Kick Ax | Old City Philadelphia | 10 May 2019

 

Yesterday as I trekked to the roller rink, I noticed that an ax throwing bar opened. I walked inside to check it out, they gave me a free pass to check it out, it looked fun and I told them after I was done skating, I would come back.

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I only skated for an hour and walked back to Kick Ax at 5:30. I didn’t eat, I was going to eat after, and I will admit that when I was told that the earliest reservation was for 6:30, I was hangry. There’s not much GF in Old City. I said I would wait and wait to eat. As I was sitting and waiting, one of the managers saw me and asked me if I was alone. I said I was, and he said, “would you like to join a group? Playing with a group is more fun!” I agreed, he walked me back, and I joined a group of two men: father and son, Derek and Stephen. A few minutes after I joined, Lia and Matt joined, then Leah and her husband.

Before we began the games, Mollie, our instructor, went over the rules, showed us how to handle the ax, and gave us techniques for throwing. I was a little nervous, but I was excited because this is something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but regardless I was here to have fun.

Steve and Derek went first and they were pretty good. I later learned that Steve, in his early to mid 20s, is in the Navy and is home visiting. I was called next, along with Leah, and we grabbed the axes from the stump. Before I walked up, I gave Steve my phone for him to take photos.

I went first. I gripped my ax, stepped a little past the line, placed it behind my back, I lifted it and before I slung it, I took a deep breath. Guess what I aimed for? For my first try, I got a bulls eye. Mollie was shocked and my group cheered and I heard Matt call out, “are you sure you have never done this before?” I said no. Unfortunately, my second throw, which Steve taped, was a miss. I did get a hit for the third.

 

I’m glad that the Kick Ax manager placed me with this group and placed us all together. My teammates were fun and we enjoyed chatting, laughing, and while it was competition, it was friendly competition. We did play for points, but there were no winners or losers, just fun.

As I continued on, I kept aiming and shooting for 4s and bulls eyes. At one point, I was paired with Matt, we tapped axes and wished each other luck, and while I missed one, I shot for two fours. For the next game, it was called “Around the World” and we had to go in number order. I had to shoot for a 2, but shot for bulls eye first. Matt called out, “of course she did! Jessica only shoots for perfection!” I tried to get a 2, but missed, and then hit a four. Eventually, Mollie just said, “whatever you hit is fine.” I eventually did hit a 1 later on, and in the future, higher aim is what I want to practice. I’m short and 4s, bulleyes were natural for me.

 

 

 

One thing I learned from ax night: “One other thing I noticed when I made some mistakes and didn’t hit at all. I noticed when I did that, it was because I was rushing and didn’t take a deep breath. At some points, I was worried that my team members would become annoyed if I took longer, but Derick said to me: “it’s okay, take your time. This is only fun.” He was right. Once I took my time, took a deep breath and took a breath as I threw, I hit. I could say the same about life.

At 7, our session ended and Mollie took a group photo of us. Mollie just posted the photo to social media and it is great. I loved my group and that laughter made my night. I also felt good about my natural abilities. I felt good about myself.

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The playlist for the night was some of my favourite music: grunge. I heard some of my favourites:

 

 

However, I couldn’t stop thinking about my favourite Dark Lotus song as I threw:

After our group photo, Mollie took a photo of me with my phone. One farther away and one close-up. I posted the close up on Instagram and captioned it with the beginning of the Dark Lotus song, “I would like to invite you on a journey, watch me as I pass the axe.” Andre responded with Blaze’s line next and I would have loved to kept the song going, but I’m trying to keep my Instagram PG-13 as much as possible. I just responded, “then passed it off to Madrox. :laugh: Isn’t it fun?”

 

 

 

I can’t wait to go back next week and I hope I can join another group.

Thankful Thursday 9 May 2019

::clears throat and begins this blog entry as the SNL performer who mocked Sweet Sugar Slam from the 2009 GOTJ Infomercial for SNL’s skit of Under-Underground Presents::  It’s that crazy-ass time of week again, THANKFUL THURSDAY! WHOOP WHOOP!

