Sunday, July 4, 2010

Moving On / Ode to Roommates

I've had a time of it, lately.

I'm basically being forced to leave where I've lived for 3 years. It's funny, though, because I have whined about wanting to move almost the whole time.
"I want a yard!"
"I want a garden!"
"I want to be able to sleep without earplugs!"
Most of all, I really wanted to live by myself, as much as I have gotten used to great roomies. I have had some AWESOME roomies in this place, which is extraordinarily lucky, since I only knew ONE of them beforehand.

Here's to them (not including the first month where I had to live with a gross slob who I could hear saying "I am all powerful!" in his slovenly bedroom after screwing his girlfriend and blowing raspberries on her stomach, not to mention the most disgusting kitchen ever, egg shells everywhere, garbage everywhere. I lived on toast/cream cheese, and chocolate bars for the entire month, and went out as much as possible - this was before being raw vegan, obviously).


My close pal and roomie from the beginning of my time here. At first thinking she was an odd hermit, once the previous guys had moved out, she and I saw more of each other, hung out, and became best buds. It's been a really great experience living with her. She's helped me through an awful break-up (or disappearance, rather) by force feeding me delicious raw treats she made for me, gone with me on epic blackberry picking sprees, been my bad-movie buddy, put up with my dirty dishes, and has been a back-up for walking my pooch when I need to stay out late.

Some of my fondest memories with Tasha are: going to the SPCA adoption center for the soul purpose of cuddling kitties, walking around Buntzen Lake with the other "Bros," taking Book Ninja pictures at the bookstore I work at, the Peaches concert, the La Roux concert, Playland, trying on stupid felt hats at the craft store, our long Chinese-accent conversations in the car to anywhere, trips to Budgies Burritos, and other very random things. We're known as Funny Awesome Retarded (not just regular retarded!) and we have a fake reggae band called The Retarded Ducks. I think we should rectify this situation and make it a real band.

At La Roux:

Utter Dorks:

At Gorilla Food:


Giddy up. This chick was awesome to live with and she's a sweetheart to boot. Always jovial, super considerate, and easy to get along with, she was always out gallivanting on mountains and soccer fields, living it up. My favourite memories with her are definitely cliff-jumping at Lynn Creek, and going out to Hershe. She was always there for me when I'd have a mini break-down (back in my super-depressed days). Fun to hang out with, I wish she would have stayed longer, but she found love, and I am happy for her!


The first male to live in Da Pussyverse (the name of our all-female apartment, including all pets), Milan was a perfect fit, as he was constantly busy with projects, liked pets (he had two kitties he brought along), stayed up late, and had a weird sense of humour. My favourite memories with him are watching movies with his projector, going on random drives, his afro, and blowing his mind with my raw food, since he was the laziest food-maker ever! He left because of a new job with free rent, alas, he was a cool roomie.

Here is he with his girlfriend and my dog:


About 5 minutes after Milan told me he was leaving, I asked my friend and coworker, Lovely, if she wanted to move in. She said okay, and that was that.
I could write pages about the weirdness of Lovely, but she would probably roll her eyes in boredom that she has heard it all before.
My favourite memories of Lovely are definitely the MSI concert and RevCo concerts, clothes shopping at the stripper store Dare to Ware, constantly barraging her for inside info on my crush (who is now my boyfriend), watching my dog molest her at every opportunity, her bizarre birthday party, her blunt explanations of things, her obsessions with gay porn and cute animal videos, and her hilarious photo captions.

Birthday fun:

At the Mindless Self Indulgence concert in 2009:

And now it all comes to an end. Da Pussyverse is imploding. Everyone is moving out, and since I cannot find any replacements I am forced to leave. BUT, after days of intense sorrow and stress I have found...

MY OWN PLACE. Yes, in the city (barely), affordable, quaint, cozy and happily accepting of my dog.

By the way, happy 5th birthday to my dog, today!
Isn't she beautiful?

I am looking forward to living alone again. I only have done this once, in 2006, for about 10 months. I also got one month to myself in 2003 in Tofino, which was blissful...I SO miss Tofino. If I had no ties here, I would go back in a heartbeat.

I am starting over almost from scratch, and purging my place. I will get all new furniture, including a drawing table, except for a couple of small things, and so, I am very tempted to construct the tent-bed of my fantasies.

Here are some inspiration photos:

I love this one so much!.........

Holy fuck WANT!!!!!!!!!

These types of beds wouldn't be good for sexy business in, though. Or WOULD they?? I guess I'd have to test it out ;)


Also, I will have space for gardening, have access to an already existing veggie patch, blackberry bushes, and am relatively close to my favourite place in the lower mainland (Lynn Creek) and fresh spring water. I will have to grow some kale, for endless kale chips.

And so, this month will be spent ridding myself of anything unnecessary, selling bits and bobs, and preparing myself for change. This time, I really think things are going to rule!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recently Read Book Quotes I Like

I like this:

He said that women are God's most perfect creation because they are more heart than mind and less cold and more understanding and because they have intuition, which is a godly type of understanding. He told me that it is a sin to live a useless, empty life and that I should do what I can with what I've got and not be pretentious and that I should stay pure and bright and innocent in my own mind. He said that the ultimate goal of marriage should be to bear children, and that if someone doesn't plan to have children, they shouldn't marry, unless they're old and it's more for companionship anyway.

And also this:

Mr. Dunn also said that you should remember that there is always someone who loves you and cares for you as you are, and who will accept you, no holds barred...that someone is God. One cannot expect to have such a perfect relationship with any human being. It would be asking too much. Human beings are naturally selfish and cannot completely sacrifice their pride and ego and give their entire heart and soul to another human being.

I may not believe in "God" in a Christian sense, or any sense that I can explain, but I really like how this is worded.

These are quoted from Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner, which is excellent.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Plan Z!

This is inspired by this blog post.

I like this post because it's realistic - sort of. And it's actually fun to think about - not long ago I was fantasizing about the perks of being homeless.

So here it goes - my Plan Z.

This would involve me not being able to pay my rent, having to sell everything I have, give my dog to my parents to look after, and not be able to afford my lovely organic foods, fancy cacao things, or Gorilla Food. I would be either stuck squatting, sleeping on friends' couches, or living in a place much less expensive and most likely much further away from downtown. I would certainly not have a car, or a Blackberry. I'd have a pay-as-you-go phone, check email at the library, and ride the bus for free as much as possible (which I already do). Everything I'd own would fit in my backpack (I'd try and get a Magic Bullet for smoothies, at least!).

I would be fired from the bookstore, and possibly take up panhandling - but not the typical kind - I'd be a busker. I'd do some hoopdance in the summer, and maybe some comics in the winter. But! In the winter, if I had no job and no rent and no dog - I'd just go south. I have a passport. I could save up my busking money for a Greyhound ticket or a cheap one-way flight to California for a while, or even Hawaii. If I had to sell my car, I could certainly afford it. Hell, I could save a lot of money without paying rent. Having no ties would free me up to travel and read gobs of library books and hike and I could forage wild food. I would still try my best to eat raw - hell, it would probably always be hella fresh food as I'd be eating everything I buy right away from farmer's markets or grocery store produce aisles.

If I really needed some money I'd go do some paperwork for someone or get a part-time job at an office - I like paperwork. If I could get it, I'd work at a tiny indie bookstore. If no one would hire me I'd tell em to fuck off and keep panhandling. I'd get a tent and sleep in the forest. In the winter I'd hit up my parents if necessary. If they said no, I'd ask pals, or stay with Tagen. I'd make them delicious raw treats and clean in exchange.

Without work I would read and write! I would spend all my time writing my graphic novel, and my regular novel! I would lie in the sun all day. I'd go to dog parks and run around with fun creatures! I'd gorge on blackberries and volunteer at the SPCA. I'd write hand-written letters and take photos with whatever crappy digital camera I could find on craigslist that fits in my pocket. I'd buy babydoll dresses at tiny thrift stores for $1 and stomp around in old Doc Martens. I'd grow out my hair to it's natural colour as long as possible (I'm doing that anyway), OR, I'd hack it into some bizarre Mad Max style so I didn't have to wash it every day.

If I ended up single, I'd fritter away my time on dates with random cuties who can buy me dinner. We'd make out and then I'd say bye and continue on to my next destination. I would delete all my online accounts except for my blogs. If I had a bike, I'd do my cross Canada trip. I'd do the opposite of my normal self and be a wandering vagabond. I'd keep a knife on me, and a ear-splitting rape whistle. I'd go to free classes and learn to fight.


