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Buy and Sell

Charles stress-shops, but I tend to shop when I feel good. Or when I feel like I have more money than usual. Combination of both, this month.

I decided I wanted to get a few new BPAL Imps (sample vials from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab), so I scoured ebay for deals. This led to seven separate purchases of both imps and full bottles. I now have almost 60 imps and 3 bottles. Hoping to make a holding case for them this weekend.

(for anyone who cares about the categories: Yule, Pretty Deadly, Lilith (Fatherhood), Mad Tea Party, Wanderlust, Halloween, Bewitching Brews, Metamorphosis, 1-each of 13 other categories, and the bottles: Haunted Palace, Bruised Violet Compound, and Snake Oil)

Tim took me to a hidden-gem bookstore on a little side-street downtown early last week. I'd have never known anything was there if he hadn't shown me. The bookstore's closing, either permanently, or due to a location change, so everything's marked way down. We scoured the history section for a book for Brian (for his birthday the next day), and then we went scouring for books for ourselves, too. At about $2 a book, Tim generously paid for my heap, too.

Margaret Ogilvy, by JM Barrie. Chevalier de maison rouge, etc, by Alexander Dumas. Seven Nights, by Jorge Luis Borges. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (67 short stories!!). If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino. La Voie du Silence (a random French book I got because it's in French, and it turns out to be a yoga book).

And I had a table at the gothic garage sale. It was like pulling teeth to get in proper communication with the show-runner - Meagan and I just needed confirmation for our spots, which we requested be next to each other downstairs. He got in contact with Meagan fine, it seemed, but thought I was talking about a different Meagan (I used her full name in the emails, so there should be no confusion). We got situated fine, got a good spot together, and then he treats us like assholes, thinking we were supposed to booth together when we made it completely clear in all the emails that we are buying two spots, one for each of us). I get that it's hard to organize events like this, but even I could have managed better than he did.

I did like the downstairs much better than the upstairs. I'm usually posted upstairs in the dark. We got a spot by the window, right in front of the bar. Meagan sold her jewelry and some garage sale items. I sold my jewelry, some new items (heart mirrors, no pics yet), and my sushi book. It was great. I made about $80, most of which got spent on the surrounding booths.

Score: new purse, fawn blood painting (not menstrual), Hello There Hideous Ickis shirt, Rochester Flower City patch, Fry pin, Nosferatu pin, Oblina toy, BPAL imp and perfume vial, and a leather Ouija hair clip.

Weekend in Toronto

I forgot to report on my annual weekend in Toronto. Charles and I go up more than once a year, but this is the only time we schedule every year, to attend TCAF - Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

On the way there, we finally, after many years of passing by, decided to stop at IKEA - our first experience with the Swedish Super Store. Charles was blown away by the prices, because he thought they were all posh, upscale, and expensive, while I was blown away by the sheer volume of awesome shit. We picked up a few totally random items, and spent two hours perusing the showrooms before finishing the journey to Toronto.

We checked into the hotel and then drove over to our usual first-night haunt Sneaky Dee's for dinner. Charles threw a childish fit because we didn't get a booth seat, and I yelled at him for a good 10 minutes about that. The plates of food there are gigantic, and I felt stuffed when we left.

I didn't get a photo of my haul at TCAF, but I have a few pictures and links. My first order of business was to get upstairs to where the more popular artists booth (not totally true, one of the most popular artists was downstairs among the small-press last year). I came for Nicholas Gurewich (of The PBF), Jeph Jacques (of Questionable Content), and just to see who else might be housed up around the Topatoco tables.

Neither Jeph or Nick were around, for HOURS.

Isn't it silly? Nick lives around the corner from me, and the only time I get to see him is on a chance encounter at Java's or the Dryden, and at TCAF. I did get to see him the next day, and got a print from him for free (the Rochester Friends discount - and my friend Robin got the Friend of Fawn discount).

