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Midnight Train to Memphis

When I got on the train in Chicago, I checked my ticket; seat number 13. I thought it was a joke. I’d had nothing but the number 13 so far on this trip: room number 13, taxi number 13, $13 for lunch… it was always 13. For my sanity I could only take this as positive reinforcement. I was given seat number 13 on the overnight train to Memphis. While walking down the aisle to my chair, I looked ahead to see who my seat-partner was for this 10-hour ride, hoping I would be alone with enough room to stretch out and sleep. I took to my seat with no one next to me. In front of me was a middle aged, thin man with a blue sequined sailor hat, attempting to store the two shopping bags that he was using for luggage. He seemed a bit odd, but it didn’t bother me; I wasn’t sitting with him and wasn’t forced to interact with him. Just as I was thinking about how fortunate I was to have two seats to myself, two young men approached and informed me that I was in their place. I’d misread the numbers, accidentally taking a seat in number 11. Number 13 was directly next to the odd sailor-loving man.

I went to sit next to him and gave him a friendly smile, hoping we could sit in silence. I was exhausted. During one of my moments of brilliance earlier in the day, I thought it was a great idea to have breakfast, check out, leave my luggage at the hostel and walk the 1.5 hours to Millennium Park. I would try to kill an entire day, wear myself out, and hop on the train at 8 o’clock at night. Not a bad plan; not at all. I walked all the way down Milwaukee Avenue, getting lost a few times, but found my way. I wandered around the park for a while, only to realize how much time I still had before catching my train. I took to the Art Institute of Chicago and walked for hours, taking in everything I could. This is one of the most impressive arts establishments I’ve ever been in – it’s huge, never ending and filled with masterpieces. Since being there, I haven’t been able to go to another gallery. Despite one of the biggest in Canada being located just down the street from where I live, it’s not The Art Institute of Chicago and it’s not in Millennium Park. Being so caught up in all of this, I never sat down and ate – not for eight hours. I simply walked and took in the last bits of the city before I left. So, as you can see, by the time my tired feet got to rest on the train, I was exhausted and no mood to talk.

It seemed like nothing was going to go my way from here on in, and so this faux-sailor started talking to me. I discovered that his name is Palmer and he lives in San Francisco, but grew up in a suburb of Detroit. In fact, he grew up on the same street as the Lisbon family, the family famous from the book, then movie, The Virgin Suicides. He didn’t know much of the girls and no one in the neighborhood really spoke about what happened, even when the suicides had taken place. It was obvious that he didn’t really care to speak of it. Palmer was on a journey of his own. He was taking some time off work to go back home to Detroit to visit his family for a few days. After he was done there, he bought an open pass for the train, which allowed him to hop on and off as he pleased. He didn’t bring any luggage, just two large burlap shopping bags that held few clothes and some food. He was doing this for two weeks, tracking every mile and every state. Palmer was fascinating. He never booked a room in any city, taking an overnight train where he could sleep. He would then take off in the morning, asking the customer service desk at the station to hold his things for the day. Cruising around on a pair of roller blades, he would explore whichever city he was lucky enough to see that day. Palmer fed me tips from his extensive knowledge of train travel: For instance, if you purchase one of the inflatable mats for sale, you can go to the observation car in the train and lie there for a good night’s sleep. He actually did this partway through our trip. Also, it’s best to bring hard-boiled eggs and 3L of water on the long rides. Public swimming pools are great places to shower, and wearing flashy things (like a blue sequined sailor hat) is a great way to grab attention and make conversation with new people. When I told him that San Francisco was my last stop, he took my journal that I had been filing and used a page to draw a map and write down every place worth seeing, like a focaccia bakery in North Beach that is famous for the amazing Italian bread and also the mother/daughter team that bicker like none other. I ended up visiting this bakery on my last day in Frisco and Palmer didn’t disappoint – the bread was spectacular and the mother and daughter loved to hate each other.