See, this was fun. And it sounds kinda rad. And not scary. It sounds liberating.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Changing Patterns With Opposites

This is a pretty personal post, but I feel a lot of what I write here is important because it is intrinsic to a personal change of mine.

Everyone has consistent patterns that happen in their lives - I know I do, and of course, the general complaint is that these things happen TO us, and not because of us. In some instances that may be true, but I think that the majority of the time, we let these things keep happening to us, and to break a pattern we don't like, usually we have to change ourselves.

For instance, my own patterns have been:

* short, intense relationships, usually with musicians or long distance, most or all effort coming from myself - or ones that never turn into relationships at all, but I keep hoping they will

* friends who constantly flake on me (I always blame my city)

* low paying jobs

These have been the main ones. I've managed to break the first two.

I'll tell you a story - the one that helped me break my pattern.

A couple of years ago, I reunited with someone I had an enormous crush on when I was a teenager. We'll call him Monte. I had a huge crush on this guy for a couple of years when I was about 15-16 years old. We worked together at a record shop, and he was very flirtatious but he was too old for me. Other than a kiss once, nothing happened.
As the internet came around, I searched for him online now and again, never getting results. I had found everyone I'd looked for except him. But, eventually, I did find him.
He lived overseas now, but visited often to see family, and so when he came to town, we got together. We went for dinner, reminisced about the past, and then exploded over each other. After 14 years we got to have each other, and we both (seemingly) fell hard for each other. He was only in town for 3 days, but when he went back overseas, we kept in close touch and it seemed like kismet/fate/whatever. I was a goner.
As time went on, and the sweet words kept flowing, I fell deeper into my blind "love" of this guy, and despite him rarely following through on his promises (he had good excuses, or so I was led to believe - by myself), I continued to believe that this romance was so EPIC and AMAZING that he had to be THE ONE.
God was I wrong. I kept telling myself it was too good NOT to be true. But as usual, it was.
He's a musician, and his touring was one of his excuses, and I heard from him less and less, but I kept on holding out for his imminent return a few months later. Less and less contact. When I did hear from him after a two week absence, it was a pathetic and emotionless message, and then 3 weeks went by with no contact whatsoever.

By that time I was a wreck and had so much anxiety that I could barely function. I couldn't work because I felt ill all the time. I quit my job. I laid around weeping and not eating. My roommate had to bring me food to try and get me to eat. I sent him a message that I spent an entire week crafting to say goodbye. There was no animosity and just a total understanding and heartfelt words. I felt I had lost him to his music, which is something I am used to.

2 months passed, and right before I started my new job, I heard from him. He wrote out this long, emotional letter to me, which left me crying my eyes out, and then he called me and actually convinced me to forgive him. He brought up marriage, kids, the whole lot. He told me that he had freaked out, he didn't know what to do because of the distance, on and on, even though I had been willing to relocate to where he was. He said that he didn't feel worthy of asking me to do such a thing (ha!!)
This guy is a masterful charmer, and I fell for it, even though I had a million red flags - for one, when I was trying to say something in the midst of his long rambles, he called me a shithead. He said, "Hey, shithead!" because I interrupted him, and I lost it. It's the only time I ever spoke up for myself, and I'm glad I did.

What I should have done was hung up. I've never really told anyone about that.

My fear, of course, is that he would disappear again. And two weeks later, he did. He was supposed to come to Canada for Christmas, and told me his arrival date and all - I even went to the airport, hoping to see him. I missed him due to his being detained for getting in a fight with the customs officers. Also, I had seen a photograph of him smoking heroin, which I convinced myself was the source of all the issues.

I never got an apology, and I never got an explanation. It took me a long time to get over, because I had fallen in love with this STORY - I was certain I was in love with HIM, but I was not. He gave me no reason to love him. I wanted the fantasy, the love story, the happy ending to this epic tale. And everyone around me wanted it, too. Most people were behind me, saying it was worth it. Except for one friend who was brave enough to tell me the truth, and really lay into me.
I was so angry at my friend, but two days after ruminating, I knew he was right. And I started to let it go.

I took a sort of sabbatical - I went offline for a couple of months so I could avoid my "ex" (for some reason I wanted to try and stay friends) and just focused on me 100%. It worked.

So, this is a very brief retelling of what really should have been a dazzling 3-day fling instead of a huge drawn-out mess, but even though I went through a lot of turmoil, I'm glad, because I finally had sense knocked into me.

My issue was not awful musicians who fucked me around. It was that I put up with their behaviour. From day two, I should have known better. On that day, he both was really late, and said, "Most of my ex-girlfriends hate me." I never forgot that, and I know why. Again, the next day, late. For months on end, never called when he said he was going to. Always phoning from someone else's place, as if he was stealing their long distance. I can count maybe 2 times he did what he said he would. And he seemed to want to keep me a secret, or that was the feeling I got.

The thing I value most in people is BEING CONSIDERATE. And I let it all go out the window because I was "in love."

Now, this wasn't the only time. I had another guy disappear on me back in 2003, and many others have left me, when I was still there wanting to work it out. I am still friends with all of these guys, by the way, except for the one I just wrote about.

I don't place all the blame on them anymore. I place half of the blame on me, and I always wondered what I did wrong, why I could never get a long-term boyfriend, or a boyfriend at all - why did guys always just want me as their playmate, and why did they never fall in love with me?

I was unsure, but I decided that I was going to do everything different from then on. The opposite of everything!

And I had a grand challenge ahead, because I was put into almost the exact same situation as with "Monte." Another guy from my past came along, another musician I'll call Jay, someone who I had REALLY loved in my past, and who (of course) didn't live here.

We got involved, but I knew right away that it couldn't be more than what it was. I let it happen, and I enjoyed the entire 2 months that we were involved. I refused to believe it would be some fairy tale, and I was okay with this because he had integrity and never promised me anything, and we respected one another. It was insanely difficult to keep my feelings in check, but I wasn't delusional. I still felt much love for Jay, however, I didn't have to be WITH him to love him.

These two guys were very great teachers for me. Instead of considering myself unlucky, I took these two experiences for what they were: strict schooling.

I knew that I still had to change my ways. I decided that the following would have to change:

+ I usually date people far away. So, I will only get involved with people who live in my area.
+ I seem to love musicians. NO musicians.
+ I tend to put in the majority or all of the effort. No effort from them, bye bye. And I will definitely not say "It's okay" if they've done something to really upset me.
+ I fall really hard and really fast for people.Therefore, I will not confuse infatuation with love, ever again. I will go slow emotionally, and physically.
+ I seem to get involved with people who are hard to communicate with. The person MUST OWN A PHONE (I have met so many guys without phones, it is truly bizarre)
+ Guys always want to get in my pants. It would seem that is the only reason they like me. So if he shows only interest of a sexual nature and nothing else = bye bye.
+ When I like someone I like to show them how much!! DO NOT over compensate. Don't write letters, make artwork, buy little gifts. Let them show YOU how much they like you.
+ Guys never seem to want to hold my hand or kiss me out in public, or whatever. It's like we're pals or something. Affection outside of the bedroom is a must. If he is hiding me from everyone, there's a reason.

These were the basics.

A month later, I finally decided to do something about a long term crush I had on a friend of mine. He fits the description of what I just listed. We've been together for a year on June 10th! He's not perfect, and I don't expect perfection from anyone. But my basic needs are met, and so I'm happy!

I am finally invested in my own basic NEEDS, instead of constantly yearning for some ideal, or hoping some guy will fall for me simply because I want him to.

I really, really like the change. I like going slowly with my emotions. It means what I feel is real, once the initial excitement has calmed down. And since I had known my current boyfriend for a good long chunk of time as a friend, I knew what sort of person he was. The others were just ideals - I didn't know them enough to be in love with them. I like the process, now. I can't believe it took me 3 decades to differentiate between infatuation and love - they feel SO similar in the body. No wonder it's so hard to take it easy.

So that's the relationship part.

In terms of my other patterns, I can say this:

I still know flaky people. I don't put up with it anymore. I just stop being friends with those people. I still like them, but I put no effort towards them, because it's frustrating and pointless. I don't take it personally, but I just removed the problem - no effort on my part equals no stress of having them bail on me. I just spend time with people who don't flake, or time on my own! Done, solved!

