Anxiety & What (Imaginary) People Think


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That’s me wearing the vest I tailored from a thrift store denim jacket, & most of the patches are made from an old shirt and paint.

I’ll level with you, I hate pictures of myself.

I take a selfie or someone takes a picture of me and I look at it and say, “that’s not me.” It’s not that I necessarily dislike the picture, it just looks wrong. What I see is not what I picture when I think of myself. A tiny part of it is stuff like my weight, but the bigger part of it is self-esteem laced with anxiety. My smile doesn’t look sincere, or I look completely uncomfortable despite feeling fine.

I know my self-esteem needs work, but I also know I’ve come a LONG way from the meek, scared, don’t rock the boat girl from small town Nova Scotia. Attitude wise I’m better, yet every picture I still see that side of myself and I haven’t been able to fix it. How can I make the outside look like the inside?

I’ve tried different things. Dressing more formally? Weird. Less feminine? I hit a combination masculine and feminine that I liked, but I worried that others thought it too masculine or too immature. Then, was I punk enough? Just like when I was scared to admit I was fangirling over Blink-182, these imaginary people (fueled mostly by my anxiety, the media and people criticizing new fans) whose opinions apparently mean so much to me, were holding me back.

This anxiety disguised as imaginary peoples opinions have actually scared me into waiting months before I wore something I wanted to wear. Doc Martens: I’m not tough enough, then with Vans I can’t skateboard how dare I wear those. I was scared to wear certain band t-shirts after being quizzed about the band twice, being laughed at when I didn’t know some obscure NOFX fact. Eyeliner: Too old. Punk vest: Too many pop punk bands on it, that’s not punk, people would see me as I’m a poseur. I wear them now, but wearing them together? The thought was terrifying. Punk may be about not caring what others think, but spend time around any group when you have social anxiety and it’s bound to happen.

I don’t know what gave me the confidence to dress the way I’ve always wanted to dress for a local punk show. Maybe having a friend with me or the small scale of it. I scrubbed off the eyeliner and then reapplied it twice before I took that picture.

All I know is for what could be the first time I look at that picture up there and I think, “that’s me going to a show”. That’s me with my punk vest with all my favourite bands on it. Me with poorly applied eyeliner because I’m still learning and because I want dark, smudgy American Idiot era Billie Joe Armstrong eyes. Faded out green hair because I’m trying to dye my hair all the colours Tré Cool has dyed his (two left to do). Wearing baggy, cuffed jeans and doc martens because they’re comfortable and those boots make an impressive noise when I walk that makes me feel confident.


Up close on the patches

That insecurity is still there. The anxiety isn’t going away anytime soon. I know I’ll still worry what others think when I wear this again to the next punk show, but it’ll be a bit less and if I take a selfie or have a picture of me taken at least I know it’ll be me in it. I went to the show and no one said anything negative, those imaginary people with their oh so important opinions got a little quieter. It’s one little win.

As a side note before you leave a well-meaning comment about how I shouldn’t care what others think, I know. On some level I don’t because I’ve done all these things. It’s something I’m working on, but it’s also something I have to face in order to work on it. Patience and tips are always welcome.


Start the Music! Podcast – Overdue Intro & Liner Notes


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Hey! Did you know I do a biweekly music podcast called Start the Music! that plays music from all different genres as well as interviews?

One of my reasons for starting a music podcast was to have the opportunity to talk to different people in different aspects of the music industry. Plenty of podcasts interview the musical acts, but I wanted to also talk to the people in the industry who support and help to create the music and who are often overlooked. (I interview bands, too!)

With twenty-four episodes already released (March ’18) and it’s 1st birthday rapidly approaching, there’s something for everyone. Consider this part of the liner notes for the podcast.

Where do I start?

  • Doctor Who fan? I talked to Doctor Who composer Dominic Glynn on episode 12.
  • Fancy yourself a photographer? You need to hear episode 8 about tour photography.
  • What does a sound engineer do? Check out episode 10.
  • Maybe you’re curious what it was like spending time with Green Day & filming while they created their album American Idiot, then listen to episode 18.
  • An interview with the first openly gay rock band? That’s episode 20.

There are no wrong choices. All the interview guests were so much fun to talk to and I want as many people as possible to hear about their stories and their projects.

Each name has the episode number next to it. Click the link for the website (streaming available) or select the podcast service listing below and listen from there.

iTunes |  Stitcher | iHeartRadio

Please don’t forget to subscribe, review, and share if you like what you hear!


02. Brother Octopus
03. Beggars Bunce
04. Real Sickies
05. Alan Hempsall
06. The Ludvico Treatment
07. Chris Cote (Documentary Riding in Vans with Boys)
11. Peter Chiykowski (Rock, Paper, Cynic)
15. Shadow of Everest
16. Taco Hell
17. The Sold! and Bones
20. Pansy Division
22. Steven Schapansky
24. Hunter Dumped Us Here

Sound Engineer/Producer

10. Christopher Holmes (Blink-182, NIN, Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Tour Photography

08. Kylie Rebecca


09. Sam Eastmond
12. Dominic Glynn

Record Label

23. Ron Saccoccio (Snubbed Records)


21. Sam Sutherland (blink-155)

Director (music documentary)

13. Corbett Redford (Turn it Around – The Story of East Bay Punk)
18. John Roecker – (Heart Like a Hand Grenade)

Product Review: BASKETCASE Eyeliner


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Some people asked me to let them know how the Basketcase eyeliner was. I started writing this as a facebook post and then it got away from me and became a full-on blog post. I tried the eyeliner out Saturday just for fun since I knew I didn’t have to be anywhere and then wore it to work today. No pictures because I’m still awful at applying makeup, even anti-precision black eye makeup.


