August 28, 2008

Hello New Friends!

Howdy, circus freaks!

Right now I’m doing some stuff online that’s inadvertently bringing people to my site for the very first time and I’m feeling the urge to scramble around cleaning things up because my site is a bloody mess. So, the first thing people should know when coming here is that THIS SITE IS UNDER HEAVY HEAVY CONSTRUCTION AND DOESN’T ALWAYS LOOK THIS BAD. It’s never been the most well-designed site, in its almost 7 years of existence, but it’s always been a HELL of a lot more organized than it is at this very moment.

So hello new people, my name is Sunny and I’m a writer, an artist and a semi-retired muse. I’ve been living my life publicly, online, in front of an audience (so to speak) since 1997 for reasons even I’m not completely sure of. Over the years I’ve had a running webcam (which I’m probably the most “well known” for), an IRC channel, forums, I’ve sold my art and writing and things I’ve made through a website that no longer exists called Merch Bitch (this was in the days pre-Etsy). Half the internet’s seen me naked, knows my kids names and knows where my husband works. I’m an open book, there’s very little I hold back (and when I do, it’s usually as a courtesy for others), and that’s why people read and have followed my crap for so long….I think, anyway. I live an extremely examined life and truly ascribe to the old adage pertaining to such.

In 2006 I had a (very public, as it happened online) psychotic break and I’ve pretty much spent the last two years in a living hell that I never thought would end. Between the unparalleled terror of psychosis and its aftermath, the lack of aftercare I was given upon my release from the hospital and then 18 months of hellacious trial & error with psychiatric drugs, I’ve really been through the ringer. Throughout it all, I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder and it’s been a slow crawl back to who I was before. Only recently have I become stable-ish and I feel myself becoming a better, if battle scarred, version of who I was before. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this whole ordeal, it’s that life is just a series of processes. I feel like I’m just beginning another, which will eventually end or change and another will begin again.

So that’s me. Oh and I’m 29, married, with two kids, a dog & a cat. This isn’t a current pic, but is, more or less, what I look like (when I’m not sick, anyway):

Sunny loves you.

Part of my “coming back” from mental illness has a lot to do with art and currently I’m enrolled in Suzi Blu’s online workshop “Les Petite Dolls“, which I gushed about here and here and my dear friend Raya paid for me to do because she was glad to see me eeking back towards my old creative self.

My old creative self.

When I was starting to “lose it”, just before (and during) my psychotic break, I began working around the clock on a few creative endeavours that I thought were “genius”, including a painting I entitled “Camp Tampon” which to this day I still feel really captures where my mind was at the time. I mean, there’s a definite contrast between that and the way I usually paint.

Because my creative mind was so affected by the mania and because psychosis felt like I was “stuck” in my own imagination and I couldn’t get out, I’ve been afraid to be creative or use my imagination ever since. I’m afraid that if I let my mind “go there”, I’ll get stuck again and that was the single worst experience of my life. I’ve been beaten, I’ve been raped, I’ve been homeless, but psychosis was scarier than all of those things
put together and naturally I want to do everything in my power for it never to happen again. In my mind, that meant stopping all creative activity because to be creative meant I was risking losing it or going over a line that I had no way of seeing. It’s taken my shrink a dozen visits to convince me that as long as I take my medication, it’s okay to be creative and only now that we’ve found what I think is the right medication, have I been able to trust my creative self again.

In the Suzi Blu workshop, you have a profile where she asks specific questions so she can help teach you better and one of them was “What has kept you blocked with art in the past?” to which I answered, “Fear of my own imagination/mental illness. (It’s a long story.)” And this is that long story. You get a blog there too, but I figured if people from “Les Petite Dolls” were clicking the link to my site in my profile anyway, I might as well just write it all out here and be able to post pictures and links to better explain myself.

So there ya have it. Art has always been a huge part of my life (my mom’s an artist, I just grew up with it) and it feels good to have it back.

August 12, 2008

Stop The Remake!


Stop the Remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Posted at 11:20 pm in: Movies
August 11, 2008

Radio Drama Wants You!

My friend Missy’s band, Radio Drama, is in the studio right now recording their first EP and they just put their first two songs, “My Mixtape” and “Valentine” up on MySpace.

They’re looking for a few things, new MySpace friends, page hits, downloads, song plays, honest feedback and for everyone else to spread the word because all of the above helps them get shows! So go listen and tell them what you think! If you love it, link it!

Posted at 7:29 pm in: Music

Age Before Beauty

My friend Erica, who lives in the retirement capital of the world, Florida, made a Live Journal post about how old people often get upset that no one’s listening to them and for that reason, people like us should teach them how to use the Internet and show them websites where they can express themselves and impart their knowledge. Plus, she figured, it would give them something to do.

In that post, she gave examples of old(er) people she knew of on the internet, including a 72-year-old lady who creates instructional videos on how to train birds and uploads them to YouTube and a woman named Jan Griffin, who…well…keep reading.

In searching for instructions on how to use an oddly-shaped pet grooming tool she’d bought, Erica found ExpoTV.com, a site in which people make and share videos of themselves reviewing all kinds of products. This is where she stumbled upon Jan Griffin, an American professor whose age it would be rude to guess so I’m going to forgo hazarding one.

Jan has uploaded almost 500 videos in the past year & a half, seemingly reviewing everything in her house, including such insanely mundane items as Kleenex (twice!!), Ladies’ Home Journal, two different lint rollers, a stuffed soccer ball for dogs (also reviewed by who I’m guessing is a daughter or granddaughter), a calculator (“it adds very easily, that’s 20 + 10, EQUALS, and then you see what the result is,”) and my personal favourite, bobby pins:

Jan putting the ‘pro’ in “prosaic”.



