FAST TIMES AT G.V.S.S.

My mother wouldn’t let me go see Fast Times at Ridgemont High when it hit theatres, in 1982, because, at 14, I was a bit too young for all the raunchy language and nudity. But I did watch it on TV many years later, just to see what all the fuss was about, and watched it for a second time, last night.

I think, out of all the teen movies from the 1980s (Caddyshack, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Adventures in Babysitting etc.) Fast Times seems to be far more true to life. While I wasn’t giving blowjobs to high school guys I barely knew, or having sex with men 10 years older, I nonetheless remember those tumultuous and confusing days, trying to...I don’t want to say “fit in” because I never wanted to fit in with the popular kids (fucking ignorant, clueless and cruel A-holes)...I think “find my place” would be more accurate.

I was quite average, in many respects, during my high school years. Pretty  but not enough to have every guy in school willing to sell their soul to date me. Healthy weight, nice curves, grades in the 60s70s. I wasn’t a dominating bitch to everyone around me, like some girls were, but I was no angel either. I smoked and drank alcohol, on occasion, swore like a truck driver, skipped school for days at a time and stayed out past curfew on school nights. I was also that “weird” kid, whose hair and clothing style changed from week to week. Someone who was kind and respectful to some teachers, while giving others the finger and telling them to go fuck themselves. The one who was sympathetic to the underdogs who always seemed to get picked on or shoved aside, but who also had a bit of a superiority complex, herself.

So, I smiled as I recognized each and every archetypal representation of myself and my school mates, in all of the characters in this movie. Leads, supporting cast and extras.

We had our petty criminals and burnt out stoners who were always late for class, volatile and self-destructive. We had our steroid addicted, muscle-brained jocks, our perky, pretty cheerleader types who thought the world revolved around them. We had our sensitive, goody-two-shoes arts, band and drama kids  not to be confused with the budding musicians who thought they were the next Jon Bon Jovi or Eddie Van Halen (and treated girls like they were nothing more than soft, warm receptacles for their tiny cocks). We had our rich and privileged preppies, with their Swatch watches, Ocean Pacific golf shirts and Polo cologne, the spikey-haired, black lipstick wearing punk and goth kids, the nerdy types who either thought they were tragically socially awkward or far superior to anyone else around them  including the teachers.

Hearing the great 80s music in this movie, from Oingo Boingo, Sammy Hagar and The Go-Gos to Jackson Brown, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty and The Eagles, and seeing the clothes the characters were wearing; girls dressed like Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry and Olivia Newton John, with roach-clip feathers in their long, flipped back hair, lacy ankle socks with pumps, scrunchy leg warmers over satin leotards. The guys in “statement” T-shirts, leather jackets and jeans so tight you could see their bulging package.

Yeah...those were some good times. Painful times. Fast times.

KJC

GOING UP IN SMOKE

Well, a day I’d hoped would never come, finally has:

Cannabis/marijuana cultivation, sale and consumption is now legal in all of Canada...and I don’t really know how to deal with it.
 

I’ve always prided myself on being very open-minded and accepting of different opinions, ways of living and doing things, being kind and respectful of different races and cultures. But I’m from the “Just say no!” and “Users are losers!” generation, taught right from a very early age that people who use or sell drugs, such as marijuana, hashish and cocaine, are disgusting and pathetic lowlifes who should be shunned, shamed and reported to the police.
 
 
With that mantra ringing in my head I, more than once, severed ties with a friend, family member or co-worker after finding out that they took drugs, whether it was for recreation or an unrelenting addiction. It didn’t matter to me WHY they imbibed, it was illegal — not to mention extremely bad for their mental and physical health — so, I was “helping” them by reporting them to the police.
 
 
Now, all of a sudden, it’s legal to light up a doobie on a public street, while camping in the mountains or hanging out with friends at an oceanside bonfire party. What am I supposed to do with my self-righteous indignation, now? How am I supposed to accept this disgusting habit as the new “normal”, at work, on the street or at social events? I’m very confused and conflicted.
 
 
KJC
 

THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

1. Do you still have your FIRST baby pictures?
Sure do! Here I am, just out of the hospital, with my grandparents, in 1968. I was their first grandchild – and they spoiled me rotten!


2. What is your very FIRST memory?
My parents, having a huge argument, when I was 4 or 5 years-old. They did that a lot. And I mean, a LOT.

3. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Miss Farrah. And I only know this because I kept all of my school records, going back to kindergarten. Here’s a Valentine’s Day card she gave me.


4. Who was your FIRST best friend?
I changed schools 15 times in 13 years, so, I never really the chance to forge long-lasting friendships with anyone. I had a few school chums that I could trust to have my back but, sadly, they were very few and far between.

5. What was your FIRST alcoholic beverage?
My father thought it would be funny to give his 8 year-old daughter a bottle of Baby Duck to drink during a house party. There was less than an inch left in the bottle by the time he yanked it away from me. I was plastered out of my mind – literally dancing on the dining room table – but, strangely enough, I still remember the event, clear as day. Couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday, though.


6. When was the FIRST time you realized there was no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy?
I was 8 or 9. I’d just lost my fifth baby tooth and, without telling my mother, I tucked it under my pillow, fully expecting the Tooth Fairy to trade it for a quarter. Woke up the next morning, nothing. Next night, nothing, again. Third night? Nada. So, I asked my mother, like, what’s the deal, here? Man, was she ever pissed that I didn’t tell her! So much so that she demanded I write a full-page apology letter to the “Tooth Fairy” and leave it with the tooth, under my pillow. The next morning, I got that long-awaited quarter. It was then that I put two and two together and flat-out asked my mom if Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were real. She, begrudgingly, fessed up, which made me feel better, in a way, as I don’t like being lied to or deceived by anyone. I’ve always been very logical, practical and mature, and can handle the truth, whatever it is.

7. The FIRST time you were “famous”?
A picture was taken of me, for the local newspaper. I saw the guy take the picture but I had no idea it was going to end up in print, for thousands of people to see. I spotted it while watching a man sit across from me and my family, reading the paper while eating lunch at a café. The first thing I noticed was some blonde kid wearing MY floral embroidered overalls. I thought: “OK, that’s weird.” It was only when I approached the man for a closer look that I made the cheerful announcement to my shocked parents.
 

8. What were the FIRST lessons you ever took?
Guitar lessons, at age 12. Lasted for two sessions out of an expected twenty. My mother pretty much forced me to do it but I finally put my foot down and told her that I had absolutely no interest in learning to play the guitar she bought me for Christmas. To this day, the only musical instrument I can play well is…um…does the triangle count?

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Resolute Bay, North West Territories (now Nunavut), to visit my father, in September, 1977. Notice how the inukshuk looks like a tombstone? Yeah…Hell really had frozen over.


