Elsewhere // 124th Street Dining

When we were looking to open Variant Edition, we had a very short list of areas we wanted to open in – and one of them (which seemed a little out of our reach) was the 124th Street Area. As luck would have it, we found a great location nestled in behind 124th (and still in the business district) and we couldn’t be happier. The area is filled with great local businesses and restaurants, and being able to work and live this close to all that awesomeness is pretty great.

Fun fact: a few weeks ago, Danica was asked to be a part of a video showcasing a lot of the great food 124th Street has to offer. You can see the video starring Brittney Le Blanc above, as well as Danica and Robyn Wilson.

Brittney has a companion piece to the video on her blog right here.

Finding My Way Back

These words come after some hard fought weeks and months. They’re not pretty or polished, but at least they convey something and I think at the very least, I need to get the shape of something out there.

I’ve always… I’ve always felt happy, more or less. That sounds like a weird thing to say. It is a weird thing to say, or definitely a privileged thing to say. When I look back at my life, through all the various bits of heartache and pain that have come my way, I feel as though I was always afforded the luxury of knowing things were going to be okay. Some of that comes from my general disposition and body chemistry. A lot of it came from the unending support from my friends and family. I’ve been very lucky. I am very lucky.

But.

Lately, I’ve been battling with something I don’t think I can face. A slow creeping thing that’s tugging at the edges of my heart. A feeling that glues me to the couch, and wills me to live there forever as the day seems to stretch endlessly before me. A potent cocktail of stress and fear are conspiring to render me immobile, and it’s… strange. As shitty and privileged as I’m sure this sounds, I’m… I’m not used to this. I’m not used to feeling an overriding sense of fear or dread. My default is always a big, stupid smile, so much so that I know I’ve pissed off more than a few people with how up I seem to be about things, no matter how hard they might be getting. I think something has caught up to me. I’m not quite sure what to do about it.

To hopefully put a few minds at ease, please know this: I know I will be okay. I have a wonderful wife who has been helping me deal with my things and who thankfully isn’t afraid to call me on my bullshit. We make each other better in so many different ways, and the fact that she’s in my life is what I think is saving me from the worst of it. Even as we stumble inside our own heads, we have a hand to hold on to, and that’s… that’s everything.

I know most of this just lives inside my own head, stress caused from both real and perceived sources. I know that I’m doing better than most. I’ve got a wife, two cats, a stable job and business and some great friends and family. People seem to like what we’re doing at Variant Edition, and that has made the store financially viable.

And yet.

What I’ve decided I need to do, is to start focusing a bit more inwards. So much of my thoughts tend to be external, about trying to control things that I have no ability to control. What I need to do is focus on what is within my own reach, and what I can actually affect. From there, I’m going to extend my fingertips, and see what else I can achieve beyond that. I’m also going to start taking some time to relax a bit more, which is… easier said than done. I’ve been so inside my head that the time that I have to relax has been eaten up with a constant churn of worry, and I need to learn that not thinking about things for a few seconds is actually helpful – that I’m not a bad person because my every waking moment wasn’t used to figure out a problem I’m not even meant to solve.

My hope is that with this new mindset, I’ll be able to pop in here more often and actually accomplish something outside of the store. That’s what I want from this. That’s my goal. But if I can’t do that, I hope that I at least get to a stage where I can be happy with doing nothing at all for a little while, and being okay with that.

Here’s hoping.

Elsewhere // “I Get Really Confused Around Books”

Last week, the lovely Danica LeBlanc was on episode 25 of Boozy Boob Tube, another great local (drunk) television podcast. The topic?

Agent Carter

This is a show that Danica and I are very diligent about keeping up with – which is a rarity in these early days of running Variant Edition. You can hear Danica and the wonderful women of Boozy Boob Tube share their thoughts here.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts about Agent Carter as well either on our social media, or below in the comment section.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook 
Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

Boozy Boob Tube // Website // Twitter

Let’s Start A Shopping Ban!

