Friday, December 12, 2014

To Buy For

Since starting Make It or Bake It, I have very few people to buy for. The Sidekick is at the top of the list, though he's been kind of hard to buy for this year. He kind of has expensive tastes. I'm too poor to have a boyfriend, really, but the heart wants what the heart wants. It's the thought that counts, right? Right?

I always do a stocking for my sister, as well. This year, she is also hard to buy for. Mostly because I have very little funds.

Other then that, I have four friends I like to get things for and my parents. These people understand the financial situation, so I'm not going to stress if I can buy them the moon. The pets also get presents. Not spoiled, though. I hope my list isn't ridiculous. I mean, I try my best to keep it to a minimum which is why I rarely get close to new people.

Just kidding.

What does your buying list look like?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Spirit Of Giving

One of the things I am grateful for is working for a company that enjoys giving back. Earlier in the year, I put together a different basket worth over five hundred dollars and had donations from four local businesses. All the proceeds went towards helping buy a parcel of land for our community forest. This is the point of community. To give back. 

This month, I put together a basket worth over $150 and it has many amazing things in it. It's a raffle for anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item. And it is called incentive. On one hand, it makes me sad people need incentive to donate food to those in need. On the other, I'm excited to be able to help and encourage people to pull out the items from their cupboard they no longer want or need. (Or clothes and blankets!)

So, as it draws closer to the holiday season, try to keep in mind those who may need a little help. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Childhood Traditions

There weren't a lot of traditions in my house as I grew up. We always hung our stockings up and left out cookies and milk for Santa. Don't worry, we didn't forget out the carrot for Rudolph. I remember my mother working on Christmas a fair bit. In the mornings, we were allowed to open our stockings, but had to leave the other gifts for when my mom got home.

One of my most favourite parts of the holiday season was driving around with my parents looking at the houses that were decorated to the nines. They used to print the best houses in the paper for the Christmas light tour. A couple of the houses were interactive where you could get out and go in the backyard, have a cup of apple cider, and there was even one with a Santa.

Also, later in life, I liked wrapping presents with my mother and sister. Patricia would sit on one side of the bed, me on the other and my mom across from me. Each of us would have a different person's gifts to wrap. There was something hectic and awesome about that evening. Something I really enjoyed.

On Christmas Eve we'd have macaroni and cheese, my mom used Cheese Whiz and would cut up canned meat in it. That might be weird to hear coming from my vegan fingertips, but I loved it. And there was always a big dinner on Christmas. I suppose my mom's stuffing is a great way to end this blog. It's the same stuffing I still make. Of course, I don't stuff it in a turkey's butt. Neither does my mom! Still one of the things I look forward to about the holiday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Your Playlist

My playlist isn't playing Christmas music quite yet. I am stuck in a vortex of Fleetwood Mac and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I wish I could share with you all the festive music I've been listening to, but it's pretty much been this on repeat:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Make It Or Bake It

For the last two year, the Sidekick and I have participated in Make It Or Bake It for Christmas. The idea behind it is to try and make or bake the majority of your gifts for coworkers, friends, family, or anyone you are giving something to because you feel obligated to. Just kidding. Last year, I knitted the girls I work with each something unique. This year I am doing the same. It is quite the endeavour. And, like last year, I am insisting I am going to start earlier for Christmas 2015. I never end up giving myself enough time.

If you aren't a knitter, or artistically awesome like the Sidekick who can draw, literally anything, there are other ways to participate in Make It Or Bake It. Two years ago I made caramel corn for a few family members, which I think they enjoyed, and this year I am going to try my hand at candies for those I love.

The simple fact is, I am too poor to buy everyone gifts (granted, knitting people things is also kind of expensive). And I also am finding the consumerism of Christmas daunting, which is why Make It Or Bake it was brought into fruition.

What are you making or baking for people this year?

The Endpaper Mitts I made for Tiffiny last year. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Go To Gifts

Stockings have always been my favourite. Not only to receive, but to give. When I was young, we always got a movie and music, a magazine and toothbrush, things we needed, like elastics and bobby-pins, and things we didn't, like candy.

We all have our go to gifts. Here are seven go-to gifts that never seem to disappoint and are useful as well as fun:

1. Socks - Everyone loves socks. Slap a cute animal or funny word on it and you will definitely have a hit.

2. Magazine - The great part about magazines is there are so many out there. Knitting magazines. Tattoo magazines. Fashion magazines. Science magazines. Hockey magazines. There is a magazine for every single person in your life.

3. Bubble Bath - Sometimes guys will tell you they don't like to take bubble baths. They are lying. They love taking bubble baths. You can make it a bit more manly by gravitating away from flower scents, but who doesn't love a little lavender in their life? Men. Women. Children. Parents. Girlfriends. Husbands. Say it with me, bubbly bath. They'll love it.

4. Tea - This might be a bit more tailored to tea drinkers, because there are some that don't partake. Then you can buy some artisan coffee instead. A diffuser and loose leaf tea, always a big hit. Make it something season just to make the person feel more Christmasy.

5. Toys - It doesn't matter how old someone is, toys will always make them happy. Think about the toys you had as a kid, like the Etch-A-Sketch or Barrel Of Monkeys, they are still available! These classic time wasters will have your secret Santa buddy ecstatic.

6. Candy - There are sweet treats for everyone you know whether they be vegan, lactose intolerant, or just difficult. Pick up something delectable that you can eat on boxing day while you curl up in front of the television in your pyjamas.

7. Gift Cards - It doesn't have to be a massive amount, either. A fifteen dollar Starbucks card or twenty buck card to Chapters will have most people stoked. It's a stocking, it doesn't have to be too extravagant.

These are the things I love to shove in a stocking for the ones I love. What are your go-to gifts? I love ideas. So, let's help each other out this year.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

In My Oven

One of the best parts of Christmas time and winter is the baking. The cooking. Feasting and filling the tummies of the people you love. I love to bake, as you might know. In fact, I call myself the Master Baker, mostly because it sounds dirty. The Vegan Master Baker, of course. Out of all the seasonal goodies I make, my most favourite is the Cranberry Upside-Down cake. It's simple and divine. Honestly, you won't ever taste anything quite so good.

Here is the recipe:

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (Vegan, duh)

1/2 Cup - Earth Balance Butter
1 Cup - Sugar (I use unrefined)
1 Tsp - Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp - Nutmeg
2 Cups - Fresh Cranberries
1 Faux Egg - either a flax egg or egg replacer works, either or. I've used both.
1.5 Tsp - Vanilla
1 and 1/4 Cups - Flour
1.5 Tsp - Baking Powder
1.4 Tsp - Salt
1/2 Cup - Coconut Milk (or non-dairy milk of your desire)

Preheat oven 350

1. Grease bottom of an 8 inch cake pan with 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance.

2. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle over the bottom of the greased pan, then line pan with the cranberries, spreading as evenly as possible. 

3. Make the cake. Cream the rest of the butter (6 tablespoons) and sugar (1/2 a cup) together. Add the vanilla and faux egg. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). 

4. Mix with the beater the flour and butter together, alternating the dry with the coconut milk. Once well combined, pour batter over the cranberries. 

5. Bake the cake for about 20-25 minutes, but keep an eye on it. When a toothpick comes out clean it is done! Also, this cake might spill over to place some foil under the pan on the rack. I tip this over onto a place right from the oven because whenever I tried to let it cook the bottom of the cake would stick to the pan and it wouldn't come out nicely. An easy tip is to keep your oven mitts on, put a plate on top of the cake, then tip upside down. Hit bottom of the pan to be sure it comes out. You can also run a knife along the edges to loosen a bit before tipping it over. 