10. What was the FIRST adult novel you ever read?
If we’re talking about books not forced on me by elementary school teachers for English class, it was Carrie, by Stephen King. Been a fan ever since.

11. When was the FIRST time you heard music that really moved you?
I was a wee thing, maybe, 6 or 7 when I first heard THIS and THIS on TV. Jazz, man! It just reaches into your core and changes you, on a spiritual level.

12. FIRST movie you remember seeing?
Star Wars, at age 9. That movie changed my life.


13. The FIRST time you had major surgery?
The week I was born, three months premature, with my guts hanging out of a tiny body that hadn’t fully formed, yet. The doctors performed miracle surgery to put all of my innards back into place, through a hole in my bellybutton. Fifty years later, I still have the scar!

14. FIRST tattoo?
I don’t do permanent tattoos. I get bored easily, looking the same every day, so I just draw pictures with Sharpie markers on my arms and legs, when the mood strikes me. My body is my canvass.

15. FIRST piercing?
My ears, at age 12, which got infected and had to be done four times over in two years. Christ!

16. The FIRST time you coloured your hair?
My mom allowed subtle blonde highlights when I was 15, but I went full, dark auburn at age 17 and, damn, I looked hot!


17. How old were you when you FIRST went to a wedding?
I was the flower girl at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. I think I was 6. Nobody really gave me any detailed instructions on what I was supposed to do (“slowly walk in front of them and toss petals onto the floor” is not enough information), so, I screwed up. Got a laugh out of everyone when I ran in front of the newly married couple and got into the car that was taking them to their honeymoon, still throwing rose petals everywhere.

18. Your FIRST funeral?
I was 12 or 13 when I attended my great-grandmother’s funeral. Because I’m empathic, I often get overwhelmed by the anguish and despair of everyone around me, at such occasions. So, I overcompensate by being cheerful, making jokes etc. It’s the only way I can handle the massive sensory input. After just one more embarrassingly inappropriate funeral home visit, a few years later (my great-grandfather), I swore I would never go to another funeral, again.

19. Who was your FIRST love?
Sweet, adorable Maurice! We were 7, and so much in love. I mean, just look at us, here. We can’t keep our hands off of each other. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to him, after we parted ways.


20. Who was your FIRST celebrity crush?
I liked Mark Hamill (Star Wars) for a little while. But my first serious celebrity crush was on Michael Nouri. I was 11 when I first saw him in the short-lived 1979 TV series The Curse of Dracula and, boy, did I fall hard for this smoking hot 34 year-old actor. So much so that I started a fan club devoted to him. It only had three members, me and my two best girlfriends at the time. We called ourselves the “Brides of Dracula” and used red markers to dot little bite marks on our necks to signify that we were his loyal servants. The first time he and I met, at a party, I tried to play it cool, but it’s quite possible I spilled a drink on myself while chatting with him. I’m such a dork!


21. When was the FIRST time you had to get up and sing or speak in front of a huge crowd?
My Grade 3 Christmas concert. I had to narrate a story about the birth of Jesus, in front of about 300 people. Oh, the terror! I thought I was going to vomit and pass out. Come to think of it, it was at that same school that I got tricked into singing at an American Idol styled singing competition. A teacher asked me if I liked to sing. I said, yeah, so, she took me into the next room and taught me a song she told me to practice every day. Three months later, my mom put me in a pretty dress and told me to get on a bus full of kids. It wasn’t until I got to the concert hall that I discovered I was expected to sing this song, onstage in a solo performance, in front of judges and about 800 people. I was so pissed off at having been tricked that I purposely sang the song completely off-key. Looking back on those two horrific experiences, I can’t help but wonder if the adults knew something about my future that I had not yet been cognizant of (I later became a professional singer, actress and radio personality).

22. Your FIRST pet?
We had dozens of family pets, growing up. Everything from dogs, cats, mice, hamsters, snakes, fish and birds. But the very first animal that I bought at a pet shop, at age 13, chose a name for and was required to take care of, all on my own, was a guinea pig, named Ralf. I loved that sweet little furball with every molecule of my heart. Here we are, sharing a bowl of cereal on a lazy Saturday morning. Ralf’s sudden illness and death, after less than two years, shattered my faith and belief in God.


23. When was your FIRST detention?
Grade 11, for not having a note from my mother excusing me from school the day before. It was her fault I got the fucking detention, because she just didn’t feel like writing one. The only black mark on my otherwise spotless record.

24. Your FIRST brush with the law?
I’ve always been a shit-kicking rebel, sticking it to The Man, fighting for the underdog and getting into trouble with parents and school officials. But if we’re talking about the actual “authorities”, there was that one time I stormed out of a Canadian Border Services office (customs, duties, taxes etc.) while returning to Canada from my job at a radio station, in New York state. I’d found about 100 packets of flower seeds, in a trash can in the basement (leftover from a landscaping job), and decided to bring them home with me. Only Canada Customs wanted to charge me tax on every packet. Fuck that shit! I grabbed my bag of seeds, stormed out of the building and started to walk home…across a busy bridge, to Canada. Naturally, they came after me. In the car ride back to the office, I kept yelling “Fight the Power!” out the window. I was very lucky they didn’t put me in handcuffs.

25. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
Mr. Mister. Ah, the ’80s, I miss you so!


26. The FIRST time you pulled a really stupid stunt?
Oh, there have been so many occasions. Tall trees climbed (couldn’t get back down), deep ditches jumped (slipped and rolled into 3 ft. of mud), abandoned old houses explored (fell through the floor into the basement)…Then, there was that time I chewed & swallowed a hamster-sized jalapeno pepper. Yeah, that was really stupid.

27. What was your FIRST job?
My first paying part-time job was working the concession stand at a single screen movie theatre, where I stayed for seven weird, wonderful and terrifying years. I still remember the movie that was playing on my very first night: Mannequin. I actually got married at the theatre, right in front of the silver screen, about an hour before our Saturday Masters of the Universe matinee. The theatre manager was our Best Man.


28. The FIRST time you got fired?
I was 17. During my job interview at a Things Engraved kiosk, the elderly manager told me she didn’t want younger people working for her, but was ordered to hire me, by head office. She did a piss-poor job of training me in the hope that I would screw up enough to justify my firing to head office. Two weeks later, she let me go, the bitch!

29. Do you remember your FIRST roommate?
Gosh, yeah! A few months after I’d signed the lease on my first apartment, at age 19, my cousin, Cindy, asked to move in with me, to be closer to school. Imagine, two young ladies, one in college, the other working full-time at three jobs to support herself, trying to live together in a 12x12 foot studio apartment. Man, that was a tight squeeze for a while.


30. The FIRST time you won a major sporting event?
You mean, without cheating to gain the upper hand? Honey, I don’t “do” sports, in the physical sense, but I do fondly remember winning my very first chess match against a family member, at age 16. I had to get him drunk, first, but the point is – I WON!