Good & Less Than Good Review


  • Pigment is great, it really is black af.
  • It’s exceedingly waterproof
  • Once it sets it doesn’t smudge or come off on your hand. In fact you really need to smudge as you go for that reason and then layer on more.
  • It smudged well too, if like me you cannot draw straight lines, never fear you can smudge and fill in your mistakes. I think this is where/how you get that “smoky eye”
  • I have a feeling it would be even better if I slept with it on and I could, it’s comfortable and I can forget I’m wearing it.
  • Built-in sharpener!

Less Than Good:

  • You need to apply more than you think you will. This is not a “little bit” of eyeliner kinda product. Layering is good.
  • It is the opposite of liquid liner (I’m told since I don’t use liquid liner) It’s kind of like coloring with a crayon or pastel where the glide happens once you have enough on your skin, it’s not immediate.
  • You also have to press down more than even other pencil eyeliners at first to get started.
  • It smudges a lot better with a finger than a q-tip which is annoying because it is waterproof and is a pain to get off your hands when you’re done.


Most importantly:

If, like me, you don’t know what you’re doing – never fear! It is fun to use. It feels like colouring outside the lines and finger painting all in one. It’s messy and forgives mistakes (just add a little bit more…) I think you could even get close to Billie Joe’s stage look without too much effort, if that’s your jam. Can’t wait to wear it to a show, but for now if I use some restraint it’s work appropriate in a liberal office environment. I’ve even gotten a few compliments from coworkers thus far.

Price: it’s pricey for me at $23 CDN (+ shipping if you don’t buy it in-store at Sephora.) I bought it online since my local was sold out, but it is a collaboration between Kat Von D & Billie Joe Armstrong so cheap isn’t to be expected and they are donating some of the proceeds to the ACLU.

Overall, I adore it and I think between this and my new M.A.C. eye-pencil I’m set. Who knew I’d actually start wearing makeup and have opinions on it.



Representation & My Search For the 13th Doctor of Bass Players


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I keep talking about music, in life and in this blog, because it’s what’s on my mind. I podcast about music, listen to as much music as I can (for the podcast and because I feel like I have 20 years’ worth to catch up on) and I love the fact that I’m practicing my bass at least every second day to stay sane not just because I “should”. So, with that in mind I wasn’t expecting thoughts about representation relating to Doctor Who and the new, upcoming female Doctor to necessarily enter into the equation because of music. I thought I had made up my mind and come to a fair point of neutrality even if I couldn’t quite understand why the gender of the Doctor was that important to these people. Wasn’t the most important concern whether she was the best actress for the job? (Spoiler: yes, and…)

The word representation was brought to me time and time again in response to this question. I thought I had a good idea of what representation meant.  I thought I was savvy on this kinda thing. I actively try to listen to bands and surround myself in people that promote positive messages, whether that’s fighting sexism, racism, homophobia, fascism and/or just making sure their fans know that treating others badly isn’t cool. It’s punk to call people out on that nonsense. I may have understood the definition of representation, but I didn’t understand the meaning.

So, I wasn’t expecting the frustration I would encounter when I was trying to find representation. I just wanted a band to watch & listen to that had a member that was like me. Could I not become a bassist as part of a band? Logically I knew that my gender shouldn’t stop me,  I can do anything. Still, there is a kind of magic of imagining yourself on a big stage playing perfectly while you struggle through the same song for the umpteenth time. I wanted to read about someone else’s struggles, give myself inspiration to keep practicing and eventually find a group. I knew picking up the instrument that bassists need bands; it’s not a solo instrument, so where were they?

I started to question what I already thought I knew. I didn’t think that gender mattered, but it seemed like it did. I mean, I have tons of male idols in bands. It’s partly because of Mike Dirnt (Green Day) and Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) that I went with a bass guitar instead of a regular electric, but I don’t play like them. Could I ever play like them? I’m going to learn Longview even if kills me but, they’re built differently than I am.

They’re taller with long arms and big hands. Could someone built like me play anything more than solo in my living room? I’ve never had aspirations of playing stadiums, but I wouldn’t mind jamming with some other people that like the same music as I do. Surely other women wanted that too, right? Maybe even wanted more than that?

More importantly, and this is the real deal breaker, my two idols don’t have to deal with the utter frustration that is a guitar strap and a large chest, or any chest at all for that matter. Can it sit somewhere comfortably? It’s either attempting to flatten me back to an A-cup or shove them out for the world to see. Don’t even get me started on trying to play bass sitting down! UGH.

