to consider the changes you want to make in order to bring peace and joy into your life, no matter what time of year. For me, I want to work on accepting what is and allow sorrow to be sorrow, but I also want to find ways to bring more light in during these dark times.
Another thing I want to work on is cultivating the practice of simply being alive, without adding anything extra into the mix. For a while, at least. It's what my therapist recommended and I know it's what I need. In time I will find ways to access my pain and allow space to grieve so I can eventually move forward and focus on creating the life I want. One step at a time, though.
Speaking of steps, on December 31st, during a storm, I decided to go for a long walk. I don't do that often in crazy weather unless necessary, but it felt necessary. I hadn't left the house at all for the previous two days (which was awesome, btw) and it felt great to get some fresh air and exercise even though I was soaked to the bone. It was good to get out there on the last day of the year and conquer something, no matter how small. Plus, I came across some wonder along the way. I watched some ducks play in a pond, was greeted by a family of deer, and discovered these two party animals living it up in celebration of a new year.
Cheers, friends! Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope that you're able to find peace and contentment this year. Until next time, I leave you with the one and only Gowan, and I will reflect on the wonderful strange animal I knew called Ben. Wherever you are, buddy, this video's for you!
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!