Deep into our conversation, both our sets of eyes were getting tired, and so we decided to sleep. Palmer took his own advice, bringing his mat to the observation car, which gave me both seats to stretch out in. My roomy resting place felt like heaven, even though this midnight train to Memphis never turned the lights down and sleep was near impossible with little lights shining in my eyes. Just as I was finally settling into a slumber, I was woken up by a huge bang. It had been raining virtually the entire time and lightning hit the track, which only added to the odd events of this trip. After the lightning struck, it seemed like no one on the train was going back to sleep – not even Palmer, who returned to his seat to continue our conversation. As we were nearing Memphis, he asked me if I knew the movie Mystery Train. My jaw dropped – this Jim Jarmusch film, set in Memphis, is only one of my favourite movies. The film is made up of three intertwined stories about people on a train to Memphis who all ended up staying in the same rundown motel. It was filmed in the late 80s and stars Joe Strummer, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Steve Buscemi and many others. It’s amazing, though – this movie hadn’t even crossed my mind on my way to Memphis until this mysterious man on this overnight train mentioned it. I, of course, jumped up and told him it was one of my favourite movies and that I couldn’t believe he’d just mentioned it. Palmer explained that 20 years prior, he had gone to Memphis on a school trip and ate at the diner featured in Mystery Train. In fact, this very diner happened to be right across the street from the train station, where Palmer planned on eating breakfast. He invited me along. I didn’t answer right away, instead choosing to leave my options open. The train pulled into Memphis an hour ahead of schedule, and I blamed the lightning that had struck the track. At 5:30am, it was dark, rainy, and Palmer was the only soul I knew for miles and miles. Once I realized this, I looked over at him and told him I would love to join him for breakfast.

Leaving the train behind, we crossed Main Street towards Memphis’ oldest diner, the Arcade Restaurant, established 1919. I was excited – I hadn’t had a meal in 24 hours and I was going to be eating in a diner that I’d only seen in scenes from my favourite movie. We tried the door but it was locked, and wouldn’t open until 7:00am. So there we were: two tired, hungry strangers on a corner in a legendary little town. With an unspoken understanding that we were in this together, we walked back into the train station as the sun was rising, parking ourselves on a beautiful old wooden bench for the next hour and a half.  We only had time to get to know each other better. Palmer used to be a claymation artist on a Disney film in San Francisco. I might add this is not the first time I’ve had an odd encounter with a claymation artist for Disney, but that is another story.  He worked as an artist on a movie that I never learned the name of, until Disney bought Star Wars and ran out of money for the production. Now he works at a popular coffee chain, Pete’s, across the bay. The rest I can’t remember. From here it becomes a bit hazy; a hunger, sleep deprived daze. At 7:00am, we ran across the street, the first customers to grab a booth. We ordered water and coffee and started to salivate over the menu. They had a “Mystery Train” sandwich, but I went for an omelet. While we waited for food, I looked around the place and learned a few things about it: Jack White loves to eat there since his home in Nashville is only a three hour drive away, Elvis was a regular, and many other movies were filmed there after Mystery Train, (though none of them as good). The original building from 1919 hasn’t been redecorated since the 1950s, and this was obvious. Again, everything became a daze. Palmer told me how he liked to dress in a blue one piece jumper with Obama written down its front and rollerblade around, hoping it would spark conversation. He also spoke about the high housing prices in San Fran, and the tech companies that have moved into the city ruining it for everyone else. I helped him pick out a souvenir shirt from the diner and we split the bill. Then he walked me the 1.2 miles down Main Street to my hotel, passing by the famous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.  When we got to the front of my hotel we said our good-byes. He told me his real name is David.

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Cancer, Who Invited You to the Party?
(written at the beginning of 2016, just after my first of two surgeries.)

