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Let’s talk Rape Culture…AGAIN

Today, I woke up really pissy but my mood improved when a dear friend, posted his excitement about the new trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising and I jetted off to youtube to check it out. John Boyega, Jing Tian, the music, the graphics, the jaegers–all of it lifted my spirits so high I felt as if I could float. Then I got to the news and my spirits just crashed.

It seems more and more these days, I find myself absolutely flabbergasted about the things people with money get away with. From Brock Turner who got off free after raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, to Donald Trump grabbing women “by the pussy” to Harvey Weinstein admitting, on tape, to groping a European Model, all of it absolutely gets to me and leave me wondering when had society become such a haven for rape.

To make matters worse, we’ve become so desensitized to the whole traumatic experience that we’ve began blaming the victims. First, let me say this. No one, man or woman, deserves to be violated in that manner. Whether he’s hot or she’s walking down the street naked – no means no. The fact that women are defending these behaviours, especially after the perpetrators has ADMITTED to these horrid acts, turns  my stomach.

I mean, there is a recording of what is being said to be Harvey Weinstein, admitting to groping this woman but he was never arrested because apparently that’s not enough evidence. And why not? The president of the United States admitted to groping women “by the pussy” without even “waiting” and people in the United States made him president – so why would anyone else be held responsible for doing something so unconscionable to a woman? Apparently, we’re here for their amusement and sexual gratification whether we want to be or not. We, women, to them, are merely masturbation tools.

Another thing that makes this horrible, if the person committing these crimes were a person of colour they would be locked away until the cow comes home because they are thugs and bad for society. But a white man carry them out and he’s sick (Harvey Weinstein) and no one wants to ruin his future (Brock Turner). A black football player a few years ago was locked up for close to ten years for a rape a girl claimed happened – turned out, it never did and she didn’t want to give back the money she had been awarded.

Our society seems to be devolving. We’re going back to the days when women have no say in anything, not our reproductive system, not who enters our body.  What is left for us when the most private, most intimate of experiences are being tainted by men who feels because they have a few extra zeros to the number in their bank accounts, they can do whatever they want to us and there be no consequence? When a man can admit that they all but raped a woman and gets to walk away because there’s “no evidence.”

I could go into this and give some soap box speech about how parents should teach their kids the difference between rape and consensual sex. I could spew out that men should teach their sons to take no for an answer and girls should learn how to get out of a certain situation. I could even go as far as saying we need to teach our little girls how to defend themselves and to think for themselves. But that would be going on and blaming the victims and I’m not about that. Besides, all that bullshit hasn’t worked in the past.

There need to be some form of recourse for women who truly were victims. There has to be a way to make it so that anyone who carry out these horrible acts (men or women/black, white, pink or purple) be punished and held accountable for their actions.

I’m so sad right now.

Kato

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Road Trip – Port Perry

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Photo by Kato

A few weeks ago, my mother called me up and suggested a road trip. I agreed and then was stuck trying to find a place close enough to Toronto that we could drive there, have a little fun and get back before the cows come home. After digging through the tons of small town around Toronto, I suggested three and she picked Port Perry.

I’ve only been there once, years ago to the casino with a couple of friends. I didn’t get a chance to see the actual town. We got in the car and took off. When we arrived, the town struck me as a true small town. It is the kind of place I write about in my books all the time. I love a good small town with one main street, a few stores, a couple of diners, people who knows each other and everyone else’s business. Stepping from the vehicle here was like stepping into the pages of one of my books. I looked both ways and my heart soared seeing the water and how close we were.

After my mom and her best friend disappeared into a few stores, we wandered down to where I had been itching to get to since I got out of the car. The water. There were families fishing off the side of the pier who were very friendly, showing us their catch.

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Photo by Kato

They weren’t large fish, and they were all thrown back into the water but it was great interacting with people like that. The park was beautiful, peaceful, clean. The people were so friendly and the air was fragrant.