And in terms of low paying jobs - well, I still have one, but I enjoy my job. And if and when I move on, I will set my sights higher. My pattern is that I always apply for low paying jobs, because I figure that's all I can do. So, next time, I will aim higher, try harder, and do all that shit everyone tells you to do that I always rebel against (in fact, I did the "call back" for my current position after my interview, which I don't normally do, and I'm certain it got me the job).

Oh, and I have also made a couple of rules for myself:

1. If everyone around you is giving you the same advice, take the advice.
2. If you are not happy in any given situation at least 90% of the time, it's not worth your time. If you can't change your situation (rare), change your attitude.

That's it.

My advice to you is very simple. Do the extreme opposite of whatever you usually do, if you have an unpleasant pattern in your life. It works very well.

A lot of people I mention this to bring up a particular Seinfeld episode where George does this exact thing. I don't ever remember seeing it, but perhaps I should watch it.

Oh, and some books that helped me through my healing were by Byron Katie. Anything by her is a freakin' blessing. No other books have helped me as much as hers did. I thank you for your work, Miss Katie.

What would happen if...? #2

+ you wrote your mother a letter for mother's day/father for father's day saying how much you love her and WHY - truly madly deeply from your soul, instead of buying her something just because you feel you have to?

+ you said to your most cherished friend (or lover, or both), "Do you know how much I fucking love you?!"

+ you went an entire day without complaining about ANYTHING? a week? a month?

+ you realized that nothing is a big deal until you MAKE it a big deal?

+ you went on a mad expedition of your own city/town/country?

+ you started to send real letters, written by hand, stamped, mailed, and full of love?

+ you shunned all ideals OTHER people have set for you?

+ you wrote at least one sentence a day in a journal, about your life? Just one sentence is enough. That's enough to keep it going.

+ You started to do the things you admire in others, without actually comparing yourself to them?

+ you stop paying attention to people who offer nothing to society which then makes them rich and famous? Pay attention to awesome, vivacious, talented, interesting people instead! What you focus on indeed has an affect on who you are.

+ you realize that being cute is not enough?

+ you buy something from the grocery that is completely foreign to you, then look up a recipe for it online? Try jicama, okra, fennel, leeks, kelp, kumquats, or anything you have never tried. I know someone who's never eaten an orange or tomato! Well, maybe she has by now (I hope). If you are very brave, try durian. They have it at Asian markets. Smelly but delicious.

+ you removed yourself from whatever is making you misersable on a constant basis? If anything is making you sad on an ongoing basis, you need to remove yourself from it, or change your attitude. It's your life, why spend it being a grump?

+ you realized being happy is a choice?

+ you realized a healthy body and mind is the key to choosing to be happy?

+ you made a valiant effort at everything you bother to do, whether it be the dishes, or walking the dog, or typing a memo? Instead of complaining about it, really get into it. You have to do it anyway.

+ you learned a simple type of massage and treated your friends to it when you can see they need it?

+ you made a treasure hunt for someone you adore, leading to a special gift, or a beautiful letter?

+ you realized nothing is YOURS, and that you are just borrowing it while you are alive?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random Niceties

Tonight a 13 year old girl got arrested at our store for shoplifting magazines. She had too much cleavage and a bunch of self-inflicted cut marks on her arm. She had braces. I felt awful for her.

I know what it's like to be that girl. Her mascara was streaked down her face, but she wasn't bawling like some of them do.

I wrote her a note, and motioned to her when I put it in her bag. I didn't want the security guy to see, so I had to slip it in that way.

I said:

Don't be embarrassed. And please stop hurting yourself.
Read I am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.

I understand because I've had the same thing happen to me. It's never worth it.

Hugs. PLEASE stop hurting yourself.

I wasn't sure what else to say. I want her to read that book because it might make her feel more important, more powerful. It was obvious she was a mess inside. Her friend ditched her, too, once she was caught, and her mother almost didn't come to get her because she'd been drinking.

I just felt bad for the girl. She needed someone on her side. I asked her if she was okay, and she nodded. I told her to read the note. I hope she does. It wasn't much, but it was something.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mini Book Reviews for April and May!

Here are the books I read the last 2 months! HOORAY!

39. Ignore Everybody - Hugh Macleod

This one was a short but cute inspirational book, more geared towards someone in business and art. It had some nice suggestions on productivity and following your creative compulsions. Nothing ground breaking, but still a good read. It originally caught my attention because of the title, and I thought it was going to be about hermiting yourself away from the world, saying "SCREW YOU GUYS!" and immersing yourself in your own pleasures. It's not.
I did find his references to his business card comics tedious after a while. Like...okay, we get it! This book is based on a blog, like so many these days, but I was hoping for more. His drawings are cool, though.

40. The Vagina Monologues - Eve Ensler

I'm on an Emsler kick because of "I am an Emotional Creature" (now in mass quantities at my workplace as my staff pick) - I'm surprised I had never actually read the Vagina Monologues as I had seen video of it many times. There's some great bits (bad, unintentional pun?) in this book and yet again, a powerful read for women, as all of her books are. Emotional Creature is still my favourite.

41. The Good Body - Eve Ensler

A monologue with herself, mostly, about her relationship with her body, and the irony of caring how she looks despite being an outspoken feminist. There are also other monologues/stories about body image from other women, woven in with her own. REALLY good!

42. The Hipless Boy - Sully

I really enjoyed this - it was a random grab in the library. Illustrated bits and pieces of the author's life, which is always my favourite type of comic :)

43. The Visual Miscellaneum - David McCandless

This was a fun read, full of graphs and data visualization. There is a lot of backlash on Amazon as to the validity of some of the information, but regardless, it's really fun to look through. I especially love the graph of which country is best at what - Canada is best at single parent families, USA is best at serial killers, etc. I find it pretty disturbing that Siberia was listed as best at abortions! There is an updated graph on the website Information is Beautiful if you want to see it yourself. Apparently Canada now is best at drinking fruit juice ;)
Even if some of the graphs are confusing (which I didn't notice), it does a good job at showing the bizarre things in our world, the excesses of unimportant things, greed, and the weird priorities of human beings.

44. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall

THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC. I am not even a runner, and I was totally fascinated with this book! A random grab at work (I like reading about extreme athletes), it ended up being put aside for a few weeks, and I started to read it on the bus to work, where I planned to return it as I had not gotten around to reading it yet. But I was hooked right away! It made me WANT to run. There is so much interesting stuff in here, and the writing is superb. It's about a tribe of people in Mexico called the Tarahumara who will run hundreds of miles without stopping, and enjoy it. Seemingly impossible feats become real.
There is also a ton of eccentric people in this book, exciting races in the canyons, debunking of all the stupid fancy running shoes and Nike (basically, you're best to run barefoot or in cheap shoes - the fancy padded ones actually weaken you), and lore about hunters who catch their prey by exhausting them. REALLY great, check out this book. It's also what convinced me to get the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. When I started barefoot hiking last year, I was hooked. Now I have some shoes to protect me in other types of environments (no matter how odd they look).

45. Necessary Targets - Eve Ensler

A play about the effects of war on women. Well written and of course, powerful. The introduction "When we think of war, we think of it as something that happens to men in fields or jungles." This book is a series of conversations with several females affected by the war in Bosnia, led by a trauma counselor/writer and a psychiatrist. Are they helping the women, or exploiting them for their own means? Do they actually care, or are they there because they want to write books, etc?

46. Occy: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Mark Occhilupo - Mark Occhilupo and Tim Baker

Another surfing book - this was a really great read because Occy became a surf legend when he was really young, and then basically broke down and became the opposite - like an Elvis of the surf world. Fat, lazy, a hermit, hiding away from the world. The awesome part of this book is that he had a comeback in his 30's and won a world title, which was basically thought impossible, but he did it. And of course, Occy is an insanely likable guy, so while reading the account of his life (from his, and other people's perspectives) you're elated that he succeeded, because reading about his downfall is really rough. You just want to smack sense into him. Luckily, he found that sense and his "Elvis years" just made his success even more inspiring.

47. Green Porno - Isabella Rossellini

WEIRD and GREAT. So, the lovely actress Isabella dresses herself up in bizarre costumes and acts out the mating habits of certain creatures, mostly sea life. There is a DVD that comes with the book, but you can see some of the shorts on youtube, here's one!! You need to watch these, they're hilarious and fascinating!