I actually know who invited those two tumours in my colon to the party at the young age of 28.  They were invited by a genetic mutation I have called Lynch Syndrome. This genetic mutation happens to be an asshole, in case you can’t tell. It gives a person a very heightened risk of colon, stomach and uterine cancer. For me it got passed down through my mother who is a survivor of colon cancer. Here is a fact for a The More You Know segment: Lynch Syndrome is most commonly found in people from Northern Italy and Newfoundland. I did not make this up. Northern Italy is where my mother’s people are from. It is also where most vampires call home. This explains my pale skin, many freckles, luscious lips, round hips, once thick hair, and thirst for blood. It also, in a stretch explains my cancer.

Life was going pretty well before the diagnoses. That is if you ignore my declining health in the last year. I was looking into why I felt shitty and I did have a team helping me. The only problem was no one thought it was cancer. I was anaemic, tired, actually so exhausted that some nights I couldn’t move off my bed. I would cry from my inability to lift a finger. As well my hair started falling out in clumps and I lost 20lbs in a month. Let’s not forget walking a block would make my heart race, my loss of appetite and extreme stomach pains. Everyone was puzzled by what it could be. It wasn’t until one night my mom forced my hand into the ER that my wonderful experience began. I was originally in an ER in Hamilton, but then switch to a Toronto hospital where my doctors who were already helping me were located. The ER didn’t know what was wrong with me. To be safe they put me in isolation for fear I might have some terrible infectious disease. There was a warning on my door that stated all hospital workers who came into my room must wear a gown, a mask and gloves. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I did know it wasn’t Ebola. This situation lightened my mood tremendously. Each time someone walked into my room looking like the evil villain in a Disney cartoon I would laugh to myself. This also worked to my benefit because people in isolation can’t share a room with other patients, so this girl got a big private room once I was admitted.

It would only be logical in the timeline to tell you about all the tests I had done. Though the entire time I was having them I was sleep deprived and half the time pretty high on something. I was also throwing up like a champ. Here’s what I can tell you from what I can remember. All ultrasound techs are evil or just socially awkward. The lab to get an x-ray at Mount Sinai is fancier than my apartment. I suspect not all nurses went to medical school. I have two bruises still present a month later from missed placed IV needles as evidence. When a tech injects the dye into you right before a CT scan it hurts like hell. A nurse wanting an ECG scan will do anything to get it. She might even flip you on your back while you’re sleeping, lift your shirt so you’re flashing everyone in the room just to connect wires all over your body to get a reading of your heart. Vegetarian hospital food is cold, sauce-less egg noodles. The worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep.

It was a few hours after my colonoscopy (I think, details are sketchy for me) that the doctor came in to my big private room and explained I had two massive growths in my colon and though they still need to test them, it is likely cancer. All my parents were in the room with me. Actually the entire time there was always a parent in my room, my mom, dad, step mom and step dad. A child’s cancer really brings the family together. When we heard the news everyone fell silent. The very nice and humble doctor quietly left the room. Finally we all could breathe and cry. Everyone in the room were in tears. The odd thing was I only cried for about 5 minutes. After that I just looked at everyone else crying and repeated to myself “it’s just surgery then chemo, just surgery then chemo”. That somehow kept me calm. Which is odd because this is the week I find out if I do need chemo and I can’t stop freaking out over it.

It didn’t take long for me to start calling everyone I love and breaking the news to them. This was the worst part of the entire experience. First I had to see my parents suffer over the news and now I had to break it to my closest friends. You never want to cause anyone pain and when I saw my family cry and heard it from my friends on the phone it just broke me. If I spoke with you, you would know how optimistic I was on the phone but it was rough hurting people over and over again. Being the reason why everyone you love is crying creates an almost indescribable feeling, a feeling that can only be described as “fuck. I’m sorry”.