I wandered away from my mom and her best friend to explore around on my own. I took pictures, stopped to look into the water then found some peace by staring out at the water and the trees and homes in the distance. My muse ran free that day, pushing through stories that could take place in the town, where in the town, places, people, things….

We didn’t make it to the winery because my mom found a store that sells beautiful Italian fashion, so we killed two hours there but we did find the Brewery so I could buy beer. Old Flames Brewery is a wonderful place that sells d

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Photo by Kato

ifferent kinds of beer that they make right there on site.

Since I don’t like a bitter beer, I love their Love Potions #9. It’s light and refreshing and delicious. I am only sorry I bought just two. I took it home and drank it with pizza and wings and it was fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Kato

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Photo by Kato

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Photo by Kato

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Photo by Kato

Hugs, Kato

Hollywood’s Whitewashing Issue

Yes children, I am going there.

Hollywood, we have a problem!

I write interracial romance and erotica. I Love writing interracial romance and erotica. But I believe when you go into someone’s culture, you show it the respect it deserves. Those who knows me, get that I love culture. When you’re creating a world with a blend, it’s the most beautiful thing. But for a time tested tale like Aladdin, there isn’t much wiggle room to go off half-cocked and change stuff.

A few years ago the world imploded when Scarlet Johansson accepted the role of The General in Ghost in the Shell. I was one of those people thinking what in the hell is she thinking when the news reached me. There was absolutely NO excuse for that. Of course she couldn’t say she didn’t know she wasn’t aware of what race the character is supposed to be. Ghost in the Shell had been around for years and a seasoned actress like that must have researched the role before accepting it, right? I mean, it’s not like it’s a brand new idea, with new characters and all. There are thousands of actresses who could have been casted in this role–all of them of Asian heritage that would have been a lot more suitable.

Thankfully, when this piece of garbage hit theatres fans showed their displeasure by barely going to see it. That meant it failed to recup the money spent to make it.

Then Tilda Swinton accepted the Ancient One role in Dr Strange, and once again the world showed its displeasure by typing out their frustrations in 140 characters or less. The issue, Ms. Swinton, isn’t that people didn’t want a woman playing the role. The issue is that we would have wanted the role to be given to a Tibetan/Chinese/Korean/Phillipino/Indian/Japanese actress. That is the problem. Out of all the irritation I read about this casting choice, not one of them said it was because she was a woman. Her race was the issue.

Then comes Hellboy. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Ed Skrien from The Transporter Refueled to Deadpool. And he’s not bad to look at either – but he is no Diamio. The moment I heard of this casting, I washed my hands of Hellboy and it damned near broke my soul. I am a HUGE fan of the franchise. I’ve seen all of them, read the comics, indulged in the soundtracks.

Anyway, Ed’s excuse is, he didn’t know of the character’s Japanese heritage. I find that a little hard to believe considering the character’s last name was Diamio. But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  But Ed did the stand up thing and stepped down.

Much respect for that homie.

Then the mistake that was THE GREAT WALL where a civilization built a wall that can be seen from outer space BEFORE modern day technology but still needs Matt Damon to come save them from pissed off dragons….What??

I’m not even going to get into Death Note because the disappointment and anger I feel about that knows no bounds.

Now to Alladin. I have always loved this story. And when Disney came out that they were making it, I was like well shit (pardon my French) here we go again.

They casted Will Smith as Genie – okay, Africans were and are plentiful in that part of the world.

Naomi Watts as Jasmine – I had to do my research to realize she is in fact part Gujarati so she is right for that role.

Then they casted Mena Massoud as Alladin-Woo! We’re on a roll, Disney! Play ball!

Marwan Kenzari as Jaffar – Hot damn! Let’s do this thing!

Then Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders (you remember Billy from Into the Woods and As the World Turns). Wait….What? Who is this magical creature and where did he come from? Why is he even a thing?

Is this because Disney feels that we can’t have a hit movie set in the Middle East with no white people? Or is it because every ethnic woman must be like Pocahontas and wanting their own John Smith?

