Author's note: Yes folks, I AM alive! It's just I spent a month vacationing and then school started so I've been super busy… anyhoo… thanks so much everyone for the comments!! ^.^

 ~Kris

August 5/04

Chris's living room couch

Sunny

 Top Ten Artists I'd like to Collaborate with:

10) Lisa Loeb

 It's not so much that I like her music, but I like how she's just off there doing her own thing, playing acoustic and singing her own songs which she actually writes herself, unlike some artists (coughcoughbritneycoughcough). Plus, that Taffy song is pretty cool too, and I've tried the finger pickings for some of her other songs, and let me tell you, they're not easy.

9) System of a Down

No real reason. It'd just be interesting.

8) The Neptunes

 I may not be into that whole pop/rap/R&B type thing, but from what I've heard, the Neptunes always make songs sound better. I guess it wouldn't really be a collaboration, just a remix. But it'd still be cool.

7) Santana

Come on. You know you're famous when you collaborate with the greatest guitar player of all time. And that whole Mexican/Spanish style? Love it. I have a fair chunk of his CDs, but even I don't have the time to look for all of them, let alone the money to buy them. And who knows, maybe some of his talent will rub off on me.

6) Alien Ant Farm

Whatever Much Music says, they are NOT one-hit wonders. I mean, please! Sure, their biggest hit may have been Smooth Criminal, but These Days and Glow are hits too. Actually, Glow is the best song in the world. And the singer's really cool and has a funky voice, and their style is totally awesome. One hit wonders my ass.

 Plus, there's the whole issue of the These Days video. They actually played on top of a building (illegally, I might add) at the BET awards in front of all these hip hop artists, got raided by police, and managed to capture it all on MTV quality film. I'm not all that sure if it's a statement against Hip Hop (hopefully against the way they put women in bikinis, make them jiggle and call it dancing) or just a crazy stunt, but either way it's undeniably cool.

 5) Missy Elliot

Again, it's not really that I like her music (which I do, but it's not really my style), but it's more the fact that she's cool. I can just picture it; a riveting guitar intro played by yours truly, throw in some singing and then Missy rapping. Chart topper material, no?

 4) The Distillers

They're real punk. Not new style main stream crap that the youth of today likes to call punk, which is really pop dressed up in black eyeliner and safety pins, but genuine, old school punk rock. Genuine, old school punk rock I don't mind. It's just those new whiney lets-cause-a-riot type bands that get me, like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte (except for Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous, that song's catchy AND seems to get stuck in my head every time I walk into a rich, fancy schmancy place, like the Keg or Hotel Saskatchewan), and especially *shudder* AVRIL. I don't even want to TRY and spell her last name. But the Distillers, they're the real thing. Brodi's original, has a cool voice that I'd be willing to bet ten bucks no one else has, plus she plays guitar. The rest of the band's cool too. And their music's awesome, especially Drain the Blood.

3) Lestat de Lioncord

Ok, don't burst my bubble by telling me that I can't do a collaboration with one of Anne Rice's vampires. And no, I did not get this idea after seeing one of the movies, I actually read the books. In the second Vampire Chronicles, the Vampire Lestat, Lestat embarks in a short career as a rock star. If he were a real person, I would do a collaboration with him because not only is he cool in a vampire sort of way, but I liked the music from both the Vampire Lestat and the Queen of the Damned and would like to find the soundtracks for both. Also, it would be pretty cool if I were to be in an Anne Rice movie and get to play a character that gets to collaborate with Lestat.

 But that would mean that Anne Rice would have to write in a character I could easily play in one of her books, and then publish it and make everyone like it enough so someone will make a movie out of it, and then on top of all that that someone who's making a movie out of the book has to cast me as the character, instead of one of the more likely people like Penelope Cruz or Lindsay Lohan.

 Like that's ever going to happen.