48. How Sassy Changed my Life - Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer

Ohhhh Sassy, how I miss you, even at age 32! If that magazine was still around, you better believe I would still buy it (I guess BUST is the next best thing, these days). This slim book became known to me because it was a special order of someone at work - I promptly went to the library on my break and got it for myself! So many memories, and the whole story about the inception and downfall of this much loved magazine. If they weren't so expensive on Ebay, I'd snag them all up again.

49. Girl Power - Marisa Meltzer

I read this one at work, all about girl rock in the 90's, riot grrrl, foxcore (wtf, I never heard this term in the 90's, yuck), and the transition of "girl power" to the mainstream, the Spice Girls, and more. Really interesting. Made me want to listen to Bikini Kill and wear stompy boots with babydoll dresses again. Time to go vintage shopping.

50. Drugs are Nice - Lisa Carver

Thanks to my 90's nostalgia, Lisa Carver was reintroduced to me, and this is her autobiography. This woman is a dynamo, a revolutionary, and a badass. She is the type of person who will go out and do something just to have the experience. Her life goes kind of like this: grows up in Dover with sick mom, moves for a year with her father who she finds out has killed people and is newly out of prison, starts a "band" called Suckdog which is mostly noise and nonsense, writes to other crazy musicians, meets and marries a French musician with whom she writes bizarre operas/stage performances, becomes a prostitute at a massage parlour (while married), starts her famous zine Rollerderby, gets involved with Boyd Rice who is known as a neo-Nazi, gets pregnant, has a baby who is genetically disabled...and so on. So interesting, and very well written. Lisa Carver is a fantastic writer.

51. Dear Diary - Lesley Arfin

A collection of diary entries from age 11 to 26, a timeline from childhood into heroin addiction and rehabilitation. Of course this takes place over the 90's, which is what drew me into it. There are some cute illustations throughout - this book is in our humour section for some reason, though I didn't really find it very funny. The neat part about this book is that after the entries, Lesley will write something ABOUT the entry, seeing it from her adult perspective, and sometimes even interviewing the people in her life as they are NOW. THAT is what makes this book awesome. I enjoyed it bigtime. Once she gets into the heroin I was not as into it, but it was still interesting. She sort of glorifies drug use, though.

52. Female Chauvinist Pigs - Ariel Levy

I guess I'm really into feminist books, lately. This one is about the rise of Raunch Culture, and reading this really raised my eyebrows. I agree with pretty much all of it, too. Read the reviews on this one, they're more in depth than I can get in a mini review. Basically, it's about how women have basically stopped trying to become a strong and powerful force of their own, and instead tried to be more "like a man" (whatever that is - I think most guys even struggle with this). I found all this truthful as it's all around us, and even looked at my own behaviour. Now, this isn't to say this book describes ALL women, but I would guess that it describes the vast majority, as I really pay attention to how girls are.

Summer Plans

So, I have been quite at a loss, lately, and for months now I have been diligently writing EVERY DAY in my hand-written journal. And I notice a theme...I don't have a hell of a lot to write about.

I guess this comes with the territory of being a bit of a loner and reading a lot (reviews coming up soon!) but I feel like my life has become too bland. So I have some plans for the rest of the year, AND I have a book that is bubbling in my head, and I know it will be written down and out. It's forming bit by bit, and it will be epic. Possibly a series.

So, one of my favourite bloggers and authors, Keri Smith, is moving to Vancouver to teach at Emily Carr, so I want to take a class with her - fun! If you don't know her books, I recommend you seek them out because they are very original and fun. Also, I want to take a creative writing course and more photography. This is because I do really well with structure.

I also plan to learn to forage a bit this year, and if I end up staying in this apartment I have to learn how to garden with what I've got - we have a balcony but don't get much light - or maybe we do in the morning...I'm never up.

Hiking, and planning to start running once I get my weird Vibram shoes (with the built-in toes).

Must go cliff-jumping at Lynn Creek and Playland at least twice since I didn't do either last summer - I was too busy ravaging my boyfriend. Oh, and I'd like to do the zombie walk again :)

In other news, it's our anniversary next week!! I'm making him a comic about our year together. This is my longest relationship - so it's a big deal to me to make it to one year.

Mostly I am going to try and sleep less, too - my diet has been nut-heavy all winter and I have been sleeping a lot (or not at all, when I get insomnia) so I am going to try and lighten each meal, eat more greens (KALE CHIPS), and not eat at least 4 hours before I sleep - when I eat before bed I always get too hot, and I can't sleep at all, even with the window open. Usually I have something heavy when I get home from work and then my body is digesting away and no wonder I can't sleep.

I read a good article about emotional or habitual eating if you are interested - it made a lot of sense to me. I am still obsessed with reading about food :)

I love Angela Stokes.

OH, I have decided that my next vacation is going to be to Ecuador, next May! There is a raw food gathering there - I saw lots of video footage of the one that just happened over the last month, and it looked so awesome that I just have to go. Also, then I can visit the Galapagos if I can, and go to Brazil and see my uncle! I guess I'd need at least 3 weeks off...I can do it!

I am a bit hyper right now as I had my cacao concoction.

Is that the sun I see, peeking out? I hope so. I have been aching to lie in the park on the grass and just enjoy the warmth on my back. But nooo, we have to have the rain! Oh, I promised myself I wouldn't complain all day. Oops!

I fooled some people at work into thinking that I chopped off my hair. It was fun.

March Mini Book Reviews

Ack, I should have posted this ages ago!

Yay! Here are the books I read in March, plus short reviews! (the numbers are a continuation from February).

22. Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughn

Really great graphic novel about a pride of lions that escape the zoo that they live in, in Iraq. This is based on a true story, but told from the animals' point of view. Depressing, though.

23. LUST - Ellen Forney

This is a collection of kinky personal ads illustrated by Ellen Forney - there is also interviews with some of the people who placed the ads. Interesting stuff!

24. Summer Blonde - Adrian Tomine

A collection of 4 stories in graphic novel form. First one is about an author who is obsessed with his high school crush but ends up being involved with her teenage sister. Second one is about an isolated woman who does odd things to compensate for lack of social relationships, such as prank calling a pay phone outside her building and watching the people who answer it. Next is about a woman who has three men wanting her - her boyfriend, a jerk of a lover, and his obsessive, stalking neighbour. 4th is about 2 outcasts in high school and their place in the social hierarchy. Good stuff. Very enjoyable.

25. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid in the World - Chris Ware

This is a really thick graphic novel. I really enjoyed it. It's about an awkward middle-aged guy who has a clingy mother, and a bizarre imagination. He eventually reunites with his absent father. It's quite gloomy and melancholy throughout the book. There was 2 panels near the end that made me cry. They didn't have any words at all but the pictures were really, really poignant. Recommended.

26. Tiger, Tiger, Is It True? - Byron Katie

A book for kids based on the work of Byron Katie (who I love). Belief-questioning, in order to find happiness instead of pain. Very cute, recommended for kids!

27. Co-Creation - Vladimir Megre

4th book in the Anastasia/Ringing Cedars series. Some of this was really difficult for me to read, and I forced myself through it because when it came time to describe where we came from, there was Christian stuff involved. I was like, "FUCK, is this Christian propaganda?? It can't be...or I would have heard about it" - so I tried to keep an open mind and trudged through. I must say, in terms of a creation story, this one is pretty different. I liked it. I read it as pure fantasy, though. There is also lots of weird stuff in this book - extraterrestrial beings and their relationship with us, creating "spaces of love" for families and self sufficiency, etc. There is some beautiful and lovely things in this volume. I love these books - even if there is some things I don't agree with, I always feel really good after I read them. Definitely not Christian books, though there are some elements that seem to be.

28. As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial - Derrick Jensen

FANTASTIC. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It's a graphic novel that revolves around 2 main characters - one, a perky girl doing everything she can do be "green" - following all the tips she can to help save the world. Then there is her cynical counterpart who thwarts everything she says, because all these minor things are futile in regards to the huge damages being done. Even if the entire world did all of them, it still wouldn't be enough. Things need to be MUCH more drastic than changing lightbulbs. There is also side stories about the government making deals with alien robots (exchanging gold bricks - which are the alien robot excrement - for permits to ingest everything on earth), and a one-eyed bunny "terrorist" freeing his animal friends from laboratories. The thing about Jensen's approach to ecocide is that it states that violence is necessary. It may very well be so.

