Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zumba and the End Times

This picture is from the CTV site of a car that flipped into a sinkhole on Monday July 8, 2013
In my new regime to change my energy and try new things, I joined a new gym for a very cheap promo rate. On Monday, July 8, I decided to try my second Zumba class ever.

This gym has a special class room with windows that look out at the streets in three directions. When I entered the gym, it was a hot, sunny day. I played on the weight machines for about twenty minutes then hit the Zumba class. By the time the class was over, it had been raining HARD for about half an hour.

I dressed and looked for my car. I couldn't find it. I walked around the parking lot twice until I found it. It was right where I thought it should have been all along. It must have been wearing a cloak of invisibility or something. Senior brain. GAH.

It took me so long to find my car that my parking voucher had expired so I had to get clearance from security to leave. I pulled out of the underground to encounter...armaggeddon or something. The rain was so thick and hard that I couldn't see anything at all out of my windshield. I pulled over to the side of the street like half a dozen other cars and waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, it seemed to shift slightly, just enough I thought I might just make it the few miles from Bloor to Lakeshore down Islington. I hate left hand turns at the best of times and there were several in my future.

The puddles were already very deep, so much so that I feared drowning in the right hand lane so stayed in the left where it was also deep in places.

It was only around six fifteen pm.

It had only been not even two hours since it was a brilliantly hot muggy sunshiny day.

I was first in line at the red light at Queensway and Islington. Going straight. Three lanes of traffic in each direction plus turning lanes.

As I waited, the car behind me beeped. Well, golly gee, I hadn't had a stroke at all. I really did see the lights blow out.

My heart in my throat, I made my way home in Toronto rush hour hurricane rains with no traffic lights and multiple terrifying left turns.

Even the entrance to the apartment parking lot was under water and I hoped that my engine wouldn't be destroyed.

I made my way into my hot stuffy apartment. The hallway emergency lights were actually on so that made it a bit less scary. Luckily, I had loads of candles and flashlights from all my other hobbies.

Dorian returned home from the dance studio around nine, he had a ride. He said the studio never went out at Yonge and Bloor. We all knew the subway had been down for hours.

I spent the night doing tarot by candlelight and meditating. I made notes about various ideas. I dozed on the couch because I was afraid of my room. The ceiling has been dropping down in pieces from an upstairs flood last week and no one has been in to fix it or even assess the safety of it. Good news is that I can move very soon to a vacant apartment in the building. It's going to be hard work but there's a lot wrong here now due to floods that ironically had nothing to do with the weather.

Parts of Toronto and Mississauga are still without power here on Wednesday. I see on Facebook that there are a lot of flooded basements. I'm grateful to live on the third floor and my storage unit is on an inbetween floor so that should be fine too.

My own power came on around two in the morning on Tuesday. It woke me up so I ended up staying up til dawn which didn't make for a very productive Tuesday.

They are calling for more storms tonight. It was supposed to hit at 4:30 and sure looked and felt like it. Right now, many hours later, it still hasn't rained but the wind and air feel like a storm a-brewing. Since I'm right on the lake, it may blow over me and into the city.

We'll find out!

I will say that I enjoyed my Zumba class. The teacher was very enthusiastic and it was loads of fun.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Haunted Mansion Interviews Sèphera Girón and more!

In September 2010 and in September 2012, a group of horror authors, artists, and poets descending upon a retreat nestled into the mountains of Southern California.

The mansion has been used as a retreat for decades but its history, as is the case with all old buildings, spawns back a century through interesting times. The house was originally built by husband as a love letter to his wife. The heart-shaped lawn was proof of his devotion to her.
There were many deaths associated with the house, old age, illness and that sort of thing. Of course, there are rumours including drowning in the pool or a shooting in a stairwell.  But the rumours have nothing to substantiate them in my own understanding.
The home was and still is used as a religious retreat. There are satchels hanging from trees, medicine bags strung by hopeful new Agers and first nations. There is a calm vibration most of the time that lends itself creative flow. An easy give and take among the retreaters made for a tightly knit and magnetic group.
The home is also used, of course, as a writers retreat and other artists as well. The attic with its glorious sunroof is already set up as an artists studio and Yvonne Navarro spent the second retreat painting a magnificent work.
There are now two Haunted Mansion books out from Damnation Books. Each book covers the events and inspirations from the specific years.

Many of us experienced unexplained events while others didn't experience anything. Rain Graves and I were roommates both times. The first year, we stayed in a little room, thinking that a tiny room would be "safe."  Boy were we wrong.

The second year we were ready to stay in the same room. We even started to unpack but as the creepiness of the room began to settle into our bones, we had second thoughts. Since there were more people attending the retreat that year than the previous year, there were more floors and rooms available. We both decided that we would definitely NOT be staying on the third floor. No way. So we chose a room on the first floor, just off the safe room. We liked our spacious room although there was a whole suite attached to it that was very scary. There was a kitchen and another bedroom. The vibes in those room were not as welcoming and during the weekend, I had successful luck with the Ghost Girls in experiencing unusual activity.

The books tell our stories and both books are laid out in a similar manner. There is fiction, non-fiction, and photography.

These stories, poems, and art were inspired by the creative vibe and the talkative ghosts at the Haunted Mansion Retreat.

Editor Loren Rhoads, who attended the Haunted Mansion Retreat both times, is conducting a series of interviews with authors who contributed to the book.

Keep checking Loren's blog as she adds more people.

Haunted Mansion Interviews Sephera Giron

Haunted Mansion Interviews Rain Graves

Haunted Mansion Interviews S. G. Browne

Haunted Mansion Interviews Nichole Boscia of Ghost Girls

Haunted Mansion Interviews Lisa Morton

Haunted Mansion Interviews Rena Mason

Please let me know what you think about the books in the comments section below!

Fan Expo Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear August 22 - 25, 2013



 On Thursday August 22 until Sunday August 25, hundreds of thousands of people will be lured to the behemoth convention known as FAN EXPO.

FAN EXPO TORONTO is comprised of half a dozen conventions all under one roof. RUE MORGUE'S FESTIVAL OF FEAR encompasses horror media from celebrities, movies, comic books, novels, and more.

The location at the Toronto Convention Center on Front Street under the CN Tower means that people have easy access no matter which mode of transit you choose. There are loads of hotels within walking distance as well with some offering special convention rates if you ask.

For over a decade now, local authors and international authors alike have appeared at Festival of Fear. In years past, it was challenging to find authors because they were spread out throughout the convention, wherever there might be a spot among exhibits to put a couple of tables of authors. One year a few of us were in the TELETOONS aisle, which was fun for me since I love those shows, but not conducive to flogging erotic horror around six year olds lined up for a cartoon voice actor's autograph.

Last year, they decided to put the horror authors into a cohesive section. I myself was in the main exhibit hall since I was running a commercial booth for the HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION. The horror authors were out in the exhibition hall in a row. It's easy to spot them but it's also easy to run on by and not notice them.

I'm not certain if the set-up will be the same again this year.

Many authors, including myself, are on panels. Check your program guide to see when and where the panel rooms are and who is speaking when!

Here are some pictures from previous years at FESTIVAL OF FEAR