31. What was your FIRST car?
A teal, 1997 Suzuki Swift. A teenager, messing with his radio, blew through a red light and totalled it four days before I was to make my final payment on it. I didn’t fair too well, either, but thankfully didn’t require an ambulance ride to the hospital.


32. When did you get your FIRST cell phone?
Although cell phones were in regular use by “average” folks around 1990, I didn’t get my first Nokia until 1998, when I became a business owner. After that, I upgraded to the first iPhone on the market and have pretty much been addicted ever since. Several hours, every day, spent checking email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, watching cat videos and listening to CBC talk radio. I even keep the phone right next to me, on my pillow, so I can fall asleep, listening to old Suspense radio dramas.

33. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
Peter Kent, legendary Hollywood stuntman and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time friend and stunt double. He recently moved to Vancouver Island and I’m assisting him in his bid for a seat on Nanaimo City Council.


34. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
I’ve been having lustful thoughts about Supernatural star, Jensen Ackles, over the past few weeks. Dirty, nasty, deliciously lustful thoughts.


35. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
I really shouldn’t say…it’s too naughty (see above). ;-)

36. What’s the FIRST song you heard today?
Every Day is Exactly the Same by Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor is my God!

37. What is the FIRST thing you do when you get home from work?
Take my clothes off. I try to be naked as often as possible.

 
 

LAZY – AND LOVING IT!

I finally have an excuse, backed up by hard, scientific study (click for link).


I’m lazy – and it’s OK.


For decades, I was a hard-core workaholic. Before I was forced into retirement, due to illness, every waking minute of my life was regimented and pre-planned in 15-minute increments, on my To-Do list. The massive responsibilities I placed on myself led to a very successful career in the entertainment industry, however, my determination to push through the fatigue until after every last thing was checked off my To-Do list led to 30-hour work days – yes, DAYS – with nothing more than a bag of chip in my stomach. Twenty years of that resulted in a devastating health diagnosis (Type 2 diabetes) and my doctor told me, if I didn't slow down and take better care of myself, I would be dead in six months.


After I got sick and was forced to slow down, it was very hard, at first, trying to live a more relaxed and laid back lifestyle. But, after years of struggle, self-analysis and brain reprogramming, I have come out the other side with a new perspective: I just don’t feel like doing much of anything, anymore...and I’m totally OK with that. Where once I used to get very angry and disgusted with myself for letting three hours go by without working for a client or doing something that helped me achieve professional targets, today, my most important goal is to do as little as possible.


With the job that I have right now, I’m up around 5 a.m. and done by noon, seven days a week. After that, I’m free to do whatever I want. I could go browsing at the mall, go grocery shopping, tour an art gallery or museum, check out a new movie playing at the theatre. I could go for a walk along the beach, a nature hike in the hills, or take a day-trip to another town and explore the sights.


Or, I could just slip into my PJs, get into bed – yes, at noon – and watch a Star Wars movie marathon on TV, with a bowl of hot buttered popcorn in my lap. Just the thought of that makes me so very happy! My soul-crushing guilt and self-admonishment have been replaced by unfathomable glee that I can just hang out, at home, and do whatever the fuck I want...even if it’s absolutely nothing.


The drawback, of course, is that I’m no longer raking in $200k per year, anymore. But, remembering how quickly that all disappeared after the crash of ’08, I don’t think I ever want to work that hard, again, for money in the bank or the acquisition of “stuff” that only piled up on shelves and in cupboards, unused, because I was too fucking busy working!





I still have daily To-Do lists (I can't quit cold turkey) but, while it was once 30 entries long and required travel to cities all over the world to complete, it's now 5 or 6 entries long and includes yoga, making a work of art (I sculpt & paint) and playing with my two cats on the patio, while sipping a cup of matcha tea.


KJC


MY ONLINE DATING PROFILE

Now that I've been living on Vancouver Island for a few years, I think it's time for me to get back into the dating scene. Nothing serious, mind you. I have no interest in being anyone's steady girlfriend – or casual fuck buddy, for that matter. In the city where I live, it’s virtually impossible to meet good-looking, highly accomplished middle-aged intellectuals who are still single, so, I’ve been checking out a few of the online dating websites. Sadly, I’ve noticed that they typically cater to two major demographics: heterosexual singles looking for love & marriage, and heterosexual singles/married people looking for a brief hook-up with a stranger. Who I am and what I want doesn’t really fall into either of these two categories. Therefore, I’ve decided to post a detailed dating profile on my blog, just to see if anyone out there might be interested. Here goes:


NAME: KellyBelly68


SIGN / AGE: Aries / 50 – but I act and feel 25 most days.


GENDER / ETHNICITY: Female / Caucasian


MARITAL STATUS: Divorced since 2000, no maggots – er, kids.


PHYSICAL STATS: 5’1” tall, 180 lbs., hazel-green eyes and an ever-changing hair colour (I get bored fast). No tattoos or piercings in weird places. I have an hourglass figure (46-36-46), however, my boobs swing back and forth across my tummy when I walk without a bra on (just try and get that visual out of your head!). I have pale, near-flawless skin, which I maintain by bathing in the blood of a hundred virgins at least once a month.


PERSONALITY TYPE: I am a high-maintenance alpha-bitch who loves being the centre of attention (it’s my world, you just live in it). I’m highly motivated and ambitious – although I do have a bad habit of procrastinating to the point of not finishing a task in a timely manner (it took me five weeks to write this online dating profile). I don’t like to follow the rules – unless I’m the one that made them – and often think so far out of the box that people are like: “Is she on crack?” I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs and I rarely drink. I enjoy dancing, yoga and long walks on the beach but am not athletic by any stretch of the imagination. The only way you’ll get me to join you for a run is if we’re heading to a 75% off sale at Aldo Shoes.


RELIGION: I don’t belong to any organized religion but my interests tend to lean more towards Buddhism and Wicca (no, we don’t worship Satan, you moron). I believe in reincarnation of the soul but absolutely do not believe in angels, demons, Heaven or Hell, as described in most religious writings – which are, essentially, just myths and fairy-tales. If you belong to an organized religion, if you pray to and worship a deity, if you are willing to fight, kill or die in the name of some imaginary, all-knowing, all-powerful supernatural being, you are a fucking idiot.


SEXUAL ORIENTATION: I’m bisexual, which means that I am equally attracted to both men and women but – and here’s the big BUT – I don’t often have sexual intercourse. It’s not a religious thing, it’s biological. That's just what my brain and body want. All my girl-parts work just fine, thanks, and I do enjoy a good spanking now and then. I would just rather go shopping or watch a great movie on TV than do the horizontal mambo with someone, five times a week.


