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[sticky post] Feb. 5th, 2018

Note: to give you an idea of the stuff I write about, I've left some entries unlocked. But comment to be added, you know the drill
(I might add you if you've commented to be added, but there's a reason I've locked this, and I've got to be on guard)

February Update

It's a little early for another monthly update (and I've been trying to get time to update for about a week now, so it was bound to be either early or earlier). February is crawling. It might be because so much crap is going down at work all the time (absences, short-staffed, broken systems, and needing to work late because of it all), or because Ch's father has been at death's door this whole month, or as I stated in an earlier post, a lot of calls and texts are just weighing me down for some reason.

After my last post, you might wonder (if you notice. If your layout lets you notice) why this entry is left unlocked. It's just because I hate having to lock my journal, and I feel like these generalized monthly updates where I tell you what I'm doing in basic list-y terms are something I can keep unlocked. For the occasional Friending Frenzy - I like to be able to see a sampling of what I'll be reading when I add people, and like to give the same courtesy (by the way, if there are any friending frenzies going on, please let me know!).

On with the list.



What I'm Reading
  • Something New, by Lucy Knisley - it's a little difficult to read more than a couple chapters at a time, not because it isn't good, but because it's hard to relate to (and it's a thick book, so it's a little difficult to hold properly while in bed without causing stress to my wrists).

  • Shiver, by Junji Ito - I've long admired Junji Ito's artwork, and finally purchased two of his books. This one is a book of short stories.

  • INFODUMP - I discovered Julian Simpson's blog through Warren Ellis's weekly newsletter where he linked this article: Five ways to instantly improve blah blah your productivity blah - a topic I generally fall for, and just enough sass to keep me hooked. I have since signed up for his newsletter.

  • Asian Efficiency - a blog site I learned about from INFODUMP that gives great advice on getting and keeping organized and using one's time efficiently. Already proven useful as hell over this past week and weekend.

    What I'm Reading Next
  • Uzumaki, by Junji Ito (the other book of his I bought). Added to the list from last month's blog, which sadly hasn't changed.

    What I'm Listening To
  • Ryan Flynn, who I saw while on a date at Boulder a few weeks ago. His music is very Moog-y (being that he used a Moog in his performance) and sort of like, spacey, electric dreams, with a touch of funk. I fell instantly in love with the sound and bought his CD - a home-pressed scratchy thing, but ripped to my iTunes flawlessly. The album I bought is Wild Life, which you can hear on his Bandcamp.

  • It Makes a Sound - I put off listening to this podcast after two episodes, but while catching up on chores on Saturday, decided to binge the rest of the season. It got surprisingly good, and had fun, beautiful music.

  • The Walk - which used to be an exercise app made by the folks who brought you Zombies, Run!, now runs as a podcast, and honestly, it's a lot better. There are no stops in the action and dialog, and you don't have to actively keep an eye on the app's map to play it (that really put a shitter on the exercise part, not to mention it didn't play music between clips).

    What I'm Watching
  • The Magicians - finally caught up!
  • Archer - not caught up
  • Black Mirror - tried last night, kinda over it.

    What I'm Playing
  • Submerged - holy shit, it's beautiful. A simple premise with a lovely and sad story.

    What I'm Doing
  • Trying to get organized. Spent the better part of last week remotely accessing my home computer from work so I could organize all my files, and finally finished Saturday afternoon.

  • Being there for Ch in his grief, as his father finally left us on Monday afternoon.

  • Getting minorly involved in a play - saw R perform in The Royal Family, and donated two items of jewelry to the show - a pair of earrings and a pendant, worn by the lead actress in the 3rd act. I do hope I get those back (might have done well to remind him last night, as I think it was the last performance). I saw it opening night, gave him the jewelry the next day, and then I saw it a second time a week later and she wasn't wearing the pendant (the chain broke just before the scene)! Just my luck.

