I've been writing on this blog for over six years now. That's a pretty big commitment for me, and I'm honestly quite proud. But I have to admit that, like me, this website is getting old. It's definitely time for a facelift. Not for me, for the website.
I kind of didn't care too much about what it looked like for a long time, but now I think it deserves some extra care. I want to take pride in what I do more, and I'm starting to make some changes here and there to reflect my style and growth.
I finally caved and realized that white font is the best for a black background. I'm not sure why I was fighting this for so long. It's pretty ridiculous, actually, but whatever. It's really not a big deal. It's just something I want to do for myself, and I guess for my readers, too. That's right, I'm looking out for all ten of you. ;) It's just better on the eyes and makes more sense.
I'm also going through and making sure my links are all working. I almost never go back and read old posts, and that's not really what I'm doing now, but it does help to make sure things are in working order. It's maintenance.
I'm also starting to do this for myself.
I recently took a trip to the emergency room, because I was having a reaction to the second vaccine and felt it was time to get things sorted out. It had been over 3 weeks and I was still experiencing symptoms, including what scared me the most, a racing heart. I had already sought out medical advice, but once you jump on that Google train and envision the wreckage ahead, it's hard to get off (eww).
In any case, I had a bunch of tests done and more bloodwork, and it turns out I'm actually in great shape outside of this reaction. I think the symptoms were worrying me so much that I actually had a panic attack. Thankfully, even though the side effects continue, I feel much more calm.
The ER doctor's advice was to "rest up and ride it out" and I think that's exactly what I needed to hear. And the funny thing is, I kind of knew that but didn't trust myself.
When things started spinning out, I would put my hand on my heart, slow my breathing and say "You're ok, just trust the process." But I just wasn't willing to do it. Honestly, it's been pretty scary, and I think it's ok to be scared, especially when you're reading all kinds of horror stories about adverse reactions, but there's a part of me that just doesn't trust myself when I know what's right and what isn't and I'm working on checking in and identifying what that's all about. Again, maintenance.
But it's more than that, it's investigation. Now this part, I like. Getting curious and uncovering things and really seeing the truth of what's there. It's something I keep circling back to and I feel like I'm getting closer to solving the case. But these things can take time, especially when the case was once cold.
On that note, I think I'm going to step away and listen to a true crime podcast, and I'll leave you with another favourite song from another favourite album. And it's not even Music Monday. Maybe I'll call it Facelift Friday. God, I love Layne Staley. His style in those pics is absolutely everything. Facelift shirt, sweet fanny pack, Docs, and that sweet smile. I love seeing his goofy side. He was the best.
Enjoy, dear readers. Take good care, and if you need to, rest up and ride it out.
Lately I've been sharing some of my favourite songs from favourite albums as "Music Mondays" on Twitter, in an effort to kick off the week with some good vibes. This week, I decided to share something from an absolutely perfect album which I've loved from the very first time I heard it back in the day, Ice Cube's Lethal Injection (1993). While my initial thought was to share "Really Doe," which is probably my favourite, I realized that there's a song on the album that means more to me: "Ghetto Bird." The reason it's so important to me is because it instantly makes me think of one of my favourite movies of all time, Menace II Society. Funny thing is, the song isn't even in the film.
Menace II Society features an aerial shot of Watts, paired with one of producer QD3's iconic pieces of music, "Ghetto Bird" (instrumental). The piece samples Ohio Players' "Funky Worm." This song has been sampled by literally hundreds of rappers, including N.W.A., Kris Kross, De La Soul, Beastie Boys and Kendrick Lamar. Basically, if you've listened to rap music at all, you've heard "Funky Worm." Of all the songs sampling Funky Worm that I've heard, I must say that "Ghetto Bird" is my favourite. Not only does it have the sickest beats, but also some of my favourite rap lyrics of all time. "All that night, I heard the bird circle/while I was eating fish and watching Urkle/She said I could sleep on the couch/by 2A.M. I was digging her out." I mean, come on! The story behind the song seems to be that QD3 was riding around South Central with Ice Cube, playing some of his beats, in hopes of producing a song for Cube's upcoming album. That car ride lead to a collaboration on "You Know How We Do It," "Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth, "Bop Gun (One Nation)" and, of course, "Ghetto Bird." To this day, I consider QD3's beat in that song to be one of the best of all time. It's the first that comes to mind when I think of West Coast rap. It also helps set the tone for Menace II Society.