I decorated my desk at my full-time job. My desk is joyful again and I have a few more things to add, however, I’m grateful for my friends that responded to my picture texts about the layouts of these scrapbook pages. They gave me their opinions and helped make these pages look great.

One of my colleagues is a crafter and loves buying her supplies at the dollar store. I asked her if she was going soon, she was, and I gave her $1 to pick up an 8×10 frame for my Baltimore collage. She surprised me: she gifted me a 12×12 frame as well! She loved how I decorated and thought I could use another frame, on her. I’m speechless and verklempt; I’m thankful for Ms. Lori’s kindness.

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I’m also thankful for my library job. Carol was working tonight and I was telling her about Twiztid. She’s a retired woman and loved hearing my stories about meeting the boys. I was telling her about Warped Tour and how when I met them again, they remembered who I was and gave me bear hugs. She said, “Oh, Jessica, that’s awesome! I remember when the person who plays Paul McCartney in RAINN saw me bopping along to the music and gave me a thumbs up. That’s amazing that the guys in Twiztid remembered who you are, especially since they meet thousands of people daily. I love hearing the joy in your voice and although I am not familiar with them, I love hearing your memories.”

I’ve been sharing a lot of Twiztid stories lately. I was telling my other British friend about the Warped Tour incident and she said, “that was so sweet of them. They are sweet, just like you.” Twiztid brings me so much joy. Today I also ordered my first ICP shirt. I’ve been a fan for 16 years, and this is my first time purchasing one of their shirts. Celebration tonight? LOL.

What are you thankful for?

Main Line Symphony Orchestra

On the evening of 3 May 2019, I saw my aunt perform with the Main Line Symphony Orchestra (MLSO). They were amazing and they put on a wonderful show. My uncle and I enjoyed watching my aunt and taking photos with Brent Celik. I’m not an Eagles fan, but he was a pretty good orator for Copland’s Lincoln, which I am posting here.

 

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After, Aunt Peg, Uncle Tom, and I went for ice cream and water ice at Wawa. It was a lovely evening out. I can’t wait to see my aunt perform again.

Nan’s 96th Birthday

Today would have been Nan’s 96th birthday. Her birthday tradition was baking a Betty Crocker yellow cake, decorating it with whipped cream and strawberries: A STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE! I was over the moon to see that Betty Crocker has a gluten-free yellow cake mix;  I made a gluten and lactose free yellow cake topped with dairy free coconut milk whipped cream and strawberries.

Her last birthday with us was in 2012, when she turned 89. It’s crazy to think that she was diagnosed with lung cancer two months later, and was given six months. Her lung cancer came back after 15 years. She decided that at 89, she didn’t want chemo and wanted to spend her last six months with us. Anyway, I’m going to copy the blog entry (from blogger) from that day on Friday, 4 May 2012.

Nan turned 89 yesterday. We (Aunt Kathy, Uncle Dave, Mom, Dad and I) took her to Legal Seafood to celebrate her birthday.

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dave returned from Italy a few weeks ago and bought Nan a beautiful photo made of lace from Venice. Nan loved it and I can’t wait to see where she will place it.

Happy birthday, Nan. I miss you. I’m thankful for the 23 years of love, laughs, smiles, and adventures.

Thankful Thursday 2 May 2019

Happy first Thursday in May! I’m still over the moon about Sarah’s gifts and I’m planning everything I can send her. I’m thinking of sending her a scrapbook for her travel photos and the ceramic bowl artist I discovered in Baltimore. He was cool, and a bit different, but she might enjoy it. I think I might also send her some local jazz artists I discovered through the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I’ve been chatting with Jack in the morning and I last saw him on Tuesday. I showed him my Baltimore Ravens photos and he was really amazed at the few he saw. Google placed my photos out of order and I was telling him about Family. He asked how I heard about it and I said, “well, I’m a fan of Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid, it was suggested based on my likes, and Violent J promoted the movie too.” He looked at me and said, “I didn’t picture you as an ICP fan. Have you ever heard of Tech N9ne?” I replied, “Yes! I listen to him all the time too.” He smiled, at that point the train came, and he said we would chat Tech N9ne some other time.