CAREER: Gosh, where should I start? Let’s see...screenwriter, comic book writer, television producer, actress, voice-over artist, celebrity publicist, personal assistant and talent manager, image consultant, wardrobe stylist and fashion designer, hairdresser, make-up artist and aromatherapeutic masseuse, life coach, investigative journalist, award-winning photographer, painter, sculptor and mixed-media artist, interior decorator, professional organizer and home stager, florist, caterer, event-planner, receptionist, commercial/industrial cleaner, property manager...and what do YOU do for a living, huh? Huh?! Slacker.


PETS: I’m an animal rights activist who’s come close to getting arrested for protecting animals from horrific abuse. I’ve smashed car windows to rescue dogs in 50ºC heat, I broke into a home in the middle of the night to rescue a cat and her newborn kittens who were left to starve and die in the basement, I’ve staged protests/boycotts against Gillette for their ghastly animal testing and helped shut down a puppy mill...Uh, sorry...What was the question, again? Oh, yeah. While I love all creatures, great and small, I have a particular fondness for cats. Right now, I have two adorable furballs: Maive and Sierra. But if I ever own a large home in the country, I intend to adopt/rescue a hundred more, thus becoming the reigning Queen of Crazy Cat Ladies.


FAVOURITE TV SHOWS: Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart, The Flintstones, Spiderman (animated, 1967), Scooby-Doo, Little House on the Prairie, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Andy Griffith Show, Star Trek, Doctor Who, CHiPS, Land of the Lost, Swiss Family Robinson, Columbo, Space: 1999, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Charlie's Angels, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Curse of Dracula, Three's Company, Family Ties, The Facts of Life, Simon & Simon, Magnum P.I., Remington Steele, V, Knight Rider, Voyagers, Miami Vice, X-Files, Cheers, Frasier, Alias, Forever Knight, Xena, Hercules, Babylon 5, Charmed, Lost, Heroes, Stargate, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Smallville, Supernatural, Law & Order, CSI, Monk, The Librarians, Psych, Arrow, Orphan Black, The Listener, Castle, Murdoch Mysteries, Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, Agents of SHIELD, The Magicians, Gotham, Being Human, Lucifer


FAVOURITE MOVIES: Rear Window, North By Northwest, To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder, Roman Holiday, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Them!, War of the Worlds (original and Tom Cruise remake), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, House on Haunted Hill, That Darn Cat, Escape to Witch Mountain, The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol, The Wizard of Oz, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, Carrie, The Shining, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Andromeda Strain, China Syndrome, Grease, Xanadu, Star Wars (IV, V & VI – don’t even get me started on the travesty that was I, II & III), Close Encounters, Superman, Blade Runner, American Werewolf in London, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist, E.T., Flashdance, Footloose, Star Trek movies (except for the mind-numbingly puerile “reimaginings” by J.J. Abrams), The Lost Boys, Fright Night, The Terminator, Mannequin, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, Romancing the Stone, The Little Mermaid, Aliens, Ghost, Frequency, Groundhog Day, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Batman, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, Goodfellas, Casino, Spiderman, Donnie Darko, Blade, Underworld, X-Men, The Matrix, Cube, Ginger Snaps, Paranormal Activity, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


FAVOURITE BOOKS, MAGAZINES & COMICS: Peter Pan, Carrie, The Shining, Christine, Pet Sematary, Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Amityville Horror, Coma, The Sentinel, I Vampire, Vogue Magazine, Architectural Digest, Canadian Screenwriter, Alive Magazine, Batman: Year One, Witchblade, Spawn, Watchmen


FAVOURITE MUSIC: My tastes are all over the map. I’m a big fan of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and listen to it 8-10 times a week. I love old country classics by George Jones, Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Tammy Wynette. I love the smooth sounds of The Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Abba, Wings, Chicago, The BeeGees, The Carpenters, Jim Croce, Hall & Oates, Toto, The Alan Parsons Project, Gino Vannelli and Elton John. But I am a child of the ‘80s, so, I love the best of what they had to offer, from Pat Benatar, Lionel Richie, Blondie, Billie Joel, Duran Duran, Journey, Corey Hart, Prince, Madonna, The Eurythmics, Howard Jones, ZZ Top, U2, Culture Club, Foreigner, Genesis/Phil Collins, The Police/Sting, Bon Jovi, Tina Turner, Wham/George Michael and Tears for Fears. Some more recent offerings I enjoy are from Evanescence, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Loreena McKennitt, Coldplay, Ellie Goulding, Three Days Grace, Pink, The Tea Party, Sarah McLachlan and NIN. But my passion – my absolute passion – is for jazz, swing and R&B. I could listen to Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi, Natalie Cole, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Ray Charles, Toni Braxton and Sade all day, every day.




I AM SEEKING: Male or female, non-smoker, age 35-55, for casual dating. You don’t have to be rich, famous or outrageously successful to keep me interested but you do have to be gainfully employed with a steady paycheque, because this mamma ain’t gonna lend you a dime to pay your rent or phone bill, you dig?


Having your own car would be a great asset to our relationship. Having your own Learjet? Even better – although I don’t like to fly or travel. It’s just nice to know it’s there, waiting for us in the hangar, just in case we decide to take a weekend trip to London, Paris or New York.


Do you like cosplay? One of my former boyfriends played a seductive vampire in a mega-hit horror movie back in the 1980s. I’ve got a thing for vampires, so, if you’d like to dress up head to toe in black leather, put on some fake fangs and guy-liner, I would eagerly volunteer to be your “victim”. Another former beau co-starred in Frank Miller’s 300, and I found the gladiator costume he wore to be quite a turn-on. I think we could have lots of fun playing Gladiator & Slave Girl, sometime.


As you’ve probably already surmised from this dating profile, I have a bit of a warped and sarcastic sense of humour, and don’t care too much if I hurt somebody’s feelings while expressing my opinions. Have I scared you off yet? No? OK, well, that’s a good sign. If you’d like to get together for coffee sometime, email me at kellybelly68@hotmail.com (not a real email address, BTW)


KJC

REFLECTING ON 50 YEARS

As my 50th birthday quickly approaches (March 27th), I've been reflecting on my life...who I am, what I've done, what I still hope to accomplish before I die...and it's been an interesting journey, to say the least!

I had a shitty childhood. Nothing horrific, mind you. I was never beaten, starved and locked in a closet for a week but, after my father abandoned me to start a new family with someone else when I was ten, virtually every day was a struggle. My birth mother was, and remains, an emotionally stunted high school dropout with no moral or ethical compass. We were always short on cash because she couldn’t hold down a legitimate job, moving my baby sister and I from home to home because she couldn’t pay the rent, forcing me to change schools every few months, which made it impossible for me to forge long-lasting friendships with my peers. Mercilessly bullied by my classmates for being "different" and repeatedly sexually molested by family members and my mother's boyfriend from age 12-18, I ran away from home more times than I can recall, sleeping on park benches and eating out of garbage cans, to escape my hellish home life. Top that off with a breast cancer scare at age 19 that left me with a permanent 4" scar across my right boob, and it's safe to say my youth was just one miserable day after another.