2) The Darkness/ Jet (it's a tie, can't decide who's better)

I LOVE THE DARKNESS. They are reviving rock from the good old days of Led Zeppelin and ACDC, and yanking it out of the hands of lesser bands, such as Lillix (who really aren't that bad, for a POP rock band). They are true performers, not all depressing or morbid, but super, get-the-crowd-hyped real honest to god performers. Justin Hawkings not only has a higher voice than me and can actually hit all his notes, but is an insane singer and also enjoys being naked, considering the I Believe in a Thing Called Love and Growing On Me videos, both who by the darn tootin` way rock.

 I ALSO LOVE JET. Jet is also reviving rock, though in a more 60's garage band type way. Are You Gonna Be My Girl is my theme song and has been since the moment I heard it. I also have the CD, and their style is so obviously real rock that it's not even funny. They, like the Darkness, are not depressing or morbid, plus they have some pretty cool effects in the Are You Gonna Be My Girl video. But unlike the Darkness, their lead singer (as far as I know) does not like to be naked, nor does he have very long hair or an obsession with unitards.

 I just don't know… They're both so cool, they both have good songs and they both seem like fun guys… Maybe we could all do one, big collaboration. Highly unlikely, but it's not impossible. Not probable, but possible.

And the #1 band in the whole wide world I'd like to collaborate with is….

The Salads!

They are so, undeniably the best band in the world. EVER. I still cannot believe that they haven't gained more recognition than they have, because if there is one band that deserves to be mainstream, it's them. They are the best rock/rap/punk/ska/alternative/reggae/garage band I've ever heard, and I'd like to hear you name another one. See my point? They're original. Darren Dumas, also known as Mista D (his spelling, not mine), has a voice that can either sound reggae, rock, pop as-in-singing-traditionally-good, plus he can rap and has a really cool beard. I love their guitarist and bassist, and their songs are catchy and easy to dance to. Get Loose is made of the stuff party anthems are, the Roth Kung Fu is catchy in a kooky yet likeable way, Unhappy just plain rocks, and Who's that Kat has got to be one of the best songs played on my RealOne player.

All in all, I love the Salads, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Later

Still in the living room, this time in the easy chair because Chris and Mia are on the couch watching the Two Towers

Just got off the phone with Coren. As mentioned before, he seems like a pretty likeable guy. We talked for about an hour, continuing our Toronto discussion before moving onto the Salads (he agrees that they are the best band ever and says Libido, their break dancer, is his hero) before moving onto how much we hate Avril. After a while, we started talking about school and how we're both dreading it, but then his little sister insisted on talking to 'whoever's on the phone'.

 I found out that she's six and a half years old, her name's Kayla but likes to be called Kay-Kay or Kiera, she likes pirates (which, I might add, earned her serious brownie points with me) and she wants to be a queen of an island when she grows up.

 She seems really cute. 

After she got off the phone, Coren ran me through some vital slang which I should be aware of. (Though he technically grew up in Ireland, he moved here four years ago and therefore knows more about England than me). Chips=fries. Snogg=kiss. Knickers=underwear. Jumper=sweater. Loo=toilet. You know, the vitals that I could have figured out from watching any Mary-Kate and Ashley where they go to London, or any other movie of the sort. But I guess it is pretty nice to have the validated by someone who actually lives in England, plus it's the thought that counts.

 Afterwards, simply out of courtesy, I ran Coren through some of my slang. It's not necessarily the slang everyone uses in Canada, as even in Canada I'm considered slightly insane, but Coren was amazed because he said that's exactly how he thought Americans talked.

 I didn't bother to point out that I'm not American.

 He also validated that he had only heard, like, one person say 'that is whacked', so now I know that I'll probably get a few strange looks once school starts, because I have been known to say that a lot.

