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Redheads Writing in Cafes — why are the crows avoiding me?

Today is the day. If I don’t get a photo of the crows or the Raven, I will need to find somewhere in Toronto where they congregate. Why must they torment me? I can hear them and see them in other people’s yards. When I try to make my way towards them to take a picture, they take off. All I ask is you come visit our front yard and let me get some good photographs of you. What I wouldn’t do right now for my DSLR right now and a zoom lens.

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My intention today was to sit on the covered porch to write, but the temperature suddenly dropped and big, gray clouds started rolling in. I moved to the kitchen table and can actually see a wall of rain heading towards us. Have you ever been outside when this happens, especially when you have nowhere to go? I have, it’s not always a fun experience. I’d much rather be watching it from the safety of inside.

I’ve decided to give myself permission to take a few days off. Not sleeping well due to the futon from hell, I’m tired. When I get home tomorrow, I will likely take a long, hot shower, throw in my laundry and then watch 1950s, sci-fi b-movies.  Maybe I can convince my love to order in. I’ve been away from him for a week and a half and it will feel good to be with him again. I have to say I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner. It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.

Blogging every day has been fun and a great way to wake up my brain each day, but I’m not sure I can continue to do it daily. I have realized that I definitely need to blog more often. I still have plans to vlog, but for now, will continue to blog. My priority is to get a solid first draft of my novel done, then I can figure out vlogging and the youtube channel I keep talking about.

The other thing that evades me are the books I am looking for. We checked a few places in town and was not able to find them. It looks like a trip to the Reference Library will be happening upon my return. In all honesty, I need to go there on a regular basis to research and write.

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Because of the pending rain, the crows have disappeared again. Off to find shelter and to stay dry. They are intelligent creatures and I’m sure decided that the redhead isn’t going to capture their image. You just wait crows, I may not capture your image today, but I will one day.

 

 

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Redheads Writing In Cafes — the ghost hunter edition

I am starting this post by saying how thankful I am for the Toronto Public Library. I’m researching for the novel I am writing and looking for specific stories of hauntings in my hometown. There are books out there, I just can’t find them online.  I can’t even find any information online, which is frustrating, I would think that someone would have blogged about them. I have also reached out to Facebook, hoping someone I know, knows… something. A few names were suggested, one of them is Diane Madden. The Reference Library has her books (for reference only) and once I am back in Toronto, I will be making a trip there to do some further research. In a world of everything being online, it’s frustrating when I can’t find the very specific things I need. It seems more often than naught, I’m finding myself going to the Toronto Public Library to get the information. Our libraries are vital and we should never forget that!

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As I continued to browse through the library website, I found several books by Terry Boyle and John Robert Columbo about Haunted Ontario. All of these books are sitting on my bookshelf at home and though they didn’t include the stories I needed, I was grateful that I could access them online to check. Let’s keep our libraries alive!

The rain has been non-stop and yesterday we had thunderstorms off and on. Toronto even had a tornado warning. I’ve lived in Toronto since I was 18 and only recall this happening two or three times. Right now, it is pouring rain and windy. If it was a light rain I could sit on the covered porch, but even that is getting drenched at the moment. Instead, I am once again in the kitchen.

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Last time we visited we bought our parents a Chromecast. I’ve been introducing them to the wonders of Netflix and all of the 1950s b-movies on YouTube such as The Night The World Exploded (1957). This 1957 sci-fi schlock movie was our rainy evening treat. Tonight I may see if I can find a Universal Monsters movie to watch or a copy of 13 Ghosts. If not, I know I will find something campy that will not disappoint.

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My parent’s dog Flash has bonded with me. I’m not sure if it’s due to me being here for a week or because I gave him a cookie last night or maybe he just likes me. All day yesterday he followed me from place to place throughout the house and last night he decided to sleep in my room, snoring and farting. It’s been awhile since I’ve had puppies do that and it reminded me of my beloved Harley. I really miss both my furballs, I don’t miss the snoring and farting.

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Today is also Father’s Day. I hope all the Dads or Dads to be or Dads who just haven’t discovered they are a Dad yet… that they are aware of… have a fabulous day.