29. Twilight: The Graphic Novel - Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim

I liked this better than the original book, because it's a lot more to the point. There isn't all this garbage writing by Meyer and it focuses more on the story. The artwork is beautiful - the best kind of manga-style, nice brush work. I read this at work - it's only part of the story, so of course Meyer can squeeze even more money out of all this. I really wish these books had been written by a skilled writer, because I like the story. The execution is just crap.

30. I am an Emotional Creature - Eve Ensler

READ. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. I want to scream, I loved it so much. I plastered my "Staff Pick" stickers on the copies we had at Chapters and they're now gone (we only had a couple, but they were gone within a week of me doing that). I am going to make it my official staff pick when we go back to normal ones.
Anyway, this is a powerful book aimed at teenage girls, and I think that every teenage girl should read it. It's amazing and poignant and actually, I think EVERY girl should read it, because it's POWERFUL.
The book is laid out as monologues, like Ensler's other books, but unilke most things about teenage girls, the stories in this book ring true. It is IN YOUR FACE style, and makes you realize the untapped resource that teen girls really are. There is huge energy within them and it's being dumbed down, trivialized, and weakened. The issue with teen girls today, and even older girls like me, is that we are inundated with stuff to dumb us down and keep us focused on really unimportant things.
Anyway, read this book. 3 months into the year and I've found my choice of Year's Favourite!

31. Y: The Last Man Vol 1. (Deluxe) - Brian K. Vaughn /Pia Guerra
32. Y: The Last Man Vol 2. (Deluxe) - "
33. Y: The Last Man - Ring of Truth - "
34. Y: The Last Man - Girl on Girl - "
35. Y: The Last Man - Paper Dolls - "
36. Y: The Last Man - Kimono Dragons - "
37. Y: The Last Man - Motherland - "
38. Y: The Last Man - Whys and Wherefores - "

WHAT AN EXCELLENT SERIES. Wowww. So, the premise is that a plague hits the world and every single male dies. Anything with a Y chromosone. Animals, humans, fetuses, sperm, - all of em, all at once. Except for one guy, Yorrick, and his monkey, Ampersand. The result is chaos for women who are trying to cope with the loss of males, and also survival as the entire structure of how the world works has suddenly changed. There are major changes to society, that include people who want to find a way to bring back the men, and women who are VERY against it, despite impending extinction - unless of course there is a scientific breakthrough. This series takes place over a period of 5 years - lots of traveling and trying to figure out why the hell the two males survived. Highly recommended!!!!

That's it for March :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saying "Fuck You" to Celebrity Worship and "Social Networking" - and Inspiration to Live Your Own Damned Life

Why are we so obsessed with celebrities, as a culture? I think it's ridiculous. I could see it being understandable if the majority of the people in magazines were WORTH being interested in. And not to say these people aren't nice, but...why do we spend so much time and energy bringing them up or burning them down, when most of them are famous for no real reason!?

I think there are lots of great famous people out there who are worthy of interest, but the stuff I see all the time is about the ones who just HAPPEN upon being famous. And I don't get the fascination. Why are we giving notoriety and money to people who do NOTHING? People who exist to make us yearn for fame, to aspire to nothing but consumerism and "beauty" - these things exist to distract us from other more important things, and then less important things get done in the world.

There are many particular people in the news that I have in mind, and I really wonder what all the fuss is for. Most are train wrecks. I really miss the days of talented people. They're still out there, of course, but a lot of them are just getting ignored or bypassed for the people who just cause drama. They're like trolls - just ignore them and maybe they will go away, maybe they will do something better with their lives once they stop getting attention.

There are so many damned celeb magazines, so many poor trees wasted on garbage that adds NO depth to ANYONE'S lives. It's just time squandered. Can you imagine the things you could accomplish if you ignored all the tripe being targeted at you? And it IS being targeted. Even I pick up this crap sometimes, because it's hard to ignore. But it only holds my interest for a brief moment. Almost all of it is negative, or pushing you to buy something, so you can be like someone else, someone FAMOUS.

It is SO rare that anyone is famous anymore for working hard and spreading a message like a beautiful disease. It's so much more beautiful and interesting than who has been having plastic surgery, or who is scary skinny, or fat, or anything that makes no difference in our lives.

Also, "social networking" is such a misleading idea. We all talk to each other via texting, facebook, twitter, etc. What happened to meeting in person, writing letters (or even emails!), writing in PRIVATE journals, etc? I like these sites, but I find that they're just replacing real life. I want real life.


+ Erase all the gossip sites off your internet history. Don't read them anymore. It's almost all LIES anyway! Do you want to waste your life reading lies, or someone else's opinion?! Form your OWN opinion! Spend your time on your OWN interests, and read about AMAZING people! Seek out people who are not FAMOUS, but well-known, for reasons other than squandering their inheritance or being on a reality show.

+ Remove any potentially damaging imagery from your household, bedroom, etc. Put up things that inspire your MIND.

+ Who actually INSPIRES actually DO something with your life? Write down all the reasons WHY. Then emulate them in a way to make your own personal dreams occur.

"I saw a documentary on Jimi Hendrix, so I know that he practiced guitar twelve hours a day for his whole life and we've practiced our vocal scales zero hours a day. Yet suddenly I am under the impression that everything in the world is easy, and most people simply don't understand that and that is why they don't do much - because they mistakenly believe things are hard." - Lisa Carver

Here's some awesome links to peruse instead of lame gossip sites, or facebook. God, I am so sick of facebook. Go learn something, feed your brain. It's so cliche to say "you only have one life" and not to waste your time. It's so over-said that it has no meaning anymore. So instead I will say: will you feel good about having wasted so much time on such insignificant things when you are old? Because guess what? It WILL happen, and faster than you think. The older you get, the faster it goes. And the more you sit around, the faster it goes. You aren't missing anything - ANYTHING - you can spend your whole life offline and still miss nothing. What you are actually missing is YOUR OWN LIFE. In fact, off the internet, you probably will be living MORE than almost everyone!

(P.S. I'm not talking about casual usage. I'm talking about spending hours upon hours a day on this thing - something I have been very guilty of for years).

% A Brief Guide to World Domination e-book. It's not actually about dominating the world. It's about dominating your OWN world, your own life.

% Asgarda - REAL warrior women!


% I don't feel like it What is "it"? Do "it" anyway. Otherwise you will probably just sit there and do nothing. Which accomplishes NOTHING. Who wants to accomplish NOTHING?

% This is a stunning post by Star, whom I really admire. I really think you should read this link, because it's totally amazing. In fact, I am going to read it again after I write all this.

% Hell YEAH, or no - makes sense.

% Empty Bellies Do Not Beget Genius - this article is genius.

% Regular people are usually the most inspiring - that's right - REGULAR people! This is why I LOVE blogs, and loathe celeb stuff. I like it direct from the source, and no editing down, no false pretenses, and no bullshit. Give me real, raw, intense people, damnit!

% Check out this story about a 17 year old girl who was the only survivor of her plane crash in the Amazon - freaking amazing! I love survival stories!

% Some random ideas of things to do that maybe you hadn't thought of. Spend one of your days off doing one of these. I will. Then I'll write about it. In fact, I did the first one - well, partially. The place exactly opposite of Vancouver on the globe is in the ocean, and the closest land are two islands that almost no one has ever been on (Heard and Mcdonald islands) - so, not really feasible! Would be cool, though.

% Stop talking yourself out of things. Yeah.

% Living with less! - this is rad! I love having very little. In fact, I always think I have way too much stuff. The only thing I get really attached to is books, but I am much more incline to use the library now than I used to. I still OWN a lot of books. God I love books.

% Life will break you! - Amanda Palmer is worthy of attention.

% Finding the secret to happiness while totally naked - the basis being if you resist something, it will cause pain. If you don't resist, it probably won't be so painful.

% Byron Katie - this woman changed the way I view life. I implore you to watch her videos. Out of ALL self-help books I have read, hers are the only ones with LASTING impact on me. Watch the one on full potential - inspiring!

% Self Government - Natalia Rose is an amazing, amazing lady. ALL of her blog is worth reading. I've read every post.

% The Big Lie - here's another!

% Healing Depression with Ayahuasca - ever heard of it? Or iboga? Interesting stuff. Please indulge yourself. It's so much more interesting than celeb culture, believe me.