 So, now that I'm off the phone, I have nothing to do. I would watch the movie with Mia and Chris, if I hadn't seen it so many times I could quote every single scene, including all the scenes in the extended version. I think I'll go surf the net, which is actually not really surfing the net when it comes to me. Being the natural hyper active only-has-an-attention-span-that-lasts-five-minutes kind of person I am, I'll have about five different browser windows open (two on different role-plays of mine, one on EBay, one on some sort of dumb 'What is your true personality' quiz, and then another on Google, most probably looking up something stupid and pointless like pimentos). Plus I'll have at least on msn conversation, RealOne player listening to music, which can range anywhere from the Darkness to Mia's Garth Brooks CD collection, depending on how I feel and/or how bored I am with my own CDs, and on top of all that, writing in one of my many fan-fictions, almost all of which are based on either Pirates of the Caribbean or something dumb like pokemon, where I tend to either make random characters have under wraps affairs with each other, or kill everyone off. That is, when it's something other than Pirates of the Caribbean, simply because I have enough respect for the characters to actually try and write something good. But when it comes down to Harry Potter and random Anime TV shows, it's pointless affairs and deaths all the way.

 I really need to get a life.

August 17/04

Raining again.

 School draws ever nearer, as does my doom. I can tell I'm going to hate it, not just because of the uniform thing, but because, let's face it; I'm far from being boarding school material. I'm not rich, or overly smart, nor do my parents travel abroad or own oil companies or are inventers of the toaster strudel or anything like that. I am an average Canadian girl who was sent to boarding school because of her dad's saving up money for emergencies, who doesn't eat milk on her cereal and likes to play her guitar. I do not take ballet classes, or even have a sense of rhythm for that matter. I don't paint. I don't take synchronised swimming. I'm afraid of horses. I suck horribly at croquet. So how am I supposed to act like a rich European girl who is well brought up and cultured if, in fact, I'm not?

 I could tell I was going to hate it as soon as Mia suggested dying my pink hair a normal color, just so I don't attract any unwanted attention. This especially ticked me off when I realised that the people at Ebony Fields are going to try and stomp all the creativity out of me! They're going to try and turn me into a uniform wearing, croquet playing, brown haired clone!

 Well, there's one thing I know for sure; that's not gonna happen, as long as people like me and Coren live.

August 20/04

The weather's the same as it always has been and always will be so it doesn't matter if I put that it's raining or not even when in fact it is still POURING

Ahh! The computer's broken! My link to cultural society has snapped! I swear to god I will go crazy if I can't talk to any of my friends. How will I know what's going on? What if they forget about me? What if Brandon tries to email me about another one of Jenny's boyfriends, all who have histories of being dorky, weird and annoying because she'll go out with anyone who asks (although I shouldn't really be talking, because while she's had plenty of boyfriends, I've only had one and he turned out to be slightly, no very, insane) and I'm not there to laugh about it with him? I won't have any contact with them whatsoever!

 How am I supposed to get new guitar music? I can't very well go out and buy some, because I am totally and utterly broke. And then there's all my groups and role-plays! The computer is my main source of boredom repellent; I can't just break off from it! Not without warning!

 Of course, Chris says that I'm overreacting. But all his friends are here, even pencil-foot. All my friends are in Saskatchewan. He's obviously forgotten the importance of email. I guess I'll just have to break down and write, because I'm sure not going to ring up a huge phone bill talking to my friends about nothing.

 And even worse, Chris suggested that I go hang out with Mia at the troubled teens center she works at. As soon as he said that, I locked myself in my room with my guitar and a can of dr. pepper. It's not that I didn't want to hang out with Mia, it's just the thought of spending my day at a rehab isn't exactly my prospect of fun. I'm may be weird, but I'm not that troubled.

 I am so not overreacting.

August 25/04

Cloudy

Still bored. But I did prefect Alien ant Farm's Glow on the guitar. I've been doing a lot of playing lately. And looking out of my window. And sleeping. I've called Coren a couple of times, he wasn't home. I tried calling my mom too, but she didn't answer either.

 Mia and I did go to the mall for a bit yesterday, only to find that neither of us had heard of any of the stores. I didn't spot one Thrifties, Warehouse One, or Pirates (the really old navy!) store anywhere. Now where am I supposed to get my novelty tee-shirts? But we did have fun, trying on all these weird clothes and trying to count change properly so we could buy lunch (it turns out she knows as much about British money as I do).

