Enough Already

With the hate.  No wonder so many of us have anxiety and depression and want nothing to do with people.  Every single encounter has a chance to erupt into an argument, and possibly escalate to violence.  Everyone is on the edge, everyone is insanely opinionated, and a lot of someones are self-absorbed and entitled.

I blame the internet.  No, it didn’t start those feelings, but it certainly made us more comfortable with letting them out.  The internet, social media in particular, is even better at loosening inhibitions than alcohol.

It’s been there, but I’ve been noticing it more and more with certain groups I belong to.  I’m not talking like gun enthusiasts or political or religious groups.  I’m talking something as totally innocuous as a Black Cat Appreciation group.

You heard me.  Well….read me.

I joined because, duh…I love cats, and black ones in particular.  I thought, well, this should be calming, scrolling through looking at cat pics, because isn’t that what the internet is for?  Reading humorous kitty anecdotes, posting pics of my own spoiled darling…you get the idea.  And what I’m about to describe happens in almost all groups, but I picked this one as an example, and a most unlikely source of angst.

There are rules.  Every group has rules.  Do people actually read them before joining?  Apparently, not all do.  These are straightforward: don’t post adoption listings from kill shelters, no self-promoting, no abusive/argumentative behavior, don’t block the admins, don’t look for vet advice, no pics/videos of violence towards kitties, and no dogs.  A lot of these are pretty standard rules for any group.

You may not agree with them, but if you want to be in the group, you abide by them.  Simple, right?

Yeah, like anything is that simple.  People post absolutely moronic questions, like will their black cat be upset if they get a grey cat.  (I have to believe that’s a troll because if you’re that stupid, you shouldn’t be online, period.)  Someone posts something about having kittens, and no matter what the original post says, forty people will leap up and scream about getting the cat neutered.  Someone else will look for medical advice, often for something pretty serious, because they can’t afford a vet, and 30% will tell them to go to a vet, and 30% will scream that its against the rules, 30% will try to offer some kind of advice, and 10% will offer genuine empathy.  And then people will rise up and scream at the posters who said it’s against the rules to HAVE SOME GODDAMN EMPATHY FOR THE FURBABY.  And on, and on, and on.

Worse are the ones who wish actual violence or death on others.  Cripes, when did this become okay?  I’m an animal lover, yes, I prefer them to people, particularly cats, but while I want to see abusers punished, I don’t post that someone should pull out their fingernails or flay them alive or any of the insane shit I’ve read.

Maybe if there was a little more empathy in the world, and less screaming and misdirected rage, there would be less animal abuse in the first place.  I am legitimately stunned by the crap I see in this group alone.  Better yet, the idiots who announce they are leaving because <insert specific outrage here>.  I don’t know if the actual post, or the responses, are funnier (and sadder).

I haven’t left.  I stopped reading most posts, except the rescue stories which are really heartening.  Mostly I look at little kitty faces and sigh and then hug Spirit (he must hate what this group does to me).  But I have left groups before; I just go, no announcement needed.

My point…who are you mad at, really?  I know the insanity in the current administration contributes a lot.  Rapists going free because of idiot judges, women’s rights being whittled away, concentration/detention camps (and the quibbling over the names)…this is all some seriously scary shit.  And we aren’t going to defeat it by tearing each other apart.

We have to stand together and attack these horrors as a united front.  So before you act on that surge of rage some post stirs in you, think about who you’re really angry with.  A stupid post and an unseen face?  Or is it more, the inanity of all of it?

Stop the hate.  Please, please, please, stop it.

 

 

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What Am I?

I am an artist.

It is always hard to say that.  It is hard to accept myself as such.  I often consider myself mediocre, or inferior, but I’ve sold artwork for money.  People like my artwork, strangers included.  I have been complimented frequently on my line work.  My work has been called “creepy but cool”.  I admit I do have a talent that can’t be gotten from schooling.  I even like a lot of my work.

I am an artist.