% Das Energi - someone scanned this entire book for you to read! It's awesome!

Here's some books for you to read.

* Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
* Drugs are Nice - Lisa Carver
* Ecstatic Beings - Kate Magic and Shazzie (I had to order mine from the UK - worth it!)
* I am an Emotional Creature - Eve Ensler
* Born to Run - Christopher McDougall
* Tracks - Robyn Davidson
* Beyond the Horizon - Colin Angus
* The Ringing Cedars series - Vladimir Megre
* Pronoia - Rob Brezsny
* Raw Family - Victoria Boutenko (this book changed my life - literally! It REALLY changed my life)
* Vagabonding - Rolf Potts
* The World Peace Diet - Will Tuttle

anything by

* Byron Katie
* Ffyona Campbell
* Kira Salak
* Eve Ensler
* Diane Ackerman
* Keri Smith
* Sabrina Ward Harrison
* Lisa Carver
* Esther and Jerry Hicks
* Derrick Jensen

I am recommending books more than websites because they are portable, and will get you off your butt and out in the world. Another time I will write about the people who inspire me, and why.

Are you inspired?? Okay, NOW, go DO things!!!! Get off the computer! There are a zillion articles on the internet about this stuff, but unless you actually get up and DO them, it's useless. Stop wasting your time, live your life. Go SEE your friends! In person! Outside of clubs! Forge real bonds! Wow! It's a concept. The new concept is intense bonding in real life.

"Get off the internet! I'll meet you in the street."

OKAY, so, WHO WANTS TO HANG OUT AND DO SHIT!? I don't care where you live, we'll make it happen! In case you're wondering, I spent a long time writing this, with the full intention of meeting other people who want to do amazing things. Let's inspire each other, and inspire people who do nothing to do SOMETHING.

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU. Send me an email or a damned letter.

And shit, now I'm gonna go take my own damned advice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Real Bravery

I've been thinking about bravery lately.

People do a lot of stupid things, and call them brave. Some look incredibly fun, and like adrenaline rushes (always nice), but I'm not sure I could call someone brave for doing them. A risk-taker, yes. Brave means something different to me.

I've been told I am a brave person, and it's rarely because of so-called adventurous things. It's mostly been because I do what I want, I say what I feel, and I don't let people sway me from what I am really passionate about. If I feel someone, or myself, is being unfairly treated, I will speak up. I'm also told I am brave because I am so open, so loving, and so honest.

Here are other examples of things I think are very brave:

+ Telling people you love that you love them. Especially if you aren't sure they will say it back. Saying it just so they KNOW.

+ Being honest.

+ Standing up for your friends. FIERCE loyalty!

+ Going places on your own; not needing someone else to accompany you. This goes for dining out, movies, traveling, etc. Just go on your own! Unless it's a dangerous place. Then going alone is brave AND stupid.

+ Quitting your job if you are rarely happy. Leaving your partner if you are rarely happy. I have a rule now: If I'm not happy 90% of the time in any situation, I will change my situation. There are ALWAYS other options. I'd rather be happy. Wouldn't you? If you CAN'T change your situation, change your attitude towards it. There are rarely situations you cannot change.

+ Always striving towards your life-long dreams, regardless of your age or what people say about you. If people try to deter you, you do it anyway - YOUR way.

+ Taking your own health in your own hands. It can be scary, especially if you have a "serious condition."

+ To be compassionate when others aren't.

+ Helping less fortunate people, and animals.

+ Believing you are beautiful, all the time. Knowing you are.

What do you think real bravery is?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Girls Girls Girls

This is what I would tell young girls: life is big. It’s volcanic. It’s excruciating. It’s all you have, and then you’re dead. Dead! Forever! I mean, maybe you’ll fail. But failure should be big too. I despise — I spit on — this acceptance of a nearsighted life! I’d tell her: Don’t listen to anyone. You are a god. And gods are, at certain angles, terrible things to be. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not terrible. Don’t be cute. It’s not enough. You’re better than that — better, and worse.

- Lisa Carver

I am all about this sort of thing. I've been reminiscing about the 90's again, as I tend to do once in a while. It started all because of a book I came across, called "How Sassy Changed My Life" about the awesome teen mag from the early 90s. If it was still around, I'd buy it. I also found a link to a blog called 90s Woman which sure makes me grin - lots of old gems in there, particularly Lisa Carver stuff. I never got much into her back then but my interest is renewed. I even have one of her books, which has gone unread all these years. It's on my soon-to-read list now. Sitting on my nightstand.

I must insist all girls read "I am an Emotional Creature" by Eve Ensler. It truly is amazing. Very awe-inspiring and powerful. If you're ever at a loss of what to buy your teen daughter, your cousin, friend (whatever), this would be a good choice. I loved it so much. Thank you to Sarah Von of Yes and Yes for reviewing it a while back - it captured my interest immediately. Luckily I work at a bookstore. I got it the day it came in - I rarely buy a book instantly without mulling it over (especially hardcovers), but I did. Worth it! Sure better than all the other tripe they market to teenagers now. There were so many great teen books before - now it's just overkill with the rich bitch stuff. There's too much of it.

I wish I still had all my Sassy magazines. Wouldn't that be a treat. I used to love reading BUST magazine but lost interest over the years - not because of the content, but because I found I was reading books much more than magazines. I would buy magazines and then they'd just sit around, so I stopped buying. A far cry from my teen years, where I devoured all magazines; I would buy at least 9 a month. It's interesting that I had as much love for Sassy as I did for Allure and YM, as they were very different from one another. I suppose I was a definite cross of the two - the model-y type but in a grungy, vintage style.

Here's me in 1993 in Whistler BC. I was 15.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Would Happen if...!?

Photo by Wikstenmade on flickr.

This is a new regular thing I am going to do, sort of like "Why Don't You?" of Cosmo magazine and Diane Vreeland style, but in my own style.


What would happen if...

+ you booked a day off, just to enjoy yourself?
+ you left your computer off, all day, all week, all month? What would you accomplish?
+ you told everyone you love JUST how much you love them, even if they might not say it back?
+ you fed your body only food that had life in it?
+ you wrote down everything you loved when you were a kid and a teenager...and started to do those things again?
+ you believed you were the most gorgeous thing in existence?
+ you danced outside in the rain, naked? Even if it was freezing? Would you die? What if you just realized the "pain" involved was because only because of your resistance to it?
+ you decided to be kind and loving to EVERY SINGLE PERSON you encounter today?
+ you embody your idea of the ideal person?
+ you go collect your own spring water, your own wild food, your own fresh air, your own sunlight? For the day, how would you feel?
+ you stop thinking of eating healthfully as "denial" and instead think of it as "nourishing" and "ecstatic bliss"?
+ you question it all?
+ you "surf the library" like you surf the internet? Go randomly around the whole place and don't look where you're going, and pick up different books you know nothing about?
+ you read something, and watch something that is normally out of your comfort zone?
+ you read "I am an Emotional Creature" by Eve Ensler?
+ you give someone something of yours, that you know they love?
+ walked barefoot all the time?
+ you questioned all your beliefs? (read Byron Katie)
+ you were completely content with your body, and instead focused on how you feel mentally?
+ you traveled somewhere you never considered?
+ you wove leaves in your hair?
+ you kissed your lover as much as humanly possible, with intense sincerity?
+ you built a fort out of your bed and slept as if you were ensconced in love? (you are)

Please comment, and ask your own "What would happen if..." questions!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things I Would Change

If I could do my life over, this is what I would do differently:

+ I would take better care of my teeth
+ I would never bleach my hair
+ I would listen to my babysitter and not ride my bike down the overpass that would scar my face for life
+ I would ignore the people who harrassed me in school and laugh at them
+ I would demand to go surfing as much as possible, as young as possible
+ I would never give up on my teenage dreams because I was told I need a backup plan
+ I would not waste my time on many boyfriends I've had, or certain friends
+ I would spend more time with my Nana
+ I would eat raw my whole life
+ I would not go to multimedia school
+ I would keep snowboarding
+ I would try harder at modeling
+ I would spend way less time on the internet
+ I would leave my skin ALONE

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Reviews for January and February

Normally I just do a list of books I've read at the end of each year, but this time I'm going to do it every month or two, and do some short reviews - that way something may be more intriguing than just a title.

So far I've read a lot of graphic novels and a few other books, but some great ones, all the same.