Menace is an unrelenting tale of racism, poverty, drug addiction and violence that begins and ends with a literal bang. If you haven't seen this movie, you should probably watch it immediately (it's currently on Netflix in Canada). And you should probably stop reading as some spoilers lie ahead. I truly feel that the movie, while critically acclaimed, never really got the accolades it deserved. Funny, I feel the same way about Lethal Injection.
Menace does an incredible job of telling a tragic story with tremendous heart, without shying away from the brutality. It is raw, it is mean and it is heartbreaking as hell. The message that "being a black man in America isn't easy" is evident from the jump. Even though O-Dog kills the couple in the convenience store, you still feel for what he's going through. You're still on his side. At least I am. The first time I watched it on The Showcase Revue (Shout out to my fellow Canadian film geeks out there) I was devastated by the ending. I mean, of course. The character we're all pulling for dies in an all-out bloodbath. But what really took me aback was the fact that you realize the film's narrator is dead. It was a dead guy telling his story. As a young teen, I hadn't even considered the possibility that Caine would die, because, duh, he was telling the story. I was duped. But it was awesome. What a powerful way to get the message across. When he finally realizes he wants to live, it's too late.
On the topic of Caine, good God is Tyrin Turner ever outstanding in that role. A perfectly nuanced performance, from the sensitive emotional side to the tough guy G to the scared child that never got to grow up. Plus, that scene where he rolls up in his car with the freshly stolen rims and macks on that chick while "Computer Love" plays is the best. Interestingly enough, that cute, seemingly innocent scene is what ultimately leads to his demise. Every actor in this film deserves serious cred. Jada Pinkett as Ronnie, Larenz Tate as O-Dog, MC Eiht as A-Wax. The list goes on. All great. That's another thing I love. The film features two of my favourite rappers: MC Eiht and Too $hort. I suppose that this is the perfect segue into another favourite film that also features one of my favourite rappers.
It's near impossible to discuss Menace II Society without bringing up Boyz N The Hood. And I love that. Two outstanding films that deserve more praise than they will ever receive.
I believe that Boyz was made before the Rodney King beating/ L.A. Riots whereas Menace was made after. It makes a lot of sense if you watch these two films with that in mind. While both hit heavy on the same issues, there's something a little more edgy about Menace. I think it had to be. Not to take anything away from Boyz. There are some brutally violent scenes in that one, too, but there's a different vibe about it. I mean, it ends with the message "Increase the Peace" whereas the last line in Menace is "Now it's too late." Both films were directed by young black men in their early twenties. John Singleton was only 24 (and nominated for an Oscar) and the Hughes brothers were only 21. That's crazy when you think about it. To be that talented when you're that young?!
One of my favourite things about Boyz N The Hood is that it's Stand By Me in the hood. If you've ever met me, you're probably aware that Stand By Me is my favourite movie of all time. I have a feeling that John Singleton felt just as strongly about it. There are the obvious ways that Boyz gives a nod to Stand By Me, such as the scene on the railroad tracks followed by the dead body and the way that Doughboy (Ice Cube) fades away at the end, just as Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) does, but it goes beyond that. I would argue that not only is Doughboy the film's Chris Chambers, but also Gordie Lachance. Look at the relationship with his family; his mother puts his brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut) on a pedestal and constantly emphasizes the potential in him while knocking Doughboy down. It's really sad. In both cases, the "good son" dies. Well, in this case, Gordie (Doughboy) dies, too.
Ice Cube's portrayal of Doughboy hits all the notes for me. Truly impressive. But among the incredible actors and performances in this film, the standout has to be Cuba Gooding Jr. This is his best role. I feel like every scene with Tre and Furious Styles (one of the best character names ever) looks like an Oscar clip. I hate using the Academy Awards as an example, because I happen to think they're bullshit, but I think it gets the point across. If you're acting in a scene with Laurence (Larry) Fishburne and you're the standout, you pretty much hit it out of the park.