At least Jeph had scheduled time to be around, and tweeted where he was (his last tweet before getting upstairs was that he was caught in the line to the stairs - I can't believe the line for the stairs was so ferocious, when usually, there's a line for the room upstairs. I got stuck on the stairs at the beginning of the day.

When I got my chance to see him, I asked if he was doing sketches - Indeed he was! I said I couldn't decide; Last year, I got Clinton, and this year I was going to ask for his sister Claire, but then we met Barry, and I felt torn. He drew me both.

After TCAF, I went over to The Only Cafe on Danforth to meet with Robin, Torontoist beer writer and Thirsty Wench. We chatted for a bit while she set up a beer-festival table to sell her new book The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, which I bought and had them sign, and then I went around to the other brewers' tables to sample their wares (my favourite being the Bourbon stout from the Great Lakes Brewery). I also finally got to give her a FreakAngels bag that I wanted her to have. Loved that bag, but it just wasn't working for me anymore, and I wanted to keep it in the Whitechapel family. She loved it!

Robin and her co-author Jordan

After 9 drinks, I quickly realized I should probably eat some food, and stumbled my way a few blocks to Robin's suggestion: Messini's - an authentic Greek restaurant, to try their Greek fries. In the states, feta cheese is almost pure salt, so I was so so pleasantly surprised by the food here. The fries were amazing, the feta was creamy and sweet, and they had octopus tentacles.

Robin and I met up at TCAF the next day and we got to talk more. She gave me a Sawdust City stout (Skinny Dippin' Oatmeal Stout), which sadly didn't live up to my taste, but still wasn't bad. We each picked up a copy of Beyond, a scifi/fantasy queer anthology, and I got a couple of autographs in my Food Porn anthology I'd picked up the day before (the selling point: there are recipes).

When we parted with Robin for the last time, we went around to some usual spots around town: Black Bull for food, and the Kensington Market, briefly. I even got to put up some bunny fliers.

Then home, which almost didn't happen, because the Gardiner expressway was closed for maintenance til the next day, and we had a really hard time finding an alternate route to the QEW.

Here's a few of the #rattycompanion pictures I took during the trip


I haven't been to a concert on a weekday in a long time, but last Thursday, I caught Anamanaguchi (the band responsible for a good chunk of the score to the Scott Pilgrim film, as well as the entire corresponding video game). I thought they were chiefly a simple chiptune band with some rockin' undertones. While they do have synthesized music in the background, their core is live instruments! I was pleasantly surprised. The audience were a mix of nerds and hipsters, and I not only felt like one of the oldest people there, but also felt like the only girl who wore glasses with which I actually needed to be able to see.

The band was fantastic. Really talented, and really lively music. The only weird part was when the lead guitarist would occasionally 'talk' to the audience, in a premeditated quirky manner, like a 4-year-old talking to a girl he likes for the first time (he had no problem speaking like a standard adult after the show).

Then moshing started. I definitely did not expect a mosh pit to suddenly be slamming into the back of me. I would have worn contacts if I knew it was that kind of show. There was a little kid in the front row - maybe 8 years old, and his dad had his arms caged around both sides of him, up against the stage, successfully protecting him from flying bodies, me included, when someone slammed into me and I lost my footing. Another girl stood next to me, and she wasn't having it either. We both turned around and stood with fists at the ready, while also bounce-dancing to the music, looking like a fighting game character.

For the last song, they released giant glowing beach-balls for the audience to fling around. Seemed like a great idea, until the balls started knocking out tiles from the ceiling, and knocking over equipment on stage (which didn't actually faze the band). One of the balls knocked off my glasses, but the thing about Rochester mosh pits and rowdy concerts that I love is if there's anyone visibly in trouble (say, someone falls in the pit, or someone loses their glasses, the whole crowd around will stop being rowdy for a minute and help the person in need. My glasses managed to fly about 6 feet away, and someone from that distance brought them back for me within minutes. I got them back on just in time to see some kid crowd-surfing, feet-first toward my face and managed to get out of the way.

