words aplenty, guess who’s twenty

Twenty years ago today, I sat at my enormous CRT monitor in our gaming room in Calgary and desperately wished that, 20 years in the future, I’d be basically doing the exact same thing.

Good news: mission accomplished!

Delicious Juice Dot Com is officially twenty years old today. I feel like I should write a big eloquent page talking about where we started and where we are now, but my emotions surrounding this milestone can basically be summed up as “wtf”. How the hell have 20 years gone by? The passage of time both confuses and enrages me.

Okay, if I’m going for totally honesty here I’m a little chuffed that I actually made it to 20 years with this thing. I’ve almost shut the site down so many times, but there’s always that little voice that says “but what if something happens and you want to tell a story?” and I back off from the plan. Weird stuff happens to me all the damn time, and I think if I didn’t have an outlet – no matter how infrequently it’s used, although I’m trying to change that – I might explode. And in the process of exploding, I would want to share my thoughts about exploding. It’s a vicious cycle, but what is over-sharing if not love in word form? Nothing. I overshare because I love you. You’re welcome.

So, hooray for Delicious Juice Dot Com making it 20 frickin’ years on this series of tubes. It’s been a wild ride, one that I hope continues for years to come. I’d love to, in 2035, randomly wonder what was up with my genitals way back in 2011, and have a readily available answer. I envision a future where knowing what was up with your junk two decades ago will be very valuable information. It’ll still be a dystopic world struggling to return to the prosperity of the Before Times, but in between the nightly hunts for food and supplies and dodging the hostile brain-eating aliens that caught us all unaware and unprepared in 2027, I’ll be able to see what was up down there in the not-so-distant past. I’ll be a cannibal, but an informed cannibal. What more could I ask for?

Happy anniversary, website. I’d have exploded long ago if not for the outlet you provide.

how it started
how it’s going

in soviet russia, social anxiety overcomes you

I know the video from my presentation will be online eventually, but I really want to share the message now instead of later because patience is not my strong point. The slides have been posted, but without my notes so there isn’t much meat to them. Also, I’m better in text than I am in person. If it helps, you can read this in a slightly shaky voice and picture me trying not to wet myself while I talk too quickly. Feel free to skip this post if you’re tired of hearing about Northern Voice – I have to admit I’m getting there myself (I’m ready to move on to the next terrifying chapter), so I want to write this all down while I’m still energized and stuff.

ironically, shan is not afraid of you

At it’s very worst, my social anxiety was about an 8 out of 10. I could be convinced to leave the house, but it would take a long time to do so and I had to have someone glued to my side and/or standing in front of me in a corner, blocking me from terrifying eye contact with other people. It sucked ass – I hated having no friends, but was in no condition to meet new people. I was as emo as all get out and it didn’t feel like I’d ever get to have any fun.

My refusal to leave the house and be social led me to miss out on a great many things. Among the fun times I’ve missed out on are two Northern Voices, two Twestivals, every single tweetup, every single Sin City, concerts, and friendships. The last one is particularly scary, because Miranda is one of my best friends – yet she was about to give up on me altogether, because I kept bailing on her invitations to do things. It’s not that I didn’t WANT to; I was just too scared to. I’ve had so many adventures in the last three years with or because of Miranda that the thought of almost missing all that really freaked me out.

The quote in the slide above is from the song “Lonely Planet” by The The, and it speaks to the idea of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. You can’t make all people collectively less scary, so instead look at yourself – WHY are you feeling the anxiety? CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviours, rather than external things like people, situations or events. If we can change the way we think, we can change what we feel – even if the situation itself does not change.

What’s the deal with the pants? They’re my crutch; my main excuse – I would never go outside because it was a HASSLE to get dressed and ready to go outside and interact with others. Why bother putting on pants when I can just stay home and be naked and comfortable? It took me a very long time to realize that I wasn’t just being a lazy naked slob but rather I had major issues with meeting new people, and not wanting to wear pants was just a convenient and hilarious way to get out of doing things.

mug not included

So, now what? We’ve established that there’s some social anxiety at work here, but you still want to get outside, meet some new people, and maybe make some friends. “Social Media” is the new pet buzz word of the moment, but it’s actually an extremely useful way to connect with people in your community. Don’t worry about the “media” part – interviews and speeches will come later – just focus on being social and coming out of your shell.