I am not successful, at least not yet, not by my definition.  I need to devote more.  More time, more passion, more energy.  I need to push.  I need to make people LOOK.  Make them understand.  I am no longer on a 40-hour 5-day schedule, at least for now.  Maybe I can take more time to make them see me.  I wish that could always be the way, but reality will intrude again and things like health insurance and rent and car payments will send me back to that workweek world.

I am an artist.

My mother used to call me lazy.  Some people think it, even if they don’t say it.  Art is not work.  They don’t understand.  I sleep late, but I’m nocturnal.  I like nights.  I feel creative at night.  I would rather draw or create, but to others, that isn’t work.  I would rather write a show, but to others, that’s not work.  And sometimes, as badly as I want to create, I can’t.  The inspiration isn’t there, or anxiety or depression or just a plain old block is in my head, holding me back.  That doesn’t mean I’m not trying.  In fact, it’s harder.  It’s so hard to push through those kind of obstacles.

I am an artist.

Even with the time to promote myself, I have difficulty.  I have poor self-esteem.  I am painfully introverted.  I am uncomfortable talking to people I don’t know.  And it’s a hundred times harder when I have to talk about myself.  When I have to raise myself up after years of putting myself down.  So, to drive myself onward, I keep telling myself, and I keep producing work, even after a bad show, when my drive to create is rock-bottom.

I am an artist.

I am, really.  And I am back.  Help me to help myself.

magicianarcana

Touching Base

So, updating for those out of the loop.  Or for those who simply haven’t talked to me in a while.  (What happened to all those “check in on a friend” posts everyone puts up all the time?  I guess my anxiety/depression isn’t really bad enough for me to merit that.)

55 days left on the job.  All I’m saying, at this point.

My dad’s house has been sold.  I was told last minute.  I am hoping desperately that they’ll keep me on as a tenant, but even if they do, my rent will probably shoot up considerably.  Yes, Texas is the ultimate goal, but that’s not happening for a while yet.  And there are a lot of variables, including the cost of getting myself, Spirit, and some possessions down there.

Soooo…no cons really coming up.  May 11th doing the block party at Toying Around, because I love the owners, the store, and the things they carry, the things they stand for, and I believe it will be a great event.  Beyond that, the future is too uncertain.

Spirit is still cooking.  But we’re trying to eat even cheaper.  Because…moving expenses.  Either a loan, or a tax-riddled dip into the 401k….but….it won’t be cheap.

Things I still hate: Fucillo commercials, other drivers, liver, spiders.  My eczema (flaring up like crazy even though my sugar is good).  Fake people.  Spam phone calls.  The sheer amount of hate on the internet.  Undercooked bacon.

Things I love: everything Supernatural (except Mary Winchester….so tired of her).  Rice with that little crisp to it.  Good books.  Puzzles.  The smell of Gain.  Death Wish coffee.  Making art.  People liking my art.  Dragons.  Falling asleep to the sound of crickets.

That’s it for now.  More news as my fate is revealed.

I generally don’t ask for help, but I will ask that maybe you support me indirectly.  Buy a book or a print.  Easter’s almost here, and Mother’s Day is next.  I’m tempted to sink low enough to do a GoFundMe to move, but no, that I can’t do….but direct someone to my page.  Anything helps.  And thanks for listening.

An Apology

For what’s to come.  Nothing major, but it’s almost February, which means I will disappear.  Because if I stick around, it’s not pretty.

February is everything horrific in my life.  My mother and grandmother died 3 days apart in 1985, and while my relationship with my mother was absolutely rotten, I adored my grandmother, and the events that led up to them both being in the hospital…were complicated, and to this day I feel some of it is my fault, although what happened with my grandmother probably would have happened anyway.  I’ve learned a few things in the intervening years.  Most of them don’t alleviate the guilt.

My dad died February 10th, 1995.  At least I had good friends around me at the time, but that one still tears me up.  I was 30.  And that was the last of my family, leaving me pretty much alone.  No one on my father’s side has bothered with me since.