 Be right back, Chris is yelling at me for something.

5 minutes later

Good news, I got a letter from Brent!

Dear Karri;

 Hello! I'm afraid to say that I haven't written you in a while. How are you? I hope you're enjoying your stay in England. I'd give anything to be in your place, I've wanted to go there for years. It must be quite the experience.

 Speaking of experiences, Aiden took me to the football game the other day. It was the worst day ever! I'll never take part in it again. People were yelling and drinking, and even the game itself is more barbaric than it looks like on TV. I just don't know how you can waste your time watching people tackle each other and call it a sport! There was even a streaker in between the two halves of the game. It was unbelievably uncalled for!

 But, I'm sure you'll be glad to know, I took your advice and read Interview with a Vampire. Anne Rice is a very talented author, and the book was done beautifully, but to tell the truth, undead creatures sucking each other's blood isn't exactly 'up my ally', as Jenny would put it. Perhaps Brandon should read it, as he's just recently become gothic .Oh, the horror.

 Oh, and guess what? I finished three more chapters in my book. Maybe when your e-mail's working again I'll send it to you. I killed off one of my characters (just like you suggested, and no, it's not the main character), but I won't say who. You'll just have to read it! And I finished reading that Harry Potter story (fanfic I believe they're called) that you wrote. It's very, um… creative. Although I don't think rewriting the fifth book and having Harry die instead of Sirius was very ethical, and neither was making Hermione and Draco having an affair when you made her and Ron get together, but that's just my opinion. And I thought you said you liked Harry Potter?

 I was just flipping through one of our textbooks (I'm very excited about 10th grade!) and found something called 'Schrödinger's Cat'. It's a famous theory about reality and dimensions. Say, if a cat was locked in a box, how would you know if the cat was alive or not before you opened or got near the box? How do you know the cat wasn't living and then died when you opened the box, or vice-versa? And how would you know there was a cat in there until you opened it? It could have been something else until you looked in the box. It's actually quite interesting to think about.

 Anyway, I'm just telling you this because I thought it might make a good band name. Have you met any other musicians? Cerise told me about the guy who got a pencil stuck in his foot and had to go to the hospital. How on earth did he manage that? And how is your cousin Christian doing?

 Well, I guess I should go. Everyone says hello. (Hey, I rhymed!)

         Sincerely,

                     Brent.

August 30/04

 Not raining, but cloudy and windy and humid

Well, Chris finally figured out a way to get me to go to the troubled teens center. They (as in him and Amelia) both had to work at the same time, and I had to choose who to go with, as the cleaning lady was coming to 'Hoover' the place. Chris works at a sporting goods store, so naturally I chose to go with Mia. Showing people tennis rackets and helping kids try on soccer cleats isn't exactly exciting.

  The troubled teens center is this boxlike building wedged between a bowling ally and a liquor store. (This is pretty ironic, because today was supposed to be the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for teens). It was painted lime green, purple and bright pink in an attempt to brighten it up, because other than the colors it was the most nondescript place you could have imagined (from the outside, anyways). The first floor included an information centre, a rec room, a waiting room, and several of the councillor's offices. Mia left me in the rec room, because she's a councillor and everything's kept confidential, so I had to stay away from her office. For a while I sat with some guy with a green Mohawk who didn't seem to be willing to talk and watched TV.  The room itself wasn't all that big, with some couches and chairs and a TV and VCR in one corner and a pool table, air hockey table, and video games spread out through the rest of the room. A coke machine sat beside a table with board games stacked on top of it, and a snack machine sat humming beside my chair. There were various posters of rock and pop stars on the walls (most of whom I had never heard of), and a disco ball hung from the ceiling.