Why is it so hard for Hollywood to realize that we’re tired of seeing the same faces over and over? What is the issue? Why do we really need a (politically incorrectness in 5…4…3…2….) white prince in Alladin? Why do we need a white character in this movie? Why is it necessary? Why is it that Jasmine must be tossed around between who she’s supposed to be with and this new guy? Why can’t she be woman enough to fight her attractions for Alladin and loyalty to the way she was raised? Why does an Ethnic character need a white prince?

I am confused and disappointed by this latest turn of events. And don’t get me wrong. I ADORE Billy. As an actor he is one of the best. I watched him in As the World Turns on youtube constantly and used to watch it back in the day. I watched Into the Woods for him. But there is no reason for this.

Hollywood has a whitewashing problem and they refuse to face the fact that even their fellow Caucasian folks are speaking out about this crap.

But why should we be surprised by this?

This is a movie coming from the same company that made Beauty and the Beast, a movie about a woman who falls for a man who kidnaps her father, kidnaps and emotionally abuse her. I mean, parents read this crap to their kids as babies not realizing the damage.

This is from the same company who made Songs of the South back in the day about a Slave who was ‘happy’ to be a slave.

This is from the company who made the new Cinderella with the actress’ waist being so tiny, parents began worrying about the ideas this may be giving to their little girls.

This is from a company who claimed to be diverse and made a movie with a Black Princess but that encompassed the same tired stereotypes as before and made her only a human for like ten minutes of the whole movie and a frog the rest.

Why do we expect anything better from these people?

But you know what? This is our fault. If when Hollywood behave as if there are no other cultures in the world we would stop giving them our money, they would learn. What we need to do is when they do crap like this, have them release the movie and have it open to a $0 dollar box office. That would send a clear message that we won’t sit by and take this anymore. If you’re going into a culture, respect it.  This is getting out of hand and they won’t stop doing things like this until we stop feeding the beast.

Kato

[Jo Date] The Hitman’s Bodyguard

It was a long time coming but finally, last Friday Jo and I got around to going on a date. Image result for the hitman's bodyguardWell, it was planned for the weekend before but, I had to cancel because I forgot about it (didn’t put it in my calendar and I’m getting up there in age) and then made plans with the niece. So, Friday night we met up and went to see The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Let’s preface what’s to come by saying this – the second I saw the redband trailer for this movie I WANTED IT! Then the I started counting down to the release date. I was going to see this movie with or without someone. I missed the release day because, well, again, I’m old and I forget things. Then finally it was time to see this movie.

So, real quick, the movie is about a convicted hitman Darius (Samuel L. Jackson) who is needed by the Hague to testify for the prosecution seeking to convict a war criminal and former dictator, Vladislav (Gary Oldman).  Michael (Ryan Reynolds) must get him to the Hague before time runs out and the dictator walks free. But every idiot with a gun is after these two, who can’t stand each other–or rather Michael can’t stand Darius and Darius thinks it’s hilarious.

I’m going to try doing this without any spoilers but there might be spoilers am just sayin’.

From the beginning of the movie, I was giggling. Forget the incident that toppled Michael’s career–that was kind of um, well, messy and live becomes so crappy, buddy is peeing in a bottle in his car. A strange thing happened in the back seat that causes everyone who goes in it to say the same thing “it smells like ass back here.”

The jokes were on point. I laughed until I almost peed myself. I never thought Ryan and Samuel could have such amazing comedic timing or chemistry together. It was a strange relationship. The casting was a little weird as I thought about it but to actually see them in action was fantastic.

Selma Hayek was a wonderful surprise that just added another level of amazingness to this cast that had me doubled over in my seat.

This movie was a wonderful surprise. It delivers on comedy, action, blood and guts, explosions and R rated jokes that you probably shouldn’t take your kids to see.  There is some darkness in the flick but it didn’t overshadow the funny or the bits that made me chuckle before muttering “that is FANTASTIC!”