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Stay spooky…

Redheads Writing in Cafes — except when it’s raining and from my parent’s kitchen table

Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day
We want to go outside and play
Come again some other day

Raise your hand if you sang this nursery rhyme as a child. I did then and am singing it now. It’s pouring here right now and isn’t going to be letting up until Monday, which is fine on one side of the coin since I am looking after my mother and am writing. However, on the other side of the coin — ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN ALREADY — I want to be able to go outside, go for a walk, get some exercise. I know, I know, stop complaining, it could be worse, we could be having a drought. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Seriously, it’s overcast, gloomy and my kinda weather, minus the rain. Seriously, I want to go outside and without an umbrella. Ok. Enough of the whining.

When it’s raining, I love to watch schlocky 1950s, b-movie, horror, and sci-fi. The schlockier the better. When I’m not at home and near my DVD collection, I’m grateful for YouTube and the growing selection of bad, I mean b-movie selection. There is such an incredible selection and one could easily spend days binge watching. Some of my favourites are movies such as The Screaming Skull, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Plan 9 From Outer Space (actually any Ed Wood Jr. movies), Eegah!, The Manster and all of the Universal Monsters pictures.

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The dream is to have my own schlock horror channel. It is one of my projects to be started after I get the first draft of my novel finished. I will also need to purchase a light and some clip-on microphones, but worst case, I can borrow these items till I can get my own. Channels such as Macabre Theatre and many of the ones I watched as a kid inspired me. I even wrote a blog about it, that you can read by clicking here

I’m not generally a morning person, but my parents and the crows are up at that crack of freaking dawn, so I have been as well. The gloom outside actually gave me that ah-ha moment I needed, for a place I was stuck in my novel. There was a very important scene I have been writing around, trying not to get myself stalled. Today it clicked. I know what that scene/chapter and arc will be!

Well kiddies, I am closing off this blog entry for today and back to working on Freaks and Grimm.  If you are looking for something to watch on this rainy Thursday, here are some movies I suggest. If you click on them, you will be taken to the YouTube video.

Until then… stay gloomy!

The Screaming Skull   

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

Manster   

Eegah!

Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

***I have added a new page to the blog. It is called Redheads Writing in Cafes. Here is the first entry. 

Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

I’m a full-time writer. I work for myself. I don’t go into a Corporate office space. I create my own content. I work from home. I am my own boss. This is my perfect job. This is my dream. There is, however, one problem.  When you are working at home, there are…. how shall we say, distractions. I don’t mean the television, Netflix, YouTube or other forms of entertainment. I mean laundry, cleaning, washing that sink full of dirty dishes, figuring out what to make for dinner, tidying up, re-organizing. As you look up from your laptop, you see all the things that need to be done. You still get writing done, but between the tasks that are staring you down and when you don’t complete them…. there is that pesky guilt. Now that the weather is nicer, I plan on finding my way outside my home to write.  In the backyard, parks, cafes.

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As a full-time artist, writing in a cafe every day isn’t great for the change purse… I am considering a Kickstarter to help finance this endeavor. Feed my coffee addiction.  I’m sure others would be willing to give up a coffee a day to support my cup of coffee a day… right? No? Hmmmm….  All kidding aside, many well-known artists have written their novels, screenplays, plays and poems in cafes. There is a wonderful, addictive energy that fills the walls of cafes, not to mention the lovely wafts of fresh ground coffee beans and baked goods. Ok… now, I’m just making myself hungry. Focus. You need to focus.

The point of this new page is to write about what I’m writing about… while I’m in a cafe…. Maybe I could also convince other redheaded writers to guest write or join me in the cafe. I live in a neighbourhood that has cafes a plenty. I am going to try to choose a different one each time I write and let you know a bit about the cafe.

Today, I’m sitting in a cafe near High Park, looking out at the beautiful greenery, dreaming of the 1930s, listening to Edith Piaf’s beautiful voice, flow from the speakers. I am working on my novel as well as researching the 1930s. For some, being in a cafe would distract them. I drink in the energy that surrounds me, which is the complete opposite of when I am at home writing. At home, I need the sounds of televisions and stereos turned off, the windows open, so the sounds of the outside, find their way to my ears.

The cafe I’m in is Hannah’s Cafe and Bakery. They have a really nice dark roast and I’ve had their lattes. The staff is friendly and the cafe itself spacious. Recently we came here for a writing workshop. I’m Vegan and they have soy milk, they have some Vegetarian sandwiches and salads that can be made Vegan, however, the baked goods are not Vegan. Once you are done writing, you can hop across the street to High Park.