And it’s been years since I had any significant other.  Why would I, with my terrible self-esteem and anti-social tendencies?  Very rarely do I dress up and use makeup, and when I do, I’m so nervous and uncomfortable, I feel physically sick.  Part of me knows that I’m almost actively driving people away to keep my safe zone.  But February is…wait for it…Valentine’s Day, a reminder of that which I don’t, and likely will never, have.   And it’s a reminder of people who have abandoned me once they found significant others, because some people can only have one intense relationship at a time.

(And I’m talking friendship.  Some folks can be married or in a relationship, and keep their friends.  Some can’t.  It’s cool.  And when I say abandoned, that’s just how I feel.  I suppose I haven’t really been abandoned, but that’s my perception).

And finally, it’s the dead of winter.  Maybe not on the calendar, but in my head.  It’s the coldest.  The snowiest.  The bitterest.  It’s like there’s no end in sight, because at least in March, you have some mild days.  Yes, I succumb to seasonal depression, altho vitamin D is a legit help, and it is at its peak in the shortest month.  Worse, I had truly hoped that I would not be in this area for another winter, but that fell through…and here I am.

I’m not looking for sympathy or kind words (hey, fellow anxiety/depression/poor self-esteem sufferers, don’t kind words always make us feel worse?).  I’m just letting people know what happens in my head, and why I withdraw for a good 30-40 days.  I do always come back.  Usually better, but with another situation looming over me, like pending unemployment, I’m not so sure.

More importantly, with that out there, I want you to think of your other friends.  I gave you some details, but not all, but maybe if someone else you know has disappeared for a while, they may be having similar problems.  Winter is bad for a lot of people, even if they aren’t in the craptasticly cold Northeast.  Maybe you should check on them, and certainly you should be understanding.  Eh, maybe I’ll get some writing down during my hermitage (is that a word?  spell check didn’t grab it…)

OH YEAH!  And one more thing about February…the groundhog!  He’s a fraud, a charlatan, a tease!

 

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My Social Media Reminder

I don’t think I do this annually.  Maybe I should, but that would require a working memory and stuff.

While social media is a lovely tool, yes, I along with others think its gone too far and has hurt our basic ability to interact and communicate with each other.  I certainly have my limitations.  People who know me get these, and for those who don’t, here are some of my habits/attitudes/platitudes/whatchacallems:

1.   “I dare you to share/post this/blah blah blah”.  Really?  Are you 12?  You dare me?  I very rarely share things except to either win something I want badly (Death Wish mugs, anyone?) or it’s a thing where I believe sharing will actually help (ie, missing pet).  Oh, and guess what?  Back in the day?  I was where chain letters came to die as well.

2.  Check your info, please.  Oh, look.  Here it is again.  Plastic water bottles cause breast cancer.  I wonder why just breast cancer?  Because they’re vaguely breast-shaped?  Oh my, this woman’s sister’s cousin was nearly killed by a guy with an axe hiding in her back seat, except when she went to get gas a good samaritan saw him and called the police.  WOW!   Ok, granted, it is really hard to separate fact from fiction these days, I get that completely, but a lot of these urban legends have been around for 15+ years.  If you feel a genuine urge to protect the herd and post one of these, check and make sure its real first.  Spreading fake fear is kind of not good, when there’s so many real things to be afraid of.

3.  “Check on someone, even the strong people.”/Suicide prevention tips/hotline.  These are good, but I just hope people realize they aren’t enough.  I’ve been depressed, myself, maybe not to the point of suicide.  And someone may take the reminder and really try.   But if you can for a moment put yourself in the shoes of someone who feels worthless (if you’ve never been depressed, this may be impossible) or that no one cares…you are probably not going to reach out to a stranger.  Part of depression is the “I don’t want to bother anyone”, or “I’m not important enough, they’ve got other people to take care of” mentality.  They’re more than likely not going to call and “bother” a stranger  (likewise with the gambler/drug addiction commercials…the people with the problem don’t know they have a problem and aren’t going to call).  So, I’m not saying don’t post these, but I’m saying, definitely follow up and take a more active hand, particularly if you know someone in this boat, and particularly this time of year.  Lead by example.