Overall, the show was fun, even if I felt a bit out of place in the audience, and I would see them again. Without glasses.

ten more photosCollapse )

I Had Two First Kisses

I'm self-destructive.  When something upsetting happens to me, I end up destroying myself, be it eating my feelings, sleeping around, or throwing away anything creative I spent months working on.  I won't get into the unmentionably horrid things thrust upon me as a child.  I'm skipping ahead to a certain kiss.

My first job had me working at KB Toys at the mall for the fall and winter.  At that age, I was required to take a 15-minute break, so I roamed the mall, usually making my way to Hot Topic, where I got my first taste of the Goth culture (back when Hot Topic primarily sold goth & punk couture).  I met Jeremy, one of the managers, this way.

After a few flirtatious weeks, he asked my age.  "16," I replied.
"Oh," he said.
 "And you?"
Disappointment all around - our age gap was far too wide to pursue anything, and we stopped flirting after that.  He ended up falling for my sister, too, who got a job at his store.  She pulled strings to get work at 15, and boy, was he upset when he found out her age.  She looks much older.

Skip ahead to a New Year's Eve party that same year, now 17.  Teenagers are all raunchy jokes and innuendos, and of course, I joined in, even though I had no idea what I was talking about, just following suit.  Good times!

But being all talk gets you into trouble sometimes.  Somehow, I'd innuendo'd my way into getting this gross guy to start makin' eyes at me, all half-open and droopy - the "I'm trying to look sultry, but just look boozy" look that so many of us have tried to pull off for a camera, especially wasted.  But we weren't drunk!  We were all goody-two-shoes teenagers.  We were all all talk!

So this guy asked me to go outside with him and I had no idea what he wanted to talk about, and it turned out he didn't want to talk at all, because the next thing I knew, he'd planted his sopping wet mouth all over mine.  I felt nauseated and violated, and everyone saw us from the window, and knew I couldn't just erase the moment.

And I'd never dated anyone for real, and I felt pressured to become a "couple" by the whole party.  And I felt angry, so I kissed him again and again, punishing myself with every peck, for letting this happen to myself, feeling infested by the drool of this mouth-breather.  And over the weekend, I hatched a plan to not be his girlfriend anymore in three days.  It only took two.

I made up elaborate stories about all these boys I hang out with on a regular basis.  That's why I could never go and do things with him at any of the times he suggested. "Oh man, I fell asleep over at [guy]'s house last night, and that's why I'm wearing the same outfit as yesterday."  But of course, I said we were just friends.

I let jealousy do the rest, and by Wednesday, I could put it all behind me and move on.  Thankfully, everyone forgot about it, as people tend to do in their teens.  Hell, I don't even remember the kid's name.

Now back to the mall job, nearly a year later, a few weeks shy of my 18th birthday.  I'd since switched jobs to what became my longest-running and all-time favourite retail job, working at Walden Books.  This bookstore changed my life.  I wouldn't be who I am now if it weren't for the people I met working there.  But that's another story.

Jeremy no longer worked at Hot Topic, but a very cute boy named Charles did (for those who know me, this is not the same Charles I'm with now).  And that's a story for another time, too.  Jeremy moved to Buffalo, I'd heard.  He worked as a manager at another store in another mall, and occasionally needed to visit the branch here.  Cue the walk-in.

We had a sweet exchange before he asked me to go for a quick walk with him.  I looked to my co-worker Bill, and he waved me on.  We talked for a little bit before he sweetly asked me if he could kiss me.  I said yes with a blush.

It was perfect.  And the entire world melted away.

Skip to a week and some lovey-dovey long-distance calls later, and he's asked me to move to Buffalo to be with him!  "Come again?"  Does he really think a teenager is going to drop everything to move out to Buffalo and live with him after only one week of some calls?  I uncomfortably admitted that I have no experience in dating or sex and am not ready for such a big leap.