1. I am Neurotic (and so are you) - Liana Kong

This is just a humour book, and it's based on a blog. There's some pretty funny confessions in it, as well as photos that illustrate them. I just read this quickly at work.

2. The Lagoon - Lilli Carre

A strange, short graphic novel involving nocturnal singing from a creature living in a lagoon, and a young girl that lives with her parents and grandfather. I enjoyed it a lot. Another book I read at work (sensing a theme, here?)

3. The Ringing Cedars of Russia - Vladimir Megre

This is the second book in the Ringing Cedars series (also known as the Anastasia series) - I read the first one in 2008, so it's taken me a while to continue, but I am hooked on them. The premise for the series (and you can read it as non-fiction or as fiction - it sort of has to be read first, then you decide for yourself whether or not you believe it's true) is that the author, Vladimir, has come into contact with a Siberian recluse (Anastasia) who lives in the woods, and she teaches him different ways of life. He in turn writes books for her to get her message out.

These are powerful books, if you keep an open mind. I don't agree or believe 100% of what I read, but most of it makes perfect sense. The only time I have a hard time reading it is the use of the word "God" even though I know it's not meant in a Christian sense.

This particular volume is mostly about what happened to Vladimir after returning to his normal life and about writing the books, and more about what he learned with Anastasia in the taiga, when he first encountered her. It also talks about dolmens, stone tombs where people bury themselves alive in order to perserve their knowledge/spirit so that future generations can come to them for information. Weird stuff.

I found out about these books through the raw food community, where they are quite popular. If you want to know about them, go here. I'm currently reading book 4.

4. Big Baby - Charles Burns

Vivid black and white comics by a great artist. This is a compilation of comics about the character "Big Baby" (Tony) and his weird adventures in suburbia - including backyard burials and summer camp murders. I really liked these - I also love Black Hole, which is a huge graphic novel. Really macabre stuff.

5. The Fir Tree - Hans Christian Andersen - Illustrated by Lilli Carre

Another graphic novel I read at work - an illustrated fable. Depressing as hell! It was really heart-breaking in that simple, beautiful, but heart-wrenching way.

6. The Last Lonely Saturday - Jordan Crane

I read this in about 2 minutes at the library - a super cute but sad comic about an old man mourning his wife. There are really no words in this comic, but it is emotive just from the drawings.

7. Unlikely - Jeffrey Brown

Fantastic!! I LOVE this little book, so much that I read everything else I could find by Jeffrey Brown right afterwards. Yet another book I read at work, ha. This one is about one of Jeff's relationships and the loss of his virginity, when he's 24. The whole book is full of emotion, awkwardness, and simple but effective illustrations. I really recommend his books, they are very telling and honest.

8. Clumsy - Jeffrey Brown

This one is about Jeff's long-distance relationship. Also great.

9. Every Girl is the End of the World For Me - Jeffrey Brown

Day-by-day chronicle of Jeff's interactions with 5 different girls, and general life things, as well. Good, but not AS good as the others.

10. The Little Snow Bear - Flavia and Lisa Weedn

A kids' book lent to me by my roommate. A lonely little bear makes himself a friend out of snow, who then disappears every spring. Really sad, but sweet.

11. Funny Mishapen Body - Jeffrey Brown

Accounts of different times in his life - dealing with Crohn's disease, harsh critiques at art college, working at a wooden-shoe factory, partying and drinking - these make up the bulk of the book. Nothing really to do with girls, this time. Enjoyable work reading.

12. Escape from "Special" - Miss Lasko-Gross

A "coming-of-age" sort of book, this is mostly made up of 1-2 page stories that are semi-autobiographical, about Melissa and her childhood and early teen years. Really good.

13. Little Things - Jeffrey Brown

This one is random stories - they're good but there's no real order to them, which is a bit confusing. I still enjoyed it. And read it at work.

14. The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The first non-graphic novel of the year! I'd been meaning to read this one for a while and since seeing the movie, I was finally inspired to pick it up. The writing is sparse but it works well with the material - the story is dismal, and the writing reflects it. There is also no quotation marks for dialogue, which was strange, but it worked. There's some very disturbing parts, but mostly it is the story of a father and son trying to survive in a world where there is really NOTHING left, but there is an underlying hope that there MIGHT be something, if they keep moving. Completely excellent, and a good reminder of a future that is possible, if we don't change what we're doing.

15. A Mess of Everything - Miss Lasko-Gross

GOD I loved this! I guess it's because I related to it so much. This was the graphic novel account of my teenage years, more or less (that and another book called Awkward and Definition by Ariel Schrag). This time around she uses some colour in her drawings, and the angst is so great! FUCKING AWESOME, one of my favourites now, for sure. It's the continuation of Escape from "Special" and follows the character of Melissa, who is based on the author.

16. That Salty Air - Tim Sievert

Short graphic novel about a fisherman who's mother drowns. He then decides the sea is his enemy, and sets out to teach it a lesson. Really good.

17. Too Cool to Be Forgotten - Alex Robinson

This book was hilarious. A man gets hypnotized to quit smoking, but ends up reliving his high school years (which lead him back to when and why he began smoking, so he can never start smoking to begin with) - this book was great because it allows the main character to do something everyone wants - to relive moments of their past and do what they really wanted to do, because there was nothing to fear in the first place.

18. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Another novel I'd had on my shelf for years and finally picked up. I wanted to see the movie, and decided I wanted to read the book FIRST, so I did. After the first few pages it's easy to see why this book has become so popular - it's really wonderfully written, a rich tapestry of characters, emotion, and fantasy. Written from the perspective of a murdered girl in her own personal heaven, watching her family trying to solve her murder. The movie wasn't nearly as good. The book is phenomenal.


1. Gemma Bovery - Posy Simmonds

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one when I started reading it, but I ended up loving it. The story is told from the perspective of a baker in France, about his neighbour Gemma Bovery, and all the events leading to her death (which is how the book begins). Another graphic novel, but it's more like an illustrated story. Recommended, for sure.

2. The Waters and the Wild - Francesca Lia Block

I haven't read a book by FLB in a while - this one was okay but nothing like her older works. It was still a nice story but too simplistic for me. I still love the magic she weaves into her words but this one left me wanting more.

3. The Acme Novelty Library Vol. 18 - Chris Ware

Really excellent. I picked it up randomly at the library. This volume is about a woman missing half a leg. The stories convey a deep loneliness. Lots of panels are just of day-to-day happenings, like working in a flower shop, but the deeper stories, like her time as a nanny, and her one-and-only relationship, as well as her pregnancy and abortion, are really wonderfully portrayed.

4. The Space of Love - Vladimir Megre

Book 3 of the Ringing Cedars series. Vladimir eventually finds his way back into the taiga to find Anastasia. At first the men who take him down the river try and thwart his attempts to find her, as they have had interesting experiences with other people attempting to do the same (as well as capture her for research purposes), as well as horrifying experiences for themselves. But one man recognizes him, and eventually Vladimir does come into contact with Anastasia again. This volume he is introduced to his small son, who Anastasia has been raising in the taiga on her own, with wild animals.
There is also lots about a school in Russia which is built and maintained by children and teenagers, who teach themselves, with no supervision, and it's all free. There are pictures of this school. Astounding stuff! I wish all schools were like this. Check it out!


This is what I've read up until March. I have several books going at once which is why I tend to read so many graphic novels. They're easy to read at work and on the bus. I have a hard time concentrating on novels and non-fiction when I'm around other people or there is noise (bus) so tend to read those things at other times. Plus I read a ton of articles on a daily basis, otherwise this list would be way longer! Hehe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Ocean is my Cradle

(One of my favourite photos, of my hero Rell Sunn).

I am excited for my trip. I'm going alone and have limited funds but I think this is a good thing. I am not much of a "tourist" of places (even though I'm staying in a touristy area), I would rather just immerse myself in nature and do what I normally would do anywhere. I love the Hawaiian attitude, and wish I could live there. If I was American, I would. I still think I will live there one day.

In O'ahu, where I am going on Feb. 1st (for 6 days), I plan a few things, which will cost me little but give me much.

Mostly I want to see people surf Pipeline. I have wanted to see this wave in person for many years. I would LOVE to see a contest there, but then I would be sharing the beach with thousands of people. would be stellar to see all the professionals. However, I let that idea go, as I think seeing people just surf it for the joy of it will be more amazing. That wave is brutal. It chills me! Same with Teahupoo in Tahiti - earth-shattering. I wish to see that in person one day, too. I will never have the balls to go into it. I know I would die.