Eat it all up! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Get Outdoors

Despite what people think, I am not buried in snow 9 months of the year. I live on the West Coast, what I commonly refer to as the Best Coast. For those who are geographically challenged, I am just above the state of Washington (think Seattle), and our weather is quite similar. During the winter season, it can get cold, but it is December 5th today and we have no snow. We do, however, have rain.

When it starts to get chilly, it is only natural to withdraw inside. Like a bear, I too enjoy hibernation. Unfortunately, the job and living life gets in the way of sleeping a season away. But am I the only one who relishes the thought of gorging on food, then sleeping for four months?

Now, I don't like snow, but I love the freshness in the air when Winter arrives. Cold nipping at your cheeks. While it is detrimental to my fingers to spend excessive amounts of time outside, there are a few adventures I love having. The number one is going to the beach when it is chilly. No one is there and the waves always seem more wild. Walking in the rain is another favourite. It's almost as though you can hear the trees exhale in appreciation.

Once the snow does arrive, I will build snow creatures. Last year, the Sidekick and I built a octsnowpus. It was magical. And there is something soothing about the sound of snow crunching under one's boots. This year, I have a new pair of gumboots and I am excited to give them a go.

On the other hand, I loathe driving in the snow. It freaks me out. And that is why I dread it. Also, when the white snow turns to slush, it makes the world look dirtier.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Do It Yourself

As I typed the title of this here post, I thought of an awesome way to touch on independence and taking care of yourself. But that isn't going along with the theme, now is it? Instead, I am writing about Christmas. Inspiration strikes when you least want it. Well, it shall not get the best of me today.

One of the reasons I came up with this blogging challenge was so I would have a month of planned out blogs and not have to worry about 'coming up with' stuff to write about on the spot. I may be quick on my feet, but after 11 months straight of blogging, I need a little help. And also, I have a lot of knitting to do. Today, we are talking about doing it yourself.

There are so many Do-It-Yourself Christmas projects out there. I mean, Pinterest is overrun with a million things you could try to make and fail at. I absolutely love making things for people. I've decided to never buy another scarf, toque, mitts or cowl again. Ever. Now that I knit, fairly well, I might add, I can't fathom the idea of buying a cheap knitted item for anyone. However, I will buy you a sweater because I am not that quick of a knitter and have yet to knit myself a sweater, let alone someone else. Knitting is my go-to Do-It-Yourself.

I also bake. When in the grocery store, I avoid the cookie aisle. Sometimes those suckers are so tempting. Except. they never taste as good as homemade cookies. So, another thing I will never buy again, chocolate chip cookies. Or any cookie.Well, except fig newtons. I haven't been able to master those yet, but I did come up with these amazing chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies that are amazing. I'd share the recipe but I can't find it.

This year, I am branching out and trying a new project: caramels. I am determined to make tasty vegan caramels for people. Hopefully, I can master these in time for Christmas giveaways. Fingers crossed. So, if you are looking for me this weekend, you may find me in the kitchen, all sticky and grumpy.

Another thing I would love to try to make is decorations for our tree. I imagine when I have children I will become super crafty overnight and be this amazing Martha Stewart mom. Seriously, I envision making advent calendars and sewing stockings, patchwork quilts and clothing. All things I have no idea how to do now. Dream big, right? Sometimes I see what other people create and get insanely jealous over their raw talent. Some people have it. Others don't.

You know what I definitely can't do. Snowflakes. Just like chain paper dolls holding hands. Anything with scissors and paper, count me out. It's important to know where your lines are. Right?

So, what are you doing yourself this year?

Remember this one? 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cuppa Something

As the temperature takes a dip, people ditch the cold beverages for something warm. Fan favourites tend to be apple cider and hot chocolate, and while I certainly love a finely brewed cup of cider, I've always been a tea drinker. But it's impossible to leave it at that. I mean, there are so many teas out there. I used to be all about the rooibos teas, but lately have been leaning towards black ones.  

There are a couple I've been jumping between. Buttered Rum – which is a divine pirate melody for the tongue – and cranberry pear – a fruity little melody fit for a king (also a black tea).

The truth is, I am looking for a new favourite. There was this one called Sugar and Spice, which I loved, but they aren't making it anymore. Talk about annoying. I thought it was going to be the apple cider tea I picked up from David’s Tea not too long again. It might be tasty, but a favourite it isn’t. One of those teas you can take or leave, and if you do leave, you never really think about it again.

What makes a tea memorable?

Hard to say. Tastes differ too much between people. I love a nutty tea and the Sidekick fell in love with a tea called Pink Lemonade last summer and it was a bit baffling. Sure, it was good, but he didn't even want to share it. I have to admit, it was pretty damn tasty when chilled. But alas, the chilling days are over. 

And if anyone asks, I take my tea straight up. None of that milk and sugar business for me, thank you very much. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This Isn't Really A Christmas Movie

Day two in my December blogging challenge!

A movie with snow in it.

This isn't a Christmas movie, but I have to go with Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince because it's the first one to pop into my head. Sure, people wouldn't consider it a holiday classic, especially when they find out the only reason I thought of it was due to the creepiest part of the movie. You know, when Katie Bell touches the opal necklace and in jerked around in the snow, then suspended in the air, screaming. It's pretty much the most traumatizing part of all the movies.

It's snowing n that scene.

Most of the Harry Potter movies have a Christmas scene but I do believe the Philosopher's Stone has the most holiday merriment, probably to show the young viewers the magic and merriment even wizards have for Christmas. You see Hagrid bringing in the tree and Ron and Harry opening presents, which is when he gets his invisibility cloak. In the Half Blood Prince, Harry is actually at the Burrow for Christmas. As I sit here thinking about Harry Potter, I realize there is a lot of snow in them! I think I'll have a marathon over the few days I have off.

Anyhow, what is the first movie you think of that has snow in it?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Because I'm not a fan of Christmas I am finding it difficult to execute my very first December blogging challenge. Grasping - At - Straws. But because I am channelling my optimistic outlook and always try to go above and beyond I will name THREE things I love about winter, not just one. Talk about a glass half full kind of girl, huh?

1. The freshness in the air.

I'm lucky because I live on an island and am surrounded by trees, so the air quality is actually quite good all year round. Still, there is a certain loveliness to the winter air. The chill bites at your cheeks reminding you how alive you are and there is the scent of wood burning because everyone turns on their fireplaces and start stoking their wood stoves. A lungful can be so invigorating.  

2. Frost.

Not on my car windows, though. Though I don't like snow, I have this affection for snowflakes and the patterns the frost leaves on every surface it touches. In the mornings, the grass is hard and icy, but if you look close at the leaves and flowers, there is this fuzzy frost on it and that's kind of beautiful. 

3. Bundling up.

There's something comforting about staying in your sweatpants, wearing a sweater and pulling out a patchwork quilt. Being warm is glorious. And there is nothing better than knowing you have nowhere to go on a cold day. Bring on the slippers, tea and day lounging about with the pets. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

December Blogging Challenge

The truth is, I've never been a huge fan of Christmas. In an attempt to stay optimistic this year, I've come up with a blogging challenge for December. If you have a blog and would like to participate feel free to join in.