Then he took a leap - DOWN MY THROAT.  "What kind of guy do you think I am?!"  I said he's probably like any other guy pushing 40 and asking a teenage girl to move in with him after just one week.  I'm not that naiive, and I won't be pressured into things like this anymore.  And that's the last I heard of him, except seeing his psychotic rants on LiveJournal.  Dodged that bullet.

I managed to keep my composure this time.  I didn't go off to self-destruct.  I actually felt proud.  I stood up for myself.  And I never regretted that kiss.  Because that's what I always wanted for my first kiss.

Poops and Roses: Once Upon A Time edition

Once Upon a Time is one of my favourite popcorn shows.  It may be dumb at times, but for me, it always delivers.   It's diverse, and tackles a lot of touchy socio-evolutionary subjects (two moms, racial diversity (though the main cast is pretty white), LGBT, women with agency, not needing a man, etc).  And very importantly, they don't refrigerate their women and they don't (so far) bury their gays.  Even though 90% of the stories all strive for the same goal (their happy ending / true love - this is a fairytale show, after all), the journeys are really pretty complex, once it gets going.  Season 1 is a poor example of the show's potential, by the way, but it's kinda crutial.

Trying to avoid major spoilers, but some may slip, so skip if you care.

My favourite part of the show was when Regina, the [former] evil queen made herself barren just to spite her mother, and to stand against the patriarchy that tends to rule royal days of old, and says, "I won't be a baby mill for you, mother!"  In the Today storyline, she does end up adopting a baby, which is to say, even if you do decide to sterilize, motherhood is still an option if you want a kid down the road.

My former favourite part of the show was the relationship between Belle and Rumple.  Belle started out as a smart cookie, and fell for her Beast while he was still 100% beast (The Dark One).  She spent a good portion of the show thereafter trying to tame the beast and mold Rumple into a better version of himself.  However, around season 4, the writers decided they don't care that much about these characters anymore, so Rumple is gonna start being a bastard behind Belle's back, while she's literally asleep - she spends most of her screentime in a whole season asleep to explain how she remains totally oblivious to his shenanigans.  Season 5 (and 6, so far) is spent with her constantly dumping him and running back to him.  Even going so far as to banish him from Storybrooke.

What pisses me off is that she fell for the beast, not the powerless man.  Rumple is both, and like he said recently, you can't have one without the other - they're both him.  And I'm not defending stockholme syndrome, because this version of Beauty and the Beast is far more complex, but he's right.  This season has been her straight-up trying to change him into someone he's not and doesn't want to be.  She's no longer trying to better him, she wants him completely changed.  She wants him to give up magic (until she can't break into her ex's locker and wants him to magic it open, a humbling moment which she still tries to weakly defend).  It's like falling in love with a [insert literally any occupation here] and then expecting him to quit after getting married.  It's annoying.  You fell in love with one of the biggest big-shot villains, dearie.  Hundreds of years old.  And you want him to change overnight?  Fuck you.


I've made half a dozen lists of things I want to accomplish by year's end, or by 1001 days, or whenever, but listing doesn't really work unless I break things down into more manageable chunks.  So from now on, I'm only listing projects month-by-month, with breakdowns.  I think it'll help.

Over on FB, in the Whitechapel community (formerly the FreakAngels forum for fans of Warren Ellis, Si Spurrier, and the like), there's a thread that's going on called "The New Scrum." Scrum relies on two things mainly, that small, tight group of goal focused players and the sprint. The sprint is the bit of the whole you've decided to bite right now.  DUE IN ONE WEEK.  You're meant to work on only that project for the week.

There's a million things I want to do, but I've decided to tackle only 2 - 4 per month, and alternate the sprints weekly.

This week, I've decided to work toward my goal of creating a podcast.