I’m going to get a little flash-backy on y’all. When I was watching Family, I became a bit emotional. I will admit that listening to ICP and Twiztid is a very emotional experience for me. I was bullied in middle and high schools, but the brunt of it was in middle school. Mom was working with Anna’s dad and they lived in Tower City. A few times she invited me over to spend the weekend with her to get away from the bullying. Tower City is an old steel town in Schuylkill County and their middle and high schools were combined. A few of Anna’s friends were in high school and two of them absolutely LOVED the Psychopathic Record family. Jackie, one of Anna’s friends, really recommended Dark Lotus, I gave it a listen and one thing led to another. Jackie gave me song suggestions to download and listening to ICP, Twiztid, and Dark Lotus made me feel like I belonged. Ironically, after I started listening, I made friends with other Juggalos at my school and I’m still friends with one of them. Anna was heavily into heavy metal and she used to send me CDs all the time, to get me started.

I am thankful for Anna and I’m thankful for my friends from Tower City in that time period. It was a refuge and I like to say, being around Anna and the other girls influenced my tastes in music. I loved Twiztid the most during in 8th grade and I had the hugest crush on Jamie Madrox. I found an old time capsule I made at the end of 8th grade (that we opened before we graduated from high school). Here you will also see that I won recognition for being the kindest person of the month of December 2003. My school used to reward people for their caring, kindness, and sense of community. I always seemed to win and I was once a peer mediator for the community of caring. I wonder if the school still does that. I also found my 8th grade yearbook, where Brynn drew the hatchet man logo for me. It should have been a hatchet girl, but I am thankful she agreed to it back then.

While The Riddle Box was the first ever ICP album I downloaded, I remember Fall 2004 vividly. I used to belong to a Motley Crue community on LiveJournal and I connected with a guy who not only loved Motley Crue, but loved ICP as well. He told me about The Wraith: Shangra-la and the song “Thy Unveiling.” I fell in love with both the song and album. I was going through a rough time at high school (I was a freshman in Fall 2004) and that was a light during a dark time. I felt a sense of belonging and now that I bought a copy of The Wraith: Shangra-la, I’m feeling something special in my core. I’m thankful for these groups; I know it sounds odd, but they helped me through some dark periods.

In the 16 years since I’ve started listening to all of these groups, I’ve met Twiztid twice. I’ve also hugged Jamie and Monoxide and the last time I saw them at the Warped Tour, they remembered me, they were so glad to see me again, and told me I should hang out more often. That made me feel over the moon and even though those under Psychopathic Records got a bad name because of gangs hijacking the image, I never met kinder people. I’ve met a lot of fans over the years too and besides one minor experience, most have been kind people that are welcoming.

From 2014’s This Way to Hell Tour. My first time seeing Twiztid live. A few of the people I met before the meet and greet too. 18 October 2014

 

From Vans Warped Tour, 13 July 2018.

Anyway, tomorrow night I’m seeing Aunt Peg perform with her orchestra at 8pm. She held a ticket for me, my uncle will save me a seat, and they will drop me off at home. I’m looking forward to seeing my aunt perform on the flute and I can’t wait to see my uncle. I’m grateful that Aunt Peg is doing that for me.

I was able to walk this morning, this afternoon, and I went swinging too. What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Monday 29 April 2019

At lunch, one of my British pen pals sent me an Instagram message alerting me to a package that she sent a week ago. When I arrived home at 5:30, there was a huge package waiting for me on the kitchen table.

My parents were excited for me to open it and I will admit it, I did rip it open. I ripped after I took photos. Here is the lovely package.

 

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And let the ripping and shredding begin!

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Oh, I wonder what it can be?!

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Letter. What else?

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Ohhh, I can’t wait to eat this GF candy bar! I wonder what’s in the packages?

Sarah and Teddy were over the moon when I wrote them that I was starting a journey into classical music and became a friend of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Of course they are biased to the British Orchestra, but the Philadelphia Orchestra is the best in the world. She wanted to share her classical favourites and I’m verklempt right now. I’m beyond grateful for her kindness and I can’t wait to listen to the CDs.