When I was 20, I met and later married a notable figure in the Canadian broadcasting industry. Tall, handsome, charming, intelligent and very funny, Michael would’ve been the husband that every girl dreams of marrying...if it wasn’t for the fact that he had some serious mental health issues. Plagued by anxiety, severe depression, paranoia and a profound lack of self-esteem, this divorced man ten years my senior was an absolute nightmare to live with during our ten years together. I lived in constant fear of his wrath and, while he never once laid a violent hand on me, his Machiavellian manipulations (suggesting, under threat of leaving me or worse: harming himself what job I could have, what friends I could have, which family members I could associate with, what clothes or shoes I could wear, which words I was forbidden to utter in his presence etc.) and relentless accusations of impropriety (any time I went grocery shopping with make-up on, he assumed I was sneaking off to go fuck someone) ultimately alienated me from my friends, family and co-workers until he was all that was left in my world. Finally, at age 30, I’d had enough of his psychotic accusations and emotional manipulations, which had all but destroyed my soul, and I gave him the boot.

It took a while to rebuild a life for myself as a single gal living in the big city (Ottawa) but, by 2005, I had become a successful voice-over artist, and forged some great relationships as a publicist, personal assistant and image consultant for several Hollywood celebrities. I also dabbled in acting, screenwriting and television production, interior decorating and set design...I was working 90 to 110 hours a week – sometimes 25 to 30 hours straight – with nothing to eat all day but a handful of cookies. Literally running on fumes as I partied with Sting in London, danced with Robert De Niro in New York, and attended the Oscars and Emmys in L.A. with people who would later leave the event clutching a golden statuette. I had an agent, an entertainment lawyer, a business manager, an office secretary, personal assistant and bodyguard/chauffer on-call for special occasions. I was raking in about $200k per year as the trusted confidant to several Hollywood powerbrokers...and, unknowingly, the hectic lifestyle was killing me. More on that, later.

For many years, I had been working on a multi-media project, called The Black Tower, which I’d been developing for the North American market as a TV show, with a companion webcomic series and video game. Phase One, the webcomic, launched in August, 2008. Though not a financial success because it was free online (a teaser for the TV series), the first issue of The Black Tower was a huge hit in comics/sci-fi geek circles and I suddenly found myself the object of much attention by people who wanted interviews, autographed headshots and printed copies of the webcomic. My email account was inundated with fan mail from people all over the world. It also caught the attention of several actors and writers for Lost, Heroes, Smallville, Supernatural, Buffy, Angel, Stargate: SG1, Battlestar Galactica and other genre shows who wanted on board the project, should I ever manage to sell the TV series rights.


I pitched the project to various production companies all over North America where it got a few nibbles from development executives. But, then, all hell broke loose after the economic crash of 2008, and Hollywood did not escape the carnage unscathed. Networks started laying off its stars, screenwriters and producers in a desperate attempt to stay in the black. Greenlit film projects were suddenly put on hold, and TV pilots that might’ve sold, otherwise, were dismissed as too expensive to produce for the upcoming season. The Black Tower died a slow, agonizing death, along with my dreams for a future as creator/showrunner on a hit TV show.

Meanwhile, in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, many of my clients had to let go of some of their staff. The housekeeper, the nanny, the chef, the personal trainer...and me. One by one, they cut me loose until I was down to my last three non-celebrity clients, making less than $2,000 per month by the end of 2009. My health was also starting to deteriorate. Chronic fatigue, blurred vision, fainting spells, insomnia and dramatic weight loss (60 lbs. in four months). I thought things couldn’t get much worse.

I was wrong.

In March of 2010, I took a live-in position as a household manager, personal assistant and nanny for a middle-aged jet-setting couple in Toronto, with a five year-old son. In order to fit all of my things into their 300 sq. ft. nanny’s suite, I had to sell, give away or trash 70% of everything I owned. It was brutal! But, in a way, I was kind of glad to be rid of all that "stuff" and start fresh in a new environment. Unfortunately, by the end of my first week, I realized I’d made a horrible, horrible mistake, as the woman of the house, "Mary", quickly revealed herself to be an immature, selfish, self-indulgent Jewish princess who went out of her way to make everyone around her feel like shit, with her cruel comments and backstabbing accusations. Angry, bitter and ruthless to the core, she repeatedly dug her well-manicured nails deep into my soul, with behaviour so shocking it had me in tears on several occasions. I was so relieved when, two weeks into my new job, I was let go because we discovered that their son was allergic to my two cats, who lived with me in the nanny’s suite. My relief quickly turned to panic, however, when I suddenly realized that, just days before my 42nd birthday, I found myself homeless, unemployed and flat, dead broke.

I moved from temporary home to temporary home, living like a gypsy with what few meagre belongings I had left, after a flood destroyed almost a third of the stuff I had in storage during my brief employment in Hell House. I got a part-time job making $900 per month as an overnight janitor at a health club, while trying desperately to secure employment in the Toronto entertainment industry, which was still suffering the effects of the economic crash. Sadly, everyone who once sought my guidance and opinions on their TV and film projects (I specialized in viral marketing and social media) were no longer returning my phone calls and emails enquiring about job opportunities on the very same projects that I had consulted on just months earlier. By the spring of 2011, I was $42,000 in debt, living in a shitty little 400 sq. ft. basement apartment in Pickering, and working a dead-end minimum wage job that only exacerbated my ever-declining state of physical and mental health.

Then, along came Dad to my rescue. Happily retired and living alone on Vancouver Island, he invited me to come live with him and start a fresh new life on the west coast, after having filed for bankruptcy and losing my car, my two beloved cats (sickness & old age) and still more personal belongings, which I had to sell in order to eat. With much anticipation, I flew west in late June, 2011, in hope of finding full-time employment in Nanaimo, a safe, clean apartment and a new perspective on my future.

It took a while to settle in and find my groove, and there were a few nasty bumps on the road after I got here, not the least of which was being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. That, unfortunately, took about three years to get under control, with pills, insulin, proper diet and exercise. But, now, I can honestly say I’m happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I absolutely love my job, working as an administrator for a British family that owns three restaurants on Central Vancouver Island (they treat me like their adopted daughter), I have no other debt beyond monthly rent, cable, hydro and cell phone bills, and I live in a gorgeous apartment just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. I spend leisurely afternoons reading, writing, sculpting, baking cookies, watching old movies in bed with my two new kitty cats, or taking a stroll along the sandy shores of Nanaimo, chocolate ice cream cone in hand.