So where were the women? I asked myself again and again. I was learning a fun fact of the music world: female rhythm sections are like unicorns. The only thing rarer than a female bassist is a female drummer. Thinking I was missing a trick, I started asking around about female bassists and while I got a great starting point they didn’t exactly inspire me.  A bassist that stands on the side and doesn’t move might as well not be on the stage in my opinion and too often that’s what I was seeing. Or I’d get a female bassist that doesn’t really play bass all that much anymore as she’s been moved to lead singer. And let’s be honest, I love punk music and I want to play punk, not jazz.

Feel free to call me out and tell me someone I’m missing, please, you would be doing me a favour.

modernettes-273x300Mary Jo Kopechne from the Modernettes was only one of two I could find in the beginning and she isn’t really performing anymore and the footage of her playing is few and far between (thanks 1970s and 80s) There’s Kathi Wilcox from Bikini Kill which was closer, but they’re broken up. Was I asking for too much? Was I allowed to ask for an active punky female bassist in a band still even remotely active or at least, recent? I had thought punk would be the best genre to find this kind of thing. Looking back on first wave Canadian punk and later the riot grrl movement, there had been a few all female punk bands that had sprang up wanting to show the world. What about the other waves?

All this frustration and then my mind went to Doctor Who and I guess my own frustration helped me to sort of understand this whole needing a female Doctor thing. All those years of Doctor Who and no female Doctors? Not one? Not even a couple to choose from and dismiss for whatever criteria you see in yourself that you want to see in your hero?

Suddenly I was happier for everyone that needed to see a female Doctor. This revelation came in a time when I had pretty much given up hope on ever finding my musical representation. That’s when I found two people from two different bands both of which almost fit all the criteria. In essence, careful of the metaphor here, I found two Jodie Whittakers.


It’s thanks partly to Tumblr. Green Day and Blink 182 fans, of which I am in both camps, cross with lots of other bands including the band My Chemical Romance. Fans of My Chemical Romance are often fans of Mindless Self Indulgence, a VERY different kettle of musical fish, but it features MCR’s lead singer’s wife as the bassist. So, I stumbled upon Lindsey Way (Lynz) entirely by accident, thanks to a tumblr blog I follow posting some pictures of her performing with MSI.  I’ve never been so excited to see a bassist.

Here she was playing high energy electronica/punk that is anything but stationary (her back bends are legendary and her aggression is on par with Mike Dirnt) and she learned to play in like a month?! The drummer was female, too! The band is on hiatus as of 2014, but there’s footage of her playing! I could see where someone with a chest wears her guitar strap! (Oh, the little things.)

Then a few nights ago, I went to an Against Me! concert and one of the opening acts was a band called Bleached from Los Angeles. They’re a four piece that is all female except for the drummer (who gave up his drums in the last song for the lead singer to play!) Did my eyes deceive me; was that a female bassist, in person? Not just that, she was talented and moved on stage! At one point she actually leaned off the stage to lay back into the crowd while playing. The woman next to me and I were helping to hold her up!

After the show I mustered all my punky courage and went over to their merch booth. I was so nervous! I said hi to her (dark hair in the video) and introduced myself and explained I played bass too and how nice it was to see a female bassist on stage opening for a big act. Micayla (I found out her name which was nice since I had mentally been calling her lady bassist since her set) was super nice, super patient, and let me babble for what seemed like forever; giving me some words of encouragement (get a band! Practice every day! Learn your favourite songs backwards and forwards!) And she gave me the name of her bass inspiration, Paz Lenchantin, the bass player for the Pixies. I’m super grateful that she took the time to talk to me. I may do interviews all the time, but this little conversation was something else. I walked away from the encounter with a feeling that my practicing was a little more important and that wanting to be in a band wasn’t a completely foolish idea.

So, in a long winded way of saying, I understand Jodie Whittaker is your female bass player (just go with the metaphor, please) and I hope now that you’ve found her, her time on screen will be worth the wait and in the shows own way she gives you some inspiration. I hope she helps you see yourself onscreen. Maybe you too are as curious as I am about the kind of pockets they’re going to throw at her since sometimes it’s the little things that are important.

In the End, it Does Matter.


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If what follows helps someone, anyone, even a tiny bit then it’ll be worth it. ‘Cause in the end, it does matter. You matter.

Warning: mentions of past thoughts of suicide & Chester Bennington’s death


You almost never know how you will react when you learn about someone’s death. We like to think that we have a good idea, about whether we would cry or sob or just feel sad when we hear the news. Yet here I am wiping away tears, feeling like someone sucker punched me in the gut at work after hearing Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide this morning. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park confirmed it on twitter as well as numerous trusted news sources.

Please understand, Linkin Park is a strange band for me. I tend to take it or leave it. I would never say I’m a fan. Sure I know every word to every song on their album Hybrid Theory, but until today I didn’t know Chester’s last name. I couldn’t point to a picture of the band and name each member. They were or still are (I don’t know) one of my ex-boyfriend’s favourite bands. He played that album non-stop, whether we were home (we lived together) or in the car on our way somewhere. I hated that album and that band because it was always on. Yet, it is the soundtrack for that time in my life. I don’t know how to feel about it because that album reminds me of him and we didn’t have a good relationship. On the flip side, at least once it and Chester’s voice were a breath when I felt like I was hyperventilating.