When it comes to Menace II Society and Boyz N The Hood, I don't necessarily believe that one is better than the other, but I think everyone who loves these films has a favourite. For me, I want to say it's a tie but I think it's Menace. By a nose. Both excellent films with great soundtracks, and both pack a punch in a short amount of time. I'm pretty sure both films are under an hour and a half. Brilliant storytelling. I highly recommend watching them as a double feature: Boyz followed by Menace.
Now I will leave you with what I think is one of the best songs ever written for a film, "Streiht Up Menace" by MC Eiht and Compton's Most Wanted. Yes, that's how it's spelled. I'm not sure why most people spell it wrong. Even in the YouTube video. It's a damn shame.
This Cavebitch is gonna keep listening to Lethal Injection and hope that it motivates me to get through this week with a smile and a booty shake. I hope it does the same for you.
The truth is not out there, it is in here.
Not necessarily inside of this crab (sorry, I've been spending lots of time scavenging around beaches) but most definitely inside. I'm not so sure what the truth of that first picture is, though I imagine a bird flew by right as I snapped the photo. I didn't see it when I took the picture, as the sun was blaring. I was just trying to capture that beautiful man standing atop the cliff, taking in the view.
Speaking of taking in views, as previously mentioned, I've been spending a great deal of time in nature. In turn, I've been spending less time on social media and on the internet in general. And let me tell you something, it is the best thing I have done for myself in a long time.
While I am grateful for platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where I can share pictures and thoughts and creative projects while interacting with likeminded people, I find that some interactions and things I see in general leave me feeling a bit drained. I'm so glad that I started paying attention to how I've been feeling, and not only noticing, but doing something about it. I now know that I was set up early on to be able to withstand a lot of discomfort, but that doesn't mean that I have to continue down that path. I can simply choose a different way. I can choose myself.
I stole that line from my therapist. She often tells me to consider where I'm giving myself away--where my energy is being spent. Thinking of emotional energy in terms of currency exchange is actually quite helpful because it makes you consider not only what you're giving, but what you're getting back. Your time is an investment, so invest wisely. On that note, I've never been good with money. This makes so much sense to me now. It's a form of self sabotage. It's a way of keeping you stuck. Thankfully, I now realize that "stuckness" isn't real--it's not even a real word--it's a state of mind. It can feel very real and be frustrating, but opening your eyes and taking responsibility puts the power into your own hands. Now I am taking responsibility and owning that power by making necessary changes.
It's funny what happens when you allow yourself to see things for what they really are. Part of my struggle in life is due to being a truth-seeker. Stole that one from my therapist, too. The problem with being a truth-seeker is not your desire for answers and thirst for knowledge, it's that it makes you a pretty good bullshit detector, and the world is full of bullshit. But it's also full of a lot of other things, too, and you begin to notice those things more when you start turning your attention inward. Other things start happening as well. Things come to the surface that were buried, sometimes long ago, and while that can be painful it's also healthy and can be freeing.
I think we are often unaware of the dead weight we carry around. Regrets from our past, worries about the future. Those heavy bags that we don't have to take with us at all. But I do believe that in order to put those bags down for good, we need to unpack them. Have a look inside, get curious about each item, and once you understand what's there you can just pack that shit back up and send it on a plane destined for some far away land that you don't ever have to visit, if you don't want to. I didn't steal that from my therapist, that's my analogy. It just works for me and hopefully it works for you, too.
Now I will leave you, as I often do, with a smile and a song. This song actually inspired me to write this post. I was sitting outside, listening to Devin Townsend and watching the birds in the front yard. I closed my eyes towards the end of the song and the lyrics really got to me. I've heard this song dozens of times, but this time it all felt different. May Devy's words sink in for you the way they did for me.
Take good care, everyone.