Once that largely eventful day I was over, I finally had a break. No tests to get wheeled down the hall to go to. Just time to sleep, though sleep didn’t happen. Sleep didn’t happen for a month actually. Over the next few days I was chillin’ watching loads of HGTV and OWN. Things were pretty easy going (or more so then they had been), until some random doctor came in and was a total bummer. To back up a bit, since 10 months before this doctors were encouraging me to get a blood transfusion because I was so anaemic and I always declined. I declined for two reasons. One reason being that I do know two people who died of HIV from a bad blood transfusion. Yes, they got their blood in the early ‘80s, but yes they were great men who are still very much missed. I do know the screening process has become much more sophisticated since then, but seeing this first hand is a hard experience to shake. The second and more logical reason for me to decline blood is I absolutely find it disgusting. Call it immature or shallow minded but the idea of having someone’s blood run through me is enough to puke. Now with this information I will continue with why this doctor was a total bummer. He told me in order for me to be healthy enough for surgery I needed to have a blood transfusion. I then looked at him as if I were trying to melt him with my eyes. I told him about the two brothers with HIV, he gave me a pamphlet to ease my worrying about why that fear in 2015 is insane. I then told him about how gross blood transfusions are. He looked at me like I was crazy and treated like I was a basic bitch who needed to check her privilege at the door.  I agreed to the transfusion and I feel as a punishment for my attitude he sent the blood just before I got my dinner. As if the sight of hospital food wasn’t enough to turn my stomach, I now had to look at it WHILE BLOOD DRIPPED FROM A BAG HANGING NEXT TO ME AND FLOWED INTO MY VEIN.  There is so much more I can tell you from my hospital experience and more is coming, but this was the most traumatic. I mean we can all agree that doctor was a jerk, right?

The day after I inherited “the gift of life” I can say with ease it did not change me into some kind of monster or make hair grow in weird places.  I did start having a lot of pain and was throwing up all the time. The tumours had made me totally obstructed and my surgery was pushed up. Within two days, high on painkillers I was under the knife. Never before had I been to an ER or spent the night in the hospital. Never before had I had a surgery and here I was being wheeled into a room to have my stomach ripped open and majority of an important organ removed. It was only five days before I was told how sick I was and now BAM my life was going to change forever. Forever after this moment I would need to have a high sodium and high potassium diet.

According to the news my family received from my surgeon afterwards, it went very well and everyone was pleased… except me. I was happy of course that it went so well. I had an amazing surgical team and am forever grateful for them. Also very happy they are doing my second surgery later in the year. What I didn’t like was the lack of warning as what to expect during recovery. I woke up from the surgery in a bit of a daze with oxygen tubes coming out of my nose. I wasn’t in pain because drugs are magical. It was the next morning when I tried to reposition myself in my bed that I realized I couldn’t. Do you know how important your stomach muscles are for moving basically any part of your body from the boobs down? You need those muscles for everything. I was uncomfortable, unable to sleep (still) and had 50 staples running down my abdomen. I was upset because I had no warning. I knew it was a massive surgery and recovery was hard, but I thought it would just be painful. I didn’t know it would take weeks before I could get out of a chair on my own and walk properly. I was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve and was put in the care of my mother at her place in the country. I didn’t leave my mom’s house for two weeks. I watched a lot of the Food Network and began a fantasized love affair with Jamie Oliver.  As I type it is the night before I see my surgeon for a check up. This week is when I find out if I need chemo or not. It’s looking likely. I’ve already begun shopping for wigs and smaller clothes (so far I’ve dropped two sizes).

At this point I want to highlight the good experiences:

·      I have more energy and feel more like myself- Before we had a final diagnoses I was so tired, though the fatigue did much more than make me sleep five times a day. All of a sudden I was leaving my friends at the bar early because I felt like I was going to collapse. I was sitting down every chance I got. I flaked on so many plans (which is the exact opposite of who I am). I would drive everywhere because walking was too much. My friends started to get annoyed with me because I couldn’t keep up like I used to. And worst of all I lost all confidence. When you’re excruciatingly exhausted 24/7 you lose yourself. I never felt like me, because the me I knew had loads of energy and enjoyed being social and out all night. I didn’t know or like the person I became and it made me depressed. It made me incredibly depressed.