And my birthday was wonderful, thanks for asking! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


What might first appear to be slacking here on the blog is actually a result of productivity. (Doesn't that seem like such a dirty word?) When I signed up to do this 365 Day Blogging challenge, I didn't really take into account November and whether or not I would try to complete NANO. Honestly, after last year's feeble attempt, I kind of resigned myself to not doing it. You know, because I don't work under pressure and writing hasn't exactly been my forte as of late.

Then inspiration struck.

And while I am OK with losing (I do it every day in one way or another) it turns out I want to be a winner this year. I want to WIN. Currently, I have twelve thousand words to write in the next three days. Some of you might argue and say there are four, but November 30th is, in fact, my birthday, so I will actually be eating cake on that day.

But surely I can eat cake and write?

No, I can't. I will only be eating cake on that day. End of argument.

So, yeah, twelve thousand words to write in three days, which might not seem like a lot. I mean, who can't write four thousand words a day and have a full time job, and sleep, and eat, and knit all the Christmas things? I know this past week has been a bit of a dip in quality here on the blog, but I promise it isn't because I don't love you. Actually, just between the two of us, I am so tired of blogging. This whole writing a blog every day thing has turned out to be quite an experience. I would love to tell you it's been an amazing experience, but for the most part it has become a burden, but I am determined. Even though I have already failed.

Failed I say?

Yes, failed. I went through to count out the blogs I've done and apparently I missed three in August, which I have no idea how that happened. I don't foresee myself writing enough blogs to catch up, so I've failed the blogging challenge, which is why I am more determined to win the NANO.

The NANO must be won. For no other reason than my own damn goals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My First Time

When you think of first times your mind often turns to virginity. In truth, life is riddled with first times. First kiss. First bike ride. First fight. First period. First wedding. First time some random jerk insults you on the internet. 

I've been doing this whole intersnacking thing for a long time. Between my blog, vlog, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram, I've been around the virtual block, just a common hussy, really. Naturally, I understand people are going to disagree with me. Hell, some will even downright hate me. And that's fine. To this day, I've been called every name under the sun from a bitch to fat, ugly and a terrible writer. People have even ccriticized my skin and hair for being greasy. Whatever. Ain't no thang. 

Name calling has always rolled right off me. I've never cared. I'm more likely to be bothered by one of my friends being insulted than myself. The truth is, I have three brothers and they trolled me far worse than anyone I've met on the world wide web. They were ruthless. 

So, today was a bit of a weird one because I actually got offended. Someone said something to me that insulted me. Crazy, right? Trust me, I was just as taken aback as the next person. So, what was it? What could have possibly been said to make me feel horrified and wounded at the same time?

Well, for the first time in my life, I was called homophobic.

And I was sickened because it's a word I don't want to have any association with.

The situation was only made worse by the fact it came completely out of left field, had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, and was obviously said without any proof to back it up. Taking into consideration those points, I probably shouldn't have been bothered. But I was. 

Apparently people can think whatever they want of me, as long as it doesn't contradict my very liberal views. Call me funny. cute, ugly, fat, strange, smart, dumb, bitchy, slutty ... whatever, but homophobic? Hell no! It gutted me. Until a text from a friend explained how ridiculous it was - he said it was like someone saying the sky is purple. Perspective: sometimes best delivered by someone else, especially if you're about to light the internet on fire.

Now, I'm not going to tell you why I'm not homophobic because that's pointless. It's so clearly not the way I think that it doesn't even deserve my well-formed rebuttal and anyone who has brushed shoulders with me knows I'm all about the love.  So, I won't waste my precious breath defending myself. What I do want to touch on is how dangerous it is to casually accuse someone of homophobia (or racism, sexism, or any form of bigotry), asides from the obvious of not knowing the person or understanding the relationships they cultivate and hold dear.

Homophobic accusations aren't something that should be made as flippant remarks, or retaliatory retorts when you feel cornered. It's too serious to be a casual insult, too harsh to be thrown about without thought. Lobbing it at unsuspecting people who in fact aren't homophobic can be detrimental to the cause. It's like pointing a finger at someone and calling them an enemy, when they are actually a staunch supporter. Talk about drawing away from the importance of your fight.

It's a show stopper, though, isn't it? When you toss it on the table, it makes people uncomfortable and the person it's directed at might back peddle or tuck tail and run. Hopefully, right? Because it's taboo for people to question the motivation of the accuser, isn't it? To be called homophobic only to inquire over the reasoning behind it is basically setting yourself up for a lynch mob. The problem with treating bigotry like a punchline to a joke is that it desensitizes the public and turns it into something people just shrug their shoulders over, not something they get riled up about. It's like calling wolf, you can only do it so many times before people don't care anymore.

And that's why it is dangerous to accuse without evidence. It stops the important conversations peoole are having about equality and civil rights, breaking down the debate and momentum. In the end hot headedness and ignorance is damaging, no matter what side it is coming from.

In conclusion, call me names if you must, but be aware it might not garner the results you hoped for. Be prepared for any knee jerk reaction to deliver a blow to the cause you're passionate about. Speak wisely. Choose words carefully. And most importantly, don't be an ignoramus.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Drive

There is something peaceful about driving at night. And liberating. The rainslicked road. Hugging the curves. No one on the street. Headlights flashing over trees and ocean. Music blasting songs from your youth. Fog rolling in.

For a brief moment, you consider driving forever, starting a wild new adventure.

Then you remember you have to work in the morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Damn You, Intersnacks!

This morning I was watching the latest episode of The Mindy Project, because I find it highly entertaining, and I said to myself, "Gee, I really like that Peter Prentice." He's a character on the show, but the actor who plays him, Adam Pally, portrays the somewhat clueless, undoubtedly adorable, and kind a perfect gynecologist. When he joined the show, I rejoiced. Mostly because Happy Endings had ended and I'd sort of developed a super secret crush on Max.

Well, I turned to the intersnacks to tell me if Mr. Pally has been in any movies or such, and lo and behold, he's leaving The Mindy Project. How disappointing. His character and squeezable face has made the show so much better. Not gonna lie, kinda made me pout for awhile. I'd start a petition asking him not to leave, but I highly doubt it'd do any good and, as you all know, I'm pretty damn lazy.

And look at that beard! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Welcome To The Nineties

For those of you who are unaware, I am writing a new novel. It's for NANO. Those of you who are privy to my NANOing struggles will be happy to know I am about eight thousand words behind with high hopes of catching up and 'winning'.

This new novel is sort of based off of time travel. Kind of, but not really. No one actually goes to a different time or place, but there are ripples into the future. I'd explain it all to you, but you should just wait until it's published. (wink-wink)

Anyhow, part of the novel, the good part, takes place in the nineties. (The bad part takes place in 2013) The main character has an affection for music and I've been drawing inspiration from the hits of my youth. Just between us, I totally remember the lyrics to all the songs I loved as a kid. My tastes were fairly broad, my main character's isn't. He seems to have a problem with R&B. What I have been partaking in is a lot of grunge and punk stuff, and I must say, this stuff is awesome. The Pixies, Nirvana, Rancid, Green Day, Hole, The Cranberries, Flaming Lips ... hell, I've been singing Better Man by Pearl Jam in my head all morning and don't even mind. (Peal Jam being a band I've never really liked. At all.)

The truth is, I love all kinds of music, but there is something about the nineties that makes me incredibly happy. Nostalgia is a funny thing. But as I am sitting there, hammering out a chapter from my novel, I am singing along to all these songs I kind of forgot about. Not truly, I mean, obviously they've just been on the back burner simmering away because I remember every single word, but I think I overlook how awesome the nineties were.

