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Just hold on tight – don’t let it in

Okay, some things.

1. Marc recently purchased Dark Souls II.

For those of you who are not versed in From Software’s latest release, this is a game famed for its incredible difficulty, infinitely unforgiving structure (you cannot ever pause gameplay), and relentless onslaught of terrifying and hard to kill monsters.

So of course my husband (and millions of other gamers the world wide over) love to drive themselves crazy engaging with this insanity.

Marc, in particular, really likes to set the right tone before picking up his player console, and as such, this is what our living room has been looking like for the past few nights:

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I mean, I’m all for mood lighting, but I’m not sure if the candlelight is really fulfilling its intended function if he is still rage quitting every time he accidentally gets obliterated by a boss, or inadvertently walks off of a cliff.

This game, man.

It destroys lives.

(And souls)

2. Last Tuesday night I went to see the band Jungle in concert.

It was AMAZING.

Due to my slight crotichiness and very busy life schedule, it really takes a lot for me to stay out past my bedtime on a school night.

So to find me at a club downtown (on a Tuesday no less!), waiting for this band to storm the stage at the ungodly hour of 11pm, I was beginning to question whether or not my choice to come out and see them had been the correct decision.

My dance mate (my very good friend Chelsea, whom I had invited to accompany me as a “Holy crap you just published a book” gift) was equally as skeptical – she being of similar mind and crotichiness.

But sweet mother of pearl, I’ll tell ya. As soon as the first strains of their song “Platoon” propelled forth from the stage, I knew we were in for a treat.

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This band is very, very good.

For the next hour we danced our little hearts out to the most epic of new soul-funk-rock tunes, dazzled by the most brilliant of accompanying light shows.

It’s not often you’ll go see a new band (they formed in 2013) that is so tight, and polished, and all around AMAZING.

They were playing at The Imperial, and I doubt they will be playing such a small venue the next time they roll around in Vancouver.

They will be selling out the Commodore in no time flat.

And I will be there.

And I won’t question that decision for a second.

  1. Young Scamps

That’s me on the right and my big sister Kate on the left.

Kate and V

Ah love.

Would you look at us?

As ridiculous as it would seem – I remember that outfit so well. I was absolutely mesmerized by the plums!

I am also fairly certain that this photo was taken somewhere in the east coast of Canada, during one of our many summer sojourns in and around Nova Scotia – only I cannot for the life of me pinpoint the exact location.

I’ll probably bolt out of bed sometime around 3am tomorrow, having remembered the date and time, and also the fact that I forgot to pre-set the coffee and switch the laundry into the dryer.

The stuff of which my nightmares are made!

But until that time, I’ll just enjoy it for what it is.

Unbearable cuteness.

And joy.

So that’s a couple of things swinging about our corner of the jungle.

Vancouver has been having the most inconsistent and mind-boggling weather of late – one minute it’s raining so hard I keep expecting to see kayakers navigating their way along our roads and side streets, and the next it’s so hot, entire hordes of people find themselves simultaneously engaging in the terrifying practice of frantic and communal disrobing.

(It’ll be a trial sport in the next summer Olympics)

I am becoming a champion of layering all of my outfits, all of the time.

Halloween is also coming up, and I’m having a hard time getting into the spirit of things.

I think I may have done myself in on the creativity front last year – I don’t think I am ever going to top my Samara from The Ring.

However, should things change, I’ll keep you posted.

I hope all of you are warm and dry, wherever you find yourselves tonight.

And beware of dark souls (of any form).

So light a candle. Or two.

August adventures 023

Life. Period.

I recently wrote about the time I spent completing Camp Potlach’s “Leadership in Training” course.

Here is a short, seemingly unbelievable, (but one hundred per cent true) anecdote from my time spent as a camper.

You’ve been warned.

During the summer of 2001, myself and five other teenagers – along with our two counsellors – camped, kayaked, canoed, and hiked our way around BC’s beautiful Howe Sound.

While our group had a base location about a twenty-minute hike away from the camp’s regular cabins and common rooms, this space was rarely used, and we spent the majority of our three weeks together sleeping under the stars on the many different islands and inlets populating this stretch of provincial land.

It was a magical time, truly.

The weather has hot, but not blindingly so; our skin cooled by an ever-present breeze and the long reaching shadows of sky-high Douglas firs and willowy evergreens.

In the mornings we would hike, or complete long (and sometimes treacherous) channel crossings. In the afternoons we would swim, or write in our journals, and in the evenings we’d each take turns practicing our fire-starting skills, while others would perfect their bear-hangs.

One morning, about two-thirds of the time into our course, I started my period.

I approached my counsellor Jane and asked her if she had a tampon that I could use. Although sympathetic to my situation, she informed me that I would have to do without, seeing as though one of the central tenants of our program was to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

We were to produce minimal waste.