I’m lucky to live in such an amazing neighbourhood. I am a brief walk away from the best park in the city, shopping, bars, restaurants and groceries. The hood is also home to literary and art events. There are writers, painters, musicians, visual artists, burlesque dancers, and other artisans who call this area home. Most importantly, there are cafes a plenty and if you get lucky, you may walk into the one with the Redhead.  That might be an idea for a treasure hunt. Find the cafe with the Redhead who’s writing.

Redhead’s writing in cafes.

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Not Vegan Now Vegan

Recently we had a house party for my boyfriend’s birthday. I made an array of hot h’orrorduerves. The table was filled with many delicious vegan dishes such as loaded nachos, complete with nacho sauce, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings, spring rolls, blue cheese dip, spicy sweet chili pepper sauce, cheese ball with chives, veggies, dips, hummus, cupcakes… all homemade. Did I mention… all vegan? 

The one thing that caught everyone’s attention was the Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings. Everyone thought they were actual non-vegan wings. Even after I let them know they were not, they still tried them. Loved them. You know that you were successful when everything was gobbled up. All of the homemade food was gone, platters cleaned off, with the exception of some dredges of sauce and a wee bit of the cheeseball.  

Quite often I am asked for the recipes for the dishes I make. Either by those who have eaten them or by those who have viewed pictures on my Instagram account. I do often use recipe books or recipes from the YouTube channels or blogs I am subscribed to. More often than naught, I do make things by just tossing ingredients together. This is a skill I learned from my Grandma Betty. A skill that can frustrate others, when you describe a recipe as a handful of that and a pinch of this. It’s definitely time to start writing these things down.

Similar to knitting, I learned to cook when I was ten. Partly out of necessity (to help out my working parents), partly because I loved to experiment with food and cooking was the ultimate experiment. I have always loved cooking and creating recipes. The end results may not always be what was expected and it’s true that our failures, even in the kitchen, teach us to be better at what we are attempting to learn or create.

I was blessed to have two Grandmothers who were amazing cooks. I learned different skills from both of them. Their passion for cooking and baking also became my passion. I learned how to bake bread, tarts, shortbread and pies. I got to watch them smile as they rolled out dough or kneaded bread. Every once in awhile I still get a waft of baking bread and nostalgia.  

A few years ago my Aunt Margie copied Grandma Betty’s cookbook and my mom gave me a copy of Grandma Carrie’s recipes. Over time I have been converting them to Vegan recipes. I think it is time to start sharing these recipes.

As I mentioned above, In the beginning, I didn’t have cookbooks to guide me along. I learned how to cook by watching how others cooked. This was pre-YouTube, pre-internet. I KNOW. A time BEFORE the internet! Once I learned the basics, I needed to know more,  I wanted to expand my knowledge. This is when cookbooks came into my life. Very often, I would borrow cookbooks from the library. Eventually, I started receiving cookbooks for gifts and then began my collection. A collection that continues to grow.

When I was a child, I grew up in an omnivore household. As a teen, I started to experiment with being a vegetarian and became a full vegetarian when I move out at the age of eighteen. Eventually, I became Vegan.  When I did, I purged my cookbooks. I didn’t give them all away and if you looked at my collection, you will still see non-Vegan cookbooks. I still use those cookbooks… and convert recipes to Vegan ones. I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom gave to me when I was a teenager.  I also love to collect vintage cookbooks. These can often be vegan recipe conversion inspiration.

My personal style has usually been a horror-themed dinner party menus. The last few parties we’ve hosted have been less on the ghoulish side and I think I need to get back to being more of the horrific hostess. In my collection of cookbooks, I have horror themed or dark themed cookbooks. My next food related blog post will be of that theme. I have also started a food-related blog. You will find all of my future food-related posts at www.notvegannowvegan.wordpress.com.

Recent Dinner Party Recipes:

Bbq Cauliflower Wings and dip recipe – http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/2/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings

Bbq sauce — https://www.mynaturalfamily.com/recipes/paleo-recipes/paleo-bbq-sauce/

Cheeseball — https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/it-doesnt-taste-like-chicken-10448229/cranberry-thyme-vegan-cheese-ball-4676771509

Sweet Chili Sauce recipe (one of those toss items together and see what happens)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup  water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 garlic (minced)
  • 2 -3 red chili pepper or tsp of chili flakes
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch + 1.5 tsp water

In a saucepan add water and sugar. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.