You'd think because I grew up in that era I'd be able to paint a vivid picture of it, except I've had to do a fair bit of research. From computers to clothing and right on to world events, I have a hundred tabs open at once. (A bit of a hyperbole). But each detail I manage to filter in makes me giddy. I've dressed my characters in Doc Martens and made them drive a Volkswagen Cabrio, they've gone to the Kennel Club and smoked indoors, their computers strain the eyes and use dial up to connect to the internet, and so much cocaine has been snorted that even my nose feels raw.

Conclusion? This is fun. I think the last time I've had this much fun writing a book was when Billie was delivering revenge on the open sea.

Honestly, you wouldn't believe what pops into my head, from shows to clothes and bands I have no idea whatever happened to them. (Like how the Sneaker Pimps' song 6 Underground just randomly came to mind) It's weird what snaps back to you when you start thinking about it. Tomorrow I will be wearing a baby doll dress, Sketchers, way too much black eye makeup, outlining my lips with brown eye pencil, using concealer as lipstick, and wearing a floppy hat with a huge flower on it. Don't worry, I won't go so far as to bantu knots. Never.

And I hop you will be pleased to know one of my characters does in fact have angel wings tattooed on her back. For authenticity, of course.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Have Nothing To Say

Ever had a moment when you have nothing to say?

Welcome to my moment.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordy Wednesday - Perplex

An enjoyable way to spend my time is to peruse the thesaurus and learn new and exciting words. Between the two of us, I sometimes get stuck in a vocabulary vortex. As the nerd in me squeals out delight, I beg of you to forget this admission and instead focus on confusion and all the amazing interchangeable words for it. 

Baffle. Astonish. Confound. Perturb. Befuddle. Dumbfound. Bewilder. Mystify. 

How can they all delight the tongue in such a fashion? And they all manage to convey a sense of wonderment, as if a magician has simply produced them from a hat along with a velveteen bunny the colour of untouched snow. Yes, they are  fluid and cloaked in allurement, but above all of them is one untouchable word which draws me in with it's lushness. 

The Word: Perplex

Essentially, it means to confuse, and yet the state of 'perplexity' conjures up to me the image of a lost creature stumbling through an enchanted land filled with mystical beings. It is Wonderland and Oz rolled into one. A Dr. Suess book with a dash of Never-Ending Story, an ounce of Labyrinth and just enough The Dark Crystal to keep things interesting. 

The word itself is fantastical and can transport you, not only to a different time and place, but a world where all mythical creatures roam free. It isn't scary or worrisome, but soothing in its oddness. Puzzling, but not unsettling. A world where anything can happen. And where Falkor exists, so I can pet his head and nuzzle into his silken fur. 

Look, I never claimed my thoughts made sense. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ten Thousand Words

Is how many I have fallen behind by in Nano.

Ten thousand.

How many pages does that work out to be?

Around 33 - or some such number.

According to my NANO stats, which are certainly not optimistic, I will be completed around December 14th.

What does this mean?

Well, it means I will be a loser. I will have lost.

I think this is the point where I become discouraged.

Eh, fuck it. Being discourage won't get me anywhere.

Watch me as I play catch up. I can do it. Don't doubt me. Even more, I won't doubt myself.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mirror Selfies

When I see a selfie taken in a mirror, 99% of the time I think, "How can I send this fool some Windex?"

Even if they aren't wearing any clothes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stop Applauding Vogue

This week Kim Kardashian's arse may have broke the internet, but there was another story making the rounds and it revolved around butts as well. The hero? Vogue. The act of awesomeness? A popular high-fashion magazine participating in a plus-size photo shoot. While people are applauding and calling it revolutionary, I'm over here perfecting my eye-roll and snort of derision. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing curvaceous women in the fashion industry and praise magazines that hire unique models to sell their clothes and brand.

But commending Vogue for hiring models for a 'plus-sized' photo shoot? I think not. 

In 2012, Vogue signed a six point agreement to promote a 'healthy body image' with their magazine. To do this, they vowed to 'not knowingly work with models under 16 who appear to have an eating disorder and to encourage designers to consider consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes'. And the world patted them on the back, except they took the accolades but refused to change. Not only is it appalling the magazine needed outside influence to reach the decision not to hire sixteen year olds with unrealistic bodies (unrealistic because these pubescent girls are tiny tobstart with thrn undergo mass photo-shopping), they didn't actually agree to anything. The vernacular used tiptoed around any real commitment. With terms like 'not knowingly' and 'encourage designers' they are basically saying, if we don't flat out ask, then we can claim ignorance. 

And ignorant, they are not. They know exactly what they are doing. The fashion industry loves perpetuating unhealthy body images. They want women to see the models in their magazines and feel supremely disappointed in themselves. Why? Because it sells. 

In 2013 a former Vogue Australia editor, Kristie Clements, came forward and shed light on the horrific truth many models live with. She talked about how models eat tissue to curb hunger and use hospital drips to get nutrients instead of eating. The blatant truth, the majority of the fashion industry, Vogue included, ignore the signs of anorexia, even more, they celebrate unhealthy desires. Kind of makes it clear Vogue didn't change, not even after the editors signed a pact to 'encourage healthier body image within the industry'.

Does it sound like I'm calling Vogue a liar? Is it coming across as though I suspect this most recent photo-shoot is simply a publicity ploy? That they are merely out for some praise? To sell a few more magazines? Shut up the pitchfork people who are screaming for equality in all sizes and shapes? And that they will just go back to their ways of immortalizing unrealistic expectations? 

If so, I'm articulating myself perfectly. This is exactly what I think. And it pisses me off. 

The women in this 'plus size' spread are not even plus size. They are average, some of them even thin, especially when you consider the average size of an American woman is a 14. Vogue doesn't deserve a pat on the back for showcasing these women, they deserve a punch in the face for not doing it sooner. They aren't doing anything revolutionary. This isn't their standard. It's just a social media stunt to gain attention. 

To be honest, I'm not going to be happy until every single magazine has women of all sizes, from zeros to 16 and up to 56 (I don't even know if there is a size 56, actually). I am tried of us all being divided into groups. Skinny girls can be in this magazine, but fat girls have to be in another - God forbid if they are together. It doesn't end there either, the separation runs deep. Blondes on the left, brunettes on the right, and redheads straight to the back. Lesbians stand up and straight people sit down. Asians can go in the Fall edition and we will showcase Spanish women in August. 

I want plus sized models to simply be called models. Is that too much to ask? 

The bright side is there are wonderful magazines out there that actually promote healthy body image and showcase women of all shapes, races, and religions. Pick up the latest edition of Bust, Curvy, and Love  if you are interested in seeing a bit more variety, or check out the website Style has NO size. But as for Vogue, just stop applauding them, they don't deserve it. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Carry Your Heart

I carry your heart with me(i carry it in - e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

If you learn anything from e. e. cummings be it the beauty in disarray and provocativeness of simplicity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordy Wednesday - Liberal

Last night my coworker (and friend) drove us home from the ferry. Somehow, and I can't recall exactly, we ended up on the subject of religion. It's a well known piece of advice to avoid the subjects of politics and religion when indulging in conversation, but I say to hell with this. If you avoid these powerhouse conversational subjects, how will you ever know if you truly like the people you're keeping time with? Think about it. Almost all moral views and ideologies fall under one or both of these categories.