Vancouver and Twitter are BFFs. Vancouver has a thriving scene on Twitter, and it’s chockfull of other people who like the same things you do. Think of something you enjoy – anything, legal or not – and chances are there’s a bunch of people on Twitter doing that very thing and talking all about it. Connect with these people. Look up Vancouver locals. Use Twitter lists. Talk with these people on Twitter first, then extend the socializing to Facebook if you want. Twitter is great for meeting people; Facebook is more to connect with people you’re already familiar with.

baby baby baby baby baby baby babybabybaby

There are a lot of people on Twitter – how can you possibly make yourself heard over all that noise? Three words: FIND YOUR VOICE. Stand out in a crowd. Don’t disguise who you are. You have a voice, an opinion – use it. Don’t worry about others, or trying to be someone else – we already have one of that guy and that girl already; we need one of YOU. BE YOURSELF, for crying out loud. Let people meet the real you, even if just over Twitter, rather than some false face.

I have a rule for reciprocal following on Twitter: if your timeline looks interesting, I will follow you back. What’s interesting? ACTUAL CONTENT. No page after page of RTs, no spam links or offers to sell me something. Follow the blogging rules: no one cares what you had for lunch. Conversations with others? Golden. Witty or passable interesting tweets? Fantastic. If you look human, aren’t some kind of killer sales robot, and tweet with some regularity, I will more than likely follow you back. Bonus points (not really, there are no points) are given to people who use their Bio properly – tell the world a little about yourself. Where are you? What are you into? I’m almost guaranteed to follow someone back if they’re in the same city or area I am, and if their website or interests catch my eye, all the better – I’ll try to engage that person about something that piqued my interest.

Twitter lists are a great place to start when you’re looking for new people to check out. Start locally, then work your way outward. Find people who share common ground with you; who have the same hobbies or interests. There are dozens of lists filled with Vancouver people who are active on Twitter; check them out.

Then what? Say hello, that’s what. Engage others. Don’t be afraid to say hi. I can’t guarantee that everyone will always reply to your greeting, but some will – and those are the ones to start with. I know firsthand how difficult and “cliquey” Vancouver’s SM scene (not to be confused with Vancouver’s S&M scene) can be, but not everyone is like that. Sometimes it takes a little digging to find the good eggs, but they’re out there – I promise.

The most important thing I think I can tell you about Twitter is that it is NOT instant messaging! Private conversations should be in DM, and anything that isn’t is free for jumping in. If you see a conversation that interests you and you want to say something, go for it. Opinions, thoughts, jokes, observations – these are all awesome things. Don’t let chatter between two or three people scare you away; join the conversation. If you can see it, it’s not private. Jump in!

i choo-choo-choose you

When it comes time to actually go outside and mingle with the terrifying others, start small. The Vancouver Twestival, as great as it is, is the perfect example of an event NOT to attend if you suffer from Social Anxiety or are not good in crowds. Instead, look for events or workshops that aren’t focused on 1-on-1 interaction; something in which you will not be the focus of attention. The Forensic Workshops put on by the Vancouver Police Museum are perfect, because they’re small, intimate, and no one is paying attention to you. There’s no time to stare at others when you’ve got a coconut full of fake blood to bash in with a hammer – people won’t be looking at YOU, they’ll be mentally planning the perfect murder. Mighty Ugly workshops are another perfect thing – you’ll get to meet people, but the focus will be on creating ugly things and not gluing your fingers together. Find events or meets that interest you, but have some sort of activity or thing to watch. Bring a friend, if you’re not comfortable going alone – but GO.

Remember: no one out there is cooler or more important than anyone else. Contrary to popular belief, you ARE a special little snowflake – just one who is no better and no worse than anyone else. We’re all the same, and you should never be afraid to approach someone in the local SM scene because “they’re so famous!” – that’s utter bullshit. We’re all the same, and no one is better than anyone.

(Funny story – the text “drink a lot of alcohol beforehand” is stricken out on the slide, but when projected onto the huge screen, the line through didn’t show up – so a good part of my presentation is me telling people that “get drunk first” was supposed to be tongue in cheek and to NOT drink before going out because it sooooo won’t help you in any way.)

dave would like to be your friend

It’s okay to be a little crazy – we all have issues. However, you need to learn that there’s a time and place to announce those issues to the world, and that time and place isn’t during your first face-to-face interaction with someone. Very few people have time for additional drama, and it’s far easier to walk away from someone unloading on you if you’ve got nothing vested in the relationship. I’d do anything for my friends and they know that, but if I just met you, I don’t want to hear your problems or have you cry on my shoulder. It’s just awkward. Once we’re friends, absolutely – I’m here for you. If we’re barely acquaintances, I don’t need to hear about that weird sore you found down there or how you’re deathly afraid of sandwiches. You don’t have to hide who you are – but using a little discretion at first is a very, very good thing.