Add garlic and chili pepper or flakes.

Add vinegar.

Add cornstarch mixture and stir till thick.

As it cools down it will get thicker.

YouTube Channels:

These are some of the YouTube Channels I watch. It is a beautiful mix of healthy and how to make Vegan junk food.  For those of my readers who are from Toronto, I will note which ones are from Toronto (easier for getting supplies).

Hot For Food (Toronto) 

It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (Toronto) 

The Edgy Veg (Toronto)

Buddhist Chef (Montreal)

Those Annoying Vegans (the first half of the video is the recipe, second half is about Veganism) 

Cooking with Plants 

Deliciously Ella — (also she’s got a cute British accent) 

Raw Food Not Gross (she isn’t just raw food/she is super kooky and fun) 

and here as well, though her own channel is way more fun 

Vegetarian Baker 

The Vegan Zombie (because Zombies)

Vegan Black Metal Chef (because fun) 

Be Healthy Be Happy 

Sian Brown (A very talented musician)

Cheap Lazy Vegan (Canadian) 

Nikki Limo’s Tasty Tuesday’s  

High Carb Hannah 

Sweet Potato Soul

Websites and bloggers (most of these sites you can also subscribe to their newsletters):

Thug Kitchen — www.thugkitchen.com

Minimalist Baker — http://minimalistbaker.com/

It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (her website has a tonne of recipes, she only does videos once in awhile —  http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/  

Chocolate Covered Katie — (her brownies are to die for) http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

Mary’s Test Kitchen — http://www.marystestkitchen.com  

Pickles ‘n Honey — www.picklesnhoney.com

Avocados and Ales — https://avocadosandales.com/

Oh She Glows — http://ohsheglows.com/

Vegan Richa — www.veganricha.com

Fried Dandelions — http://www.frieddandelions.com/

I’m also on Pinterest and have many recipe boards. In case you needed the extra inspiration. https://www.pinterest.com/lizzieviolet/ 

 

I’m free! FREE!

Now I can officially start writing full-time! So glad jury duty selection is over. It was an interesting experience. Similar to the the first time I was called for jury selection, yet different in many ways. I also found it much more stressful. A combination of sitting for long periods in the court room(s) and not really being able to write or even read for that matter. I had grand plans of getting lots of writing done. That wasn’t going to happen.

The roster was jam-packed for our turn as potential jurors.  On Monday, it seemed as if we were called up as soon as court started and each time we returned to the lounge, called back up again. Tuesday we spent half the day in the courtroom waiting to see if we would be selected for jury duty.  Yesterday was the only day that we spent a long bit of time in the lounge and even then, it was hard to concentrate. Each time a new bailiff, registrar or the manager walked into the room, all eyes were on them. We all wondered if we were about to head to another courtroom. Between that and the loud bantering of the two gentleman behind me, I couldn’t concentrate (which I can do with ease in a noisy coffeeshop). At least I was entertained by their conversation, on their strategy to get out of jury duty, if called up for selection.

On Wednesday when the manager came in to release us from jury duty selection, he half joked, “See you all in three years.” Personally, I hope that I’m not back there in three, four or even five years. I’ve done jury selection FOUR times now. I think they can remove my name from the pool now. (yes, I could get called again — once you are in the pool they can call you once every three years for as long as they want)

I am in the process of figuring out vlogging on and all the ins and outs of YouTube, so stay tuned for that. I am going to also be blogging a lot more often. Minimally, weekly, but am hoping to blog every other day. AND I can now livestream on Instagram, so I will do live vlogging. I’m incredibly excited to have a killer camera to use for vlogging. Part of figuring out vlogging, will be the how-to’s of software. I currently have iMovie and am also going to check out other options.

Please see all the links below. Please add me on Instagram and subscribe to my Twitter and YouTube channel. 🙂

“Oh Hi Mark” and why The Room is the best movie of all time

“There are people who have seen The Room and those who haven’t seen The Room.” Neil Traynor

*** There will be spoilers.***

I love terrible movies.  They are my happy place.  The schlockier the movie the happier I am. I show no prejudice for genres and have watched them all from horror to sci-fi to romantic; silent; film noir; b-movies; romance; expressionist; westerns and comedy. If it’s considered a badly made movie, I want to see it. My current two favourites are Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Screaming Skull.  In my heart of hearts I never thought any movie could knock either of those off the top of my list. Who could possibly beat Ed Woods and take his title? Always up for a bad movie challenge,  I was ready, willing and open to seeing if this could take the reigns.