I want to know if the people I call friends don't agree with gay marriage or think climate change is a myth. Not just because it will allow me insight into who they are as people, but I will understand why our friendship is ultimately doomed. But today is Wordy Wednesday, so why I am I telling you all this? Well, you know how I love my tie ins ...

The word: Liberal

For what doesn't seem like a very exciting or interesting word it sure can whip someone into a frenzy and cause problems. There are those who sneer at the mere mention of someone being liberal, like it's a very bad, dirty thing. All I can assume is the definition has actually gotten lost in the twisted world of politics.

My coworker and I are liberal. As we talked, we exchanged ideas. We discussed. I talked about my thoughts on every single person and animal being interconnected and read her a short story I stumbled across on the intersnacks called The Universe Is Our Egg. She told me about her interest in Buddhism, how she finds religions interesting, and actually enjoys listening to people talk about their faith. We agreed faith is a good thing. A great thing. How it seems to be an essential component of existing in this world, which can be so daunting and cruel, so callous and cold.

There was talk of what we find disconcerting about religion. All the judgement. How people push their beliefs on others. The close-mindedness and unwillingness to accept others' thoughts and opinions. Following religious practices without asking questions. Not being able to listen to what another person has to say.

To be liberal is to accept differing opinions and ways of behaving. To be sympathetic. Compassionate. To try to understand others. You don't have to agree with what others think and feel, you don't have to embrace their morals or beliefs, but you are receptive to what they have to say. Being liberal is having your own thoughts and ideas but still accepting other people have theirs too. If you ask me, the world could use a whole lot more tolerance.

So, I believe we are one and that it is only with love that we should move. What do you believe?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day

It doesn't matter if you agree with war or the motivations behind the people governing the soldiers, one must always pay respect to those who have lost their lives. Those who have fought and experienced the terror of war, only to die. Who enlisted to protect their country and our freedoms and never made it back to enjoy their own country and freedoms.

One must always remember those who came back wounded, physically or mentally. Who struggled daily with what they saw or did. And once again fought, this time on homeland, to overcome the terrors of war again and find who they are and how to adjust in the country they loved, the place they called home. To remember those who managed to figure it out and the ones who didn't. The ones who couldn't find their way back through the darkness and perished.

And one must give thanks to those who are deployed now. Who are still enlisting in the face of all this uncertainty because they want to serve their country. To those overseas in terrifying situations. The ones who understand they might not make it home and know that is part of the  job description. All the men and women waiting to get home to their wives and children and pets.

We must always spare a moment for those who have enlisted, are enlisted and will enlist. If not for them, we'd all be forced to go. And I can tell you one thing, I don't want to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coming Home?

It's weird coming back to the mainland. Back to this space. A familiar place. Whenever I cross the water it feels as though I am coming home. Returning to my old life.

Here are my loved ones. My friends. Always someone with open arms and open doors. There is laughter and memories, a bed and food. Someone to say they miss me.

I never long for the city, it's too fast and mean for me. But I dream of never having to excuse myself, explain my words, or be reasonable. Everything is as it is. And I miss just being who I am in the presence of great people, the ones I love.

And still I miss my boys and the island, the home in the bay and my bed.

Is it possible to have two homes? Or more?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time Waster Extraordinaire

So, I'm pretty good at wasting time. It isn't something I like to brag about because, in a world where everyone is claiming to multitask and have so much to do, it kind of makes me look lazy. The funny part is, most of us aren't as busy as we claim to be. We always puzzle out ways to sneak in the things we love, be it watching movies, knitting, writing, hiking, swimming, or simply drinking hooch and listening to sad music.

The thing is, we like wasting time. Sure, we might feel bad about it later, but for the most part, life seems to be about wasting time. In fact, wasting time is sort of subjective. It's not like the majority of us are trying to figure out a cure for Cancer or working towards equal rights for everyone everywhere, even though most of us want those things. (Except the jerks, of course. They don't want any good things to happen.)

Because I've been wasting time for so long, or enjoying life as I like to call it, I have become an extraordinary time waster. If you have a copious amount of time on your hands and need to get through a couple hours, I have one website to occupy you for all eternity. Unlike YouTube and IMDB (two sites I occasionally get lost in a vortex of information), this new site will not only amuse but inform you, and for some strange reason, I don't know anyone who uses it, except me.

Don't think I discovered this treasure, though. It's super popular, just not with West Coast Canadians, apparently.

Welcome to ODDEE

Think of Oddee as an odd little gathering place for weirdos who like to make lists. That's right, lists. This site is filled to the brim with lists of strange things, like 20 Creeptastic Horror Movie Tattoos and 12 Amazing Real People Who Look Like Cartoons. It has lists for the celebrity enthusiast (10 Most Extreme Method Actors), world traveller (15 Breathtaking Views From Amazing Rooms), nature lover (10 Geological Wonders You Don't Know) and even the science minded (9 Bizarre Pieces of Medical Advice That Actually Work). 

Honestly, there's something for everyone. If you're out to learn or simply be entertained, this is the website for you. 

You're welcome, in advance. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The First Week - NANO Recap

The first week of NANO is over and I've done my best to hunker down in the evenings and churn out a decent word count. Working with NANO gives you an idea of what it's like to have a deadline. The downside is, even though you know you need to write fifty thousand words by the end of the month, it's easy to reason the deadline isn't real. It's not like you have an editor breathing down your neck or an agent demanding your next best seller. Unless you do have those things, in which case, I hate you. Just a little. Not enough for you to worry about.

Besides, a little hate might get you through the next thirty-seven thousand and five hundred words. By my calculations, which could be wrong, except I used a calculator, so they aren't, you have penned a mighty twelve thousand and five hundred words.

Congratulations. You aren't even halfway there.

Just between the two of us, I'm relatively happy with the results I'm seeing. It's been a bit stressful because I'm juggling two plot lines and hoping they seamlessly come together in the end, but for the most part the words are coming. A miracle really. It's been a long time since I've gotten past ten thousand words. The main issue I see cropping up already is the interactions between my male and female lead. For one, I'm concerned I am giving away too much up front. Another, the love crap feels so contrived. Seriously. My cynical eyes are rolling every time I write a kiss or stroke or snuggle.

As for advice, everyone writes differently, but just don't get distracted. Shut down Facebook. Put your phone in another room. Don't write hungry. Have water on hand. Sit in a comfortable chair. Plug into music. Reiterate to everyone you live with beforehand that you writing and do not want to be disturbed. Set a goal. And use write or die.

If that all fails, get someone else to write the book for you.

So, cheers. Here's to ten thousand more. No worries. I got this.


Friday, November 7, 2014

7 People Who Need To Stop Facebooking

Let me start off by saying, this post isn't about you. It is never about YOU specifically. Sure, what I think and feel is often reflected here, but my inspiration comes from many different places. Ideas often spark from conversations I have or reading comments and articles I've seen out in the wild. Why am I saying this? To let you know this specific blog isn't about you. 

That said, most of us have Facebooks and all of us know what it is like to want to hide someone from their feed. With the help of some friends, I've come up with 7 people who need to stop Facebooking. After all, the Facebook is a privileged, not a right. 

1. The Constant Oversharer

So, you have a lot going on in your life and you want to vent, that's okay. It happens to us all. And our Facebooks are filled to the brim with friends and family members eager to write words of encouragement to us. The first time, that is. There's a very specific algorithm to sharing on the internet. You can vent one to two times a month, anything more is considered excessive and, though this pains me to say, selfish. If you are posting every day about how hard your life is, then you're probably not taking into consideration other people around you have issues too. 