Aware that it is nearly mid-February, I’m putting myself on a shopping ban. (Basically, don’t wait until the 1st of a month to start something – or worse, NEXT January 1st) My end date is currently May 1, but I will readdress that date near the end of April.

My reason for this ban? I’m so close to paying off my student loans. Only around $1200. That’s both a lot of money, because I’m not making a lot of income right now, and barely anything at all, because that number was so much higher for the past 8 years or so I’ve been paying it off. I’m avoiding calculating how much I’ve paid in interest because it is likely a depressing number.

So this is me, being accountable to everyone who reads this.

I pledge:

– not to buy any new clothes – not even ModCloth when they have sales – not even Goodwill for a little “treat”

– not to buy any new nail polish(my go to purchase when I’ve had a bad day). I will use the colours I currently own.

– not to buy my comics from work – this will unfortunately mean creating a stack at the store for myself, but while the single issues will be fine to wait on, I will make a list of collections I want to possibly purchase later in the year. I’ve been more or less doing this already, but now I’m a bit stricter with myself.

– to declutter and purge any items I’m not using – I’m planning to host another clothing swap at Variant Edition in probably April, so will keep some things I plan to donate until then

– to have friends over for tea, conversation, and Netflix if we so desire, and generally attempt free experiences

–  to not worry about what the apartment looks like when said friends do come over – not technically part of the ban, but it is something I need to work on

– to make myself a reading pile to pick through so I can return the books I’ve borrowed from my parents sooner, and donate books I feel only need one read to the free little libraries around the neighbourhood

On or around May 1, I will check into how much left I owe, and consider whether or not I will extend the shopping ban. Once my student loan is paid off, I’ll go full force into paying down my credit card, but right now, I want this to be my main focus. I want to be able to celebrate this milestone in 2016, and then move onto to my next hurdle.

I want to thank my friends for being kind and understanding when I turned down their invites to events because I couldn’t afford it. I appreciate you, and hope we can spend some money-free time together this spring.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 080 // Stop Bringing Us Down, Bruce

In which a useless man fails to do anything well.

On this week’s episode of Doctor Whooch, Brandon experiences an episode he has never seen before: “Love & Monsters”. It’s a pretty good episode until it suddenly, violently isn’t. The whole thing follows a terrible man who is making a YouTube video of some kind where he talks about trying to stalk The Doctor and dancing in his underwear. Then a thing happens and things get really weird. Like… REALLY weird. You just… you kind of have to see it to believe it. Or listen to this episode. Whatever you wish.

Outro music is “Mr Blue Sky” by ELO
Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY.
Subscribe to Doctor Whooch on iTunes

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook 
Danica LeBlanc // Twitter
Doctor Whooch // Twitter

WWBD?

A quick aside – my January Cure project completely dropped off the map mid-month. I will not be completing it in February, but will attempt to keep the apartment tidy and decluttered, as usual. My list still exists as a reminder of my goals for the year. I hope everyone who was participating in the project completed it to their satisfaction.

~~~

January was the worst month I’ve experienced in a long time. There were extreme amounts of stress, my SADs kicked into high gear, Brandon and I fought. A lot. And yet, it wasn’t all bad. Somehow.

Brandon and I put each other through a bit of hell last month, but I feel as if we’re stronger because of it. To this day, it can still be a bit odd when yelling at each other creates a closeness instead of all our previous relationships where everything would have fallen apart. It’s in those toughest moments that I know we’re right for each other. Even if I can’t stand the sight of him that day, I know we’ll be together in the future.

Although I made some missteps on my personal journey, I have no regrets. I gave up on myself, and that wasn’t right. But through that, I found a new inner strength. I realized I had something to fight for, and surprisingly, that I wanted to. My talents and skills shine a bit brighter now.

Lately, I’ve read some blogs that suggest picking a one word goal instead of resolutions. Pick one word, and attempt to live your life in order to bring more of what you’ve picked into your life. I’m going to attempt this for February. My word?

Empowered.