May you learn to live without fear
May you be at peace
May your beauty unfold before you
But I am home
I'm sitting on my porch in the scorching heat on this Friday afternoon, thinking about the Habs advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Last night, they beat the Golden Knights in overtime of game six to advance to the Cup final for the first time since 1993. I just smiled big time as I typed that. It feels unbelievable, yet at the same time I'm not surprised. This is a special team. Every now and then a team seems to hit another gear in the playoffs and becomes unstoppable. This year, it's the Habs. I'm beyond excited for these guys, especially Carey Price who has never made a trip to the finals. Being a diehard Canucks fan, I'm also very happy for Alex Burrows and Tyler Toffoli. The Canucks sure fucked up letting Toffoli go, but I'm glad they did, because he fits in nicely with the Habs and has been a key asset in their run this year. I look forward to Monday night when it all kicks off against the Islanders or the Lightning. Whatever the case, it's gonna be a great series. I pick the Habs in five, because they've already won in 4, 6 and 7.
Yesterday, right before the game, I had an online meeting with one of my students who's a Golden Knights fan. He showed up wearing his Golden Knights shirt and put on his Knights hat in front of me, giving me an antagonistic look. It was priceless. Price-less. I guess that's one of the reasons his team lost. In any case, it was cute to see the kid get all riled up, telling me that he hopes Montreal doesn't win. I laughed and wished him luck. I told him to enjoy the game no matter what happens, because it could be his team's last one this year. I wasn't really taking a jab, well not entirely, but rather reminding him to seize the moment and enjoy. In turn, I kind of reminded myself to do the same.
As I sit here listening to birds and kids playing baseball in the park, and the unfortunate boom of a nearby construction site, I feel good. It's hotter than the devil's dick out here, but I'm alright. I actually sat in the sun for a while today and did some reading. Ok, I only withstood the heat for about twenty minutes, but that's good for me. I don't tend to enjoy high temperatures and sometimes get physically sick from the sun, but I caught a few rays and even got some colour. And a slight burn. But that's to be expected when you're basically a vampire.
Lately I've been making an effort to get outside more, no matter what the weather. I used to avoid the heat at all costs, and while I still prefer the shade, I'm learning to be more adaptable. I stay hydrated and find enjoyment in the sounds and scenery. Sometimes I go on big nature adventures on hiking trails and in forests, and other times I just sit on the porch and read. I've been loving reading outside, and today on the porch I finished a book I recently found in a nearby free library.
Gross Misconduct tells the story of the life and death of former NHLer Brian "Spinner" Spencer. I knew a little about Spencer, but holy shit, you guys! This story is a wild one. Spencer's dad actually went down to a TV station with a gun because they weren't broadcasting his son's first NHL game. He went out in a hail of bullets when he refused to surrender to the police. Absolutely insane. I am still in shock from reading that. I've heard of crazy hockey parents, but holy Moses, that guys takes the cake. I really did feel for him when I read about it, though, because he was clearly a mess and just wanted to see his son play. What a sad, sad story. And Spencer himself was shot to death as well. Totally different situation, during a random robbery, but good God do I feel for that family.
Now back to nature
Here I am on my birthday, chilling at the sea in my happy place. It poured rain for most of the day, but it was absolute magic. There weren't many people around so you could go to the beach and pretty much have the whole space to yourself. I can lose myself (or find myself) for hours just staring at the hundreds of tiny crabs and other sea creatures mucking about in the tidepools and on the rocks. I think I sat in one spot, on a rock, for an hour straight just observing. It was so peaceful. I always feel good getting out of the city and into a natural space. The feeling seems to last for days. I'm more calm and content and less reactive, and I've noticed that the more time I spend in nature, the better I seem to be at my balancing poses in yoga. It's like nature literally keeps you in balance.
I've pretty much spent the whole day outside today, which is awesome. The fresh air, though sauna-like at times, has been nurturing. At this point, I think I'm just about ready to head inside, order food and watch the game. It'll be interesting to find out who the Habs face off against next.