Let's say you're sticking to your two vents a month maximum, there are still certain things no one wants you to post about, like how much of a dirt bag your boyfriend is - especially when you stay with him - and the pooping habits of your children - or even worse, yourself. 

If you make over-sharing your go to status update, then it's probably time to step away from Facebook and pick up a phone. Call a friend. Write a letter to your mother. Text your sister. Or make a therapist appointment. 

2. The Extreme Right Winger (or Left Winger)

Once upon a time, it was known you could talk about anything but politics and religion. Unfortunately, with the upswing of Facebook, there are those who don't feel the need to adhere to these rules, which is fine. A little discussion about politics and religion can't hurt, right? Theoretically, except when you are talking to an extremist, then rational discussion is just tossed out the window, right after respect. Having an opinion and being passionate aren't a bad thing, but name calling, harassing and mocking are. If you don't give a crap about the opinions of the people on your friends list and can't tamp down your irrational anger long enough to see there are always two sides to pretty much any story, then it might be time to deactivate your Facebook account and head back to school to learn the fundamentals of maintaining a conversation. 

3. The Ambiguous Poster 

Oh, we've all been there, scrolling through our news feed, minding our own business, pretending we didn't just eat a third cookie, when we see it. An ambiguous post filled with hurt and rage and accusations, except there's no indication as to who it's for. It's late at night, we're tired from the work week and, for a moment, we think ... is this about me? I mean, I don't think I've done anything wrong, but ... I did make a sarcastic comment on their post about homemade applesauce ... so ... And you're stumped. 

Or, even worse, you're curled up in bed, waiting for your lives to replenish on Candy Crush, when you see it, a status update riddled with undying love. Someone in your feed is crushing so hard on a person who will never even know how special they think they are because they are taken. This could also be about you. Feeling brave, you post a reply, something equally ambiguous, but you hope uplifting as well. 

And then there are those people who have something amazing, horrifying, wonderful, crazy happen to them! But they don't tell you what. Great! Awesome! Thanks!

Another term for this is Attention Whoring. If you are posting ambiguous updates, possibly driving your friends (and family) batty, then it might be time to step away from social media and stop mind-fucking everyone on your list. Bonus, you'll stop getting messages from people asking if you are okay, or if they did something to upset you.

4. The Deactivators

These people can be a bit of a conundrum. They tell you they are going to deactivate their account. They are tired of the grind. Of posting and not getting responses. The sad updates and shares. So they are bowing out. Sometimes they actually do deactivate for a little while and then, they come back. They always come back. After the great 'I'm out of here' status update, they come crawling back, and then delete the post where they said they were leaving. 

If you are about to make an update about how you are leaving Facebook forever and you will never be back, don't do it. Just leave. And I'll see you when you come back. A day, week, or month later.  

5. The False Positives

No, not pregnancy. To be honest, I am most confounded by the False Positives. I mean, on one hand, they are super positive, posting motivational quotes and sharing memes about letting go and loving everyone you come across. On the other, any original thoughts they have are riddled with negativity and somehow they always manage to squeak in a terrible memory from their childhood, or the fact that they are super broke and going through a tough time. It's like having your very own personal Two-Face on your Facebook. Sometimes it gets to the point where you end up rolling your eyes at the positive things they post because their status updates are always so miserable. 

If you are causing people to have emotional whiplash whenever they go to your page, it might be time to quit the Facebook before your psyche splits completely and you are diagnosed with multiple personality disorders.  

6. The Pointless Updaters

Facebook is not a diary and it shouldn't be used at such, but there are still those who use it as such. You know who they are. The 'I post everything and anything that comes into my head' people. Updates about what they made for dinner, comments about the weather, random facts no one needs to know. But it isn't just the pointlessness of the posts, it's the frequency of them. These people post every single hour of every single day. Don't they have jobs? Lives? Do they ever go outside? It's gotten to the point that if they stopped posting, you'd panic because there would obviously be something extremely wrong. 

If you're about to share a post about how bored you are, the colour of your wallpaper, or how much dusting you have to do, stop where you are! Instead, delete your Facebook and go find an adventure to get lost in. Then you might just have something worth of updating when you reactive your account. 

7. The Um-What-Nows

A special brand of person, the Um-What-Nows should have never been allowed on Facebook. In fact, they actually needed help to set up their account, which is a clear indicator they don't belong. Some of the baffling behaviours the Um-What-Nows possess are: 
  • Posting incoherent status updates and comments on your posts - things you imagine are sentences but are so backwards and riddled with spelling errors you have no idea what they mean
  • Asking for help with how to use Facebook - like what a share is
  • Using the Facebook status as a search engine
  • Formulating opinions about things they can't possibly understand or know anything about
  • Sharing sexist, racist or homophobic memes they don't understand
  • Using netspeak when they don't know what it means
If you are one of those individuals who feels incredibly lost on Facebook or want to ask 'am I doing this right', then you need to walk away. Because you aren't doing it right. 

Well, I think that pretty much covers it, or does it? Who are some of the people that you think should have their Facebook privileges taken away? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

5 Songza Playlists To Make Everything Better

For those who forgot, I'm a music nerd, loving everything from sodapop rock to old school country, classical jazz to that good soul music, bubblegum pop to boy bands, metal to punk, and right back around to rap and hip-hop. Everything and all. I've yet to find a genre I truly dislike, though I have to say, I'm not a huge hardcore/metalcore/black metal fan.

Now, for those who don't know, Songza is a live streaming website that has a plethora of playlists for all sorts of occasions, including mooning over a sparkly vampire and long sorrowful road trips. After much shuffling and listening, I've come up with five playlists for five moods I find myself in all the time. And here we go:

The Hey, Baby, Sing Me To Sleep Mood

This is when you're so tired, like every last inch of your godforsaken body has surrendered to the battle of life. You are shutting down. The mere thought of getting up to brush your teeth is too much to handle and the idea of going out makes you want to weep into the plushness of your pillow. The only remedy for this sort of weariness is sleep, deep, peaceful, slightly sad sleep, and you can get there by indulging in Mr. Sandman. This beautiful compilation will send you into slumber with the soft gentle coos of the most popular hits and artists from the 50's and 60's. Melancholic and reassuring, this is one of the most comforting mixes I have ever indulged in.

Promise me you will never listen to this playlist when you're at work.

Remember When 

Anyone born around the same time as me will understand the importance of a fabulous mixed tape. We used to record songs off the radio on tape cassettes and listen to them on repeat for weeks. Sure, a lot of us don't want to admit that we loved the pop we grew up with. Not now. Not when people are so quick to turn their nose up to the Backstreet Boys and Rhianna, but it doesn't matter. We all want something to shake are butts to. We all want our guilty pleasures in one epic playlist. Well, lucky for us, it's on Songza and it's called Get Pumped: Pop Anthems. These are the songs from those tapes we made on our bedroom floors. These are the songs that will take you back to the days of slouch socks and snap bracelets. These are the songs you'll sing at the top of your lungs as you're cleaning your house and slip into the waters of nostalgia.

Feeling Eclectic

Good music is all about the past. The past past. Back in your parents' days. When Bowie rocked the air waves and Fleetwood Mac wasn't considered 'classic rock' but simply ROCK. Bands these day emulate those we cherish from our youth, and our parents' youth. You might have heard these as your mother made dinner or sitting in the back of your Daddy's Toyota Tercel. When all you want is a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time put on Hang Out Rock and prepare to bob your head and remember the days when you thought summer would last forever and all you wanted was to kiss the stars.