This, is definitely a movie I’d go and see. It’s worth every penny!

Oh and there is a little blooper reel at the end of the movie after the credits, so just chill and wait for it.

Hugs,

Kato

Just another victim on the hit-list

I try not to get political, because the world is in such a state where two people can’t have a civilized conversation without it turning nasty.  But there are some rare occasions when I have to blink and just say something.  Recently, the currently US government declared that they were going to stop trans men and women from service in the United States Military. And there are those who agree with this and they don’t see the issue here.
Before I get into that, might I remind you that the draft system is not a thing in the United States anymore? These men and women are serving so your children don’t have to. They are serving so that you can be a coward behind the keyboards and talk shit about them. They serve, basically, to protect your right to hate them.

That’s the kind of society we live in. We return people’s kindness and generosity by ripping the rug out from under them.

Also, keep in mind that these men and women (I am not using trans because we shouldn’t have to. They are MEN and WOMEN. I don’t see the need to call them anything but). They didn’t just get up one day and have their parents pay for them to be in the military. These men and women worked crazy hard, sacrificed a lot of things we take for granted every day to become who they are. They passed every requirement necessary to be called army/marine/air force/green beret/SEAL–whatever their military designation is. They passed medicals, psych evals, training, educational, ALL OF THEM. So how DARE you take that away from them?

They’ve fought along side their fellow soldiers with dignity and honour and you decide now is the time to take away from them what they’ve earned?

And at this point, for this second, put aside the whole trans bit of this issue. Why is it we find it so hard to treat others like we deserve to be treated? Is the current US government just taking pot-shots at a crowd hoping someone gets hit? Is that what this is? The healthcare thing fell through so it’s time to tear down the very people who protect your country?

As someone I know always say “does being trans affect this person and their ability to do their job?” If the answer is NO then STFU and take a seat. Being trans has ZERO affect on someone’s ability to do things. And why do you care so much what is underneath someone’s clothes?
And for those of you keeping quiet on this issue–you don’t see the problem here? First he went after women – we’ve all heard the tapes. Then he went after the Muslims and all non-white American. Then poor who can’t afford healthcare. Now he’s on to the LGBT and military.

Who is next?
Martin Niemöller had a poem–and this was written back when the world was trying to come to terms with Hitler. And a part of it is very true today:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

A lot of people are saying this is a distraction from the whole Russia thing – and it might be, or it might just be one man’s hatred toward all that is different. But even if it is a distraction it is a very dangerous and serious one. This cannot be taken lightly. This is about treating people as human beings. It’s about mutual respect and basic human decency.

Hugs,
Kato

Again…Suicide

Chester, lead singer to Linkin Park is dead.

How?

He hung himself.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way for those of you who are easily offended. Yes, I get that when it comes to drugs and alcohol and celebrity–the struggle is real. Hell, it’s one of the realest struggles most of these people will ever have to face. Yes, I understand its more than just a little hard. Yes, I get that most of them don’t seek the help they should or even if they do, the ‘yes men/women’ around them does not help with finding sobriety. Yes, I get all of these things.

But…oh yes, there shall be a but…

After his death, a whole slew of articles and facebook and twitter status began cropping up about “RIP Chester” and “Gone too soon” and “He passed away…”

No. No, he didn’t “pass away.”

We’re in a society where every thing offends us. I think if we stop being so damned offended all the time we could actually save some lives. Stop saying he “passed away.” No, that’s what happened to my grandmother a few years ago after years of being sick. Passing away means you went to bed and during your sleep your heart stopped. Passing away means, you had cancer and your body just couldn’t fight anymore. Passing away, means you’re crossing the street and got hit by a car. Hell, passing away means, you went on vacation and ate some bad pufferfish.

What happened is that he killed himself. And we’re so afraid of offending each other that we’re going to sit on this. We’re going to sugar coat it and someone out there going through the same garbage he was is going to think it’s okay to do what he did because no one was up in arms about the act.