  • Making music mixes! Just made a mix CD for R, and then made a Valentine's Day mix (love and lament songs) on Spotify, which you can hear here: [link]

  • Making a dent in my lists. This is part of me getting organized. I finally did things I'd been putting off for months. I registered to mychart (doctor-related), I scanned my prison friend's art, I finished (rushed) a copic marker piece, I cleaned the living room (holy crap, did I ever, and it's so nice), caught up on podcasts, and did my taxes (found out my second job didn't withhold federal, so I had to pay a bit - thanks, savings). Trying to set up an IDR with my student loans, but they keep pulling from my 2016 taxes instead of 2017 - might have to wait for them to be fully accepted.

  • Trying MyFitnessPal again - R has been tracking his meals with it, and it's really improved since I last attempted. R has been a good person I can chat with about my diet, and is really supportive of me :)


    What I'm Thinking
  • I don't think the Wellbutrin is good for me. It's been a month and I haven't felt anything. I've refilled my 'script because I've heard from multiple sources that a month isn't long enough to work it into my system. It sucks, because I've just noticed that I'm clumsier, more exhausted, and less focused. Not to mention, not feeling a ramped up metabolism, as listed in the side effects, and thus not losing any weight, except what I'm doing with my standard diet (still keto). I have an appointment with the doctor this week, and I'll discuss it with her then.

    General Update - January

    I need to make dumb updates like this around once a month. I haven't been up for blogging properly in a while. But I'm due for one. For now, here's some basics.




    What I'm Reading
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle - first time reading it since I was in 3rd grade, and it really holds up so far. I should have read it within a week, but I've been extremely distracted.

  • Something New, by Lucy Knisley - Her biggest graphic novel yet. Interesting read, despite how I've felt a little disconnected from her work lately.

  • Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami - because I always am. Always. I've been reading this for about 5 years now.

    What I'm Reading Next (in no particular order)

  • The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin - because I've never read any of her novels, only a small number of short stories. I have been meaning to pick up a book of hers, and I never know where to start (nor remember which titles have been suggested to me.

  • Easy Eats: A Bee and PuppyCat Cookbook, by Natasha Allegri - beautiful recipes

  • Adventure Time: The Official Cookbook, by Jordan Grosser - simple recipes

  • I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, by Harlan Ellison - short stories.

  • Catharsis, by Luz - suggested on Goodreads by pax_athena, so I must read it. Also the first of this year's French books I'm expecting to work through.

  • Ashrel: T1, by Valp - I made a friend on InstaGram last year who is a French comic book artist. I don't know if I can afford to catch up on all her work this year, but at least I've got this to start.


    What I'm Listening To

  • Steven Universe (Soundtrack Vol 1) - along with the single from the latest season.
  • Heart-Shaped Wound, by Aurelio Voltaire - which I forgot I didn't have, and had to order it
  • Year of the Ghost, by Bella Morte - Because they're always flawless friends.
  • Ministry (various albums) - to pep myself up for seeing them in April!

    What I'm Watching
  • Lucifer
  • Another Period (new season!)
  • Steven Universe (frequently binging while it's on hiatus again)
  • Fresh Off the Boat (just today started binging)
  • Ash vs the Evil Dead (just introduced to it this week)
  • Happy (more meh than I thought it'd be - best to binge)

    What I'm Playing
  • Typoman - stuck.
  • Little Nightmares - taking a break
  • Don't Starve Together - waaay too ridiculously hard.
  • Assemblance - casually going through it slowly.

    What I'm Doing

  • Studying eyes in various styles and poses in my sketchbook. Part of a challenge, but a whole month of drawing eyes? Ugh. I'm not loving it. No longer doing it every day.

  • Crocheting a Temperature Blanket!! - one row a day, colour-coded weather colours (ten degree increments). That's about ten or eleven different colours. I've used 6 colours this month alone. It's wild.

  • Drawing in marker and watercolour. First piece of the year is a drawing of my friend Tempest.

    What I'm Thinking

  • Thinking I need to make a will. I had a brief fear for my life when I found myself in the middle of an unnerving situation that could have turned violent, and had spent hours during it writing out my will and letters to friends, all in my head. I haven't done it yet. I haven't even talked about the incident with anyone outside the immediate vicinity of the situation. The situation has been diminished, but there's still the possibility things could go south. I don't even know where to start.