And some very brief ones with sarcastic answers to tell you how I feel about the rest!

“No, Facebook, I will not add my phone number to my account.  Are you on crack?  Like you’ve done so well with the rest of my information.”

“I don’t hate cancer.  I think it’s dandy.  Culling the herd and all that.  What a stupid post.  How about instead of copying and sharing and liking and being a lazy shit in a chair, I donate to the American Cancer Society?”

“Who the hell thought they couldn’t get 1000 likes?  Have they been living under a rock?  What exactly does that accomplish for them, anyway?  (Unless it’s a business page, then I can be a bit more understanding).”

“Wow, only 5% of people got all these 80’s bands…can you…?  Then you must have some real low-grade morons taking your quizzes, because from what I’ve seen, even a chimp can score 98%.  Maybe the other 95% couldn’t bother because they didn’t realize it was 136 questions long and they’ve got other stuff to do today.”

And lastly…never, ever, ever, ever send me chain crap via Messenger.  EVER.  In case I’m not clear enough, DON’T SEND ME CHAIN SHIT ON MESSENGER.  I can’t explain why but this feels like such a personal intrusion.  Yes, use it to communicate with me.  I’d love to say hi to you.  But don’t send me an electronic chain letter because I will hunt you down and break fingers.  /rant off.

I mean, yeah, its an outlet, put your political rants out there.  Argue, if you must.  Be reasonable, though.  I see arguments over the stupidest shit (people personally attacking each other in a thread about the Mowgli movie).  But there’s so much good.  Look for lost family, share art and beauty and literature, make beautiful pictures.  Discover.  Give advice where warranted/requested, and share recipes.  The things you put on the internet, I remind you, are forever.  Even if you try to delete them afterwards.

Get out there and make beauty, make friends, make nice nice, and make it a better world, we all can contribute to that!

 

More Disney

The good?  More pictures!  We saw a few parades, including the one for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which would have been perfect if it had been warmer than 30 degrees.  Yep, you read that right.  The fake snow felt all too real (although it always looks beautiful when you don’t have to clean it off your car or shovel it.)

How appropriate…Frozen!

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This one was particularly funny.  My hip was killing me and I was freezing, and sitting on the curb.  Woody looked down at me, and hugged himself and shivered, and I nodded, and he did a belly laugh and waved.

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A much warmer parade a day or two later…including Mickey, of course.

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And Hook…

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Rapunzel (as in Tangled?)…great ship, btw….

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And Merida (good grief that girl looks the part!)…

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Pinocchio, glitter included….maybe they were bubbles?  Yes, yes they were.

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And some random shots of performers because the costumes and colors were just incredible….

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Ok, that took up a lot!  I will follow up with another blog and some pics from the night festivities and a little more of Epcot.   Oh, and a pic of some gloves from the Pirates of the Caribbean shop that someone wanted to see…because it was so cold I had to buy gloves!  🙂

Looking For A Home

Putting this out for a dear friend; PLEASE help find this pup a home.  He did have a home, but sadly, he does not do well with other dogs.  He’s a people person.  This was somewhat misrepresented by the shelter.  So, passing it forward again (and I’ve met and puppysat this guy, so I know of which I speak…while I myself prefer cats and only have room for a cat, he is the canine version of a snugglebug).

(From the former owner)

This love puppy is in need of a a snuggle buddy! Do you get cold during the winter? Are you a fan of movies and video games? Do you want someone to share your laid back lifestyle with? Do you like warm hugs? Look no further than Odin! He’ll fill all of these needs and all he asks in return is snuggles food and a potty break!

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3.5 years old. 55 lbs.  Pit mix.  Not a fan of rain or snow.  Big fan of hugs.  Has basic obedience training but can be stubborn (so yeah…he’s male.)

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Please help, contact 11th Hour Rescue and help Odin be a loved only-pup child.