I've made some wonderful friends here on the island and, even though I haven't completely let go of my life in the entertainment industry (if a voice-over gig or temp job on a local movie/TV production falls into my lap, I’ll consider taking it), I feel the time has come for me to switch gears in this next phase of my life. Focus more on my artistic side, writing lifestyle magazine articles that I may or may not seek to have published, and creating works of art to sell at craft fairs and galleries, or on the Front Street boardwalk to the thousands of tourists who visit Nanaimo every summer.

Yes, life is good, again.


HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY TO ME!

THE LOST BOYS

Thirty years ago, today, The Lost Boys launched in movie theatres across North America and, unbeknownst to me at the time, this seminal 1980s horror-comedy flick, with the hot-looking cast and snappy one-liners, would later influence the direction of my life – and my friendships over the next three decades.




I've always been a huge fan of horror movies, and while I prefer my horror to be dead serious (The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, Poltergeist, The Shining etc.), I don't mind checking out the occasional, more light-hearted fair. When The Lost Boys premiered on July 31st, 1987, it became a near instant box office smash and laid the foundation for many vampire-horror movies to come. Starring a sexy young cast of established actors and a few relative newcomers, the plot revolves around two teenage brothers, Michael and Sam, who move to Santa Carla, a fictional California beach town, dubbed the "Murder Capital of the World", with their recently divorced mom, and soon find themselves the target of a charismatic but ultra-violent vampire coven. Michael (age 19), is unwittingly transformed into a blood-sucker, with 15 year-old brother, Sam, joining the Frog Brothers, two inept 15-16 year-old "professional vampire killers" in a desperate attempt to reverse Michael's fate by destroying the Head Vampire and his entire immortal family.


Unlike other vampire movies, starring a suave and charming middle-aged-looking night-stalker (think Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee), The Lost Boys vampires, David, Paul, Dwayne and Marko, were the essence of sexy, playful and mischievous youth, with cool clothes, nice hair and a badass, rock & roll attitude. I mean, just look at these guys. So yummy, n'est-ce pas?




Anyway, I loved the movie so much, I bought it when it came out on VHS tape (remember those?) and watched it at least a dozen more times. I was 19 years-old in 1987, a professional nightclub dancer and model, with a strong interest in graphic design and creative writing. When it got to the point that I could quote every line in the movie, talking in unison with every actor, from the opening scene on the carousel to Grandpa's final words before FADE TO BLACK-Roll End Credits, I got an idea. Why don't I write myself into the movie? Create a new character and insert her into the film, making any necessary changes to the story to allow her/me to fit in, seamlessly, with the already established cast of characters. Just for fun. Just to see if I could do it.


Since I had zero knowledge of proper screenwriting format at the time, I chose to write it in novel manuscript form on an electric typewriter, which turned out to be a helluva lot more work than I was expecting (I've always been a slow and highly inaccurate two-finger pecker). I created backstories for all the vampires, who they were, how they became vampires and formed a coven before moving into that really cool cave, in Santa Carla.


Max, the Head Vampire (played by Edward Herrmann), was a physician in England when he was attacked by the vampire who transformed him into the bloodthirsty, immortal serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Investigating the Ripper murders was David, a rookie police officer for Scotland Yard. His 19 year-old little sister, Emily (that's me), was a pretty smart cookie when it came to chemistry, biology and forensic science. She and David were very close and she helped him with his investigation into the serial murders, whenever she could. While tracking David's progress in hunting him down, Max (the Ripper) became enamoured with Emily and decided to turn her into his vampire mate. Ah, but how to seduce her into becoming his loyal and compliant immortal bride? In a move that foreshadows events in The Lost Boys, Max attacked and transformed David. After days gone missing, David returned home to his beloved sister and convinced her to join him in immortality, with Max as their new Dark Father. She reluctantly agreed – only to regret it soon after her transformation when Max started putting the moves on her. It's only when Max threatened to torture and kill her brother that Emily relented to his sexual advances, their contentious relationship easing, somewhat, as the decades passed and more people joined their twisted little family.


Sweet, cherubic Marko (Alex Winter) was 8 years-old when Emily pulled him from the ruins of the San Francisco earthquake, in 1906. Orphaned and badly injured, Emily convinced Max to let her nurse the helpless youth back to health, their mother-son bond growing over the years until Max decided to turn him into a vampire, at age 18. Lanky blonde, Paul (Brooke McCarter), was a career criminal on trial for the rape of a 12 year-old girl and the murder of her entire family, in 1942, when Max decided to turn him. The dark and delicious, Dwayne (Billy Wirth), was the infamous Zodiac serial killer whom Max sired, in 1971.


In 1977, Max, Emily and the boys moved to Santa Carla. Sleeping in a cave by day, hunting and killing the local denizens at night, Max had, by this time, lost all romantic interest in Emily. Much to her relief, in 1984, he moved into a quaint little beach house, got a dog (a vicious protector he named Thorn) and opened a video store, appearing every inch the affable and charming local businessman to the unsuspecting public.


It’s now the summer of 1987, and Emily meets the new boy in town, Michael, at a music festival on the Santa Carla boardwalk. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, although Emily fears how David, who has an almost incestuous affection for his sister, might react to seeing the two of them together.



Michael and Emily lock eyes across the crowd.


While David wants to kill the interloper, Max decides that Michael's mom would make an excellent new immortal bride and mother to his wayward Lost Boys. He promptly orders David to befriend and trick him into drinking some vampire blood (in my story, there is no Star or Laddie). Michael joins his enigmatic new friends at a party in the cave, unknowingly drinks from a bottle of David’s blood and slowly begins his transformation, while Emily’s protests fall on deaf ears.



David: Drink some of this, Michael. Be one of us.


Determined to see his plan through, Max abducts Emily and confines her to his beach house, with Thorn ordered to rip her to shreds if she tries to escape, so David can formally induct Michael into the world of the undead with his first kill and taste of human blood.



David: So, now you know what we are, now you know what you are.
You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die.
But you must feed.


Fortunately, Michael resists the urge to feed and returns home to his little brother, Sam, to develop a plan to destroy the vampire clan and free him from the curse. Completely fed up with life as an immortal, and deeply dismayed by what a century of random killing has done to her once sweet, sensitive and loving brother, Emily goes to Michael and Sam, offering to assist in their plan to wipe out the entire coven, including Max, with the aid of the adorably clueless Frog Brothers.



Edgar Frog: I think I should warn you all, when a vampire bites it, it's never a pretty sight.
Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode,
but all will try to take you with them.


Later, after Marko, Paul and Dwayne bite the dust in a variety of creatively gruesome ways, Emily joins Michael in hand-to-hand combat against David, the seductive, white-haired vampire meeting his tragic end by being stabbed in the chest with decorative antelope horns.



David's brutal demise at the hands of Emily and Michael.