  • Enjoying a new lease on life (aside from the above situation). I shaved the sides of my head. I dyed my hair bright red (except the shaved bits, which I kept black). I have done things that I felt doubtful about, and without regret so far.

  • I've been doing adult things and taking care of some things. Got my first physician in over 15 years (at my first doctor appointment in over 10). Started on some medication that's supposed to help balance my moods, keep me focused, and up my metabolism (not feeling the metabolism, as I gained 5 lbs in a weekend, but maybe it takes more time). Have three referrals for different doctors (ObGyn, Opthalmologist, and Dermatologist). And took care of wrangling my student loans (for now).

    And I think that's it for this month.

    Hobbies

    Next week (except it was actually last week, because I started this entry over 2 weeks ago and forgot to continue it), I plan to pare down my expansive and room-hogging hobbies. My craft room is currently a massive and disastrous catch-all and it's stressing me out. My living room and bed room stressed me out all week and I finally got the opportunity to clean them, and ugh, so much better. I want this for everywhere.

    So... my hobbies. I don't really have a passion, but I have things I default to, and things that make me generally happy to do. Then there's a million other things I tried, liked, but never got back to.

    I'm mentally going through my craft room and thinking of which hobbies I love vs which hobbies I have time to get into. These requirements rarely have a crossover. I need to start making time for the hobbies I really like. And for the hobbies I want to like, the ones I want to have time for, I'm making time to get done what I wanted to get out of them. Sewing, for instance - everything I bought once had a specific purpose, but now they are just a pile of fabric. I want to go through these things, write down what they are and what project I bought them for, and if I still have interest in doing it, set it aside and make a plan to actually do it.

    Off the top of my head, there's drawing and painting, which is the most important hobby I have right now, and the one that I chiefly wish to hone. My fine art supplies are going to be hard to go through, because sometimes it just strikes my fancy to pick up an old medium, like pastels, and get to it, and I love it, but that fancy doesn't strike me more than once a year, max. I guess that's another thing I need to make time for.

    My jewelry stuff brings me no joy anymore, but brings me fame and fortune, figuratively speaking. It's the only thing that gives me a secondary source of income, on the occasion I make a sale through etsy or land a booth somewhere. I don't like it anymore, though. Steampunk has been a dying fad for a while now, and it's showing in my sales. I still make bank when I booth, and I like selling it, but I don't like setting up a table and I don't like making them (even though I do end up liking most of the designs I come up with - a task that gets harder and harder as the years go on and my interest wanes). But friends and family praise my creations, and I don't want to disappoint some of them.
    (edit: this weekend, I went through all my jewelry supplies and pared it down to only things that inspire me, and have it all in one carry-case. Even now, I feel I was too generous with my collection, and like everything else I'm cutting down, I'll have to give it a round-two soon)

    I took up knitting a long time ago, but I mostly did it to get my mind off my dad dying. I like to do it, still, but it's not too useful anymore. I would like to give this a second try, though, so hopefully, I can make time for it in the future. It feels weird, though, like I should be doing something else with my hands or something. It feels almost too indulgent, maybe. But there are some things in the yarn hobby that I think I can get rid of. Felting was cool to learn, but I think I'm over that. I bought a sock loom, and that just annoyed me, especially since the directions get a little confusing around building the heel, and took weeks just for one sock (I'm sure it wouldn't take so long if I had way more time to dedicate, but). Crocheting could be fun, but there was a project last year that really wrecked my ambition for it. I mean, I've got yarn for knitting, I may as well keep some crochet hooks. Embroidery and needlepoint is something I've always wanted to get into, but never got the chance, so I'm hoping next year will yield some time for that.

    Sculpting and woodwork are my anger management devices. I shan't be getting rid of too much there. In fact, I'd like to expand on that a little bit (though not so soon in the year - I'd like to hone my drawing and designing first). I'm afraid to go through or get rid of any of my SFX makeup, because I spent so much money on it, but I haven't had any time for it. I'm hoping this will be the year I can carve out some time to dedicate to it.