Listen, I’m going to offend y’all because I’m hoping in doing so, you’ll go out and get help, or go out and help someone you seen needing your help.

Trust me, when I say this – Suicide is never the answer. Sure, your pain is over but what about the people you leave behind? The people who love you–how are they suppose to deal without you? I can say this because I’ve been there, almost done that–and trust me, things had gotten really bad for me. But I had people in my life who weren’t afraid to offend me, who weren’t afraid to say “I’m getting you help, you can hate me later.” I had people who looked through my life and went “hmmm okay, here’s what we’re going to do.” These people saved my life.

So stop calling suicide “passing away.” Stop flooding your twitter and facebook and instagram with RIP messages to this man who killed himself leaving (apparently) six  children who will now have to deal with this. Stop, making light of this situation. This is getting out of hand. Too many of our young people are killing themselves and it doesn’t seem as though anyone think this is an epidemic. We need to find out what’s going on, find out what brings a person to the point when they think they have no other alternative.

This is, if I’m not mistaken, the THIRD celebrity this year. That is three too many. I’m certain there are plenty of normal people who did the same thing and that too is one too many.

Ben Afflect just stepped back from a role to focus on his sobriety and his family and while it sucks to not have him play a role, I agree with him one hundred percent. He realized he had a problem, and after rehab he figured taking a step back will help with his healing process. I’m not saying this is how everyone should deal with finding their sobriety, but it is the way he believes will work for himself and his family. Almost immediately, headlines start cropping up about how “this person slams Ben Afflect for backing out of movie” and blah blah blah. Listen, there will ALWAYS be another shitty-ass movie. And what you think doesn’t matter. His family, are they happy to have him around more? Is he happy with this decision and will it help him not be another one of those “was found dead this morning–authorities suspect suicide” headlines?

What you think is a non-issue.

And finally, stop putting celebrities on this pedestal expecting them to do no wrong.  That kind of pressure is bullshit and it’s not fair. Stop letting these people disappoint you because it’s not worth it.

I’ve done a post like this before this year. And it seems I have to keep doing it. Please click here for my other posts that has a few links and resources for you or anyone in your life you believe is contemplating suicide.

Kato

#Ology by Gallant

Where do I even start with this album and singer?

If Keith Sweat, R.Kelly and Smoky Robinson had a love child….

So the last FULL album I’ve purchased–well the last English album was “Unbreakable” Image resultand from my review, you can see I wasn’t impressed.  So, after that, I’ve been gunshy to go out and auto buy people’s albums these days.

Then the lord blessed my ears with Gallant.

There’s a backstory here. I have to admit the only reason I know about him is because of Tablo from Epik High. Yes, Epik High is a Korean group – Hip Hop mostly and Tablo is their rapper. This cat is straight up dope, I am not even gonna lie. And to add to his fantastic self, he is super bright. Anyway, Tablo and another singer, Eric Nam did a song with Gallant called Cave Me In. When I heard that song that first day, I listened to it all day at work–am talking on repeat. Then I went home and listened to it until I fell asleep.

The next day, I woke up and went digging for who this Gallant person was and I hit the mother load. This guy is truly talented and he doesn’t need gimmicks. Every song he’s dropped so far has smashed my brain. I am now actually looking for a song I’ll hate by him because he’s been perfect so far.

His debut album was called Zebra and that dropped in 2014. His latest album Ology dropped in 2016 and I’m late to the party but holy hell I’m glad I’m here.

When I say every song he’s dropped so far has smashed my brain, that’s what I mean.

Bourbon, Skipping Stones, Open Up, Miyazaki (is in English no matter what the title says), Weight in Gold – to name a few, all brings me back to those days when R. Kelly was truly the king.

As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for musicians and music to inspire me. More so now than ever because I tend to go through crazy bouts of writer’s block. And my lord does this guy deliver.

So, ever since Sam Smith dropped his album, I’ve been buying an album for my birthday. This year, Ology was the pick and I am so happy I bought it. If this was a CD, I’d have run that thing into the ground already.