During this time (2008 or so) I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a really bad depressive episode. To date, it was probably the worst I ever had. How I got out of bed that day, got poorly dressed and (thankfully) drug my tired ass to college, I don’t know. The night before I ended up being diagnosed I really thought about ending it all, I’m not ashamed to admit that my undiagnosed and unmedicated self even started making plans. Depression told me so many horrible, untrue lies that I totally believed. It seemed the only option.

Thankfully, that’s as far as it went. I fell asleep with my dog and my new cat sprawled on me. I didn’t have the heart to move them since they had been annoying each other all afternoon and had finally settled. 

My instructor happened to be a retired nurse and knew depression was a very real thing. She drove me after class to a med-clinic to see a doctor who sussed out that not only was there depression, but also mania. Two for the price of one, I’m bipolar. (I’ve written in detail about bipolar disorder: here)

I came home with a diagnosis and pills, GREAT! However, I still had to work through and wait out the depressive episode I was in. My ex played Hybrid Theory while he played video games, like always. I, being the doormat that I was back then, didn’t ask to talk things out or do something I enjoyed. I sat and watched him play video games and tried not to cry. When I realized this would be my “relaxing” evening, I gave in and scream-cry-sang (try it, it’s relaxing) along with the songs that held the most emotional punch: “One Step Closer”, “Crawling” and “In the End” over and over again, for hours. I lost my voice for two days because of that, but it was so cathartic. I sang-scream-cried so loudly that I couldn’t hear myself think.

I can’t think of any other singer that could have done justice to those words. A lot of people would have turned them into a farce and into whiny shouting. Chester put such emotional weight into them that the simplest lyrics made a connection with a sensitive, easily pushed around, bipolar, college student who had never connected with music before on that kind of level.

I’m starting to understand why I’m so upset, over and above the very human need to be upset that six kids lost their dad and a wife lost her husband. As an aside, if someone tells you it’s silly to mourn a celebrity that you’ve never met, read this wonderful thread. 

So, I had to write something. Even if no one reads it. It’s all a way of saying thanks Chester, and I wish I could have made some of these connections under better, brighter circumstances. I wish I could have seen you sing those words live.

It seems so fucking unfair that your music saved me and so many like me, and there was no one there to help you.  

Goodbye Chester, thank you.

You’re going to see a lot of Suicide Awareness stuff surrounding Chester’s death. Retweet/share the good stuff, and get those help-life numbers out there. But, more importantly: If you have people in your life that you think are down, reach out to them. It takes a lot for a depressed person to reach out to you. They’re being fed lies. Include them, listen to them, and remind them they aren’t alone.

If you’re down, reach out. Reach out to a help-line, a medical professional, someone you trust and tell them what’s going on. Depression lies and it’s going to tell you that you don’t matter and the world doesn’t care. Tell it to shut up. You matter. No matter how alone you feel, depression is wrong and you matter.  

this is my culture man, this is my home.


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This past weekend marked a few firsts in my life, all revolving around music and concert-going. 2017 is the year of the “real me” and my goal is to pepper the year with new experiences and adventures outside my comfort zone. I recognize that a few of the things I did were firsts for people when they were teenagers. I was only concerned with school and grades as a teenager. I got a great GPA in everything but social skills and having fun.

Frank Turner show 2018 in #yeg #frankturner opening for the #arkells

A post shared by Kat (@xanister) on

Last year I bought a ticket for a concert featuring Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls opening and the Arkells headlining in Edmonton this month. This was less than a year after I saw Frank and the Souls for the first time.  Also less than a year after I went to my first concert by myself.

Frank and the Arkells have been touring together in the US and as the Arkells are better known here it was decided Frank would open. I hadn’t heard of the Arkells (despite their Canadian-ness), but a quick youtube search revealed music that was pretty good. Frank’s set was only going to be an opening act which is not long enough for me so, despite my overly cautious nature I bought a ticket to the show in Calgary about a 3.5-4 hour drive from where I live with no idea how I was going to get there or where I was going to stay. When I chickened out on posting to the music facebook groups I belong to for either a ride or a floor to stay on I knew what I had to do. I bought a bus ticket and a hotel room for a night. All this for a concert I was going to see the night before. Frank Turner & the Souls are by far my favourite band so if I was going to do this for any band it would be them.

Part of putting myself out there is occasionally asking someone else to lock the door behind me to make sure I actually go through with it. I covered any reasons I might use to say I couldn’t go. Stuff in Calgary was paid for in advance. I reached out to a friend I had made at a previous Frank Turner concert who I hadn’t really spoken to in a year and asked if she wanted to be gig buddies at the Edmonton concert. She said yes. I also reached out to a different friend and offered to split the cost of the hotel room if she wanted to spend some time in Calgary. She said yes, although she wasn’t going to the concert.

I waited in line (with my awesome gig buddy!) for over four hours to get a good spot at the Edmonton concert (thankfully we waited inside). I had a comfortable spot just behind a row of people at the barricade surrounded by people who had to google who Frank Turner was before he came on stage. Gig buddy and I danced and sang our hearts out and ignored the confused stares.