I was telling mom that Sarah and Teddy are friends from Facebook and they are the only remaining friends from Facebook I have since I left 13 months ago. Only Sarah/Teddy and Michelle from Toronto still communicate with me. Mom said, “That’s because they are your true friends. Your true friends will stay your friends even if you leave social media. That was extremely kind of them.”

I’m in tears, happy tears, right now. I was so surprised and I’m over the moon. I’m going to order Sarah some CDs – some from the Philadelphia Orchestra and I’m going to send her some local musicians too.

I have the best friends, family, and pen pals in the world.

Baltimore Ravens Draft Fest & Baltimore, Maryland | 27 April 2019

When I took my dad to the Ravens/Broncos game in September 2018, I signed up for the Purple newsletter. Purple is a fan club for Ravens fans who are women. A few weeks ago they sent me a newsletter advertising for the different draft pick events, free events, and when I saw that a party going to be held on Saturday, 27 April, I decided to take off from the library and go.

I left from Philadelphia at 8:16 AM and I arrived in Baltimore at 9:40 AM with Amtrak. I have a silly ritual about every time I arrive in Baltimore – Baltimore has always been one of my favourite cities and we spent a lot of time there when I was a little girl (we celebrated my 16th birthday in Baltimore, that was my wish, and had a lovely dinner at McCormick & Schmick). Whenever I arrive at the train station, I have someone take my picture standing next to the train because I think travel photos are a neat concept for a scrapbook. A woman behind me gladly obliged and when we walked up the stairs, she saw me trying to take a selfie with the “Welcome to Baltimore” sign that she offered to take the photo for me. I was grateful.

In September I won a free transit pass from MTA and unfortunately, it wasn’t filled. I couldn’t get a day pass online after I registered my card, and I decided to fill it at the station. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fill the card at all, I’ll have to call, and I bought a day pass for $4.20. I knew I was going touse the Charm City Circulator, the free bus, to get to the Inner Harbor and I could use Charm City Circulator to get to the Charles Theater to see the movie. However, after some careful planning, I had to use MTA for the restaurant I was going to and getting back to the Inner Harbor, before I went to the Charles Theater. Transit in Baltimore is much cheaper than Philadelphia and I didn’t mind putting less than $5 in advance for a card.

I love the Charm City Circulator and it always seems like professional people use it. The woman who agreed to take my photos met up with a colleague and I learned they were in town for a conference. It wasn’t a long trip; roads were closed for Draft Fest and either Baltimorians planned in advance for these road closures or not many people travel on Saturday mornings, there was no traffic congestion and I arrived at the Inner Harbor in 15 minutes.

The wind was wicked and the Ravens flags were whipping violently in the air. I’m glad I wore a jacket because even though it was 66 degrees, it felt ten degrees cooler from the wind. Other than the wind, the sun was out, and it was a beautiful day in Baltimore. I saw the food trucks lined up and the first food truck I saw had international foods AND they could make most of the food GLUTEN FREE! I was over the moon. I packed some snacks, just in case, but I was grateful I could find at least one food truck. It was 10:30 at that point and I decided that I would have an early, but filling lunch. My stomach was growling and I had to eat.

I ordered a Canadian maple turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce. The owners were really sweet and the guy apologized that the GF bread was tiny. He bought a different brand and didn’t like how tiny the bread was. I said, “honestly, it’s okay. I’m just extremely grateful that you have options. It’s difficult at times finding food trucks and restaurants that offer it at all. I’m thankful that you do.” They had a dedicated space for GF food and that made me even more grateful. The sandwich took longer than expected, but it was delicious. It hit the spot and ended up holding me over to 3:30pm (when I was in Starbucks, charging my phone, drinking iced tea and having one of my GF snacks before dinner).

