Insidious sexism in everyday life

So I’m a feminist. Duh. I firmly believe that if you’re not a feminist, you’re just not a good person. As it stands, I understand that the rest of the world is still getting used to the idea that lady-humans are actually quite as capable of doing things that man-humans can do, but that doesn’t excuse the atrociously subtle sexism I came up against today in the music store.

I’m not going to mention what music store it is, as I have no motivation for vengeance or discrediting a strong establishment. Suffice it to say it is a large chain which should have better trained staff. Not training in the actual knowledge of gear – which this person had quite a lot of – but training in the customer area of customer service.

I have a gig tonight. It’s at Rancho Relaxo, I’m super stoked, etc. etc. I’ve been nervous for days, but tonight is the night, so I’ve gotta get over it and get my rock n roll on. I went into the music store this morning to pick up a pickup, which I thought would’ve been a pretty straightforward venture. Bring guitar. Put pickup in it. Test pickup. Rent pickup.

The gentleman helping me out was of an older persuasion, perhaps from a time when it was considered high scandal for a lady to know what a guitar looks like and how it works. When I asked for a pickup, he looked halfway shocked that I knew what that even was, or that I needed one. “I have a gig tonight” I said. “Do you!” he exclaimed, as if it were the most adorable thing a lady has ever done.

He looked at my strings and was confused momentarily, since I opt out of using standard bronze. “And what have we here?” he asked me. “Silk and steel,” I replied, automatically.

“Well! She even knows what kind of strings she uses.”


She even knows.

How completely unexpected that she would know the components of her own instrument.

The one that’s in “impressively good shape for a 3-4 year old guitar.”

Yes, impressively. We expected the lady-human to be incredibly indelicate with the guitar, seeing as she doesn’t know what she’s doing with it. She knows to store it with the proper humidity over the winter? How could that be?

Be it noted that this gentleman strayed several times from the rental agreement I was attempting to pursue in favour of aiding other (male) customers. Not to sound like a woebegone sufferer of female inequality, but it can’t be coincidence that you’d rather help a male customer when you’re continually surprised by the simple, basic knowledge that your female customer possesses. Shock.

It still surprises me when I come up against this subtle but very ingrained sexism in society. We still have a long way to go.

The baaaaand!

So my new band, Young Doctors in Love, is really picking up lately! We have a gig at Rancho Relaxo on the 31st of July, a gig at the Handlebar on Aug 18th, and we’re starting our Southern Ontario tour this fall!

Look out for our CD release coming this fall, too. We’re doing a photoshoot in September and filming a music video pretty soon!

Life is looking good🙂

Inspiration in the most unexpected places

I have a day job.

It’s not something super fancy or anything to be proud of, but I make a decent salary, have benefits, and get a few vacation and sick days here and there. It’s pretty comfy.

The problem with my day job is that it’s taking time away from writing (and taking my sanity, bit by bit, with every inane phone call I get from a woman in Minnesota who can’t find her phone’s power on button). This is where it gets a little bit interesting.

Last week, I started taking phone calls for a new area of my company. We do cell phone service and domain name registration – I’m more well versed in the phone side of things, and am still learning how to deal with domain names and email issues. A man called in yesterday trying to get his email started on his Mac, which immediately gave me two problems as a) I’m still learning about email and b) I can’t stand Macs and as a result have no idea how their OS works. (It seems a very strange oversight to me not to have a “home” type launcher or a more accurate search bar.)

This gentleman was on the phone with me for over an hour. We slowly got email to work on his tablet, then his laptop, but at last glance we were still trying to work out getting email onto his desktop. He took the time while we were waiting for downloads or updates to ask a bit about me, and I soon revealed that I’d rather be working in music, and that I’ve started writing songs as a gateway to that ideal. He was very impressed (though he has no proof of whether or not I have any talent!) and regaled me with stories of his Californian friends who knew people who knew people. Apparently the Beach Boys liked to rent out rooms in peoples’ mansions for $20,000 a week and fill them with sand. Whatever gets you going creatively, I guess.