Ultimate Goal: Have a podcast prepared for submission by year's end (preferably, ready to submit to Radiotopia's PodQuest, if they do that yearly, otherwise, looking for another network to submit to).

Sprint: Write one new story.

*extra info for onlookers: The theme of my podcast is First Times, but I don't know what to call it, except just that.  I already have one story about my First Date.  I also hope to have guest spots.

I haven't decided on next week's goal yet.

Tuna Fish For Brains Day

One of the first times I hung out with Emily for a day, we entered a photo booth and split the photos between us. She wrote on the back of mine, something akin to: "When we were kids, we dreamed of meeting someone with tuna fish for brains. Today was that day!" So now that it's a rare occasion to hang out together, I call our outings "Tuna Fish For Brains Day" (or Tuna Fish Day for short).

Emily's the only person in the world I feel completely natural and happy to be around, as well as clever - our sense of humors match so perfectly. It's always been hard for me to make someone laugh, but we make each other laugh so much. It's great!

We're planning on hanging out again on Sunday, and maybe even doing something with my hair (green and black). So excited!

Art and Icons!

Just a couple more drawings I did over the weekend, and some icons. My icon count went up! I have no idea why or how, but hey, I took advantage of that and made (and/or resized & optimized) some new ones :)

First thing's first...


Somehow, I have two copies of each of these pieces on my desktop, so I have no idea if they're differently sized or whatever (upon clicking, if you want to see the original upload size, I mean).

First one's Duan, the female lead demon hunter from Stephen Chow's Journey to the West, followed by Kato, in front of a waterfall that looks more photographic than she does.

And a small handful of new icons:

Penny Dreadful

Life Is Strange

Louise (Bob's Burgers)

The Mermaid



Well, it looks like things are coming back around to shitville. To mix up the order of appearances a little, I'll start with the most recent.

Sister is posting grim things on her facebook again, which leads me to believe all the super fun planning we've been doing this week so far is going to go into the garbage before the day comes when we're supposed to hang out.

Brian is in gaol!! In Syracuse!!! I have a feeling he's in the psych ward of whatever gaol he's called me from, because he's talkative, responsive, and just overall sounds like he's back on medication. He was apparently chased from his apartment, through the neighbourhood, between houses, over fences, by white-coats. He got away and hopped a train in the train yard. Arrested in Syracuse. He'll be in for a week before he has to appear in court. He says they'll either let him go, or keep him for six months. I'm hoping they let him go on the condition that he take the damn meds he needs to function.

I did cry. As I've said before, every time I think I've gotten the hang of this shit, he pulls the rug from under me with something new. In some corner of my mind, I felt responsible, because I brought up train-hopping the last time we talked, something he forgot he could do. He also said he doesn't want to come back to Rochester, and asked me if I had any money so I could buy him a ticket to Cleveland. Sigh. I hope this is par for the course. Hopefully, I'll talk to someone after work today, though he did ask me not to tell anyone he's in gaol. I wish they'd caught him in Rochester.

Meags undermined me at work yesterday by taking a call I had just put on hold, without permission. I was pissed, but at least I was able to reprimand her in person about it, as I was called to work over at her campus. I'm fine about it, though. Moving on...

I buckled under the pressure of my boss asking me to help make her daughter's wedding cake in October. She called me last month to ask if I could make one and I declined, because, 1) she called me on a Saturday night, and I felt more pressured than I would were I asked in person, and 2) October is usually my busiest month, and 3) I retired from making cakes due to the anxiety and upset it causes me and was feeling that anxiety rushing back right then about the thought of making another elaborate cake!

But today, she came up to me in person, and asked if I could at least help her make one. I said I would as long as I didn't have to bake anything - I'm okay to do the frosting and fondant. Decorating's a little more cathartic than the build process. I'll never be looking forward to it, though. I'm dreading it.

Always forward, never back. I have to just keep pushing through. I'm determined to make gold out of shit. This will end well, I'm sure of it!