The first time I listened to this album, the whole album, I packed a bottle of water and my sunglasses. I headed down to the lake, spread my blanket and got comfy.  In that moment I was the only person on earth.

Let me say this – Gallant makes intellectual music.

What do I mean by that?

Every song on this album is a contemplative, source of brilliance that that shocks me every time I listened to it. I’d given up on RnB–I mean, if you listen to half the stuff out today you would understand why. But the feelings that rage through me hearing these songs take me on a creative journey I didn’t think was possible anymore.  Gallant uses the English language like a needle to weave beautiful imagery with his voice that I can’t help but be sucked in by.

Ology is a journey and every song takes you a little further, add a little more spice and pushes you to the next. It’s impossible not to go from one song out the next–one step after the next. From Blood + Tissue To Chandra I am breathless every time I listen to this album. I could be sitting quietly, and a lyric from one of this song pops into my head and I tremble – it’s that profound.

I can go on and on – But listen for yourself. His singles are all on youtube and you can buy his album on iTunes. Trust me – you NEED to hear Ology. It will change your life.

Hugs,

Kato

My FIRST private reading…

Subtitle: A novice author’s trek to a far away signing…

My girl in BC has hooked me up with a private reading. I am terrified.

Why?

Well, first of all, it will be my first private reading–my second reading over. I did one reading in Ottawa at RTC a couple of years back and I had other authors with me to have my back. This time, I will be running this bus by myself.

So, I have the story written and ready to go in eBook. Print to come. I ordered all the prizes and had them ship ahead of me to BC so I didn’t have to lug all of it on the plane. Turns out, if I bring a suitcase I have to pay them 25 dollars if it’s 60lbs or less. More if its heavier and if I want to carry two. I find I reprehensible that you can’t even bring clothes on your vacation anymore.

Anyway, I digress.

I have all that finished but I still have so much to do. With conventions, someone else is planning it so all I have to do is show up and bring books and swags and a smile. This time, my girl Manda and I are doing this solo.

She’s managed to get us a space to do the reading, created a facebook event thingy that has people accepting, declining and not sure-ing. We’ve had to cap it though because with me coming from Toronto, it would be a pain to not be sure of a number so I could have swag for everyone.

Things that I am still freaking out over:

  1. My banner – For those of you who’ve never been to a signing before, each author has a lovely banner that has their name, slogan, website, how to find them on the interwebs on it. I am now the proud owner of 2. One is preset up and will be used when I have a ride to said convention and don’t have to take regular transportation. The other, well it will be folded and packed in my suitcase. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the creases out when I get there.
  2. Gift baskets – I LOVE putting together baskets and giving them away at the signings. I’ve already ordered things for at least three baskets and sent ahead to BC. But I still need to put them together. Which means when I arrive in BC, Manda will have to take me around to gather supplies, baskets, wrapping paper, ribbons and the like (ahhhhhhhhh!!)
  3. Picking the right passages from my books to read: This is a little problematic. Why? Most often readers want you to read some sexy bits from the book. While I write these bits and I’d like to think I’m quite good at them – I get all blushy and weird when having to read it out loud. Hence my dilemma. And for this signing, it was requested (in other words I’m doing it I just didn’t know it yet) that I read at least one – *Cries in a corner*
  4. Speaking in Public – For most of you who know me, you know when I get nervous I talk REALLY fast and that’s when my accent gets supremely thick and then no one can understand me – not sure how I got through Radio Broadcasting with a perfect GPA or passed my acting classes either. Le sigh. But, I will have to start practicing (once I pick the passages). My neighbours are going to think I have a weird fetish where I tell me lover what to do in narration.
  5. Naughty games and shenanigans – With just over 2 weeks left to go before the signing, I must find fund things for my attendees to do to earn their prizes (And trust me, there shall be some good ones). If anyone has some naughty games, please send them my way. I’d be ever so grateful.