This gentleman and I struggled to get his email working (Safari couldn’t open it, so we downloaded FireFox) to no avail. He sympathised with the difficulty of starting any creative endeavour. “You’re not Elton John,” he said (and I laughed a little as my sister’s nickname for me is, in fact, Kiki Dee), “you can’t write a song in an instant. Candle in the Wind was written in 5 minutes on the back of a napkin. Don’t worry about that. You’re not competing with Elton John. One day, you will be, but by then you’ll be able to write a song in 5 minutes, too. Until then, don’t worry about it.”

I told him I want to write an EP by the end of the year. “How many songs does that entail?” he asked me. “About 8-12.” “Well that’s perfect!” he said, “just write one song a month. That’s all you need. Don’t worry about writing any more than that; even if you have some songs you don’t like, you’ll still have the songs you aimed for.” I couldn’t deny this.

I’ve been worrying lately that I’m not writing enough, or well enough, or fast enough. This anonymous gentleman from California – a lawyer who couldn’t open his email – reassured me that I don’t have to be at that level right now. Baby steps. If you look at a mountaintop right away you’ll miss the basic steps that get you there. I’ll get there.

New Year’s Resolution(s)

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve been here…

My new year’s resolution has been to write music. This has been somewhat of a challenge, since I’ve never before in my life written anything other than essays and lab reports (and the occasional blog), but  it’s going decently well. I’ve found that the less happy I am, the better my writing gets (so I’m well on my way to becoming Adele Swift), so it’s been a weird year so far.

Second new year’s resolution, that I just made like 5 minutes ago, is to start blogging again. Hooray! (screams nobody)

I’m in the middle of training right now (I work for so as part of training I have purchased my very own website! There’s no hosting just yet, so it’s just a blank page of redirections ( but it’ll be a thing soon. Promise.

I guess that’s my third new year’s resolution.

Spam, spam, spam, scammers and spam

So I have a thing about spambots, as you may have noticed (seeing as “spam” is one of my most-used tags). Recently I’ve been searching for apartments, as my lease is up as of July 1st. I’ve made the big decision to move out on my own, sans roommates, but I’m beginning to regret that decision, as it’s nigh impossible to find a good, affordably-priced apartment suitable for one occupant in a major metropolitan city (as I’m finding out). I don’t blame the cost of utilities, location, demand, or any other factor for that difficulty more than I blame spambots.

Every time I find an affordable bachelor or one-bedroom apartment in a desirable location (i.e. not Scarborough), I begin a conversation with the person who posted the ad. (I should mention that I am searching online classifieds, and am probably just asking to be scammed.) Here is what it looks like when I email the poster:

Hello, my name is Kate and I am interested in renting your apartment at [location]. Are the utilities included? Is a July 1st move in date okay? And when will you be available this week to show me the unit?

Thanks so much!


And this is the general email I’ve gotten in return (from about a dozen different people, at this point, and I’ve only been searching for just over a week):


I got a contract job in an engineering company/missionary service/consulting firm for a construction project/religious retreat/big huge job deal thing as part of the structural engineers/dalai lama/royal anteater to build a highrise building/eat some moon pies/pee on boats in London, United Kingdom/Kuala Lumpur/Africa. I am a Building tech specialist/June bug/circus clown, so my accommodation period in [wherever, who even cares] will be about 4 years, so that’s the reason why i am renting out the unit. I do not intend to make profit out of it all i want is to find a good and clean person to take good care of the place/keep the apartment tidy/fill it with bees. I`m the owner of the unit and it is furnished but if you want you can make use of your furnitures and help keep mine in the storage locker which is situated both in the unit and in the building and these does not attracts any funds. [what does this even mean?!]

