Category Archives: Ephemera

Imperfect

My heart, it keens.

While on vacation with Danica in early August, I picked up The Book of Speculation on a whim. The book promised me mystery, circuses, mermaids and libraries, and the price was right, so I grabbed it, and… well, it wasn’t perfect. But holy shit, was it perfect for me.

The main thrust of the story concerns itself with a young man holding onto the past while the world begs for him to get the fuck on with things. As his life begins to crumble around him in both literal and figurative ways, he is given countless opportunities for change. He instead tries to let things wash over and away. Interwoven in this narrative is the idea of a curse or a coincidence that plagues a family. It’s a story about letting go of the things that hurt you, and loving the potential of what can be. It is also clunky and unsubtle as hell in such a way that made it beautiful.

Everyone is so god damn concerned with perfection these days. Things that are air tight, that exist without fault, platonic ideals manifest in prose or film or paper or whatever. This book… this book isn’t a classic. It has flaws and in this case, flaws built perfectly for me. The lilt of the prose slowly sunk its hooks into my skin. The story itself built in my guts and helped me transition into sleep and dream on many nights in the best of ways. It has a heart and it beats, and it filled me up for two weeks or so.

I loved it.

Have you ever had a book that did this to you? Or a TV show, or comic or anything? Has anything walked up to you at the perfect time, flawed though it might be, and spoke to you quite directly? Let us know. The comments are open, and we’re all over social media. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say.

 

#VERecommends // Slam Vol 1

WHAT IT IS: A story about two women who are saved and wrecked by roller derby, and friendship, possibly in that order.

FROM THE PUBLISHER: Bestselling novelist, screenwriter, and retired Los Angeles Derby Doll Pamela Ribon (Going in Circles, Why Girls Are Weird, Moana) joins artist Veronica Fish (Archie, Silk) for a tale of friendship, heartbreak, and truly epic jams. In roller derby you take your hits, get back up, and learn how to be a better jammer, a better blocker, and a better friend-if the competition doesn’t tear you apart!

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: It’s about heart. It’s about friendship. It’s about a fight that you feel deep in your bones, that you love and you hate when you push your body so hard. It’s about roller derby, and it breathes and fills your lungs with life. It’s a book you want. A book you need. Read this.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook // Submet Facebook

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.

Variant Edition // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Finally, Some Good News

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything, and a lot of that has to do with thinking that I can only write when good things happen. I’m not disproving that today, unfortunately. I am a long way from writing when I’m down, or when things are awful, because I had to keep a lot inside over the past few years and I’m not ready to be “okay” with writing it out.

Let’s stick to the good stuff, and keep on pretending that I’m a-ok and don’t have hundreds of dollars of future money that will need to be spent on therapy.

June was good. It was nice. I even like all the thunderstorms we’re having. Brandon and I are closer than we’ve been in the past, and we’re communicating better, too. It’s not perfect, but what couple is? Tell me your secrets, Perfect Instagram Couple (though still know that I hate you and your perfect-looking life). Rationally, I know every couple has their problems, but DAMN it is a bitch with everyone only putting the good, beautiful moments on social media. Makes a girl feel like no matter how great her relationship is, it is still garbage, and she should just pack up and die alone already.

I FORGOT. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS.

Brandon’s an amazing man who has stuck by me, even when he shouldn’t, because I am awful. He loves me for some reason, and I am a cold, unfeeling robot who can’t function properly. This is self-diagnosed right now, but give me time, friends. I’m pretty sure I have dysthymia, which is a low-level depression that can last for years. Starting a business and being a high-functioning depressive is not a great combination, I’ve learned.

Since I’m talking about the store, it’s going really well.  Could always be going better, so if you know anyone who hasn’t been yet and likes reading, please pass the Variant Edition information along. I find when we say we’re doing great, people assume no growth is needed. More customers is always better. ANYWAY, we are doing better. Since the move, the store has been more balanced and only gives me the normal level of stress. Which is the say, high, but not emotionally draining on *top* of all that like before. We’ve been in the west end for about 9 months, and I’m looking forward to celebrating our independence anniversary. A lot of strings have been cut in the past year, and it’s only been onward and upwards.

I’m thankful every day for the friends and community that rallied around us, and happy they still come to the store, week after week. There have been constant new faces, and I’m excited for our first summer in the new location, because there are more people who live nearby, more families, and we’re on a better road for both car and walking traffic.

The store has been beating last year’s numbers every month (and if we don’t, we come very close), which as an business owner means a lot to me. It mean we’re growing at a steady and healthy pace. More money in the bank means I can bring in new and unique product, that I may not be able to take a chance on otherwise. I can take more risks, and put money back into the store. This year, it was new lighting and our custom Alberta shelf (can you link to a picture from our Instagram here?). Over the next year? To start, I’d like to expand our All Ages section, and create a more movable store so the shelves can be moved for events and I can rearrange the store easily to keep it fresh and interesting. We’re growing bit by bit, and claiming the space as our own. Making it as unique as myself and Brandon. Making it “us”.

This next good thing is *well* overdue. Brandon and I are taking a vacation in August. I’m so happy to let Randi take the reigns for a week this summer. We’re leaving the store in good hands. My parents are even filling in a few hours that week, so I hope it’s fun for them.

Until next time.