And that’s just the few things I can think about right now.

*sigh* This is going to be one crazy ride folks!

Hugs,

Kato

 

Passing on Some Advice

Hey everyone!

Most of you who follow this blog are people who know me personally. But a few of you don’t. So let me recap.

When I was twelve years old, I was adopted and moved to Canada. To say coming to this country was a culture shock – well, that would be the understatement of a lifetime. In Jamaica, the only cultures I was used to were Jamaicans (Blacks), Chinese Jamaicans (Chinese) and a few Russians (when I said a few I meant like 2). On television, I’d watch programs like Rags to Riches starring Josephe Bologna and Tisha Campbell – Side note, for all you young’uns who think GLEE was the first television musical for kids of the age, think again. Don’t believe me? Click here.  It was a thing, trust me – There should be eps on youtube

Gawd I just aged myself.

Anyway, watching these programs and from meeting a few people who came to visit our high school, I knew there were other people in the world. But when I moved to Canada – oh boy–Tamils, Indians, Africans, Somalians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and the list went on and on. As I began learning about all these different people, my desire to move about this giant globe began growing.

I’ve always wanted to travel to different places – provinces, countries. But I’ve always been scared. Dating is another thing that I’ve just completely put off because after a couple bad experiences – I mean BAD experiences, I’ve decided I was done.

In February (2017), a friend of me extended her invite to British Columbia for what felt like the billionth time. I met her in University and she’s one cool chick. After she moved to BC, I never thought we’d even talk again. But then there is Facebook…

She’s been inviting me to since before she even left Ontario and each time I always had one excuse or another.

  1. I don’t know if I wanna to go BC.
  2. It’s so expensive! I can go to BC for the same price as an all inclusive to Cuba!
  3. I’m terrified.
  4. I don’t know, maaaaaaan!

And the list of excuses went on and on.

Anyway, in February I decided really contemplating going. I mean, this year I’m turning 34 and I have no traveling on my list of things that I’ve done – I mean sure I’ve been to Cuba and different places in the United States but BC is a destination. Between the beginning of February and the middle of the month, I’d changed my mind a million times – I going. I’m not going. I’m going. I’m not going–I’d looked up the price for the trip about the same amount of times and each time the flight is a good price.

Then, I went to visit my parents and mother told me “you should go. What’s keeping you from going?”

Then she called my grand uncle, who was on the brink of turning 90 years old (The greatest grand uncle a girl could EVER have by the way). He asked to speak with me. Here’s the gist of the conversation:

Me:  Hey Uncle. How are you?

Uncle: I’m still here.

Me: Did you go to church today?

Uncle: No. I’ve been in a little bit of pain. To tell you the truth, Baby. I didn’t even know it was Sunday today. Listen, I’ve lived my life to this point and I have no regrets. Live your life. Travel, meet people, don’t spend it alone….

This was the point I started sobbing.

Once our conversation was over, I handed the phone back to my mother who was looking at me with a quizzical expression. She went back to speak to my uncle and I was still crying like an idiot. Her look turned to concern and she finished her talk with him and asked me what was wrong. I told her and she forced me to book my flight right then and there. I was going to wait until I got back to my apartment to do it but she didn’t want me to wait.

The point of this post  is this.

I’d like to share the advice my uncle gave me.

  1. Live your life.
  2. Travel (maybe not the world but at least your city, province or state)
  3. Meet people
  4. Don’t spend your life alone.

That last one is kind of hard for me since a good eighty percent of the time I don’t like people. After working where I was for 6 years, I’d seen some of the worse side of people and I drew into a hole. I became anti-social and just didn’t want to deal with any of it. I’m trying my best to be better.

I hope this little post uplift someone and opens someone’s eyes. I hope it touches your heart and help you do at least two of the things on this list. I wish you happiness and freedom and love.

Hugs,

Kato

 

Allergies and asshole food servers

Sorry for the horrible language in the title, but I am going to be as REAL as humanly possible with this post.