I can just picture her meatside, moving through the world looking at and buying things because they’d make a good review for the internets. She’s a living, breathing Saturday Night Live sketch, one that hasn’t happened yet, but one that probably should. Chris Crocker can’t have all the glory, there’s room in this arena of internet celebrity for the old bitches too. Internet, let’s make it so!

August 8, 2008

“What is poutine?” WHAT IS POUTINE?

While looking for pictures of poutine to answer that question, I found this video from the CBC archives, which is hilarious.

BONUS: haha Check out “Wild About Fiddleheads” and “Canadians Love Kraft Dinner” on that same page.

This was all brought upon because I learned the other day that there is such a thing in the US of A as a “Canadian themed” restaurant called Bugaboo Creek that’s not really Canadian themed at all except for the decor and the apparent capture of some of our indigenous talking meese.

(Originally posted @ Live Journal.)

Posted at 9:32 am in: Canada , Food
August 6, 2008

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

Over the last little while I’ve been contacted by some people who have noticed that I’ve more or less dropped off the face of the Earth during the last year or two and they were wondering why. Questions like these come out of nowhere for me because I don’t know to whom I’m replying, where they know me from, what they know of me and my life etc. so I never know how to answer even the simplest things like “so, what have you been up to?” I simply don’t know where to start. This is very frustrating.

The fact of the matter is, because of growing up and certain life events and the fact that I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I’m not sure who I am anymore and what I want. I don’t know if I want to have a site anymore and even if I do, I don’t know what to put on it or how much to share.

Furthermore, things have gotten a lot more complicated than they were a few years ago with this WordPress shit vs. making a website in Dreamweaver that was comprised of mostly tables and because of this, maintaining a site – what you’re reading right now – isn’t something I feel I can do myself. Of course I’m capable of it, if I wanted to learn, but I don’t want to and if I’m not doing it myself, then do I really want to do it at all? Currently Blake (my husband) and I are trying to find a happy medium. Really, as far as I can tell, WordPress is just a template system, so all we need to do is come up with a template that I can edit and update myself. We’re working on it. It’s probably going to take a while.

But then the other problem I’m trying to work out in my head, and have been for a while, is which content is for my site and which content is for Live Journal? And really, what IS the point of having both? Do I even really need both? Why not just point my domain to Live Journal? But the thing is, there are some things that don’t feel right in a Live Journal (or a personal blog, I guess), such as articles, product reviews or endorsements, 3rd party content (YouTube videos like the one above etc). Basically I have no idea what to write or where anymore and I’ve completely lost track of why so many people even follow what I write, create and do to begin with, so it’s hard for me to figure out how to keep everyone happy.

And speaking of keeping everyone happy, there’s another problem. Back when I started doing whatever it is I do, the Internet was still sort of an underground thing. Everyone and their mother (certainly not MY mother) wasn’t potentially reading every word I wrote and that allowed me a certain freedom to be as honest and open as I’m known for being and have sort of built a reputation on. Well, some people don’t like truth and honesty. Some people get upset when you write about them, even though it’s all truth and facts and honesty. Some people don’t like the whole world knowing what they did on a Sunday afternoon and some people feel as though I’m trying to hold up a mirror so they can see something they perceive as being there when I’m merely being honest, but with a writer’s eye. This makes it very difficult to write about one’s life and if I can’t do so honestly, then I can’t do it at all.

It just seems like on all levels of life, I’m stuck. I have no refuge. I used to “write it out” when I was feeling badly or trying to process something and that outlet’s mostly been taken away by people who don’t understand me or what I do. I absolutely resent them for it and I’ve racked my brain searching for happy mediums and work-arounds, but I keep coming up short.

Truthfully, though, I’m a little bit sick of writing about my life for an audience anyway. For friends I’ve met through this technological journey who are also writing about their own lives, say, via Live Journal? Sure. But thousands of strangers? I dunno anymore. Especially not when I’ve been increasingly bombarded with anonymous folks over the years who trigger my paranoia and contribute to my shaky mental health and waning self-esteem.

I had to disable anonymous commenting in Live Journal recently due to troll activity and comments have been disabled here (along with “pings”?) for a long time because I don’t know how to control the posting of spam. I don’t know how to make this two-way communication between the many of you and the one and only me work anymore.

While parts of me are still the same, and the core of me is still the same, the last few years have been pretty rough on me and I’ve done a lot of changing and growing as a result. Unfortunately some of you, it seems, wanted me to stay the same, so to those of you who fall into that category: I’m sorry I let you down and I’m sad to see you go. (Except that’s a lie because if you honestly expected me to stay a scantily clad 20-something year old on a webcam forever, you’re probably an asshole and good riddance.) For the rest of you, I hope you’ll stick around long enough for me to figure out whatever the fuck it is I’m doing because I have a feeling that whatever it is and once I get all of this shit figure out, it’s going to be interesting.
Things can only get better.

So while comments are disabled and will remain so for a while, feel free to e-mail me at Sunny@SunnyCrittenden.com or snail mail me at the address below. Give me suggestions, tell me how you found me, tell me why you’ve stuck around, tell me what you’d like to see more of (you lose points for saying “tits” *eyerolls*) or what you think I should stay away from. I’d really like to know what all of you strangers are getting out of this whole thing, it’s always been a mystery to me and finally having some perspective from the other side of the screen would probably help immensely in sorting out the mess that is my so-called internet life.

Sunny of the Great White North

PO Box 3042

Elmvale, ON

L0L 1P0

CANADA

Edit (08/12/08): Not to discourage the e-mails (they’ve been great so far!) comments have been re-enabled, so feel free to register and be heard! :o)