·      I realized what an amazing support system I have- Before I had my surgery I really didn’t tell many people what was going on. Only my family and close friends knew I had cancer or that I was sick at all. And everyone was incredible. The messages, hospital visits, gifts, laughs and hugs helped more than anyone would understand. My divorced parents and their partners banded together. My parents were already cool with each other, don’t get me wrong, but never before did they and my step parents need come together as a team. When push came to shove they were phenomenal and continue to be. There was always a parental figure at my bed side keeping me company. As well my siblings came through in a bit of an unexpected way, in the best most encouraging way. This experience has really brought my entire family to a new level. After my surgery I made it public what was happening and the outpouring of love from the people I have surrounded myself with over the years was overwhelming. People I haven’t spoken to in years sent positive words my way. It brought so many amazing people back into my life, how can I not be grateful for that?

·      I’m no longer in constant pain- That’s not totally true. Recovering from a massive surgery on your stomach is painful. I would still much rather this pain than the pain I was in. Before whenever I ate I would be in pain. Sometimes it was so bad I could only have two bites of soup before I had to crash on my bed and hold my stomach. Most nights I wouldn’t be able to sleep because I was in so much pain. Surgery pain is nothing compared to what I went through for months.

·      I’ve lost so much weight- When people applaud me for this I want to punch them in the face. It doesn’t feel like a triumph when the weight loss came from something that was killing me. But still when I put on a fitted dress, smaller than what I’m used to I can’t help to look in the mirror and carry a smirk on my face that says ‘heyyyyyyyyyy’

So you see it’s not all bad! In addition to the good things above, I have also seen tonnes of movies, got caught up on some crucial magazine reading, coloured some pretty drawings, read Mindy Kaling’s latest book and sold a painting.

I still have a long road to go and 2016 is looking like a full calendar of recovery. Though I think the biggest tragedy that can come of this is if we took this experience and threw it out the window without learning what we can from it. What I have learned so far is if you know you could have a cancer causing genetic mutation, don’t put off getting tested for it, if you’re not feeling right tell you doctor everything- don’t hold back and people when they need to can really surprise you, and when they do it’s more beautiful then anything you’ve seen in a store.

**update, since I wrote this I learned I do not need chemo. Just one more big surgery to go!

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Life Lessons from a Rock Star: Patti Smith

Patti Smith the Godmother of punk, women of any age look up to this beautiful example of strength, love and determination. Someone who has faced many uncertain times, great loss and letdowns has always been able to keep a positive attitude. As well being able to articulate it with passion through her God given talent as a writer and musician. I’ve seen Patti perform twice now, once acoustic and once with her full band. Both times I was in tears by the end. Both shows put me on a rollercoaster, at the beginning I was happy because I was seeing fucking Patti Smith, then part way through I would watch her, listen to her and start to doubt everything in my life. She went on an amazing path, nurtured her talent, found a man to truly love, who loved her just the same and though he passed away she still smiles and dances to the songs written for him, about him- I could be so lucky, anyone could be so lucky. I was listening to an interview with her at a gallery and she basically attributed everything to Providence, only thinking about the good and knowing you’re protected. I know it could sound like bull shit, but Monty Pythons agree, “always look on the bright side of life.” Maybe if I took a page from Patti Smith, know I’m okay and there is good in any situation then I wouldn’t feel like such a worthless sack of shit. I’m going to try it for a few days. Thank you Patti Smith 

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How to do a Full Moon Cleanse

(in like… a not lame way)

Step 1

Find a close friend who just “gets” you. Bring up in a delicate way all the shortcomings and failures you have both endured lately. Suggest helping each other get rid of the bad vibes and vices with a spiritual cleanse.

Step 2

Acknowledge how rad your friendship is when they actually totally get what you’re saying and don’t think you’re being a weirdo or a creep. From here you begin to plan. Fine a calendar and choose the next full moon to hang out and do fun stuff. For us, this involved watching Where the Buffalo Roam, a movie that has Bill Murray portraying Hunter S. Thompson. Fun stuff also included lots of fruit, sangria and cake.