For MONTHS now, our good friend Neil Traynor (1) has been telling us about The Room, insistent that once we watch it, we would never be the same again. Finally we were able to arrange a viewing and as Neil said, it was life changing. It might actually be the best movie of all time. How could this be, you ask? The Room has it all. Love, sex, romance,  action, violence, blood, family values, long drawn out sex scenes, drug intervention, x-files style disappearance of actors, belly button fucking, more long, drawn out sex scenes and best of all, no plot.

I’m serious.  There is no plot. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero! Not only is there no plot, I personally feel that one of the reasons this movie has become such a cult hit, is you cannot, in anyway, describe to someone what the storyline is. There is an amazing Wikipedia page that has a very thorough breakdown of the movie, the characters, many of the issues with the movie and the production of The Room.  However, even after reading the page, you still have no idea what exactly this movie is about.  You just need to watch it.

The Room is Tommy Wiseau’s directorial debut and what a debut it is.  Oh… did I mention that he also produced it, wrote it and stars in it.  Mr. Wiseau is a bit of a mystery man himself. He is famous for keeping his past and personal life secret.  Even the Wikipedia page about Tommy Wiseau, doesn’t reveal very much. Who is this mystery man? Is he even real? A figment of our imagination?  Only way to find out, is to attend one of the many Love is Blind events happening across North America.  If it comes to Toronto or even a city near here, I will be first in line to get tickets.  After all, I need to know why Tommy Wiseau wears two belts. Although… he does have his own YouTube channel, called Tommy Explains It All (https://www.youtube.com/user/TommyExplainsItAll), yet… he explains nothing.  

Social Media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have helped The Room’s infamy grow.

There are many memes.

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Quotes 

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Montages

and videos of critique.

 

All of this is helping to keep The Room alive. You could literally spend hours, hell, even days watching the many videos being created to celebrate this cult hit.  Oh, and I can’t forget there is a Star Wars Mashup!

The Room has a huge cult following and fan-base.  It also has  a play, a book , a video game,  a Facebook page dedicated to it, a-soon-to-be-released mocumentary, a documentary called Room Full Of Spoons and there is a movie being made about it, that James Franco is producing, directing, writing and starring in.  Sound familiar! How did this movie become such a huge hit?  It rivals movies such as Plan 9 and it’s huge fan base is dedicated and steadily growing. It is a phenomena with many, many unanswered questions.  Like the ones I have, such as:

What happened to Peter the psychologist?
Where can I rent that green screen?
Where can I find that 1880’s industrial shot?
How can it be sunny and smoggy at the same time?
Where did that new guy come from?
Will Denny survive without Johnny?
Will Lisa ever find love again?
Did Claudette survive the breast cancer?

Sooooooo many questions!

Back to my opening statement about this movie possibly being the best movie of all time.  Let’s take a moment to think about this. When I say best movie of all time, what I mean is best terrible movie of all time. When I watched it, I laughed till I was laugh crying.  I was laugh crying till my stomach hurt so bad, that I thought I was going to throw up. We discussed this movie indepth, for hours afterwards, my love and I talked about it as we were going to sleep and woke up talking about it.  All of our conversations for the next several hours have been dominated by it AND we have been quoting the movie. I have spend all of my time researching the movie, Tommy Wiseau and am agonizing over what happened to the actors, needing answers to my questions and searching to find out if a “Love is Blind” event is coming to a place near us. I have been feeling all of the emotions you would after seeing a movie that blows your mind.

How does this movie compare to my current top favourites Plan 9 From Outer Space and Screaming Skull?  The Room is definitely comparable in cult status to both these movies and over the top in terrible. Does it knock either of them off the top.  No, but it definitely ties for top spot.

You have to see this movie. It was even shot so you can watch it 2D or 3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V10Px9xbrbU Apparently it wasn’t shot to be a 3D movie, Tommy Wiseau just decided to shoot with two cameras, because he could.  When you watch the movie, don’t forget to say hi to Mark.

(1) Neil Traynor is a Toronto born singer/songwriter guitarist/multi-instrumentalist.

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