Then, after Max is destroyed the same way as he is in the movie (thanks to good ol’ Grandpa), Michael reverts back into a human and hugs of celebration go all around. There’s just one more thing, though: Emily. Through tears of relief – the first she’s cried since the night Max turned her – Emily begs Michael to end her misery with a wooden stake through the heart, which he begrudgingly does, after the two share one long, last, lingering kiss.



Grandpa: The one thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach...
...all the damn vampires.


So, after I showed the story to a few people, and got some great feedback, I started to think, hey, I might actually have a real talent for this whole writing thing. I’ve always dabbled in creative writing but now I was wondering if I could actually make a career out of it, in one way or another. Never, in a million years, did I think that I would, eventually, befriend some of The Lost Boys cast members (and date one of them for a few years) but also have an acting and screenwriting career that has blessed me in so many ways.


KJC


THE INFILTRATOR

Back in the early 1990s, when I was toying with the idea of becoming a full-time professional writer, I was dabbling in both screenwriting and hard news journalism. Practicing both trades, simultaneously, to see where my talents were best served. In 1992-’93, I was a huge fan of a TV series, called Forever Knight, about an 800 year-old vampire who seeks redemption for centuries of killing by becoming a Toronto homicide detective, bringing murderers to justice, while trying to find a way to become human, again. It was Canadian, so, low budget. But they did the best they could with the money they had, and I loved the show so much I decided to invest some serious time and effort into writing my very first spec script for it, with little expectation that I would ever get a freelance TV writing gig from it.


My idea was for Jack the Ripper to show up in present day Toronto, with Detective Nicholas Knight on the hunt for this immortal serial killer of street prostitutes, some of whom Nick regarded as friends (he was non-judgmental like that).


I was pretty fearless, back then. A shit-kicking trouble-maker who liked to rock the boat, fight the system and root for the underdog. That defiant attitude occasionally got me into trouble with law enforcement — which is why I was leaning towards a career in journalism. I wanted to stick it to The Man, as they say. But, for the moment, it was screenwriting that interested me, and if I was going to write a TV script about prostitutes working in downtown Toronto, then, I’d better do some proper research. And by “proper” I mean drive to Toronto and spend a weekend posing as a prostitute in the downtown core, observing, listening, taking mental notes of conversations between pros and johns, pros and their pimps etc. I was married back then, so, my husband was less than thrilled that I intended to put myself in serious danger by going undercover. But he knew he couldn’t stop me, so, while I walked up and down the same block on Church Street, from midnight to 3 a.m., one weekend in June, he followed me in his car, ready to pull me inside if it looked like I was in trouble.


It was an eye-opener, witnessing what those poor women went through every night. But what shocked me the most was learning that some of those girls, in skin-tight clothes and 6” heels, selling themselves on the streets for $50, weren’t much more than 12 or 13 years old. It sickened me but I couldn’t really do anything about it. Not right then, anyway. So, with pages of notes in-hand, I went home and started writing my spec script for Forever Knight. It was ¾ finished when the show was cancelled, in 1996. By then, other projects and responsibilities — and the pending demise of my ten year marriage — forced me to tuck it into a box and prepare myself for life as a single woman, with thousands of dollars in monthly bills to pay. That’s when I switched to journalism, writing freelance articles for newspapers and magazines, while trying to launch my company, P.A.Plus.


In 2001, seeking inspiration for stories to write, I started rummaging through my box of unfinished writing projects and found the spec script for Forever Knight. It reminded me of the night I spent posing as a street prostitute, and how infuriated I was to see children selling their bodies to fat, disgusting old men, while their pimps observed the goings-on, nearby. It lit a fire of determination under my ass and I decided I was going to write a story about Canada’s prostitution and child sex trade industry, going undercover in Toronto, once again, to get the research I needed to substantiate a story that could, potentially, go international, thanks to the internet. This time, I was going to be wired with an audio recorder, have a cell phone in my pocket — and a knife tucked under my very short skirt.


I spent three long nights walking the downtown streets, pretending I belonged, acting like just one of the girls, so, no one would get suspicious. I got names, memorized the faces of a few industry pros, pimps and johns, got background info on some of the girls and learned how they were forced or tricked into the lifestyle by men who got them hooked on drugs and, then, turned them out onto the streets to get the money they needed to feed their habit. It broke my heart, hearing about 12, 13 and 14 year-old girls who ran away from a miserable home life, only to end up here, frightened, hungry, cold and alone, every Goddamned day of their lives.


I had to do some quick-thinking and fast-talking when men in cars would approach me asking: “How much?” But, despite my efforts to blend in, eventually, the Jamaican gang that managed the block I was working noticed that I was doing way too much talking and not enough fucking. They followed me when I went into a 24-hour café for a quick refreshment and told me that I either start working for them, from that moment on, or I leave their territory, immediately. I was about to fire off on them, going into a rant about their shameful abuse of women, in an attempt to publicly embarrass them in a coffee shop full of people (cuz I’ve been known to do shit like that). But, then, I saw the gun tucked into one of the gang members’ waistband and decided I should probably just get the fuck outta there, ASAP.


So, with stacks of notes, research and statistics, and over a dozen mini-recorder tapes, on my desk, I started pitching every major newspaper and magazine in the country, asking if they’d be interested in hiring me to write an in-depth feature story about life on the streets for young girls who were forced into prostitution. Sadly, the typical response I got was (and I’m paraphrasing): “Nobody cares about underage whores. But, if you can get us an exclusive interview with Kiefer Sutherland...”


Ugh...really?


KJC

DYING TO GET THE JOB

The worldwide problem of weak, starving, nutritionally deficient, anorexic models all starts with the designers. They draw sketches of outfits they'd like to make, using ultra-thin cartoon illustrations of women that are totally beyond any realistic proportions, and because designers envision these clothes on ultra-tall sticks, they think they only look right on ultra-tall sticks. They want to sell their merchandise, so, they make the sample size (the demo piece to be shown on runways and in photo sessions for retail buyers to examine) in size 0, 1 or 2. If a model wants to work, she has to fit into that sample size. So, she's under constant pressure to eat less than 500 calories, per day, and exercise for 2 to 4 hours, every day. All so she can look like a walking corpse on the runway.



It HAS to stop! Designers would sell a shit-ton more clothes if they designed and manufactured them in the sizes that women truly are in this world, and statistics show that the average North American woman is 5'5", 160 lbs. (size 14-16). Wake up, designers. YOU are the core of this very serious problem, and the change starts with YOU.

KJC

ALMOST FAMOUS


I know I'm a bit late but I finally got around to watching Almost Famous (2000), about a teenage boy getting the break of a lifetime after being hired by Rolling Stone Magazine to follow a band around the United States, in the early '70s, in order to write a story. I was feeling a sense of nostalgia as I watched this very sweet and earnest story about a young man striving for independence from his overbearing mother, and credibility as a journalist in the world of sex, drugs and rock & roll.