I got lost twice looking for the line to get into the Calgary show, the BMO centre and surrounding buildings are so confusing, but I asked strangers to help me and eventually found my way. I waited in line for two hours OUTSIDE in -20C weather to get in. This time I had a goal: to not hold back. For the first time I got a spot in the crowd that was in the center, not along the sides or at the barricade. It felt like skating and not holding onto the rails, still a little unstable but the only way to get better. A year ago I would NEVER have done this, you are surrounding by people and based on past shows I had seen, this is where moshing and slam dancing starts.

Opener: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, show 2019. #frankturner #yyc

A post shared by Kat (@xanister) on

Two songs into the set, five bigger guys pushed in so they were closer to the middle in front of me. I spoke up (politely but assertively) between songs to the tall guy in front of me after he almost elbowed me in the face twice. His elbow was unfortunately at my nose level. I asked him to just watch his elbow when he was dancing, he did without a word or a fuss. It’s amazing how just speaking up accomplishes things. Now (mostly) surrounded by people who were there to see Frank, I sang and just let my heart and soul pour out.

And I still believe that everyone
Can find a song for every time they’ve lost, and every time they’ve won.
(I Still Believe)

Now I only mention these guys were bigger (close to twice my size) because they could have blocked my view or been complete jackasses at any time and physically there’s little I could have done except move or get security. Except they wanted the same thing I did, to see Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls perform and let off some energy. I found myself not worrying if I looked “punk” enough. Afterwards I realized I also didn’t care if they “accepted” me as long as they respected my space. This is huge for me because I always care what others think.

I was my loud singing, punching the air, dancing self and after a song I realized I wasn’t just the short girl standing outside their group, they had moved out of my way a bit instead of just standing in front of me. There was moshing and slam dancing and I joined in. My first time being in the center of it instead of just viewing it from an second level. I have bruises, but I had so much fun. Everyone was looking out for each other, one of the guys, who sounded a bit younger than me, but still taller than me checked in once to see if I was alright when a shove was a little harder than I expected and I didn’t immediately jump back into it. When I nodded I was he didn’t ask again, but it was cool he checked in.There was a level of respect and common sense for those twenty or so minutes that I didn’t see outside the crowd for the rest of the evening. (In fact an idiot grabbed my ass AFTER I left the crowd and then took off. I told security and went back to having fun.)

I made a point of looking out for the younger and smaller girls behind me who wanted nothing to do with slam dancing/moshing. That was fine with me, they were clearly there for the Arkells and seemed irritated and bothered by us and the music in general. All they cared about, and I heard them talk about it throughout the whole set, was just wanting to get a better spot for when the Arkells came on. I was on the edge of the group so I did my best to not let it go any further than me. When I talked to them after the set and made sure everything was cool they were a lot nicer than I expected. They thanked me for not involving them and for making sure they were OK. They didn’t expect me to be so nice. Judging a book by its cover doesn’t get anyone anywhere. After Frank’s set I practiced self-care and removed myself from the crowd to drink water and get my heart rate down. I had already seen the Arkells in Edmonton and the girls behind me were very happy to take my spot.

We’re not trying to shape the world so people think like us,
We just want our own space to dance, no favours no fuss. (Four Simple Words)

It was everything I wanted. I won’t say that I know much about punk shows other than what I’ve experienced at the few I’ve been to. I’ve never been in a circle pit or a designated mosh pit and I’ve never done a wall of death. I hope if I ever do that the other people are as respectful and punk as the guys at the Calgary show. Frank is big on saying over and over that we make up a community and need to look after each other. Treating others properly is good gig etiquette and gig etiquette is almost entirely common sense, respect and remembering to look out for each other.

Even at the back of the room, I had a great view for the Arkells to test Frank on his Springsteen karaoke knowledge.

I know it’s possible that for all the fun and good times I was having, someone else could have been having an awful time. I hope that isn’t the case, and for now I’ll keep promoting and donating to Safe Gigs for Women and hopefully, someday a North American off-shoot.

Show 2018, Edmonton AB

A post shared by Frank Turner (@frankturner) on

Show 2019, Calgary.

A post shared by Frank Turner (@frankturner) on

Self Care: A Happy Things Post


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Hey there reader, doing OK? I know a lot of crap is going on right now regardless of where you live. Some places have it worse than others. We need to stand together, there’s a reason #resist and #persist have been trending on twitter and people are striking out to make sure their voices are heard.

However, self care is important. Pepsi agrees.


With all that anger and sadness in the world I find myself posting pictures of fluffy animals and silly fangirly things to try to help those that just need a break. It’s not meant to take away from the serious stuff going on; it’s important to keep fighting, but if you don’t have a light break once in a while the darkness is harder to hold back.

So I bring you a “Happy Things Post”. Like on Verity! These are things making me happy in the world right now. They’re from different fandoms and some will indeed be blushingly fangirly. Some are old and only now grabbing my attention. No shame people. No shame. Just happiness. Let these happy things inspire you to find your own or share in mine.

Things Making Me Happy:
Hodge Podge Edition

(not the soup kind, the variety kind)

My new haircut – I love it and it makes me feel way more like me than long hair ever did.