.. I think I told a rambling story about milk, Ed, and Derek at this point here.

might as well jump (jump!)

A funny thing about making friends – the more friends I made, the easier it got. I routinely refer to my friends as my safety net (aka “human security blanket”), and I know I can count on them to hold me up if I’m having a particularly bad day. The more people I can count on, the easier going outside gets because there’ll be a whole host of people I can hang out with if I don’t feel up to socializing with strangers.

Growing up in Victoria, it was inevitable that I would know some people in Vancouver before I moved here from Calgary – old friends plus people who read my blog. However, even with that foot in the door I found it agonizingly difficult to make friends. The people I hoped or assumed I would be friends with are out there, but the people I can count on are all people I met after I had arrived. It took some time – nothing worth having will occur overnight – but if you can make even one solid connection with someone, it could branch out into meeting  dozens of others. Some of my favourite people are ones I met through friends of friends, meaning I’d never have met them at all if I hadn’t connected with the right people at some point in the past. Having a safety net is invaluable when you suffer from social anxiety, because these people won’t judge me if I want to run away and hide in a corner or strip off all my clothes and dance on the table (which hasn’t happened yet, but it might).

wheeeeeeeeee!

.. I had nothing to say here; I just wanted to use this picture.

a perfectly cromulent word

My presentation can really be boiled down to two main points: there are some awesome people out there, and don’t be an asshole (more on this was said during the presentation; I can’t remember how it came up). It’s scary and terrifying to come out of the warmth and comfort of your shell, but it can be SO REWARDING if you do – there’s so much in this city to experience; so many wonderful people to get to know. Take a deep breath and promise yourself you’ll try – you’ve already come this far; just go a little further and see what happens. You deserve awesome, incredible good times and those are unlikely to happen in your living room (but if they do, please invite me). Say yes to everything – within reason, if you’re the cautious type. Try new things – the opera, volunteering, a museum, crafting. Get outside your comfort zone and have some fun. There’s so much out there just waiting for you to find it, and you deserve ridiculous happiness – so go get it.

hobo rainbow!

There IS one surefire, fail-proof way to make friends – if all else fails, give people presents! (swag bags were handed out here)

love you guys

.. thanks!

That’s a lot of words. Even though the Twitterverse sort of exploded yesterday and everything sucked and people were being mean to one another, I stand by what I said – Vancouver is filled with beautiful, amazing people and everyone deserves awesome.

EVERYONE.

Okay?

Good.

So, go get some awesome. Here’s a good place to start, or this, or this. Summer is coming; soon; there’ll be more fun things to do. Come to the beach and blow bubbles with me for my birthday. Be a zombie or a zombie hunter or a zombie DANCER. Go taste some wine, or smell a morgue. Miss 604 constantly lists Vancouver events and going-ons. See some shoes! GO HAVE SOME FUN! DO IT! DO IT NOW!

.. I’m pretty sure I didn’t yell that much during the actual presentation, but I haven’t seen the video yet – there’s a chance I went all Tony Robbins on everyone. If I did, sorry ‘bout that. I was nervous, is all.

Next year, I wanna be on the sex panel.

you know?

My plan to take over the world one interview at a time, is slowly coming to fruition – I am this week’s Geek Speak over at the Straight. Stephen interviewed me last Friday, and the article hit the e-waves today:

please take me seriously as a professional

We did the interview over the phone, and my answers are pretty much word for word. It is embarrassing to see how I often I say “you know?”, which is apparently my version of “like” or “ummm”. At least, it should be – in my head, I’m just being polite and asking if the reader/listener is, in fact, knowing of what I am speaking. I can’t help it. I’m a trainer; I have an ingrained need to make sure people understand the point I am trying to get across.

Or it could just be that I am a very  bad speaker in general.

Still, hooray! I like being interviewed! So far this year I’ve been in the Straight, on Global TV, and on CBC for various things (being a geek, being at the opening ceremony rehearsal, and being online respectively). I am very slowly becoming famous in my own head! Soon I will be signing autographs and going clubbing in short skirts and no panties. Is it too soon to get an agent? Should I stop doing laundry so I can eBay my underpants? So many decisions to make!