I was sitting next to the Purple tent. After I finished noshing, I walked over and introduced myself. I played football, but unfortunately, my aim was off and I just missed the hole. I won a lanyard anyway since I almost had it. I won a feather boa from Plinko and was decked out for the entire day, with purple feathers flying everywhere. I chatted with some of the women and some agreed for a photo. It’s nice that the Ravens have a fan club just for women and I’m hoping I can attend the big event in the fall – a gala at M & T Field where I can meet some other players, and it’s an evening of a lot of fun.

As I was waiting for noon, the moment we would welcome Hollywood Brown, the Ravens’ first draft pick, to Baltimore, I decided to walk around. I saw many interesting costumes and the people were kind enough to pose for some pictures. I also saw many dogs dressed in their Ravens best and couldn’t help but snap away. I also met the Ravens cheerleaders, they agreed to a photo, and they signed a photo for me as well. It was one of their team photos; I want to get a frame for it and hang it up in my cubicle. I loved chatting with the two female cheerleaders and I mentioned that when I went to my first Ravens pre-season game in 2013, the two cheerleaders I met were Pennsylvania girls too. We laughed and the male cheerleader that was with them exclaimed, “Well, I’m a Pennsylvania guy!” He was from York and it is nice when athletes and the cheer squad are down to Earth. Actually, I can honestly say, every band, athlete, or famous person I’ve met so far has been down to Earth and personable. Maybe it’s the vibe I give off, but I’ve never had someone that was rude to me.

Noon came quickly and I went to the Draft Stage, which was in front of the Chesapeake Bay. Perfect spot for the stage too. Hollywood Brown walked to the stage and they interviewed him. The Ravens picked promise and it sounds like he will be good for the team. Afterwards, others rushed him as he walked to the radio tent for the interview. I had a photograph session at 12:30, but I decided to see the interview. It was a madhouse and after the interview, I asked Hollywood for a selfie and he agreed. However, many other people cut in and he was bombarded with stuff to sign and other photos. I didn’t push my way in or was loud about it, I just waited patiently. I know that sounds silly, but pushing my way in and being loud is a waste of energy to me. Surprisingly, he remembered my request and told people to hold on, he was getting a selfie with me. I was stunned, it seemed like quiet patience paid off. That ticked some of the men off and when I was trying to exit, they told me I couldn’t exit from where they were standing. I found another way.

Ironically, Hollywood Brown was one of the players that was picked for my photograph session. They did not announce who would be at the sessions, it was a surprise. Nick Boyle was the other player, one of my favourites. I had to wait in a long line, but the wait wasn’t too bad – by 1pm, I had a photo with Boyle and Brown. I gave Boyle a hug.

Earlier in the week, dad mentioned that during the Draft Fest, he read a blind boy was going to read one of the picks. Mo Gabba, a John Hopkins kid with cancer, often attends Orioles and Ravens events. He is one of their biggest fans and the teams are gracious about inviting him to different events. I saw the Orioles posted a video the other week when he met some of the players, and I was in tears. I wanted to catch Mo reading the draft pick in Braille and I’m so glad I did. I was verklempt and that was an understatement. The kindness that protruded from others by cheering on Mo made me tear up a little bit. After he left the stage, I asked his mom if I could get a photo with him, after I gave him some kind words (you’re a brave and strong boy, Mo!), and she agreed. However, like with Hollywood Brown, others cut in front. They had to do an interview and the mom apologized to me and I said, “that’s okay. Thank you for allowing me in the first place. Keep strong and brave. I am rooting for you.” She smiled and they hurried to an interview.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a voucher for the 2:30 photograph session because Jacoby Jones was there! Jacoby was one of my favourite players from the 2012-2013 season, along with Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, and Torrey Smith. After Jacoby’s session, he was also rushing to an interview, but he stopped for me. He agreed to a selfie, but I used my Polaroid camera instead – polaroid selfie fail! You can see a little bit of my head, but it’s mostly a Jacoby selfie. Ah well, good times and good memories.

I met Poe! Poe is one of my favourite mascots, next to the Blue Jays’ Ace and the Orioles bird. I gave Poe a big hug and took a selfie with him! Poe was the life of the party and I managed to capture Poe meeting other fans. He is fun.