Whether I decide to drink this dented can of Halloween beer I found at the back of my fridge or something else, I cheers to you, my friends! I hope everyone stays cool and has a wonderful weekend. And of course I will leave you with a song. One of my favourite summer jams. I will never understand the hate it gets. The lyrics perfectly capture that feeling of summertime in your youth. School crushes, summer gatherings. It's a special song. Sit back, relax, have a listen and take good care. Until next time...
GO HABS GO!
I always laugh when Dan Zupansky, host of True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers in True Crime History, mentions the discount code for his sponsors. "Enter code 'Murder' at checkout to save 15% on your first order from FabFitFun! Now, let's get back to the discovery of the third body."
Dan is the best of the best, in my opinion. He's a journalist and author who interviews his peers as well as those in law enforcement. True Murder has introduced me to some fascinating and terrifying cases. I've been listening to the podcast for years and cannot get enough. It's certainly no-frills unlike many others out there, but that's why I enjoy it. I don't really like crime podcasts where the hosts are super loud and excitable and have constant side conversations, yucking it up about unrelated nonsense. I know a lot of people like that kind of thing, but I don't like a lot of people.
Lately I've been engaging with a lot of true crime. Like, more than usual. Maybe a bit too much, as it's seeping into my thoughts more than I'd like it to. But I will say this, it doesn't hurt to be hyper aware of your surroundings. I was out for a walk recently and some guy was acting a bit off, so I kept my distance. His eyes darted around, looking at me then back at the ground. He picked up a stick, attempted to hide it in his hand, then crept behind a hedge around the corner. I could see his feet so I knew he was there. Rather than rounding the corner, I crossed to the other side of the street. I saw him anxiously pacing and glancing back in my direction. I wrote it off as just another weirdo but I'm glad I was so aware, because less than a week later a guy was arrested in that same area for threatening a woman with a knife. But get this, the same guy was previously arrested for attacking a man...with a stick! My guess is that it's the same guy I saw, but who knows. Lots of weirdos out there.
Maybe sitting inside on a beautiful day watching true crime is better than being out in the wild experiencing it. Having said that, I haven't stopped going for my walks. I'll always find time to be out in nature, but I have been extra cautious. As for what I've been watching, I won't bore you with a ranking list or anything, but there have been some standouts.
Cute couple, hey? Too bad orange jumpsuit butchered the beauty in the black dress, while she was carrying his baby, no less. A couple months ago I watched the A&E series The Murder of Laci Peterson. I'm not sure why I continue to revisit cases I'm so familiar with, but sometimes I just get hooked. There's something about Laci's murder that always drags me in. The series was fairly well done and attempts to show both sides of the argument in terms of Scott Peterson's presumed guilt, which I appreciate, even though of course he's guilty. But they left out some key details.
The series mentions that over the course of five years, seven pregnant women went missing in the area and one, Evelyn Hernandez, turned up murdered six months before Laci was discovered. Rumours began circulating about the possibility of a serial killer or a satanic cult targeting pregnant women. People sure love blaming Satan. Scott's family and many others believe that Laci and these other women were likely killed by the same person or persons, but by pulling your head out of your ass for a brief moment and doing a quick Google search, it becomes quite clear that that was not the case. It seems that some of these "missing women" simply never existed, and the ones who did were found alive and well. Also, it turns out that Evelyn Hernandez had a boyfriend who happened to be married. Apparently he didn't want her to have his child. His wife, who knew about the affair, provided a solid yet suspicious alibi. It sounds like they wanted her to disappear. Unfortunately, her son disappeared with her as well and was never found. Interesting that the Hernandez case never garnered the attention the Peterson case did. For more on that, read "A Tale of Two Killings."
That brings me to another case that's been heavy on my noggin (Shout out to Bailey Sarian). Jermain Charlo, a 23-year-old indigenous woman, went missing in Missoula, Montana in 2018 and has yet to be found. I can't stop thinking about it.