    This month, I'm going to get back into practicing the violin. As I stated in my Resolutions post, I felt the devastating blow of being ghosted by my former tutor, and also had an overbearing friend that combined, completely closed me off from my violin. This month, I'm going to start practicing again. Next month, I'm going to start the search for a new tutor.
    I want to stay on top of it, and I also want to keep some time to noodle around with my ukulele (another 4-string. Can't go back to a guitar after these instruments).

    The non-tangible hobbies I had in the past tend to cost money and/or require me to leave the house. I feel better home, or in a coffee shop, so I can probably give writing a casual go every year, since it costs nothing to keep up (however, I do reference old diaries and notes like crazy, which take up space in an annoying way - probably best I transfer such things to digital). Urban exploration is free-ish, super fun, but risky and no fun to do alone, and my usual explorer crew have abandoned the hobby for the most part. I wish I could love ice skating more, and I have a season pass, but when I took on more things last year, it hindered my ambition. Maybe I'll get back to it before my pass is up and see if I'm rekindled enough to go another year. Aerial arts, while awesome, is really costly, and the classes fill me with dread before each session, because it's rough, but really ended up yielding such little results. Sure, I could do class-specific things I couldn't do at the beginning of the term, but what use are these new muscles if I don't keep shelling out $75 per term? And what use are these outside class? I can get good use out of stretching and barre, but they are still expensive for things I can do home or at the gym.

    So this year will be the year of shirring my hobby storage, and not starting any new projects til I've finished old ones.

    Podcast List

    Ongoing list of podcasts I love, have loved, just like, or tried but couldn't get into.

    Feel free to drop some more suggestions in the comments. I'm up for anything, but may not like everything suggested.

    I like dramatization, story, and storytelling podcasts best.



    Current Love List

    Welcome to Night Vale
    Alice Isn't Dead
    Within the Wires
    The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air)
    The Truth
    Homecoming
    Learn Japanese Pod
    Spektrmodule
    Mortified



    Current Like List

    Nocturne
    Sawbones
    I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats
    It Makes a Sound
    The Adventures of Danny & Mike
    Here Be Monsters
    LightningBolt Theater of the Mind
    Everything Is Stories
    Arrivals




    Unsure if These Loves are Current or Dead
    (and technically dead, but still occasionally post something)

    The Thrilling Adventure Hour
    Getting on With James Urbaniak
    LifeAfter
    Thinking So You Don't Have To

    Dead Loves

    Dead Authors Podcast
    Riverdale Podcast
    The Chris Leavins Story Hour
    God Hates Fangs
    There's Something Out There




    Liked, But No Longer Subscribed
    (or just wasn't my cuppa tea)
    (or they posted too much, their casts were too long, or just needed to pare down my list)

    Conversations with People who Hate Me
    The Heart
    Lore
    The Allusionist
    The Black Tapes
    Tanis
    The Girl with the Makeup Tattoo
    The Moth
    Nickelodeon Animation Podcast
    Oh No Ross & Carrie
    Why Oh Why
    Risk
    Invisibilia
    Reply All
    Blackwell Podcast
    Strangeness in Space
    The Horror! Old Time Radio
    Pseudopod
    Nightmare Magazine
    Radio Diaries
    My Dad Wrote a Porno
    The Art of Manliness
    Still Buffering
    The NoSleep Podcast
    Radio Free Burrito
    Voice Acting Mastry
    The JV Club
    Spontanianation
    HP Podcraft
    Last Podcast on the Left
    This American Life
    That American Life



    Suggested but Not Tried Yet
    (or haven't given a proper chance yet)

    The Box
    King Falls AM
    MarsCorp
    The Bunker
    (or MarsCorp and The Bunker?)
    Star-Trek Radio
    Hidden Brain
    Sleep with Me
    Cognitive Dissonance
    Myths + Legends
    Theory of Everything
    Dead Pilots Society
    Waking Up with Sam Harris

    The Shing-ing.