And of course I want to surf in Hawaii, myself. To do it with no wetsuit will be the thrill of my life. I am so used to millimeters of rubber and very cold Canadian water. Even in Australia I had to wear a wetsuit - though it was thinner. I've surfed once with no wetsuit, for 5-10 minutes in the summer in Tofino. It was damn cold. But worth it. A different experience all together.

My first time catching a wave was in Brazil when I was 15. It was on a boogie board. A friend of my dad's girlfriend pushed me into it. It was thrilling. My bikini bottoms were dragged off by the pull of the ocean and I had to stop myself. What a bummer.

Also in Hawaii I plan to eat a LOT of fruit. There are so many I have never tried, and a lot I have never tried FRESH. I really hope there is fresh durian when I am there. I have yet to try jackfruit, and I really want black sapote, the chocolate fruit. I will live off papaya and pineapple and coconuts. Fruitarian for a week I am sure.

I want to hike Diamond Head, go to Manoa falls, go snorkeling and swimming constantly, and there is a carnival on the 6th that I will attend with a friend who lives in O'ahu who I used to work with in Vancouver. It's nice to know someone there.

I'm staying in a cheap hotel. I wish I could have stayed on the North Shore but there is not a lot of options except an expensive resort and a hostel. I need my space because I am a light sleeper. There is a bus that goes around the whole island for $2 apparently. Yay!

I may also go for a horseback ride and get a tattoo. We'll see how far I can make my money go in such a pricey place.

I hope I see sea turtles. And I hope sharks keep their distance. I LOVE sharks, and I respect them. I swam with whale sharks in Australia, and was quite near reef sharks as well. Stunning creatures. I would love to cage dive with white sharks.

I think you attract what you fear. I will feel safe in Hawaiian waters. The ocean is like my cradle. I belong in it.

It will be a challenge to not get much of a tan - I look weird with one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cacao Crazy + Goal Focusing

So I am very focused and crazy and euphoric right now. Cacao does this to me. I love it. Oh I love it.

I FINALLY FINALLY have some focus. I have so many interests, it's quite ridiculous, and I never know what to focus on because I keep finding NEW interests and the old ones kind of get pushed aside.

SO...I was writing in my hardcopy journal tonight and a lot spilled out. Here are my main focuses for the rest of my life.

2. Art and photography
4. Travel
5. Raw food
7. Hooping, and performace

Yep. That's it. Surfing is #1. I have to start getting in shape again and making monthly trips to the island. I really do.

Surfing Dreams

(Me going surfing for the first time in 2001 - cold Canadian waters).

This year I am:

1. Going to Hawaii. Gonna surf Waikiki and watch the big wave surfing. I can't wait to see Pipeline in person. If I can't surf it, at least I can watch it. And surfing in WARM WATER (!#*%!*@) - OH BLISS. No wetsuit.

2. Gonna BUY a surfboard again. Red longboard. It's decided. Or maybe green.

3. Visit Tofino. I miss it. It always calls to me "come back come back."

I used to do this all the time.

4. Buy a dehydrator. My Vita-mix and Hurom juicer can wait, though I will get them eventually.

5. Do the zombie walk again.

6. Try and go surfing as much as I can. I need my gear. Selling my gear is my only real regret.

If I had ONE WISH it would either be: go back in time and learn to surf as a child and run away to the sea. just have mad surfing skills. Now. But I think I'd rather go back in time and have a whole lifetime of surfing.

Yes, I know I don't look like a surfer. Hehe. It's been 5 years since I have been surfing. This needs to change. NOW. I have been obsessed with surfing since I was 13. Ever since I saw Point Break. I wish I had known surfing was an option in Canada, and that it wasn't even that far away from where I was. If only, if only. I dream of waves. When I die I want my ashes scattered at Pipeline, so I can be able to surf it one day.

My heart aches when I see that wave. Years ago when I saw it on tv for the first time, I burst into tears. Because of the sounds it made. It clutched my whole soul in it's tight little barrel fist.



This is where I used to live and work. Sigh. That's my shiny butt.

Okay, this is an offical new resolution. A big one. GET BACK INTO SURFING.

And as a final note, this is the craziest, most amazing wave I've ever seen. That anyone has ever seen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010



Image by Cheryl_01134

I must keep posting, hopefully daily or every other day. Perhaps I should resolve to do this...or at least have it be a goal (I have 2 blogs and a hard copy journal, too).

I look at resolutions differently now, mainly because I used to write huge lists of them and never keep them. I might eventually succeed at one or two, but there was never any specific focus.

So when a new year comes, I want to guide you in a new direction, because it's been working for me really well. Do not confuse resolutions with goals.

It's quite simple. Here's the steps to making your ONE AND ONLY resolution.

1. Look back upon the last year (in particular) - or even the last few years, or your whole life. What is the MAIN PROBLEM you've had in that time? This should be plainly obvious and the answer should come quickly. You may have a couple of things, but focus on the MAIN thing. That is the thing to resolve.

Usually when you resolve your main problem, a lot of your other problems may disappear because of it.

2. Write down some things you can do to solve this problem, and focus on those things. DO those things. Don't just think about them. And because you only have this one focus, you are much more likely to succeed. If you have more issues to work on, wait until you resolve your first one before focusing on those.

3. It's key to focus on what you DO want, not what you don't want. Make a vision board if it's helpful (it is).

The most helpful thing for me has been to do the exact opposite of what I normally do, especially if it's been a long-time issue. History repeats itself, yes? Almost always, and there is that well-known Einstein quote: Insanity = doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Now I'll relate it to my own life just for fun and so you can see that this approach works.

In 2007, before I even made the conscious decision to focus like this, my huge issue was depression. I made my primary focus in life to cure myself of depression, though it was not a new years' thing - it was just necessary. But I was very focused and found my answers quickly because I was so focused. You NEED that focus if you really want to change things.

In 2008, my huge issue was relationships, and being what I considered a "doormat" - this is when I started to consciously make one resolution for an upcoming year. I reflected, and knew I couldn't go through another heartbreak like I had. So, "Don't be a doormat" was my focus...though now that I look at it, I worded it badly - it still worked, though. When I felt like I wasn't getting what I wanted from a relationship (friend or otherwise) I wouldn't keep allowing it, or chasing it. I let it go and moved on. This took so much stress off of myself, and now if I'm mistreated (rare) I speak up.

I knew what I wanted from a relationship, too. I was in a situation with someone early in the year, which - while fun - was devoid of passion or affection outside of sex. It was just friendship with a bonus. After a while it was hella boring for me. So when I realized this, I just stopped seeing him. It was nothing to DO with him, it just wasn't what I wanted, and we're still friends.

A few months later I had the relationship I wanted, which was the first time in 8 years that I had. Interesting stuff.

Me and my sweetie:

I wanted a relationship based on something real and tangible, affection instead of just purely sex, someone honest, considerate, sweet, cute, loyal, and LOCAL.

(Previous ways of thinking included "Why do guys only want me just for sex?" - since I always had this mindset, it's exactly what I got. Changed that to 'I want a relationship based on respect, love, friendship, and affection.' "Why do I always end up with musicians who don't live here?! Why do guys never want me for a GIRLFRIEND? I'm never good enough!" You get the point.)

THIS YEAR I looked back and realized that anyone who accomplishes a lot doesn't waste all their time on the internet reading blogs, going on Facebook 20 times a day, etc. I have SO MANY goals, which is obvious every year when I write them all down! So, since in 2009 I wasted a lot of time on unimportant, useless things (as I have for a long time, especially since discovering the internet in 1997), my focus is BE PRODUCTIVE. So I can accomplish the non-stop onslaught of goals that I have. That keep on coming. I do have specific ones to focus on, of course.

My secondary one, which I just came up with today is to IMMERSE MYSELF IN BEAUTY. Not really a resolution, but a very lovely thing to focus on. And simple :)

edit: Okay I also resolve to read the books I own instead of buying and signing out more from the library. It's a minor one, too - hehe.

And with that, I am signing off.

Do you have any productivity tips? I like simple, to-the-point things. Nothing complex. Something I've recently found that is pretty awesome is TeuxDeux - VERY simple, and incredibly helpful!

What are your resolutions?