I don't typically like getting too immersed in unsolved cases, because it can feel pretty hopeless and depressing, but there's also that little fire that ignites when you begin to piece things together. I highly recommend you check out Stolen: The Search for Jermain on Spotify. I am hooked, but it also makes my heart sink. The epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls weighs heavy. As a British Columbian, you grow up hearing stories about the notorious "Highway of Tears." If you're not familiar, I recommend looking it up, but be warned that it is horrific and heartbreaking. Jermain's story is more of an isolated incident and it becomes pretty clear who's responsible, but the fact that the case remains unsolved makes me think of all the others. It's important to make sure that those stories are heard and that the women and girls are not forgotten. That's why I'm especially drawn to Stolen. It's hosted by brilliant Cree journalist, Connie Walker, who interviews locals in Missoula, including family, friends and the police to try and get answers about what happened to Jermain. Unfortunately the first season just wrapped up, but I anticipate that there will be another. Connie also hosts some other incredible podcasts, including Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo. That one is definitely worth a listen as well.
Between my weekly fixes of Stolen and Bailey Sarian's "Murder, Mystery and Makeup Mondays" on YouTube, I've been watching tons of other stuff. Lots of Cold Case Files and Unsolved Mysteries and so many documentaries. At this point, if it's out there I've seen it.
Most recently I enjoyed watching Netflix's docuseries The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness. I never tire of Son of Sam, and I love that this is Maury Terry's story. Terry was an acclaimed investigative journalist who became obsessed with the Son of Sam murders to the point where it wrecked him. Definitely worth checking out. Plus, Paul Giamatti is the voice of Terry.
A couple more standouts in recent memory are Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer and The Ripper (my personal favourite), both from Netflix. Man, Netflix is killing it (hah) with true crime docs. Honestly, some of the best I've seen. Another Netflix series I was quite taken with is Unabomber: In His Own Words. I don't feel like Ted Kaczynski is considered as heinous a killer as, say, Bundy. It may be because of the nature of the crimes, but make no mistake, the guy is scary as hell. Ooh, both named Ted! I've never really thought of that before. And both quite clever and articulate. Anyway, I'm so glad that this documentary is bringing attention to the absolutely terrifying side of Kaczynski. Plus, I love all the footage in this series. Great stuff. Sometimes I forget that Kaczynski looked like wilderness Charles Manson when he was arrested.
Do you guys remember when the Unabomber was insanely popular? I recall constantly hearing people talking about him and making jokes. I think I was pretty obsessed for a while. In high school, there was a kid who sent in a bomb threat and we started calling him the Unabomber. I think I even got him to sign my yearbook as the Unabomber. I don't think the kid looked like the composite sketches or anything, but didn't we all know someone who did?
Other than bingeing true crime documentaries, I've been obsessing over some other cases, primarily the Delphi Murders, an unsolved case of two young teen girls who were murdered while on a hike together. It's a fascinating case, because they have never released the details about how they were murdered, and also because the girls took pictures and had audio recordings of a man they encountered seemingly right before they were killed. A man's voice can be heard saying "guys...down the hill" on one of the recordings. It's so scary. There's a new documentary out called Down The Hill that covers the case. I first came across the Delphi Murders on an episode of True Crime Garage, and haven't stopped thinking about it since. News just broke that there might finally be a lead after four years. There's a possible suspect in custody who was arrested for another violent crime against a minor. A nine year old girl. Thankfully she survived. Let's hope they've got the guy they're looking for. I don't like to believe that there are too many sickos of that nature roaming around, but fuck, who knows.
Alright, I think that'll wrap things up. I actually wrote most of this a couple weeks ago, but lost interest. So here I am now, doing some editing and watching the Oilers/Jets in OT. That's right, my true crime spree has been interrupted by the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Canucks didn't make it this year so I'll be cheering on the Habs exclusively. I just had to add "Habs" to the dictionary. This program is not very Canadian.
Now I will leave you with my Saku Koivu bobblehead, who answered my question of whether the Habs would knock off the Leafs, and a book I came across on my walk today that seems fitting. And of course I will leave you with a song that also seems fitting, as I'm feeling a bit murdered out.
Stay safe out there, friends, and make good choices!
Nobody cares for me, nobody.