Step 3

On the night of the full moon discuss what you will be cleansing. Since my friend and I are in our twenties, we obviously decided to cleanse ourselves of all our past escapades with men. We then wrote a letter of everything from the past we would like to release and another letter of everything we would like to come in the future

Step 4

We then took the letters, a bowl of water, my Britney Murphy candle and a pack of 1000 Chinese incenses some hotel guest left on my desk at work out to my balcony. We lit the candle then the incense and read a healing chant we found on Google. After we then prayed to Britney Murphy our full moon goddess that our prayers would be heard while “Horses” by Patti Smith played in the background.  Once we felt our voices were heard we lit our letters of release on fire and let them burn and fall into the bowl of water. We then held our letter for the future up to the moon to be energized as we read another Google sourced spell.

Step 5

After realizing a job well done we flushed the bowl of water and our half burnt letters down the toilet and ended the night with eating cake and dancing in my living room to Lou Reed’s “I’m so Free”

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An excerpt from Boston

I cut through a back alley all for it’s beauty (most allies are more beautiful than any street could ever be) and came to find a strange orange, bridge with spiral ramps on either side. The bridge took pedestrians above the highway to look over the city. This urban structure was interesting enough and I enjoyed the idea of being able to look far and wide, so I took to walking up one of the spiral ramps to look out onto Boston. I stood at the centre of the bridge for only a minute. This moment, like many others in my life was greatly exaggerated and romanticized in my mind before it even happened, so much so that reality didn’t stand a chance. While I attempted to enjoy this fleeting moment, I looked over to the other side of where I came, the other side of the bridge and saw the Charles River. I was hoping I would be able to walk by the river during my visit and, serendipity, there it was. The waterfront was garnished with Cherry Blossoms that were bursting at the seams, a stage built to withstand small orchestras and a dock, with one chair waiting for me.  As I walked up to this chair that I swear had my name engraved in it, I asked an older grey haired man filling the seat opposite to the one I was wanting to call home and asked if it were taken. He assured me it was all mine, I sat down and we were one. The older Boston gentleman and his thick New England accent made conversation with me about small details in life. He was on break from being an usher, mostly working Celtic games. During our silent moments I looked out onto the river, so quit and calm, as the sailboats would glide by. In that moment, inevitably the Motown classic “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” began on repeat in my head. I finally got that song, unlike when it would play in my car in rush hour and thought I “got it”. I finally fucking lived that song. Life is filled with little victories. 

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Life Lessons from a Rock Star: Henry Rollins

Making your way in any field or industry is tough. It’s even more tough when pessimists remind you of how many people in the world, or even in your own city, are trying to do the same (even if said pessimists only exist as thoughts in your own head). This is why it’s important to, whenever possible, draw inspiration from those who have made it - whatever ‘it’ means to you. I personally don’t have any interest in fronting a punk band, but I am interested in interviewing that band. Henry Rollins, best known as the lead singer for Black Flag in their glory days, also had his own project, The Rollins Band, a TV show, a publishing company, and writer of a regular column in LA Weekly - the list is too long to complete. He is a man that I listen to when speaking. Rollins dropped out of university after one semester and began working full time at Haagen Dazs earning minimum wage. Having seen them in New York, he was already a fan of Black Flag.. At that performance, he jumped on stage and sang with the band. Soon after, Black Flag made some adjustments and needed a new lead singer.  Remembering how much they had enjoyed Rollins onstage in New York, they called him to audition. After weighing his options, he decided that trying is better than not, and made it to the audition that got him the gig.

Do You Do Drugs?

Most shows I remember for the music and hard-hitting performances from the band. Though, this show I only remember a conversation that was yelled between the band manager and the bartender while I was caught in the middle of the two and the band began their set.

Manager: We need water!!

Bartender: You want beer?!

Manager: No! Water!