I also went to an autograph session and met Jimmy Smith. I bought a NFL draft hat and the cashier handed me a voucher for an autograph session. I gave dad the hat and it’s sitting on the bar next to his game day program, Ray Lewis commemorative coin, and the scrapbook I made him. His bar is decked out in Ravens memorabilia, and he especially loves the Ravens man cave banner I gave him. He was happy about the hat.

The event ended at 4, but I left at 3:30 to charge my phone and to sit down in Starbucks. I wanted to relax before I had to leave for the bus at 4:30 and it was nice to regroup in a calm environment.

Traveling by MTA was easy and straightforward. I caught the CityLink to Fells Point and Alexander’s Tavern was only three blocks away from the stop. I was early and decided to check out a store. There was a lot of fanfare in front of the store and I asked if it was a Pride event since I saw a Pride sign. The two drag queens laughed and said no, they were just having fun. There was also a pirate festival going on and the store was filled with pirates. They were fun and the whole experience was fun. Alexander’s was across the street  and it killed the time I needed it to kill.

Alexander’s was amazing! I haven’t had a crab cake since I’ve gone GF and I was in heaven. I will admit, I devoured it. It was so good. The crab dip and sweet potato tots were so good too. I had a lovely waitress and the whole experience was amazing. When I go back in June for the Orioles/Blue Jays game, I want to go back. I want to try their other GF delicacies and it wasn’t expensive at all.

My reservation was at 5 and I left at 6. Family didn’t start until 7:20 and I had enough time. I caught the CityLink heading downtown, to go to the Inner Harbor to catch the Charm City Circulator. Google Maps has a lot to be desired because it said that the CCC bus was only a two minute walk from the MTA stop. Not quite true, I couldn’t find the stop, and asked a woman for help. She said, “you can just take the Silver to the Charles Theater. It stops right there.” I was a little annoyed, but I decided to take her advice. The Silver is her normal route and she would point it out once we got to the 17th block of Charles Street. That day pass I bought came in handy after all since I only used the CCC once.

I found the Charles Theater with no issue, and it was two short blocks away from Penn Station, where I needed to go to catch the train back to Philadelphia. The Charles Theater is an old theater that shows mostly independent films. I’m glad they had Family and it was such a great movie. I became a Juggalette at 13 after one of Anna’s friends suggested Dark Lotus to me. To this day I still love exploring music and one thing led to another. I could relate to Maddie, she reminded me of myself when I was a young teen. Of course, this film isn’t only about juggalos, but navigating all stages of your life and being a kind human being. I would recommend Family and I plan on buying the DVD. I also want to return to Charles Theater because it looks like some great indie films are going to be released this summer! I also liked the atmosphere – there is something so magical about old movie theaters.

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I had an hour to kill after the movie and I wandered into a record store. They didn’t have many CDs, I don’t have a vinyl player, but they did have a wide selection of cassettes. The owner asked if he could help me with anything and I said, “Honestly, I’ve been exploring local talent lately. I listen to everything from heavy metal to classical to hip hop. I just came from a movie that featured Insane Clown Posse, I’ll listen to anything.” He laughed and made a of great suggestions. He suggested this one cassette that was experimental to the extreme, the guy is playing music with a metal bowl and singing. It’s pretty out there (I haven’t listened to it yet, I had to get my cassette player after I type this), but it will be fun to listen to. However, if I don’t care for it, the next time in town, I can exchange it. They are new to the location and don’t have sampling stations set up yet and hopefully when I go back, they will. I love record shops too.

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The store owner graciously agreed to a selfie.

I got home past midnight. My train left Baltimore at 10:30 PM, I was back in Philadelphia by 11:45 PM and Lyft dropped me off at home. I took a shower, took some aspirin, and went to bed. I woke up from a nap a few hours ago. I had such a great day in Baltimore yesterday and I can’t wait to go back.

Oh, here’s a video of Mo reading the draft pick and also the full photo album. I’m going to make a few collages for my cubicle at work.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SzKhpTcMNf4j9Cuc8