Man, you guys, the past couple weeks have been rough. Depression is kicking my ass and I've been feeling pretty hopeless. Thankfully, somebody does care for me. My roomie, James, who was trying to console me suggested I try listening to music (something I seem to forget to do when I'm down in it). He said to think of a song that used to comfort me in childhood. The first song that came to mind was, you guessed it, David Lee Roth's "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody." As soon as I thought of it I laughed, because I remember feeling like I could relate to it so much as a kid. Just a little gigolo. Then I remembered more of the chorus and felt sad.
I'm so sad and lonely...
Won't some sweet mama come and take a chance with me, 'cause I ain't so bad.
Ok, that part is funny.
Anyway, I went for a walk, played that song a few times and before long found myself on a Van Halen kick. Van Halen holds a special place in my heart because they were one of my first favourite bands, and also Eddie Van Halen was quite possibly my first crush. Sadly, we lost him last Fall. I remember being a wee one and discovering that Valerie Bertinelli was married to him. I hated her instantly. For some reason, when you're a kid you believe that you actually have a chance with your celebrity crushes. Even when they're like 25 years older than you.
As I continued on my walk, I put on what's probably my favourite Van Halen song, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." Man, what an opening riff. It's so badass. The whole energy of that song is fucking cool. It really is a perfect rock song. One of my past long term relationships started due to bonding over that song. So after that gem, I put on another fave: "Jump" with the "1984" intro, of course. My vinyl copy of that album is one of my prized possessions. To me, that record represents everything that ruled about the 80s. I just recalled a time when I was with some friends in a casino parking lot and "Jump" started playing. Each of us took turns running and jumping off a concrete block, doing our best David Lee Roth impression. Next up was "Panama." Another perfect rock song. It's sure hard to skip a song on 1984. That whole album makes me want to get wasted and dance with girls. After listening to "Top Jimmy," another good one, I decided to switch things up and throw on some Van Hagar, circa 5150. That's right, I said it. I love Sammy Hagar.
Some buddies were having a Van Hagar discussion on Twitter and I had to jump in and show some love. I love Sammy's whole vibe and happen to adore his voice. His style is so different from David Lee Roth's and I kind of love that. Plus, those ballads. SIGH. The topic of Van Hagar sure brings people out of the woodwork. It's funny how heated it always seems to get. I, for one, like them both but I also lean towards Paul Di'Anno in Maiden and Ronnie James Dio in Sabbath so I'm no stranger to feeling like an outsider in these matters. I actually happen to love Dickinson and Ozzy, but my ears do not deceive me. It's actually fun to see how passionate people are about their favourite singers and musicians. That conversation kind of brightened my day, to be honest.
Now I will leave you with another favourite Eddie (above). My bother had this Iron Maiden Killers flag in his room when I was a kid and I used to sneak and peek at it from a distance because it scared the shit out of me. One day he said, "You know, Kenna, Eddie eats children." I will never forget that.
I think that listening to and writing about music I love just lifted my mood a bit. It's either that or the edibles. Whatever the case, I'm going to enjoy this ridiculous video and probably listen to some more music.
Take care out there, and go listen to something that makes you feel good.
It's Free Library Friday once again, folks! I've been creating these posts every Friday on social media for a while now, where I share a book or two that I found at one of my neighbourhood free libraries. This one was originally published in June of 1960, and boy is that cover dreamy! This post is actually not about this book at all, but the cover seems fitting. This post is about a book that was published almost 6 years ago that I was just made aware of, and it features a chapter about me.
It was written by a guy that I had a casual thing with roughly 15 years ago. He wrote this book about 100 of the women he's slept with, and the book divulges graphic descriptions of his escapades, including specifics about body parts and performance. I wasn't sure if I made the cut, until I was. The chapter heading was a dead giveaway, and anyone who knew us would know that this chapter is about me.
So I tossed the question out to Twitter yesterday: do I read it? The replies were mixed, which is exactly how I feel. Am I curious? Hell yes. Do I need to know what this guy thought of me and my body? Hell no.