I’m off to my next speaking engagement (aka doing my job – it’s time for Friday training) – when I return, we will talk about boobs and Monday and how I hope you will all come out to play.

new shiny

I love necklaces. I probably own a hundred or more – mostly silver, all awesome. I am drawn to shiny things like a magpie to .. well, shiny things. It can be a problem – how many necklaces can any one person (who isn’t Mr. T) wear at a time – but I am okay with that.

Recently though, I’ve getting more into buying necklace PARTS instead of finished pieces. I’m somewhat handy with a pair of pliers, so I’ve been attempting to make my own jewellery and getting my craft on. It’s a little cheaper (in theory; I buy a LOT of supplies and can’t possibly wear them all – I really ought to sell some) but a lot more fun, and I get to play with sparkly things. Everyone wins (except Ed, who inevitably has to vacuum up the tiny silver pieces that I lose in the carpet/bed)!

I got some new pendants in today, and made myself this:

*sparrow noise* (what? they don't caw)

It’s a freshwater pearl and something called a London Blue Topaz that was ridiculous expensive (comparatively speaking; it was a hair under $10 for the single stone), and the bird and chain are from various Etsy supply vendors. It is pretty! Hooray for being crafty!

brother can you spare some porn

I need more pornography.

I’ve spent the last couple nights elbow deep in vaginas and smut, making my filthy buttons. I don’t know if there’s a market for these, but I find them absolutely hilarious and will attempt to sell them anyway – I have an unused Etsy store, and I can bring them to Got Craft events. I’ll have to hide them away from the easily offended, but I’ll have some on hand for people who want a little bit of secret filth. In fact, that’s the whole point: a naughty little nugget; a perverted piece of flair. Something to have a secret giggle at when you have to play nice and be professional – Big Brother might try to keep you in line, but who’s going to get in your way when you’ve got more than one hidden vagina? No one, that’s who.

I need to get little baggies for the buttons, but I’ve got a catchy name and a label made already. I’m going to sell them in packs of 4 for $5, or $1.50 each. I don’t really care if they don’t actually sell – I will keep them in jars, just like I do those organs I found once – but I kinda hope they do. It amuses me to wear secret pornography, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one.

I do need to make a run to some used bookstores for some old smut, though – I only had one Penthouse magazine lying around and it’s been cut into many pieces for my own hilarity. The image buttons are pretty cool, but the text ones are definitely my favourite – a little more subtle than wearing an eagle-spread vagina on your lapel, at any rate. Unless you’re into that sort of thing; then who am I to stop you?

In other news: I have new glasses, I’m going to a party tonight, I submitted myself to two hilarious things that will utterly terrify me if I somehow sneak past the screening process, people are submitting questions to my Formspring that aren’t about sex and it’s kind of refreshing, and Miranda’s having a Fancy Dress party in two weeks for her birthday and I can’t WAIT because my outfit is centered around pasties.

No, seriously, I have confidence issues. Can’t you tell?

(these aren't actually smuttons; i'm at work)

with love and without pants

it was a ray gun and it was 1981

BUTTONS!

Well, not yet. More specifically: BUTTON MAKER!

I received a bonus at work last week, and had to make a decision – do I put the money towards an iMac, or buy a button maker? I went back and forth on this and asked everyone I knew for advice before deciding on the button maker. The former option would certainly be more exciting, but would require me to spend an extra $1000 – whereas the latter was still exciting, but would allow me to pay down some debt and fill my house with jars upon jars of buttons.

Also, maybe I will get a tax return and then I can get an iMac anyway.

I searched eBay until I found the perfect item – a button maker, a circle cutter, and 1000 supplies for a decent price. It arrived today, and now I am armed with everything I need to make many, many buttons. Hooray! And just in case 1000 wasn’t enough, I also purchased an additional 1000 supplies – 2000 buttons! YAY!

Since I can’t really WEAR 2000 buttons, I will have to come up with fun things to do with them. I believe I will make Delicious Juice Dot Com Button Sets available, and do themed sets – admit it; you’ve always wanted goatse on your lapel – mostly for fun and maybe a little for profit. I’ll make some insufferable announcements when things are available for the purchasing!

The button maker comes just in time, too – Miranda and I will be attending the Museum of Vancouver’s showing of Handmade Nation on March 19th, and participating in the mini-Got Craft fair there. I can make buttons to sell along with my remaining Purl Necklaces stock, and whatever I can whip up between now and then. I’ve been experimenting with the shiny things I’ve been getting in the mail, and made this last night:

i swear it's prettier in person - i don't have good lighting at my desk

I’ve been fascinated with gem clusters lately, and figured that making my own was cheaper than buying them by the dozen. I don’t know if anyone will think they’re pretty beyond me, but it can’t hurt to try. I’ll be selling whatever I make (assuming I can part with my lovely shiny things) for ridiculous prices, because I feel bad when people give me money. I am the worst entrepreneur *ever*.