The monthly rent that am requesting for is $600/$550/$400 and some cheese and these rent is to service the bills which includes all utilities (water, electricity, Internet, cable, 1 parking spots, air conditioning, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, refrigerator, stove, laundry in-suite, washer and dryer) the monthly rent you will be paying includes all this and they will be taken care of as soon as you pay your rent/give me all your money.

Everything in this unit is functional and in good working conditions. Once you started staying in the unit and there is any case of any repairs which is as a result of normal faults like leakages, you will get in touch with me and i will get it fixed, i am in possession of the keys to the apartment which makes hard for you to view the unit [unless you are Superman and have x-ray vision]. You can move into the unit when you receive the keys [NO REALLY??] but the only problem is that am the only person who has the keys but i hope that we will be able to reach a compromise on this. [in plain speak: give me money and hope like hell that I’ll give you keys.]

~The lease is month to month , 6 month or 1yrs and can be renewed ~It can be rented furnished or unfurnished ~ You will have to take good care of my unit ~Utilities are included in the rent ~Pets Allowed Any further questions please contact and get back to me for the pics and address of the unit. Thank you for your interest and i`m awaiting your response/money.


A lot of the time, the sign off paragraph is loaded with attempts at inducing guilt. “I am haveing for hard times trusting those that wouldst rent of my apartments” and that sort of thing. As if I’m the one that might swindle the person who has six hundred of my dollars and much of my personal cheese collection. As if, after sending them money on good faith, I might somehow get keys to this magically cheap apartment and… what? Never pay them rent again? Which would be hard to do in the first place, seeing as they don’t own any apartments in real life anyway.

These scammers must think they sound convincing, but I’ve yet to find one with a functional grasp of English sentence structure, let alone a convincing reason why they’re asking for money to be wired via Western Union to MALAYSIA or TEXAS, USA. I even had one scammer tell me “Moreover,i would have love to show the apartment to you in person because you have every right to see the apartment you are renting because a lot of fake landlords are on the internet but my friend who ought to handle the deal on my behalf is presently running a management course in Australia.” That is copied and pasted directly from my email.

I am simultaneously frustrated by and amused at the scammers I’ve found while trying to find my next home. While they’re certainly not helping me find a place to sleep/store my useless crap, they’re at least entertaining me (albeit in the least entertaining way possible) while I struggle. So, thanks?

The Boy

There comes a moment in every relationship, just before it starts, where the pending couple is essentially in limbo. They’ve established interest, sort of, and all their friends are now watching and playing “will-they-won’t-they” to see whether the relationship will develop. This is one of the sweetest moments of the relationship, filled with shy courting and covert glances, before it turns to the maudlin, mawkish mush that causes everyone in a fifty foot radius to avert their eyes lest they vomit from the atrocity. During this period, the female (if there is one) refers to her potential partner (if he’s male) as The Boy. This is because he can’t quite be referred to as “boyfriend” yet, and the female usually gets tired of constantly referring to him as “that guy, YOU know…” or “the guy I just met” or “that guy I’m always telling you about, really, you should just assume from now on that I’m talking about him because honestly I’m not thinking of much else right now.” It gets shortened to The Boy, as in, “The Boy walked me home the other day!” and coupled with inane squees from the female conversationalists.

Why am I explaining this?

I’ve found a Boy🙂

The greatest dream

China, summertime. A large group of travellers and locals gather for a group photo near a local temple, including me and my newly met friends (whose names I forget but let’s be honest since it’s a dream they probably aren’t all that offended). After the photo, a party: people attempt to converse in their second languages, translators ease the conversation, all is well. Until the snacks are served.

For some reason, the Chinese locals are unfamiliar with the snacks – Smartfood – and a mass hysteria begins, wherein people ingesting the popcorn begin to believe they are spiders and begin to attack. My first instinct is to call in Batman, but then I realise since he is not actually a bat, he will not eat these spider-people. Since I hate Smartfood, I am immune, and though at first I genuinely believe that the food is turning people into seizing, demon hell-beast spiders, I soon realise (after reading a TIME magazine article about the abuse that the sufferers must endure once they are detained by the military) that these people have not been infected by some sort of cerebral virus – it’s simply mass hysteria, further encouraged by the media. After realising this, I and Philip Seymour Hoffman emerge from below the office desk where we were hiding, and set up a plan to capture a spider-man (heh) and study him to see why the hysteria has been so deeply effective.