Jump Out Of Bed

Some days we need a boost, a pick me up, someone to drag us out of bed and dance us around our living room. A great playlist can be the difference from a meh morning to a magnificent one. Wake Up Smiling will do exactly what it sounds. Sit up.Shake your booty. Shower. And face the day head on. You can do it. You can tackle this. Might as well get in touch with your soul roots while you're at it. Disco out your door. Drum on the wheel. Let the wind whip your hair. Because some days, you need that extra push to get the day underway.

The Rain Is Tapping On My Window

You want moody. You want gloom. You want songs to stroke your disenchantment. Well, you've found it in the stellar list called Brooding Over Biters With Rick Grimes. On any given rainy night, when the storm of melancholy is brewing, you will come here, to this playlist and you will celebrate the fact someone took the time to put together this ruminative mix. I can't sing the praise of this one enough. It soothes my sad, sad soul.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordy Wednesday - Dreary

We all have our off days. Days where we are grumpy and dragging ourselves through the motions of life. Sometimes we roll out of bed in a bleak and dismal mood and others it creeps in throughout the day until all we want to do is pull the covers over our head and wait for the next day. Have you ever found the peacefulness in disenchantment? Seen the soothing side of sadness? Fallen in love with the forlorn?

It's there, if you look. The glimmer in gloom. Today we celebrate words, but why not embrace emotions as well.

The Word: Dreary

Dull. Dark. And Dismal. The three 'D's.

I find comfort in the fog, in the ominous clouds rolling in to blanket the sky, and the unrelenting rain pounding down on us, trying so desperately to wash our sins away. When I think of the word dreary, it reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey, of Tim Burton and Lenore, of the dark and macabre.

Dreary is the smell of the forest after rainfall. The palette of greys throughout the month of October. Not wanting to get out of bed. Sighing wearily. Listening to Nick Cave and Tom Waits. Drinking tea. Reading H.P Lovecraft and Clive Barker. Watching Life Is Beautiful and American Beauty. Falling in love with dilapidated buildings. Walking barefoot in the mud. Not wearing a hood in the rain. Smiling at the sound of thunder. And letting the tears fall without worrying about what they mean.

Dreary is finding the beauty in the darkness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fancrazies - Are You The Captain?.

I've never been part of a fandom before. Not because I've never been a fan of something. In truth, I've fallen in love with so many books and television series, movies and bands, that I totally know what it is like to be involved with something. To have a relationship with a show. A love affair with a band. A long-term friendship with a book character. But even though I've been obsessive about actors and musicians, harboured secret (and not-so-secret) crushes, I've never really shared those infatuations. For the most part, I've kept my fan girlish ways to myself.

Sure, there are people out there who know of my undying love for Bruce Springsteen, are privy to the greedy way I gobbled up the Harry Potter series, find it amusing I think I'd survive in A Game of Thrones, and understand I would live in Stars Hollow and be BFFs with the Gilmore Girls if at all possible. In truth, there are a fair share of celebrity dreamboats I adore, examples being Ryan Gosling (the man does no wrong), Tom Waits (what can I say, I've always had a thing for older men), Emma Stone (isn't she the cutest ever?) and my new found lust for Chris Hemsworth (the fallout of having one steamy dream of Thor and his mighty hammer). That being said, I totally toe the line of rationality and haven't ever allowed myself to become so preoccupied with these people that I base my entire existence around them. Like, I don't feel it my duty to pass judgement on the choices they make or how they live their lives. In fact, I don't even care what they are up to, who they are dating, and what they are wearing.

Seems weird mentioning that, right? I mean, shouldn't not being a stalker be a given? After all, who possibly has time to follow anyone around, whether it is on the internet or in real life? Why would anyone be so emotionally invested in a particular celebrity that they haven't even met or held a conversation with?

Well, you might not be privy to what fandom can degrade into. I use the word degrade because people can get down right scary and, to be honest, disgusting when they love something so hard. I like to call it having the fancrazies. A terrifying condition wherein people who shouldn't be allowed on the internet become so obsessed they jump off the cliff of insanity and free fall to the jagged rocks of irrational and drown in the waters of creepiness.

Don't get me wrong, there are amazing fans out there, but in the past couple months I've witnessed disturbing behaviour carried out in the name of fandom. If you are concerned you might be experiencing the fancrazies, I have outlined a few surefire signs that you may actually be Captain of the Crazies, and not just playing for the team.

Reality Vs. Fiction

It is one thing to think about the magical world of Harry Potter and silently wish it was real so you could attend Hogwarts, it's another thing to forget it is fiction and buy a ticket to London. It's one thing to crush on a sparkly fictional vampire, it's another to cry yourself to sleep at night because the new guy in school doesn't have amber coloured eyes. It is one thing to wonder what's going to happen in the next Game Of Thrones book, it's another to daydream about what Jon Snow is doing on the wall right this very minute.

If you are having trouble distinguishing reality from fiction, then you might be the Captain of the Crazies

Being Tyra

Celebrities are celebrities, which mean they exist in the public eye. Having a fleeting opinion about an outfit being worn on the red carpet or a new hairstyle is perfectly normal - we all do it. You don't have to like every suit or piece of jewellery your celebrity favourites are wearing. But the truth is, your opinion doesn't matter. These famous people should be able to live their lives and make their own decisions, unswayed by what you think. While you might have a thought on their wardrobe or makeup, you really don't need to share it. In fact, if it isn't nice, how about you don't? You aren't a fan if you are bashing their clothing and hair - or even more horrifying, when you rip them apart physically - from their hairlines to their breast size, from their body types to their teeth. You are not their stylist. Even more, you are not Tyra and they are not here for you to judge them.

If you are overwhelmed with the desire to be catty and critique celebrities, then you could be the Captain of the Crazies.

What Personal Life?

There are fans who think it their business to know every personal detail of a celebrities life. Even worse is the blatant lack of respect for these actors, actresses and musicians lives, there are fans who take it upon themselves to name call and harass not only the people they supposedly love, but the ones they are friends with, or (God forbid) dating. It's one of the most confounding parts of fandom - how these crazy fans (who are so very infatuated with the series, book or actors) think it is their right to not only disapprove of the life decisions these actors and actresses make, but to stalk and bash anyone with any sort of relationship with them.

If for some strange and inexplicable reason you find yourself tweeting your crushes rumoured girlfriend, the person he or she was seen with at a gala or ball or party, and take it upon yourself to bash said person mercilessly, then you have contracted the fancrazies and need to have your intersnacks taken away until you can purge the lunacy from your being.


Let's say not being able to distinguish fiction from reality, invading someone's personal life, and criticizing someone's every move and decision isn't enough to convince someone that they are in fact treading in the dark waters of fandom, perpetrating the seedy underbelly of obsessive love, then here's one more.

Slut-shaming. Name calling. Body-shaming. Stalking. Bullying. None of these terms are very nice, are they? In fact, most people should get their back up if accused of these behaviours. There is no way any of these horrible things should be associated with being a fan, right? If you love something, then aren't you supposed to celebrate it? Let it blossom. Encourage it. And enjoy it. Yes, but people become obsessive. They stop thinking clearly. Eventually, they start doing things they might not normally do, or they allow the anonymity of the internet go to their head and think what they say means nothing, or they are allowed to be rude and mean because it's the first amendment, right? Freedom of speech and all that jazz.

Except, no.