All the fun is in the creation, though. Making stuff is awesome! I can’t wait to go home so I can destroy our living room with craft stuff everywhere! Buttons and jewels for everyone, hooray!

the craft

Last night’s forecast of “light rain” was the grossest understatement of the century.

It was a full-blown epic friggin’ hurricane out there – torrential downpour, scary winds, and I am pretty sure I saw four guys on horses flying through the air. My ride home from the opera was probably the scariest ride I’ve ever had; even worse than the time I rode naked and blindfolded through a cemetery at midnight on Halloween after watching a “My Super Sweet 16” marathon on TLC. I’ve never been wetter; not even that time I watched Bizarro Titanic. Continuing my trend of public nudity, I took off most of my sodden clothes in the hallway before I opened my door – I was soaked through each of my four layers. It was bad. My jeans are still dripping water into the bathtub.

The bad continued early this morning, when I was awakened by the second worst noise a cat owner can be startled by: the sound of a full keyboard buffer. I bolted out of bed to see Sasha sitting on my laptop like she belonged there, and all my windows fucked up. She also shed all over my keyboard, and pried a few of the keys up. I *hate* it when the cats sit on my laptop. Anyone want a cat or four?

All that is behind me though, as I am getting ready to leave for Got Craft on Commercial Drive. I hope to see some of you there! It should be pretty awesome; the last one was a lot of fun and all I did was take pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I’ve uploaded images from last night’s opera – check them out, why not. Good times.

Time for fun!

needs a punk cover

needs a punk cover

cultured necrophilia

Despite my pleading and shameless use of naked boobs as a weapon, Ed and his Constitution of Steel recovered from his Bacon Lung enough to go on his business trip. He left for Toronto this morning at 5am, and by way of saying goodbye, I poked him in the teeth. We are an unusual couple.

I will not have time to fret this weekend, as it is the BUSIEST WEEKEND EVER. Tomorrow night I get to attend the opening of the Vancouver Opera’s production of Salome, and I am excited – I’ve never had an excuse to write about necrophilia before!

Sunday I’ll be at Got Craft all day, selling my wares. I’m almost ready – I’ve crafted all that I can craft with the supplies at hand, I have a wee display set up, and most of my goods are organized for scooter transport. I just need to make a sign or two and I should be set. It’s all for fun, so I’m not too worried but it’d be nice to sell some stuff. Last night I made myself a Purl Necklace with the last of my wire, and I seem to have made it in Canuck colours – go team! I have spirit, yes I do! I have spirit, how about you?

Speaking of Opera, if you’ve been waiting for your chance to check out the awesome now’s your chance – the Vancouver Opera is offering a two-for-one ticket deal for Salome. It’s the last opera of the season, and if the other two performances I’ve seen have been any indication, it’s going to be amazing. If you want to go – and I absolutely think you should; everyone should see an opera at least once – call 604-683-0222 with promo code 1833. It’s good for all performances, so you have four chances to see Salome do the deed with a dead guy. Hooray!

a mess of purl necklaces

a mess of purl necklaces

blue-and-green

go sea-whales go!

purl necklaces: a little splash of love

I made this last night while watching Pushing Daisies:

It’s the first one I’ve made in almost 18 months. I dig it. I named it Missiletoe. KERPLOWIE!

My new fancy wire isn’t here yet, but I found almost 38ft of 26g sterling silver wire when doing an inventory of my beads. I don’t have very many crystals left, but I have enough semi-precious stones to bedazzle an army. I also found a huge pile of things I already made, but then put in a box and forgot about. I’ll take pictures and throw them up on Flickr later; some are kinda neat.

I suppose this means I’m back in the Purl Necklaces business. I frankly love the name far too much to let it die a painful death, and it’s definitely something to occupy my time – I don’t have time to be cranky and full of angst if I’m making shiny things and under cutting the competition. And I mean seriously undercutting, too – I am far too lazy to price things, so we’ll be dusting off the old “by donation” method. If you want something, let me know and we’ll chat. Pay whatever you think it’s worth (plus a couple bucks for postage), and it’ll be in the mail the next day. That’s it. I’m easy.

So, yeah. Splash your loved ones with a Purl Necklace today!

(hell yes I make myself laugh a lot)