Bartender: What?!!!

Manager: We need Water!! They’re too high!!

Bartender: Hot?! They’re too hot

Manager: No! High! They’re too high!!! They’re tripping balls! We need water!

Then I glanced over to the band to see the singer falling into the audience, poking my friend belly button and guitarist tripping over the amp. Two songs in, way to be pros. 

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A Penny Weighs a Ton

I have an awful, daunting, time consuming habit of always being early. The thought of missing a deadline, missing a train, keeping someone waiting is too much guilt for me to digest. An hour early, waiting to board my train to Memphis, I was stuck in Chicago, in the most uninspired station yet. Nothing to do but sit on the edge of a fountain and hope 60 minutes feels like 45. Sitting next to me, a few feet down was an older woman who looked unkempt and I assumed could possibly be homeless. She had a rag covering her hair and a garbage bag holding her blanket. This is when I began my new ritual with wishing fountains. Out of sheer boredom I looked at the fountain that was behind me, felt the weight of my change purse and figured two things equal one. Fountain + penny= wish. I pulled out all the pennies I had and carelessly made a wish with each one and threw in a penny to go along with it. The unkempt woman next to me saw what I was doing and told me it seemed like a good idea. She began digging in her bag, in a very desperate way, searching and searching for even just one penny. When I saw what she was doing I stopped her, told her I had some to spare and gave her three pennies to use as she wished. Then I watched her. With each penny she had, she would do the same. Hold it in her hand, make a strong, tight fist, close her eyes, squeeze her eye lids and focused. So still and so determined, as if she were reaching out to God, having a conversation. Asking him/her to grant her this one wish and in return she would sacrifice this penny. With this one with her life and the lives of others around her will be greater and life will no longer seem like a steep, uphill sloop to climb. Her hard days would be behind her and she could finally breath. Three times she had this focus, three times she had this determination, three times she had hope and three times she gave a sacrifice, all she had to give. When it was all over she looked at me and said thank you. I told her I hope all her wishes come true, and she told me they have to, they are very important. She is why I started this ritual and continue it in every city I travel, in respect of her wishes, in respect of her battles.  

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Life Lessons from a Rock Star: Andrew W.K.

As a girl who is getting a degree in moshing, Andrew W.K.’s theory on positive partying wasn’t something I truly understood when it first got on my radar. How do you have a positive party when you’re literally pushing people around? Not that I was ever trying to hurt someone in a pit, but I was hitting them in a very real way. Then it dawned on me, no one likes it when a party goes sour, when that one guy takes it too far or that one person cries too hard over nothing. Andrew W.K. isn’t trying to censor the party he wants to make sure it never ends. The best parties are the ones that go to dawn and leave a feeling of a life being lived well, with good friends and some love. When Andrew W.K. chants, “We wanna have fun and we wanna get waisted” or “party till you puke”, we are all chanting along with him and mean every word of it. The power of positive partying insists you have a good time and love each other while also being wild and loving life. If someone falls in the pit, give them your arm, pull them up, pat their back with a smile on your face and keep the fun times going. Because really, the only thing that kills a buzz is a negative mood. So keep it going all night long, end on a high note with some easy breeze love, respect and a positive party atmosphere. Next time you’re at the party of your life with nothing but good vibes, have a cheers to the party God, Andrew W.K. for teaching you the way. 

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Separation of Quebec

At one point when I was a kid there was a lot of talk about Quebec wanting to separate from Canada and become it’s own country. Me, with my over active imagination that still disturbs me till today, took this a bit to literally. I actually thought the French people of Canada wanted to separate their land from Ontario and Newfoundland. Just get some saws, start cutting through the earth until they went around the entire border, then they would take their hockey sticks and push against the land. Quebec would now be it’s own country, floating all alone in the middle of the Atlantic. After that I suppose Newfoundland would have to get some paddles and row their land back to the Ontario border. In case you haven't already lost faith in our education system, I made honour roll in high school.

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