For those interested in my new haircut… not a huge change 🙂

A post shared by Kat (@xanister) on

Green & Black’s Hot Chocolate Drink

Doesn’t contain milk as an actual ingredient but it’s manufactured in a facility that also processes dairy so it might not be vegan. Hot drinks are best.


Mixed with vanilla almond milk, omg so tasty.

Frank Turner’s new song “The Sand in the Gears” It’s political but empowering.
We can’t just spend the next four years in a safe space / I’m going to spend the next four years getting outraged

Learn to play mandolin is really making me happy. I still suck a lot but the notes sound like notes! I can play chords and scales. (Secret: If I commit to this I’m letting myself get a bass guitar.) Goals and rewards.


Verity! Extra: In Defence of… The Gavel Edition


And not just because [SPOILER] I win, but because it was fun and stretches the brain muscles.

Hi My Name is Mark Podcast


EP #004 – What the hell is a Matt Skiba?
EP #009 – The Feldmann Interview

Remember how I said there was some older stuff on here? Here it is. There were thirty four episodes released on iTunes of this podcast prior to what now shows as episode one, but they were lost to the great iTunes scourge. (Copies do exist if you google.)

While all nine, ranging from 2014 to six months ago are great I highly recommend starting at either episode 9 or episode 4.

Things I love about this podcast: it’s a great introduction to music I might otherwise look over and interviews with the bands that play it. Their older podcasts were “enhanced” with pictures as you listened, now they just provide tons of pictures and show notes on the website. It’s super funny, crass and has lots of swearing. Episode 9 goes into producing music and episode 4 talks to Matt Skiba and his thoughts on joining Blink 182. It’s so different from the Doctor Who podcasts I listen to that it makes for a great change of pace. Also, Mark Hoppus’ voice is dreamy. 


Gallifrey One: 28 Years Later

I’m always excited when Gally comes along, but this year I get to interview three amazing actors: Danny Webb, Gareth David-Lloyd & Naoko Mori. Plus I get to be on three amazing panels including the Verity! panel. This will be my busiest Gally yet! If you will be at the convention, come and see me! Check out an interview or panel or just say hello!

Doctor Who – Black Orchid


Chris and I watched Black Orchid for the Terence Dudley miniscope episode of Radio Free Skaro coming this Sunday. Those gifs pretty much summarize the episode. Dance, Adric eats, cricket and then a smattering of plot happens. It’s what makes the episode so glorious because it would never work for New Who today AND it’s got a nice crowded TARDIS (which is how I like my TARDIS teams, plentiful and good at Maths.)


Aside from being Canadian, the Modernettes have/had a lot going for them. I love all their songs. The thing that really gets my attention is their female bass player, Mary Jo Kopechne. I’ve been wanting to learn bass and her playing is a big inspiration for that.

Okay, last but not least this video has inspired multiple gifsets and kind of encapsulates what I’m really enjoying about Blink 182. Chemistry, fun, good song and two grown men being dorks on stage. There’s a Collegehumor sketch about bass players being boring on stage there’s a reason Mark Hoppus is the lecturer in that. He is skipping around when he’s not singing. SKIPPING. It’s adorable! If the day should ever come that I’m even briefly in a band, I wanna be that person.

Is there something you’re turning to when you need a little lift up? A favourite tea, book or  playlist? Share in comments!


BellLetsTalk Day


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Mental health & illness is something near and very dear to my heart. Every year on this day people talk and share about their own experiences with mental health, in hopes that it maybe helps someone. Here goes…

I have rapid cycling type II bipolar disorder, anxiety & panic attacks. That diagnosis are labels that I live with just like I’m also a big sister, a daughter, a partner, and a Maritimer. Like other diseases I take meds everyday and I will never be cured.

Thanks to the meds there are long spells of “level” when everything is going fine (like right now) and I worry when and how will it end? Because it will end. There will be a high or a low, dampened by the sum of little everyday things (meds everyday, talk therapy once a week) that keep me from going too high or too low, but enough to disrupt my normal life. Being type II I’m more likely to go low (depressed), rather than high (manic).

It means I have to be responsible for myself when it comes to situations that could stress me, whether good or bad stress and walk away before it gets to be too much. This disorder has meant that I have to talk about my problems as soon as they start whether that’s with those people I care about or with professionals or else they can spin out of control.

Bipolar or not, talking about your problems and taking care of yourself is a v. good thing, but please talk and listen all year round, instead of just one day because a company agrees to give money to charity. #BellLetsTalk

This song still makes me sad. “Please tell Mom this is not her fault,” gets me every time.

Turquoise Flavour, You Know Dirty Ocean Flavour.


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I try not to make New Years resolutions. This year I made two promises to myself.

  1. I would make more of an effort to stretch my wings with things I enjoy. Sometimes I’ll be the only one that wants to go to those concerts. That’s OK. That shouldn’t stop me.
  2. I would embrace being a fangirl and write about things I’m super excited about in this blog. I may feel it’s a silly post and it’s rambly, but someone might learn about a new thing and learn they like it!

So, that said…

I’ve been fangirling over Blink 182.