The Rot

I can’t seem to organize my thoughts enough for a proper post, so indulge this random post:

Dig into your guts and pull out the hurt. Set it on fire, and watch and laugh and laugh and cry.

Do this so that you can continue. Do this so that you have a chance of surviving. Do this because you don’t deserve the rot and the pain, because the world can be great as well as horrible, and you deserve so much better.

Good night, sweet internet.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 116 // This Is Not Normal

In which there is not enough alcohol in the world to make this episode of Doctor Who good.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon struggle through “The Lie of the Land” and holy heck, are there far too many guns in this. Also: the monks are nothing but dumber versions of The Silence and so many things are garbage. And The Doctor is a dick on a boat, and off a boat. Whatever. MORE ALCOHOL PLEASE.

Outro music is “Ship To Wreck” by Florence + The Machine

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

No One Can Stop Her

So this past weekend, I took Danica to her first live wrestling event, and I was pretty nervous. So nervous that she started getting irritated at my deprecating behaviour as I tried to lower expectations to the floor in order to avoid any kind of disappointment.

As you’ve probably guessed, I like a bit of wrestling, but as you might not know, the thing that I like about it is how ridiculous it is. Folks who walk into a ring to punch each other in the face long enough to solve… legitimate problems? With pretty arbitrary rules? Ridiculous. Anyway, I didn’t have to worry, because she ended up enjoying the experience – especially the women’s match where a woman by the stage name of Kat Von Heez slapped a dude in the face real hard and said “DON’T TOUCH ME”. When this happened, I glanced over at Danica, and could practically see hearts in her eyes.

Anyway, as we travelled home, we talked about the show, and about what we liked and didn’t like. We both ended up enjoying the experience overall, but work had exhausted us, so shortly after getting home, we collapsed and went to bed… after which, I had a dream.

I don’t remember most of it, but a specific moment was clear: I was standing at ringside beside someone (who it was will forever remain a mystery), looking up at Danica, as she climbed to the top rope. She managed to get to the top, after which she flew down and elbowed a masked dude in the neck, who was lying on the mat. After this, she  lowered her face close to this dude, and pointed a finger in his face, yelling, “THAT WAS FOR EVERYONE.” She then proceeded to stomp this man several times in the stomach, yelling “AND THESE ARE FOR ME!”

As this happens, the man standing next to me turns and says, “You should go and stop her.”

To which I reply, with a grin on my face, “Nobody can.”

And that’s Danica. The woman who agrees to go to a wrestling show, not because she necessarily wants to herself, but because she knows I enjoy it, and want to share in that enjoyment. The woman who hears me say how dumb I think it all is, but knows how close I hold that dumb thing to my heart. The woman who is fearless, who flies, who fights, who won’t take your shit.

And if she goes for the throat, know this:

You deserve it.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 113 // Nothing Bad Ever Happens In Space

In which Brandon forgets the word for “e-mail”.

Hey buds. On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon are not cool with everyone being out in space again, and for good reason. Because… well, every episode of Doctor Who has danger, but space stuff usually involves murders and body snatching and that’s not their jam even slightly. Also, Brandon breaks out his amazing Nardole impression, and it’s preeeeetty spot on.

Outro music is “Space” by Something Corporate

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY.

Anger, Time Travel, and Forms of Harm

Thinking through a couple of things to start off the week.

TIME TRAVEL

I recently sent my complete Twitter archive off to TimeHop and I’ve discovered something: even though I put on a fairly easy going persona, I’ve always had a bit of anger bubbling below the surface. It’s been interesting stepping backwards year by year and seeing that anger burst apart and become disparate, buckshot messages swinging at nothing in particular. Fun fact: the more focused your anger becomes, the more it hurts, which is why I think I’ve been noticing it more in the past few years. Anyway, something I’ve been keeping an eye on.

FORMS OF HARM

Further along that line, I’ve been confronting the ways that my anger is harmful. I’m not a violent dude, and I doubt I ever will be, but I do commit harm. Folks who use their words to swing often don’t always realize that the simple act of not making harm manifest in a physical way doesn’t absolve the idea that harm is being committed.

In the past few years and specifically in the past couple of months, I’ve definitely said things with the aim to harm, with vicious intent. Some of the more recent things, I have yet to regret. But I probably will one day. Regardless, I’m trying to be mindful about when I’m swinging and why, and what the intent is behind it. Can I live with those consequences, no matter how long term? What is gained?

I’ll admit to causing harm to others as a way of attempting to gain control. I’m not proud of this. But I haven’t stopped. So what does that say about me?

TOMORROW

Another day, hopefully better. I’m actually saying that about my good and bad days lately, greedily hoping for more. We’ve been through a lot and I feel like asking for a period of sustained sun is justified at this point, but that shit doesn’t work in a vacuum, so I’m doing what I can. These days, that takes the form of actually acknowledging the bad, instead of pretending like everything is good. It took far too long to realize this, despite the words placed in my ears by folks far smarter than myself (like Danica), but… I’m starting to get the hang of it. Just because you admit a thing is bad, doesn’t mean things can’t turn around… and the first step in that process, is identifying that thing as bad.

SOON

Lots to write about, hopefully about something other than the mess inside my brain. I really want to get talking about the Young Animal line of comics properly, and it’s been far too long since I wrote an article for Comics Beat. Also, there’s some prose fiction I want to get to.

Maybe if I say these things out loud, they’ll actually start happening.

We’ll see.