So…Disney.

With the hernia surgery and FMLA paperwork and blah blah blah, of course, the magical things get left in the dust.  But I’m home, a bit sore and achy (altho for the first time in a month and a half, my sugar has dropped to normal) and bored because there’s a huge game patch happening, so I can catch up!

Everyone knows of my old anti-Disney stance.  But it wasn’t necessarily Disney I was against.  It was some of their practices.  I didn’t (and still don’t) care for how they take a story, and once they do it, it seems to become their sole property.  Yes, legally, THEIR version is their property, but Beauty and the Beast is a French folk tale, so its open domain for another version to come along.  Likewise, The Little Mermaid is Hans Christian Anderson…public domain.  Lewis Carroll…public domain.  Poe…public domain.  There’s a good article on Wikipedia for when various mediums become public domain (good info for artist friends to look into as well).

Now, as to those stories, I like Disney’s versions of them.  I truly enjoyed the park.  I grew up watching Wonderful World of Disney, and had a surreal moment when I was there, as I watched the fireworks over the castle: as a child, who would have ever expected I would one day be there, watching it happen?

Some of the rides/shows I did: Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Peter and Wendy, It’s a Small World (its actually easy to tune that song out if you play Metallica in your head), Na’vi River Ride, Living with the Land, Spaceship Earth, Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Jungle Cruise, the Little Mermaid….

Pandora!

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And the parades!  I’ll have to upload the zillion or so pics still on my phone, but Mickey’s Very Christmas Party (or whatever its called) was incredible.

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This picture doesn’t do justice to HOW FREAKIN’ COLD it was, after a torrential downpour the night before.  The fake snow was beautiful, and somewhat magical, except that I’m from upstate New York, and I just felt like I never left.  Things are blurry because I WAS SHIVERING.

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And that wonderful, wonderful iconic castle…

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I saw amazing puppet shows (the newer animatronics move so smoothly that they are utterly mindblowing) that make me want to be doing puppetry again.  The Little Mermaid Show…in Disney Hollywood Studios?…brought tears to my eyes.  The Ursula puppet/bot was astounding.  I didn’t get pictures because, honestly, I couldn’t stop watching long enough to dig out my phone.

Inside Gaston’s tavern, yes, lots of antlers used in decorating.

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Look!  Another parade!  Festival of Fantasy!  AMAZING!

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Which included Rapunzel

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And dancers…does this woman even have legs?

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There was also breakfast with Chip and Dale, and breakfast with Pooh and friends, and Rivers of Light and Reflections of Earth…again, need to load up more pics, in an upcoming blog.  But for now…this sums up what Disney did for my tired, aching soul.

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High Anxiety

Probably easier to explain my meltdown here.

Stress is tearing me up.  Stress at work, well, that’s a biggie.  Will I have a job in a few months?  That’s part of it, too.

Saratoga Comic Con is next weekend.  I always stress over Cons.  It’s what I do.

Then, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I go to Disney.  LOTS of walking, and I’ve been warned I will be left behind.  Actually, I’m ok with that.  While my back is considerably better, I still don’t have huge endurance, and anyway, it’s my first time there, so I won’t be shy about taking my time and soaking it in.  Then I come back, have a weekend, and BAM, surgery.

Not a lot of down time.

The thing with the surgery is twofold.  I’ve never had a broken bone, I’ve never been in a hospital except a trip or two to the ER for stupid shit, or to visit.  This is supposedly a one-night stay.  The other thing is the loss of control, or the uncertainty of the future.  I know the doc will probably answer most of my questions tomorrow but they are whirling around in my head like rabid moths.

When can I drive?  Ok, I can probably drive to the market but when will I be able to carry groceries?  How am I going to do anything?  Can I cook?  What if they find something else in there?  Can I shower?  I don’t have a bath.  People are inviting me to things…what can I and can’t I do?

OMG Voices in my head…SHUT UP.