    Brian and I had a lovely date for my birthday at The Red Fern, where I had tofu for the first time since cutting it out due to my estrogen dominance. We sat outside to enjoy the last nice day of the season. When I put my arm on the table, I felt pain. I lifted my sleeve and asked him if there's anything on my upper arm on the back of my elbow. He saw nothing. The burning sensation didn't falter, but grew, and after the date ended, I came home, took off the hoodie I hadn't work in a while (I figured I'd switch out the leather, as we dined at a vegan restaurant), and looked up the symptoms of burning skin. Among the myriad of terrifying causes, one was shingles, but I didn't think anything of it, as I had no rash.

    And then I saw it. On my lower shoulder, right above where a cartoon character would get a "mom" tattoo, several bumps that looked just like bedbug bites... except the pattern, though similar, seemed a bit off. I had 9 bumps in clusters of 3, closely set, in a row across my arm. Now, I know bedbugs like to snack in 3's. But they don't tend to be this close, nor do the clusters tend to be so close to each other. Since it was Brian's fault the last time I dealt with bedbugs (outside work), I made my assumptions, but since they didn't itch, and the hoodie hadn't been worn or washed in a very long time (mom suspected dust mites), I also allowed denial to keep that doubt in there. I sprayed my new couch anyway.

    Over the next few days, the skin around the bumps started to itch. The arm burned still, and the burning sensation spread over a lot more area. Then the bumps multiplied and turned to little blisters, and smaller clusters appeared on my armpit, my chest, and my spine (fuck you, spine dot - right where I can't reach, and you would be the only one that itches like a motherfucker). I knew for sure it was shingles. What. The. Fuck.

    The first to appear was the first to scab over with minimal itching. In retrospect, the back one could have been the first in general. It itched insanely for a week prior to this, and I kept asking Ch. if he could see anything there, but there was nothing. The armpit itched early on, too. I thought was an impending cyst formed because of a shitty underwire, which I usually have dealings with on the other arm, but have had cysts on the left, too. It was embarrassing to constantly be itching my armpit, but I couldn't see any signs of a cyst.

    The pain isn't as severe as the internet says it is ("worst pain I've ever felt," it says). It's a mild case, though, at least so far. I described it originally like getting a tattoo of a sunburn on a sunburn. The armpit felt like getting bee stings on a fresh tattoo of a sunburn. That hurt worse than the others, because it's in the armpit. Creases everywhere, and on a joint that gets a lot of use. The back hurts like a standard sunburn, and the chest just itches.

    Internet and humans alike all demanded I see a doctor, so it seemed like as good a time as any to finally find one. I haven't seen a doctor in a good 15 years outside emergencies. I was nervous, but knew it's the responsible thing to do. I called around, got a doctor, and made a first appointment for January 18th. Then asked if I could be seen any earlier for a situation I'm in. They suggested calling at 8am Monday morning, which worked for me, since I was about to be on my way to Toronto (where it hurt forever, and I didn't get to see my friends because of it). But hey, I got a doctor.

    On Monday (yesterday), I got a squeeze-in appointment with another doctor who made me wait a half hour. He came in while the nurse was taking my vitals, but she was just finishing up, and he disappeared for a long time. When I'd nearly given up hope, the door opened. Another nurse walked in with a needle (A NEEDLE!!!), asked me to verify my birthday, then asked if I'd ever had a bad reaction to the flu vaccine. I said I've never had it, and don't intend to have it (I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but I won't get a flu shot). She seemed baffled and asked if the doctor offered it to me first. I said I haven't even seen a doctor. She went to fetch him right away. Obviously, she had the wrong room, which made me nervous.

    The doctor finally came in, and his demeanor made me feel very uncomfortable (for experience-with-old-male-doctors reasons, not for totally valid reasons). He took one look at the shingles on my arm and said "we'll get back to that," and asked me if there's anything else I'm concerned about or want to talk/ask about. Ummmm.... what. This isn't a physical. You're not my full-time doctor. This appointment isn't some scheduled visit. It's one step removed from urgent care. I'm clearly here for only one reason. He asked twice more throughout the session. Each time, I pointed at my arm and said "just this." I don't know what he was fishing for, but it didn't help my nerves and discomfort.