The past is the past. I was a 25 year old kid who was going through a transitional time in my life, and I was trying to figure out who I was. So, the fact is that this guy didn't even know me then because I didn't know myself. What I do know is that I think I enjoyed our time together, from what I remember, and I don't think we had a falling out or anything. Things just went away. Clearly for him, that was not the case.
Things must have weighed heavy on his mind in order to include me in this book, which from what I understand is supposed to read more as an apology to the women he has hurt over the years. But when the chapters are titled "Shovel Face," "Dirt Bag Filth Trap" and "Fat Chicks Love Anal," to name a few, you do start to question the motives. The title of my chapter is nowhere near as vulgar, but who knows what the content is. I mean, we fucked. That's when you're at your most vulnerable, right?
While my curiosity almost got the best of me and I considered having a trusted friend read my chapter just to let me know how bad it is, I ultimately decided against it. Because who really cares whether this guy thought my vagina was garbage or gold. It really doesn't say anything about me.
There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to resist reading something like that, but that wasn't the real me. That was a young woman who was self-conscious and scared, who deeply wanted to be liked and cared what others thought about her, despite the tough exterior. The thing about that young woman is, I love her. I really do. She wasn't able to love herself then and neither was anyone else, but that's ok. I've learned in recent years that how others feel about you is not important in the least. An opinion is just words strung together in thought. They are not fact. Even the opinion you have of yourself isn't the truth. But right now I can safely say that I'm feeling pretty good. I'm proud of myself and the woman I've become. And, you know what? My vagina is gold.
I just got a notification that my website was about to renew so I thought I should probably start writing again. I mean, I'm paying for this thing. I actually wrote a post in December and in January, but decided not to publish. I was really depressed and I guess I just didn't feel like sharing. It's hard to find motivation when you're in that dark of a place.
I've been listening to some inspiring podcasts lately in an effort to turn things around, and they all seem to point towards this idea of going into the light in times of darkness. Seems obvious, I suppose. So I started thinking about this idea, and naturally, Poltergeist came to mind. Then I thought what if you're not supposed to go into the light? What if something evil is actually lurking in there? Or what if it's perfectly ok to remain in darkness? I think that last part is actually true.
We're all afraid of the dark. If you say that you're not, you're probably lying. It's ok, I get it. There's something childish about that fear, and I'm not even sure why that is. I guess what it really comes down to is fear of the unknown. When we can't see, when we don't know what's there, it's scary. But the thing is, when you flick the switch and everything turns bright, it's the same thing as it was before. Everything is the same. The only thing that changes is perception. One moment you don't see the killer standing over your bed, and the next moment you do, but the killer was there the whole time. You see?
On that note, look at these pretty candles I made!
Candle making accidentally became a passion very recently. Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter are already aware of this. It all started with me falling in love with these candles I purchased on Etsy from Wild Blackthorn. She makes beautiful magical candles, potions and jewelry and her candles make me feel happy and calm. I wanted to recreate that feeling and pass it on to others, so I started buying supplies and experimenting. I honestly cannot tell you the last time something made me feel this good. I just love the process of making them. I could do it all day and never grow tired. I'm not sure what it is, but it excites me. Plus, I've been able to incorporate spell work into it by adding plants, herbs, essential oils, crystals and intentions. I don't know what happened, you guys, but I have to keep doing it. It's bringing me joy, and I hope that joy transfers to those who light them. People have asked whether or not I'll be selling them, and the answer is...yes! I'm currently working on a business plan which includes another creative outlet that I've been passionate about for pretty much my whole life, and I will be sure to keep you guys updated. In the meantime, if you're interested in purchasing any candles, please message me on Instagram or Twitter and I would be happy to hook you up!
So I guess I've been literally bringing the light in with these candles, and that whole bit about sitting in darkness was a sham. But, come on, don't you feel more at ease in the dark with a candle lit? I know I do. Plus, hot candle wax would make an excellent weapon if you do encounter a killer at your bedside.
Now I will leave you with a smile and a song, as I often do. I don't know about you, but this one seems so fitting right now. Enjoy, dear friends, and take good care.
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.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!