We stretch packing tape against the nearest doorway and act as human bait to lure the zombie-like spider-people into our trap. We know they rove in packs of four so we have to be ready, once the first spider is caught, to stave off the other three. Surprisingly, our primitive trap ensnares all four, who rush blindly together in confusion and end up tied up on the floor like some kind of Scooby-Doo villains. At this point, before we can study them, soldiers burst through the doors and haul them away, and we are defeated in our quest to solve the puzzle that plagues the nation.

Sometime later, still during the outbreak of spiderdom, I am in a convenience store, merely browsing. A man comes in, distraught, and tries to shoplift some Play-Doh. The cashier notices, begins to yell at him, and threatens to expose him to the crowd of spider-men roving menacingly in the back alley. I quietly place some Play-Doh in my sweater – green, brown, white and black – and exit stage left. When the man is finally booted out of the store by the cashier, I hand him the swag and beat it back to base camp. The man follows me, explaining that his home had been broken into by the spider-people and subsequently looted, and there was nowhere for he and his young son to stay. I invite them both to come chill with me and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He agrees.

Back behind the office desk, the little boy is making caramel apples out of the Play-Doh I managed to purloin, while hallucinations take over and I am convinced the door is a portal to hell, with screaming spider-people whizzing past us to the outside world. (Important to take note that apparently an office desk will save you from all this.) Hoffman shakes me, tells me to get a hold of myself, and eats some Smartfood right in front of my face. I am horrified. I scream that he can’t do this to us, the resistance needs him… until he grins, and reminds me that this is all just mass hysteria. That was exactly the wake-up call I needed, and though I read in TIME magazine that one of my new friends is dead, I bravely step around the front of the office desk and call the rebels to action.

Philip Seymour Hoffman steps outside the pagoda wherein we were hiding, and bravely stands out on the stone platform surrounding the temple. Men and women are everywhere; being chased and beaten by the military, chasing and beating the military; general havoc abounds. Hoffman steps into the fracas and demands that everyone give him attention. They stop. He reaches deep into his bag of Smartfood and eats an entire fistful. He announces that there is nothing to be afraid of – it’s just food. Terrible, artificial-tasting food. People look around at each other. Some are embarrassed, some are weeping. The soldiers administer one final kick for good measure, and drive off in their Jeeps. There is silence.

The people near the temple all shuffle back to the risers where our initial photo was taken. There are fewer of us now, and I’m reunited with my surviving friends. The man and his son emerge and join us. Our photo is taken, we are survivors.


It is a year later, and I am back in the village which I visited on that fateful summer when so many lost their lives. A man is sitting in his window when a letter blows in – he opens it, but cannot understand it since it is in English and he only reads Mandarin. He hands it to me, smiling, and I see that it is covered in Zoidberg stickers – a little inside joke between me and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I smile. As I tuck the letter into my pocket and turn around, a familiar shout gets my attention, and the little boy comes running up to me, arms outstretched. I ruffle his hair – he’s grown a lot in a year! – and accept the Play-Doh caramel apple that he thrusts into my palm. I stand and smile at his father, who smiles back and takes his son’s hand as they turn back to the home they rebuilt.

Also throughout the whole thing I had this awesome British accent.


This is how he usually acts. This is how I currently feel.

Tumbling like woah


I finally decided to start a tumblr account. I will be chronicling my fashion choices in the hopes that the threat of public embarassment will be enough to make me actually make an effort with the image that I put out in the world.

Check it:

The title pretty much says it all.


Aaaaaand I wish I had something more momentuous to tell you! But that’s about it.