    I left with a few suggestions. I chose the over-the-counter option of capsaicin cream, which turned into quite an experience. If you don't know, capsaicin is what makes hot peppers hot. The cream was cool upon application, which surprised me. I thought, oh, it must just not be good stuff. I felt it get intensely hot about 15 minutes later. It actually felt nice, like I was standing in front of a heater. It really helped stop the pain, and stop the itch, and I was so happy something was working. I reapplied the stuff a couple times throughout the night.

    That would be my 3am downfall. I woke up in searing hot pain, unable to touch anything to the skin because the heat needed to touch air, nothing else. I tried finding a position that would sate the fire, but at 3:30, I gave up and got out of bed. I looked at my skin in the mirror and it was ALL RED. My chest, my arm, my back, just beat red. I felt scared, but I stayed calm. Being up with the cool night air made it feel better, so I thought I'd try going back to bed again. Nope. Got up, decided to get an ice packet. After using it to sufficiently cool the front and arm, I set it on the mattress and got on my back, snugging it right on my spine. On my back, I could lay out my arm in a way that airs out the armpit and leaves the rest in the open air, too. Felt better in the morning, and in fact, all the blisters were flat, instead of raised bumps (though, they were still blisters, alas).

    Apparently, no one knows why shingles occurs, but they suspect it has something to do with stress or a lowered immune system. I don't feel unhealthy, but I did take a 2-week bender off my diet and downed a LOT of candy and junk food and carbs. I'm thinking maybe my body got stressed out by the sudden change in diet (for the worse).

    I'm so over this. And it can last anywhere between 2-6 weeks or longer??? I'm worried because I'm feeling burning on my leg now. Hoping it's nothing (I've experienced burning sensations a lot over the course of my adult life, so I don't usually think anything of it, but now I'll be constantly stressed).

    I handled one shower. Can I handle more? We'll see....

    Annual TCAF Report: DAY THREE

    I somehow managed to get enough rest between tossing and turning through the night to remain easily awake the whole of Sunday. Probably helped that I had three cups of coffee throughout the day, which doesn't usually help me, but maybe Canadian coffee is just better all around.

    First cup came with breakfast at my usual place: the Golden Diner - a little hole-in-the-wall in the midst of Tourist Town, Greek-run with packed breakfast specials. They've changed a lot since I first started coming, though, so it may be time to start looking for another place.

    After breakfast, Ch. wanted to experience TCAF a bit more, so he headed there and I took the subway to Queen for a little shopping.

    I should point out, aside from throwing my usual diet to the wind for this trip, I also stopped taking the subway through Toronto as much as I used to, so hotel-to-Queen was my first go the whole weekend. Mike showed me during Nuit Blanche that Toronto is a lot smaller than I thought, and most of it is really pretty walkable.

    First stop on the Queen shopping tour: Black Market. They had a $1 - $10 sale going on throughout the whole store, so I bought a bunch of little things, plus a nice leather jacket! It's a size too small, but I think if I install a zipper (it has buttons), it'll close. I'm really happy with it, and two of the patches I picked up at TCAF will go perfectly on it! I switched from my hoodie to the jacket in the entry way on the way out.

    Next stop: NYX to pick up some of their amazing Butter lipstick. It started raining, so I switched back to the hoodie so I could have my hood up. Thankfully, the rain didn't last long, and I ducked into the Dr. Martens store to check out some prices on a nice pair of classics. Too expensive for this trip.

    My end goal for the day was Kensington Market, at the end of China Town just off Spadina. I stopped in at a couple random spots on Spadina til I got to Kensington. I hit up Butterfly for my traditional purchase of a grab-bag, ducked in and out of some of the surrounding shops I like, and then explored some of the coffee places Robin and Mike suggested.

    Robin said she really likes Moonbean's coffee. The Devil's Brew. Mike said he likes their coffee better, but likes the working environment at Casa Cafe better. So I bought some beans from Moonbean and bought a small cup of coffee at Casa and sat outside at the super cute, but super tiny sitting space on their front deck. I did enjoy the working environment there better - the space was the perfect size for me to draw, but they also serve ice cream, so I had to endure the Mother's Day family crowd screaming for ice cream every few seconds. Really good coffee, though.