I don't often talk about my very early days in the entertainment industry, back when I was, first, a roadie for a popular band that was part Duran Duran, part Glass Tiger (oh, man, am I ever showing my age!), and, then, lead female vocalist for an '80s pop-rock cover band, performing songs by Bryan Adams, Madonna, Journey, Alannah Myles, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin and The Eurythmics.


It was as a roadie for In & Out when I learned just how suffocating  and disturbing  it can be to have dozens of fans follow you around everywhere and who just won't leave you the fuck alone. Anytime I was with any member of the band, shopping at a mall, going to the movies, taking a walk through a park, there they were, chicks following us, giggling, gawking, asking them for their autograph. It was at one of In & Out's concerts that I received my very first request for an autograph, from a girl who wanted my signature on a piece of paper, just because I worked for the band (strange, yes, but I complied with her request because I didn't want to hurt her feelings).


Then, there were the hardcore groupies to contend with which, as a roadie, was part of my job to manage. Thirteen, fifteen, eighteen year-old girls who pulled every stunt imaginable in an effort to get backstage, and who would do anything to score a romantic interlude with one of the band members, who were all very handsome, very intelligent and talented young men, aged 18 to 21. I was 18/19 when I worked for In & Out but, more often than not, felt like their babysitter  and moral compass  trying to keep them happy, do their bidding and, yet, keep them out of trouble I knew they might later regret.


Being the 20 year-old lead female vocalist in a band whose youngest member was 42 was another eye-opening experience. The four male members of Mirage were all married with kids, and hired me to complete a six month contractual obligation to perform at various venues across Ontario, after their female singer was seriously injured in a car accident. While we didn't have giggling teenagers following us wherever we went, there were still the groupies to deal with. Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, who tried to get noticed by the guys, deluding themselves into thinking that they were more than just a quick fuck or easy blowjob in a nightclub washroom. This was also my introduction to a more public life as a semi-celebrity, with my own fan base of adoring men of all ages, trying to seduce me. I never once had sex with any of them and, a few months before my 21st birthday, became the girlfriend (and later wife) of a radio broadcasting celebrity, who had his own issues with being a public figure with a stalkerish female fan base.


It were these very early lessons about being a public figure and handling the adulation (and soul-crushing criticism) with class and maturity that helped me when I later became known, worldwide, as an actress, voice-over artist, comic book writer, celebrity publicist and talent manager.


KJC

THE MONSTER IN THE CLOSET

I just woke up from a nightmare. Not about ghosts, being buried alive or drowning in the middle of the ocean. My monster was...a deadline!




In my dream, a well-connected writer friend told me to pitch her an engaging project for a children's magazine, like OWL or National Geographic Kids. In a matter of minutes, I conjured up a story about a brother and sister, two Dora the Explorer types, who learn that their parents, adventurous treasure hunters, like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, had gone missing in Europe a few days earlier. Kids reading the magazine had to study and rake through every page of the magazine for clues about where their parents might be. It was a clever way to get kids to read all of the articles and study all of the pictures and advertisements (most important), and then formulate potential hypotheses about where the parents might be, based on about 15 clues sprinkled throughout the magazine.


"Brilliant," said my writer friend, and then went straight to her magazine's publisher, an Anna Wintour/Rupert Murdoch type, with my pitch.


A few hours later, my friend came back and said: "My publisher loved your pitch. Can you have the entire story and game plan, including character mock-ups and all of the written and visual clues, worked out and emailed to her by Sunday night? She wants to read a detailed pitch on Monday morning."


"Are you kidding me? It's 8 p.m. on Friday. I can't have a pitch like that ready to go in 48 hours. I'm working all weekend!"


My friend started to get really nervous and agitated, reminding me that she put her own job and reputation on the line by vouching for me (a moderately successful writer/journalist) with her employer, and promising that I could deliver. She even went so far as to say that, if I screwed up this opportunity, I'd probably never get a staff position or freelance writing gig at any of the 20+ newspapers, magazines, TV news outlets (like CNN) or online resources (e.g. Huffington Post) that this publisher/mega-mogul owned.


I tried to shrug off my friend's doomsday prophecy but she really put the pressure on, to the point where I almost started to cry. That's when I woke up.


So, yeah, that's a professional writer's nightmare. Hmmm...I wonder what architects, accountants and real estate agents dream about.


KJC

THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE

CTV's W5 recently did an undercover expose on fake psychics who con gullible, desperate people out of hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars, promising to lift curses and guide them through difficult times, such as the loss of a job, end of a marriage or death of a family member.



This was a great story, and I'm glad CTV took a serious, in-depth approach to it. First, know that I am, in fact, psychic. Or, more precisely, empathic/intuitive. I have paranormal abilities that I cannot explain and don't really understand how they work or where they come from. Details on that, HERE.


So, knowing all of that, here is where I stand on the issue of paying "psychics" a shit-load of money to give you advice, cleanse your aura and help you talk to dead family members:


DON'T DO IT.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE
AND SMARTEN THE FUCK UP!


So, why do I feel so strongly about this, even though I believe I am a legitimate psychic? It's simple. Predicting the future is a guessing game, like Charades or Pictionary. You get clues from body language and facial expressions, you analyze and hypothesize, based on previous experience and the Law of Averages, and come to conclusions based on feelings and intuition. Hardly an exact science. Whether you are genuinely intuitive, such as myself, or not, it is all still just a guessing game. You have no true, tangible product or service to sell, like a hotdog vendor, florist, real estate agent, event planner or architect. When those people charge a fee for services rendered, they deserve it, because the product or service is real. The proof is right there in front of you.


When I tell someone I get the sense that their spouse is cheating on them, or their boss is looking for someone to replace them at work, it's all just speculation and intuition. The future is fluid and ever-changing. What I feel and sense about the coming weeks or months in your life may be true, right now, but every decision you make, from deciding what to wear to work, what to eat for lunch or which route to take to the grocery store, changes that future. So, you should never, ever, EVER pay more than $5.00 for a reading, because it's not even close to being definitive. I get so angry when I see newspaper or online ads from Lobelia's Lair or the Calico Cat Tea House, here in Nanaimo, charging people a ridiculous amount of money to tell them stories, filling the minds of sad, gullible and desperate people with false hopes, wishes and dreams.


Crystal balls are just carved and polished chunks of pretty, semi-transparent rock. They have no power, beyond producing a mild electrical current. Wet tea leaves clumped together at the bottom of a cup cannot predict your future, nor can the position of stars in the night sky, for that matter. Tarot cards are nothing more than stiff pieces of paper, printed with colourful illustrations (that were designed by graphic artists) and distributed by the thousands from factories in China, India and Taiwan. There is no magic, here.


It's no big deal to pay a couple of bucks for a "psychic" reading – so long as you understand that it is all JUST A FUN AND SILLY LITTLE GUESSING GAME. OK?


KJC