A few days ago I was reading this post where someone who used to work for a popular fast food chain said when skinny girls come in and order a salad with diet coke, they give them regular coke instead. This person thought this was funny and people everywhere was laughing at it and sharing it – that was how it came across my feed.

There are so many things wrong with this. Forget the fact that the person is PAYING for their salad and diet coke. That’s the least of the issues with this. Let me break it down from my personal issues.

I am allergic to caffeine.

Yes, I am aware that my birth nation produces some of the best coffee in the world and I am QUITE aware of the irony in all of this.

If I consume a large dose of the thing I can go blind. Trust me, it happened when I was a teenager after my first gulp of coffee to stay awake studying for exams. So I know what I’m talking about.Image result for allergies

Over the years I’ve had to cut out soda, some chocolates (imagine, chocolate? Oh gawd what did I do in a previous life to deserve that, right?), certain juices, certain cakes, certain foods, Tim Hortons Ice Cap, and almost EVERYTHING at Starbucks and second cup. No, I cannot drink decaf, that has a certain amount of caffiene in it that would just render me useless after consumption.

Over the years I’ve become a basset hound when sniffing out coffee and cocoa in products that I consume.

Sometimes, I say screw it and indulge in a square of dark chocolate and then I have a massive headache for the rest of the day and is practically useless. A year ago, after chatting with my doctor and explaining how I’m going batty drinking nothing but selected iced teas and water, he introduced me to Coke Zero. Now Coke Zero taste like death because there’s barely anything in it but it’s caffeine free and so far hasn’t caused in diverse side effects to me. But I try to limit my consumption of the stuff.

After a few gulps, I’m now able to tell it apart from diet coke and regular coke.

Now happens to a child, if said child has my same allergy and his mother walks into let’s say for argument’s sake McDonald and orders a salad for herself and since her child says she wasn’t hungry but thirsty, the mom orders a coke zero. The server looks at the mother, thinks this order his bullshit and decide to serve the mom regular coke instead. Remember, the mom isn’t the one drinking this, the child who is allergic to caffeine is. What happens when this child, consume said drink and begins going through an allergic reaction?

My point is – serving someone something they did NOT order is an asshole thing to do. I don’t care what you think of their order. They are paying for it. Your business sells what they are asking for, provide them with the product they are asking for. If you don’t have it, say to the person “well, we’re out at the moment, would you like a substitution?”

On the same topic, this comedian once was saying if your kid is allergic to peanut the child should stay home – okay inconsiderate asshat. An allergic reaction isn’t something to joke about and the fact that you’re picking on a child makes you a jerk. But, if enough people in the world wasn’t allergic to peanuts there wouldn’t be warnings everywhere. Of course, since I moved to Canada I’ve been learning more and more about the world and I’ve adjust the way I live.

What do I mean by that – in my office I asked around to ensure no one is allergic to anything I would usually bring to eat here. Peanuts being one of those things. I try not consuming peanut in public spaces and if I do eat a peanut product in public spaces, I ensure I wash my hands and mouth thoroughly before touching or speaking to anyone.

Yes, I know, this kind of infringes on me a little bit but I’d rather be inconvenience that knowing I caused someone to die.

Anyway, back to coffee.

For me, the reaction headache (am talking someone is inside my head trying to scoop out my brain bad), vision problems and in the worse case, temporary blindness (in my experience).  Your dumb joke, isn’t work someone’s health or their lives. And you may think I’m being dramatic but an allergic reaction can be anything from hives, watery eyes to death.

Yes death.

The truth is, all we have to really do is show a little bit of caring to others. There are going to be people around you who are allergic to things. God knows every year I go through the itchy eye, scratchy throat, blocked sinus routine where I pop Claritin like candy.

Bottom like is this – be considerate to others. Try not to be a complete douche when someone tells you they are allergic to something. It’s not like they asked to be intolerant to it. They had no control over that bit of their DNA – so stop being asses and do the right thing.

Hugs,

Kato