I’ve been holding back fangirling publicly about this band. Avoiding talking about the great videos I’ve watched, how amazing the new album is or how they left in Travis saying “ah!” when he thought he screwed up the opening of the first song. (0:37 in)

So here’s your warning:


In part I worried because for some stupid reason I actually worry how other people will see me and judge my taste in music. It’s also because I really, really adored the band when I was younger and told myself to stop liking them because it was “immature” and “not real music…” (Honestly, I thought listening to Linkin Park was cool, I knew nothing.)

atst-klip-parodieIn high school I would watch their music videos on Much Music (Canada’s MTV) and the interviews they would use to promote the Warped Tour. I fangirled before I knew what fangirling was because tattoos, guitars*, and cute guys being dorks were essentially the best group of things for me at that age (and to a point now if I’m honest). I’m pretty sure Tom DeLonge’s lip ring was the first lip ring I ever saw. I read that he did for the lip ring what Slash did for top hats. Lots of people got them after he did.

Their videos were always interesting. They made fun of cheesy boy band videos, gave away money, and did videos naked.

They bantered in interviews and on stage like good friends, something I would come to appreciate with NOFX as well. Banter is important. Their songs also had two things I required in a good song: clever and catchy.

Then grade eleven came and my priorities turned to grades and only listening to the music my boyfriend at the time wanted to listen to. I stopped watching Much Music as living in a small town in the Maritimes without access to a vehicle meant every mention of the Warped Tour was like a stab in my heart, reminding me I’d never get to go**. I heard music and I would recite lyrics, but the songs didn’t click. So I ignored music. That’s why I say I wasn’t into music as a kid, my heart wasn’t in it. -cue aww-

Fast forward to loving punk music in Edmonton and I get an email from Ticketmaster that Blink 182 were coming to Edmonton as part of their new album tour. They were still together?

2016 was not the year for stretching my wings. Here are the bullshit excuses I used as to why I didn’t get tickets:
– I didn’t know anything about their new album
– I hadn’t listened since I was a teenager ergo, I wouldn’t know any songs!
– I’d be at the back!
– They were too expensive! (They really weren’t)

Those are awful excuses. However, true to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon I happened upon Travis Barker’s autobiography “Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums” when I was looking at punk biographies. The book is fantastic, I didn’t know he had been in a plane crash or the extent of his injuries. It made me realize I knew NOTHING about him, just that he was the drummer for Blink.

The tales in the book about joining Blink and playing shows made me regret not going to the concert. Teenage me would have freaked out at the thought that she could have gone and didn’t. I thought maybe it was time to give it a listen? Spotify introduced me to the new album (and the stuff I had missed between Take off Your Pants and Jacket and now). I was surprised, the new album: California was great and it sounded grown up, while still sounding like the same band I loved so much when I was younger. It didn’t sound exactly the same, but my uneducated ear assumed it was just the 15 years difference.

Tumblr, however, broke the news that this wasn’t the same Blink 182 from my teenage years. The tags and some googling explained Tom DeLonge wasn’t in the band anymore, instead the spot was filled by Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio and recently of NOFX videos I had been watching as he’s friends with Fat Mike). I found myself upset about it. The band was the three of them, why didn’t they start ANOTHER band instead of going on with the same name. I knew about some of the ups and downs the band went through from Travis’s autobiography and the off-shoot bands had different names such as Boxcar Racer (Tom & Travis) with only two of the three members. It didn’t matter if they sounded good, it wasn’t the same. Then I had an epiphany – Katrina feels entitled to her opinion, but thankfully doesn’t express it to the world because she couldn’t tell the difference on the new album in the first place.

If you can see the similarities to the Doctor regenerating here: good.


Truth is, bands break up and reform and lose/gain members all the time. The way the band is now is pretty damn good. I’ve done some Youtube hunting and hearing Matt Skiba play songs from Enema of the State (my favourite of their albums), it’s easy for me to nitpick the mistakes or comment how he doesn’t sound like Tom. Just like Capaldi doesn’t talk about jelly babies the same way Baker did. It seems so obvious, of course he doesn’t, he’s a different person. The important thing is he seems to care about getting the songs right and the chemistry on stage is fantastic. Their music videos aren’t quite as crazy as they used to be, but this one is really good:

I’ll leave you with a live show I found and enjoyed, that has some talky bits in between songs. It’s professionally shot and you can see what I mean about Skiba doing his own thing and Mark checking in, which is something he did on stage with Tom too.

I just wish Skiba would walk away from the mic once in a while.

*It didn’t hurt that I had a huge crush on a guy who played guitar in my high school.
**There was one year it was in Woodstock or Fredericton, New Brunswick and it was the only time I ever considered ditching school and hitchhiking somewhere.
Title comes from an interview Matt Skiba did, where he said a song added “Turquoise Flavour”

Some of Us, We Have Tattoos…


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In July 2003, I got my first tattoo.

I was 16 years old, worried more about school than anything else and I wanted to “rebel” safely. My stepfather’s brother (step-uncle, I guess?) has a tattoo shop* so he did it in just under an hour. There wasn’t any hesitation, I knew straight away that I wanted a wolf on the back of my shoulder. I picked out a friendly looking wolf from a big book of flash art on the shop’s coffee table. The only alterations I requested was for it to be coloured to match a character named Salvaged Eternity I had created for a play-by-post roleplaying game. The wolf had brown, white and black fur with bright green eyes which I thought looked far better than the black and white wolf with red eyes in the book.