You can't simply say whatever you damn well please. Or at least you shouldn't. It is unacceptable to spread such hatred, to be cruel and pass judgement. It's ignorance to think your words mean nothing when they are the sword that cuts the deepest. Maybe people feel they have a right to be horrible. That celebrities choose to be famous, put themselves in the limelight, and deserve to be judged and mistreated.

If you find yourself passing judgement, calling someone not classy for the company they keep or a skank because of a costume they wore, then you are being mean and slut shaming. If you are complaining about someone's body, too skinny or too fat, then you are body shaming. If you are tearing apart someone's features, from their crooked teeth to their big forehead, small hands to their large feet, even mocking their clothing, you are bullying. Next time you are going to pass judgement, to be mean or bully, slut shame or ridicule, do everyone a favour and look in the mirror before you send your tweet or post your comment and blog. Before you update your status, take a good long hard look at yourself and make sure you are perfect. And, if on the off chance, you find you are perfect, do me a personal favour and keep your negativity and hatred to yourself.

Just between us, I don't understand any of this. It's frustrating to think this is how people treat the things (and people) they supposedly love. If you want to obsess and be a fan, by all means - do it, but do it with love and a wee bit of respect.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fall Back

Sure, it sucks when it's dark at five, but I think that extra hour of sleep last night was totally worth it. Bring on the shortest day of the year so they can start getting longer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer

Every now and again, I come across an amazing product and just have to share. Today, I am sharing with you a carbonated beverage called Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer. It isn't simply the taste, which is divine, nor the bottle, a visual delight, but the fact is reminded me of Harry Potter and I instantly fell in love. It's so much wizardry.

The taste? Is great. Butterscotchy and fabulous. As I sipped my bottle, I imagined I was in Hogsmeade at the Hog's Head Pub, sitting in the corner wearing a cloak of velvet, but also of shadows. It might have been snowing outside. 

If you go in search of a story, this tasty non-alcoholic beer has been in production since 1374 by the Flying Cauldron at their brew pub in Hogsbreath, England. It is concocted with creamy vanilla, natural butterscotch and enough spells to keep it magical. A lovely bit of fun for anyone who is young at heart. So, if you run across this tasty beverage, please do pick it up. Especially if you are a Potter fan. It will make you feel less like a Muggle.

Don't mind the Sidekick sneaking into the picture.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

To Nano Or Not To Nano

That is the question, isn't it? After all, it's November 1st, which means I should certainly leave this important question to the very last minute, right? I mean, why would I try and figure out whether I am going to write fifty thousand words this month or not.

There may have been a smidgen of sarcasm in the first paragraph.

Really, though, I struggle with whether I am going to participate. I want to, I really do. But this year isn't really a writing one. It's been a huge hiccup of creativity. Nothing is running smoothly. In fact, every single word I turn out feels forced and contrived. I look at them and think, "Well, aren't you the ugliest of sentences ever."

There are pros to NANO.

But I'm having troubles coming up with them.

Today I signed into my account, you know - on the off chance I decide to participate - and I had 104 messages. We will put that in the CON column.

What do you think? Are you NANOing this year? Should I NANO with you?

In other news, it's my birthday month!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

It's my most favourite day of the year. I wait 364 days this singular most precious day. No other event or holiday holds a candle to Halloween.

Those who get it. Get it. Those who don't. I feel sorry for them.

Here are 20 reasons why I live for Halloween and it is hands down the best holiday ever:

1. Horror movies
2. Dressing up
3. Fall leaves
4. Pumpkin carving
5. Witches, ghouls, ghosties, vampires, werewolves
6. Skulls
7. Spooky music
8. Trick or Treating
9. Decorations are skulls, bats, spiders and rats - inexpensive and amazing
10. Talking to strangers is not only okay, it's encouraged.
11. There is no gift giving on Halloween
12. Fun for everyone, old and young ... well, except those weirdos who think it's Satan's work
13. Candy
14. People embrace the scary stuff
15. Halloween specials for your favourite shows rule
16. It isn't an emotional occasion
17. You can go a whole day without anyone knowing who you are
18. Orange and yellow are finally a favourite colour
19. Dressing pets up in costumes
20. You don't have to spend time with friends and family, but you want to

Today, I am a happy girl.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I Don't 'Like' You

When I say I don't 'like' you, I'm not taking about your face or clothes, the morals you have or your outlook on life. I'm talking about Facebook. A little while ago, I stopped 'liking' things on the old Face-Place. There were a couple of reasons as to why, but the main one is how lazy it seemed to be getting. I realized no one was really taking the time to interact with others anymore and, when I looked at my feed, there were hundreds of posts with a couple of  likes and no comments on them.

This brought me to the question - where is the social part of all this networking?

People were posting, but no one was responding. A little put off, I started thinking about how everyone was living in the moment, but no one was paying attention. Here we are with instant access to one another, hundreds of posts from our nearest and dearest being created every single day, but no one is actually interested in what's being said. Or, if they are, they certainly aren't vocalizing it. Instead of commenting, people were pressing the like button and walking away - myself included.

This is when I got to thinking - did everyone actually like what they were liking?

The answer is, in my humblest opinion, no. I certainly didn't. In fact, I didn't like or hate a vast amount of the stuff I was hitting the thumbs-up for. For the most part, I straddled the line of indifference. Sure, there were one or two posts I enjoyed and connected with, but when I sat back and started taking notice of what people were posting the majority of it appeared to be nothing more than a distraction. Fluff. Unimportant noise. Nonsense.

Please don't take this as me looking down on your posts. Everyone loves a good bit of fluff now and again, but too much of it can seriously get in the way of your focus, drive and production. I mean, I'd click on a link and find myself in a YouTube vortex of music and prank videos, or on the never-ending chain of quirky blogs or reading up on what the cast of Bring It On looks like today. Things no one needs to know.

So, why was I liking all this crap? For some, I wanted to stay connected to the person posting. Like it was a way of saying 'Hey, I'm still here. I'm paying attention'. In other instances, I accidentally hit it and felt rude to remove my like. And then there were those times when I 'liked' something just for the sake of liking it. Oh, you made that lasagna from scratch, let me like it so your hard work doesn't go to waste. Strange, right?

Well, I stopped 'liking' things. Actually, I started boycotting the 'like' function altogether. There were a good couple of months where I didn't 'like' a single thing. To be honest, it was liberating. I didn't feel as if I HAD to like things anymore. I figured if I didn't have the desire to write a few words (any words) then it wasn't worth a like. And so I started commenting. Some of those comments actually started conversations. They were my opinions and, while they might not all have been profound or noteworthy, they came from me. I was taking the time to actually interact with the people Facebook considered my friends. It didn't matter that sometimes I only wrote one word like 'cute' or 'awesome' because it meant more than an arbitrary like. At least my brain it did.

Social media is a confounding place. I want people to know I am paying attention, listening, and caring. I'm not 'liking' something simply because someone I knew posted it or because I thought the picture on the article was funny. If you're on my friends list and I 'like' something you wrote or posted, then you deserve a couple words from me. At least, that's how I see it. There are all these people running around with hundreds of friends and not interacting with any of them. And that's the kicker, isn't it? We can't possibly keep up with all these people and yet we keep accepting more 'friend requests'. Baffling, right?

It's why the internet can feel so lonely at times.

In the end, what does this all mean? What does it mean if I like you? What does it mean if I don't?

Nothing. Not really. I mean, it might have been my cat walking across my keyboard. Or maybe I think you're super special and we should hold hands and skip.

Just wait for my comment.