    When Ch. met up with me at Casa, we decided to go back to Moonbean, after I regaled that they do have more sitting space, but it's all chiefly indoors. It was a good decision all around. Though they don't have regular iced coffee (only Cold Brew, which is different), their coffee is pretty good, and their sitting spaces are so much more spacious - for a while, we were the only ones in their back sitting space. People mostly crowded the front and the back patio. It was a nice way to end the day.

    But then we endured the traffic of going over to Danforth and finding parking for Messini's - a Greek restaurant that blew us away last year. They were hidden by construction, and the wait for a table was long. I was kind of cranky by the time we got seated, but tried to lose the attitude. The Greek fries were awesome as usual. And I ordered what I got last time - grilled octopus - which didn't blow me away as I thought it would. Next time, we'll probably stick with Sneaky Dee's or Black Bull for our last Toronto meal.

    The ride home was pleasant, because we had to go out of the city for Messini's, so we got to see what going into Toronto from the north looked like. Just as breathtaking. We passed through Riverdale, which is all lush and green in contrast to the grey cityscape.

    The entrance to the Black Market


    crossposted from dreamwidth

    Annual TCAF Report: DAY TWO

    Ch. likes to close the heavy blinds on the windows so the hotel room will stay dark long after sunrise, which also makes me sleep in later than I like, being woken only by my bladder's call, which I put on hold to open the blinds and let some light help me wake up, which it does almost immediately. Like a cozy coffin, hotels. I'd never escape in the dark.

    I got dressed, ate my cold leftovers from Sneaky Dee's, and headed over to the Reference Library (where TCAF is held). And announced such on Facebook, so friends could join me.

    First booth got a huge bulk of my money. Queer and feminism always wins my money, and this year, the queer was a powerful force! It always is, but this year seemed more fierce than previous years, and I spent way more money than I intended ;)

    At one point, I wandered by a booth with a video playing that looked reminiscent of Adventure Time, and it turned out to be a pilot reel of a comic book being sold at the table, called Welcome to Showside. The guy talking to me spoke of it like his own, and maybe he helped with it, I don't know, but it really belonged to the other guy Ian McGinty, who was the main artist for the Adventure Time comic book series.

    The guy talking to me noted that he was from Rochester, which piqued my interest, and I told him I'm also from Rochester. This guy, Dave Chisholm, did a comic book about a failing trumpet player who gets an apocalypse-causing trumpet. After a few minutes of chatting it up with him, realizing we know a bunch of the same people and places (he studied at Eastman, he knows both my violin tutors and Hanna's brother, and understands the weather jokes), I bought his book, which also comes with a download of the music he composed/played to go with it.

    I ran into Robin and we talked for a little bit and ran around the showcase room (baffled by Topatoco's lack of presence this year - they are a highlight every year), til I decided to check out a watercolour panel at 2pm. After that, I went over to a Second Cup to get some much-needed hydration. Robin and Ch. joined, and Mike joined us later (I accidentally gave Mike the wrong street, saying we were at the one on Bloor & Charles St., and he couldn't find us til I mentioned we were next to the Dollarama - which is on YONGE & Charles *facepalm*. He found us eventually.

    We all chatted for a few and then decided to head to Robin's new apartment in Cabbagetown (about a 25 minute walk to the East) for a few beers (Ch. wanted to go to Chinatown first, so he joined later). Mike also had some top-shelf scotch to share. With no food in me since breakfast, I felt pretty wasted. I'm very grateful we decided to order a pizza (with cheese-sticks), and after being joined by Ian late in the night, we decided to hit a pub for food and much-needed water. Robin and I lamented that we were about done before heading out, but had to keep up social appearances, since it was a special occasion. We had a good time, and I (think I) sobered up alright. Didn't eat as much as I thought I would, shoulda stuck with greasy food, but hey. Nice times all around.

    Until I realized I'm still just drunk enough to not sleep. I passed out when I got back to the hotel, but woke up an hour or so later and couldn't get back to sleep no matter how relaxed I felt. I think I got some superficial winks in around 11am, but no real sleep. Shocking how I made a full day out of Sunday, and remained wide-eyed-and-bushy-tailed the whole way home (even after arriving at home, I still had the energy for a shower).