Smiling a smile that clearly articulated, “I’m feeling for ya girl”, Jane handed me the next best thing: one of her unused bandanas.

“For inside your shorts,” she explained.

“Oh.” I said. “Thank you.”

So for the next two days I ran about with a balled-up piece of cloth in my underwear – washing, rinsing and drying it during my afternoon dips in the Pacific Ocean.

It was the most ‘White Fang’ I’ve ever felt in my life.

The morning of the third day, we awoke at the crack of dawn in order to pick blackberries before setting off on a three hour channel crossing.

We had been eating plain instant oatmeal every morning for almost two weeks, and as such, we were eager to add anything adventurous flavour-wise to the mix, in order slow what was our rapidly deteriorating interest in this staple.

As I hastily ran off into the bushes to pee one last time before we shipped off, I noticed that I had a huge stain on the back of my shorts. However, being susceptible as we were to tide charts, and cruise ship courses, time was of the essence, and I didn’t have time to change.

If you remember from my earlier post, my canoe partner was named Christian – a Denis Leary loving, would-be paramour (in his dreams only!), who would sing me “German” opera in the morning (think Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda), pick me “wildflowers” (weeds) and regale me with an endless litany of racist, sexist, and all-around offensive jokes.

The minute I sit down in the canoe Christian noticed my spotted shorts.

Immediately he began to make fun of me, despite the fact that he’d majorly missed the point.  You see – he thought that the red stain on my clothing was, if you can believe it, blackberry juice.

His highly original, and completely obtuse commentary included gems such as:

“Jeeze Vanessa, it looks like you took a handful of blackberries and smeared them all over your ass!” and “Oh man! What did you do?  Sit in the bush for fun?”

Cue more of the same derivative, inane one-liners for three whole hours!

At one point I even turned around and told him, as icily, and as calmly as I could: “Okay, thanks Christian.  I’ll be sure to wash my shorts as soon as I can. That way, you’ll be able to go back to living your life.”

Unfortunately, this did nothing but encourage him.

Finally, we arrived at our destination.

An absolutely beautiful little moss-dotted inlet, home to the most beautiful collection of driftwood I have ever seen, and a number of different heron nests.

We all got out of our boats and either began tying them together or unpacking for lunch.

We’d planned on eating and then hiking up to a river where we would all go swimming.

I thought about how I’d be able to soak my shorts once we got there.

It was just as these thoughts were entering my mind, and as I was getting all of my gear together, that I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Christian walking over to my canoe seat.

And it was at this point, that everything seemed to start taking place in slow motion.

I turned and watched as Christian bent down and wiped his index finger along my seat.

He then brought his finger to his mouth, paused – and then he licked it.

LICKED IT.

I swore I felt the earth both rumble and sink between my feet. I don’t know if I was going to faint, or turn to stone, or explode from a tsunami of laughter.

What he said next, I will never forget.

Christian said: “Shit. That tastes like blood.”

It was at this point that I completely lost my mind.

The tsunami won out.

I started laughing, and laughing, and laughing and I could not stop.

No one in the group could figure out what was wrong with me.

Paralyzed by what I could only imagine to be the most epically insane thing ever to have been witnessed by a human being in the history of human beings, I couldn’t even eat my lunch.

My giggles came so fast, so furious.

Unfortunately, I started laughing even harder because in Christian’s completely clueless mind, he thought the blood he ate off of the seat came from a cut from a fellow camper’s finger – the one she had gotten while tying up her boat.

He actually sat down next to me and asked me: “Shit man.  Do you think Amanda has anything wrong with her blood?  Do you think it’s okay that I just ate it?”

This just made me howl even the more.

Now, the whole scenario should have just ended there, but it didn’t.  During the post-lunch hike, Christian just wouldn’t leave well enough along and instead of badgering me about my shorts, he now wanted to know why I was laughing.

“What are you laughing about Vanessa?” and “WHAT’S SO FUNNY VANESSA?”

He repeated these questions, until finally I reached my breaking point.

I turned around and faced him, and yelled, in front of the entire group:

“OKAY CHRISTIAN!  OKAY.  I have my period!  I have my period and I perioded all over my canoe seat!  My period was on my seat and you ate it! YOU ATE MY PERIOD CHRISTIAN!  IT WAS ON MY SEAT – AND YOU ATE IT!”

All I can say was that the look on his face was absolutely priceless.

Abject horror mixed with confusion, anger and amazement.  He then immediately took out his water bottle and rinsed out his mouth – as if my menstrual blood was somehow still in there – before just taking off, like a shot.

Up the trail to the river, never to be seen again.  (Just kidding of course – it was Christian after all.  He was back after about thirty minutes.)

And I just kept laughing for the entire day.

At one point Amanda came up to me as asked me, incredulously, “Aren’t you at all embarrassed?”

To which I responded, “What? No! Why? I didn’t eat period off of a dirty canoe seat.”

And I definitely never, ever, ever will.