Then of course, all the little things pile up on top of that.  The maintenance light in my car is on.  Great.  Who has time?  The weekend I’ll be free will be the 2 days between Disney and surgery…I doubt I’ll have the ambition or money to take care of it (although I suspect its something stupid yet expensive like the cabin filter).

The night I got in from Vegas, my pretty new ring from Woodstock fell off in the car.  Under the seat.  Fat chance of seeing that again.

I’m also thinking about giving up Cons.  I panick too much when I think for even a second I’ll have no one to help me, and it’s not a lucrative thing.  I’m not successful as an artist.  But I don’t want to give up, so that’s more stress.

But to those who offer their help, I must confess, I’m going to need it.  I hate to ask for help, and I hate to impose on others.  I always feel like I’m imposing (my self-esteem is a whole different issue).  But, I don’t know what else to do.  And then I feel whiny, because I know other folks out there have it so much worse.  At least, in the grand scheme of life.

So, I have loads of anxiety.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a physical anxiety attack, at least nothing beyond a small taste of that fight or flight thing with the accelerated heart rate.  But in the past two days, I haven’t felt good, my back has flared up to where I couldn’t get out of bed this morning (as in, before the MRIs and PT and everything made it better), and I’m ready to bite the head off everyone and everything, if I don’t collapse in tears first.  Is this an anxiety attack?  Does it stop, like…soon?

Can I just have a tiny little bit of down time?  Me time?  Please?

 

Vegas Come and Gone

So, all the anticipation, and its over, and I’m home and alone and cold and sad again.  And chronologically so messed.  The timeline:  Metallica Monday night (parked about 3 zip codes away), with an hour nap before.  Got home a bit after midnight.  Set the alarm to get nearly 2 hours sleep, only actually got 40 mins.  Got to airport as it opened, a little after 4.  Giggled at the new Chik-Fil-A being where all the fanboys can’t easily obtain it (past security).  Flight left at 6:05

Hit Midway early, departing gate right next to arrival gate (yay!).  Saw voicemail on my phone…oooh, someone from Dunkin’ (that’s an entirely different story).  Hopped the plane to Vegas, dozed a little (I can’t really sleep on planes).  Got there only to find no one to greet me.

Turned into a little oops.  B asked what time my flight got in, I said, um 11 I think, then I said let me check the flight number.  1235.  FLIGHT 1235, but looking back at the text I can see where he thought I was getting in at 1235.

All that hilarity aside, Halloween Street went great.  Not one, but 2 news crews showed up.  Here’s some footage from Action 13.

Yep, Bob, Steve and I can all be seen near Beymax’s right hand.  That was the live segment; the interview with the Mayor of Halloween St, and Jeff, was a bit earlier before things ramped up.

https://www.ktnv.com/news/flying-ghosts-haunted-houses-snow-cones-henderson-block-goes-all-out-for-halloween

Course, they got Lynn’s name wrong.  And they promised not to mention the name of the street.   Whoopsie.  How about Flash (Scott!) running down the street at the beginning?!

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Steve, Dee, Scott, Dominic, Bob, me, and Emily (this was her first time), in the calm before the storm.

This would be the storm.

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Fox 5 showed up as well, and we saw the blip on the news, but I’ll be damned if I can find it on their website.   Still, it was good food, good beer, margaritas, good friends, warmth (ok, well, it was 60 on Halloween, I could have stayed home and suffered crap temperatures).  I did the Bozalita thing in a makeshift costume (“you have your costume with you, right?”  “no, you guys have it”, “no you took it with you”, “no, it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase”, and yada yada).  I told the Action 13 reporter’s fortune, too, which wigged her out a little (she looked right at me after I finished and, sounding a little creeped, said, “Now, is this you?  Or is this in character?”  I said,  in my best gypsy way, “You’ll never know, will you?”)

And to close, yes, Metallica was awesome.  It’s funny how Jaymz always talks about the “Metallica family”.  Every time I’ve worn the shirt since, I get “did you go?” which turns into a friendly chitchat.  So, I close leaving you with a vision of Creeping Death.

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