Due to my age my mother came with me to sign the parental consent form. True to her style she didn’t protest my getting a tattoo and actually got her first one a week before. A mother dragon clutching two eggs with name and my little brothers on them. I don’t think she stayed the whole time I got mine, I may have asked her to go. This would start a trend of always getting tattoos alone. I won’t lie, it hurt like hell. I remember my step-uncle having a heavy hand, this is now compared to the three other tattoo artists I’ve gotten inked by since then. Whether this is because of my age I can’t say. I do know I almost “whited out” about halfway through. Apparently this is the precursor to fainting, but all I needed was a very cold hand on the back of my neck and time to breathe.

The only picture I have of this tattoo.

I had known something was happening before it did, and I was too full of myself to tell him I needed a breather (another reason people under 18 shouldn’t get tattoos). I maintain that it was the spot that he was tattooing at that time that caused it, I have bony shoulder blades and the less flesh on a spot the more it can hurt. The rest of the tattoo went by without incident, thankfully, and I was left with a piece that I’m still proud of. I still judge tattoo shops against his for cleanliness and ambiance. And yes, I picked out my prom dress mostly because you could see my tattoo.

A week ago I got my fourth tattoo, it’s on my forearm and it’s the first tattoo that’s easily visible with what I normally wear. In between these two dates, I’ve gotten two designs that take up a good amount of real estate on each of my legs. Both are Doctor Who related, one drawn by an artist I knew from the aforementioned play-by-post role-playing game and the other designed by the tattoo artist who inked it based on some ferret photos and a scarf knitting pattern.


The first of the two, a TARDIS and husky, I had originally thought my step-uncle would tattoo. Although he was willing to do it he didn’t think it was a good idea to tattoo it on my bicep/arm like I had originally planned because of all the straight lines. He recommended a place like my calf where the design could fit smooth and flat and said it should be bigger than the original design or the detail would be lost.

First thing first: he was completely right. I, however, thought it was ridiculous that he would tell me where I should and shouldn’t put a certain design. So I said forget about it, and left the design to simmer on the back burner of my mind until I found the right shop in Alberta. Not surprising at all when the tattoo artist there agreed.** Two against one – it’s bigger and on my leg and I’m very happy with it. This exchange opened my eyes to working with an artist instead of being set in stone. Sometimes they know better.

I’ve come to realize how often tattoos have played the role of markers of how much I’ve grown. The latest tattoo looks nothing like what I had been thinking about getting. I’ve come a long way from picking out flash art from a book. My original idea was lyrics from a Frank Turner song, which morphed into getting one of the barn swallows from the album cover of “Poetry of the Deed” f413731a0adf2fa191aeef6f82fa611cinstead. Like Whovians with their TARDIS tattoos, I’ve seen quite a few of these tattoos on Frank Turner fans so it seemed apt. (Further investigation into it revealed that barn swallow tattoos are some of, if not the oldest nautical tattoo design and they have a great backstory to boot). After discussions with the tattoo artist – he knew what I wanted even if I didn’t at the time, the artwork turned into something more realistic and more stylized. If that bird from the cover came to life I like to think they would look like the one on my arm.


I can only speak from my own experience, but the process of getting the tattoo is usually easier every time. It still hurts, after all it’s skin and needles, but it’s easier to slip into a head space where it’s less noticeable. I’ve gained some confidence because of it and learned to speak up when I need a breather or tap out entirely if it’s a bigger piece and I’m done for the day. I love that roar of a buzzing sound that the tattoo machine makes, it’s comforting and exhilarating all at the same time. Maybe I’ve gained a Pavlovian response to it and my brain connects it with the Adrenalin released while being tattooed. I may fear getting blood work done, but I look forward to getting tattooed. The artists I’ve met have been great too, and they understand having passions and being geeks.

I don’t think I’ll ever be someone covered in tattoos, or someone with a lot of visible tattoos, but they are important to me. They have gone from being used to try to be a rebel, to being pictures that need to commemorate something big and super important, to being like stickers on a suitcase. They chart my growth as a person and tell a story of who I was and the journey I’ve been on. I’ve even given up my defensive reply when someone asks why I got a certain tattoo. The best answer I’ve come to realize is: because I wanted it.

It goes without saying that I’m not an expert and I have far fewer tattoos than friends of mine. Just wanted to share my experiences. I’ll leave you with some lyrics from the song Tattoos^, let me know which camp you fall into. Share your tattoo stories & pictures!

Because the ink in my skin where the needle went in
However many years ago
Has left marks on my arms and they say who I am
Everywhere that I go.
Some people have none, some have one they’re ashamed of,
Most people think that we’re fools.
Some people don’t get it and some people don’t care,
And some of us we have tattoos.

* He no longer tattoos anyone under 18, regardless of parental consent. This was 13 years ago, after all.
** My step-uncle will not tattoo just anything on just anyone.
^ I tried to find other tattoo-based songs, but they all seemed depressing. I’m looking at you The Who. This one is upbeat and happy.