    Day 3 tomorrow.

    crossposted from dreamwidth

    Annual TCAF Report: DAY ONE

    We left Rochester really late. Like, after 4pm. And we had somewhere to be at 8:30pm. And Ch. has a knack for getting us caught up at the border (thankfully, it was only a few minutes extra this time around - last time, we were there nearly an hour).

    We got to the Masonic Temple right around 8:30. Ch. dropped me off and went off to search for a parking spot. The line was nearly a whole block long but moved quickly. I feared I wouldn't be able to get in, even with a ticket, but I made it and found a good balcony seat.

    I didn't know what to expect of this. I just saw that Dave McKean is performing with visuals, and it was only $10 (under ten in USD). Turns out, he'd turned his latest comic BLACK DOG into a motion comic for the big screen, and (with his violinist wife and cellist Matthew Sharp) performed music and dialog live, starting at about 9pm. It was beautiful.

    During a short break, between the film, and a musical aside at the end, I ran down to the lobby to buy a copy of the book, as we were told he'd only be signing that book afterward. I suspected that'd be my only opportunity to meet him, as opposed to battling a million-mile line at TCAF during the weekend.

    I was so close toward the front of the line that he stood right next to me setting up his signing-station, and I jokingly asked "So, how'd you like the show?" and he returned the joke with, "worst nightmare of my life!"

    The signings went so fast, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get a picture, but when I came up, I asked while he was signing if I could get a picture with him and my pet rat. Without a flinch, he agreed, not even knowing if I was talking about a real or fake rat (it's fake). I explained that I had Neil Gaiman pose with it, and I'd really like one of him to complete the set. ;)

    And now I do!



    Day 2 to follow tomorrow...

    crossposted from dreamwidth
    Things I learned the hard way this week (plus extra about a new job):

    1) Black charcoal face peel masks from Singapore should NOT be applied to the eyebrows, lips, under-eye skin, or too close to the whispy hairs near the hairline.
    These masks should also not be applied to the whole face ever, unless you like pain or feel you need to be punished for something.
    On the other hand, they work worlds better than standard American pore strips, so from now on, I'll just use it on my nose and stick with liquid face peel rubs from now on.


    2)The American health care system still sucks. Last year, I had massive confusion regarding my coverage and ended up not being covered for ten months. This fucked me so hard, sparks shot out. The fee, come tax time, was over $500, depleting what I would have gotten back in a tax return into a $150 deficit I have to pay in April. Plus sides: no medical needs last year, got my taxes done, and since figuring out my budget, I know I'll be able to afford the fee.


    3) The first law of the internet is if I have to know about it, you have to know about it. And if Sam has to know about it, I have to know about it. I apologize in advance, but...
    The end of the internet was reached the other day. There exists in the world ventriloquist dummy porn. Not puppets pretending to fuck each other. But puppets fucking and fisting a real chick. You can see the exact moment she realized she may have taken a wrong turn somewhere in life. But fuck if she isn't getting paid some serious cash for it.


    4) During a lockdown (where you hide from a threatening situation on campus), you're supposed to lock yourself in a room without windows that is away from central entry points, keep silent, keep the lights off, and don't have your phones whistling away. You don't actually have to stay in these rooms - you can risk your life if you want to try to escape the building. But during a lockdown drill, students tend to sit with their phones on, making phone clicks, tweet tones, and blaring music from their headphones. It's fucking infuriating, and I think part of the drills should include the sound of a gun going off or people screaming nearby. To instill the seriousness of these drills.


    5) Wine and Whiskey culture is vast. SO so vast. I started moonlighting at my friend's liquor store yesterday. I started saving things on Pinterest to help me study the basics. I can learn all the general bits of wine and liquor. The hard part will be figuring out brand specifics. Which brand has the best smokey flavour (and yes, "Smoked" counts as a flavour, and thus you cannot call it a Bourbon if it has a flavour)? Which brands of wine are oak-barrel aged? Which brand has the best pinot-noir? That sort of stuff... It's going to be a long ride. I'm in for it, and I'm up for it.