 After a while, my only companion left the room and headed out the front door. I watched Coronation Street for a while, and then a couple of lonely looking girls came in and wandered over to either side of the room. They looked around thirteen years old, and both looked very upset. The one who had sat down at the board game table was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, with her short red hair. The other, who was skulking around looking at the posters, was dressed in surprisingly revealing clothes for someone who looked so young and had long blonde hair. After a few moments of silence, I got up and walked over to the air hockey table.

 I didn't even have to say a word, because they both got the hint and we turned it on. Pretty soon I had played both of them numerous times, and more and more people started wandering into the room. I played them too, and soon word spread to the waiting rooms and upstairs to the single teenage mom's floor, and even to the drug rehab floors, that there was someone in the rec room who couldn't be beaten at air hockey. And it was true, I hadn't lost yet. I didn't think it was that big a deal, but pretty soon I found myself playing game after game, against everyone from the kids with abusive parents to the runaways to the Eminem wannabes and even a couple of councillors. Numerous bets were being placed, although most of them weren't paid.

 Before I knew it, music was blasting and popcorn was being made and everyone forgot about air hockey. I started to get a headache, so I stumbled into one of the councillor's waiting rooms and plopped down onto a puke-green couch.

 A few minutes later a tall girl with multiple piercings and black lipstick sauntered out of the councillor's office, followed by a short young man.

 "Don't forget the calming techniques we went over, Angela!" he said, stopping a few feet outside of the office as the girl wordlessly headed out. "You've seen Anger Management! Goose-frabba!!"

 He was about to go back into the office when he finally noticed me staring at him.

 "Oh, hey." He said, obviously surprised. "Who are you?"

 "I'm here with Amelia." I replied.

 "Ooooh." He replied, nodding as if he were finally understanding something important. "You're her boyfriend's cousin, aren't you?"

 "Yeah."

 "Amelia's a great councillor, very understanding and friendly. That's what people tend to look for here, except for when it comes to Larry, he's just…" He trailed off and smiled, holding out his hand. "You probably don't want to hear about all that. I'm Norm, by the way, and it looks like my five o clock's not coming anytime soon-"

 I snuck a quick look at my watch, and it was five thirty.

 "-so do you want a free session?"

 "You're a councillor?" I asked, momentarily surprised. Sure, all the evidence lead towards it (like him having an office, clients, and yelling 'goose-frabba' at some girl) but, honestly, he didn't look like one. Sure, he was wearing business slacks and those fancy leather business shoes, but he was also wearing a blue Billabong tee-shirt, had long black hair pulled back into a ponytail, and a stud in his eyebrow. Even Mia, who tends to fall into the more 'out there' category, had worn plain jeans and a sweater, and even ditched the contacts for her glasses. But hey, it was free, and it wasn't like I had anything better to do. Besides, he seemed like a nice guy.

 "Whatever." I said, in a perfect impression of an overly troubled teen, and followed him into his office. It looked normal enough, with a desk on one end and a whole bunch of chairs strewn around the room, but there was also quite a few surfing and snowboarding posters on the wall and I caught a glimpse of what looked like a 'Johnny the Homicidal Maniac' comic, which really isn't as bad as it sounds, because Aiden liked them and often lent them to me, and they're actually pretty funny. In a weird, morbid sort of way.

 "So." Norm said, once I had been sitting looking at his office for a good few minutes. "What brings you to England?"

 To my total and utter surprise, I told him everything. I told him about my parents never having been home and Chris and my Aunt and Norman (he laughed slightly at this, because obviously his name was Norman too) and how he had broken into my house and pulled a knife on me so I was forced to come here and go to boarding school. Norm just sort of sat there and nodded throughout the whole thing, and barely even moved until I was finished.

 "I see." He said, leaning back slightly in his chair. "And what about your friends?"

 "What about them?" I asked.

 "Well, who are they? What are they like? What do you like doing with them?" He said all this extremely patiently, which sort of gave me the impression that he didn't mind if I told him the truth or threw a boatload of lies at him, because he knew that just talking about it would probably make me feel better. Had there been anything to feel better about, that is. I mean, it's not like I was super troubled or a runaway or a drug addict or pregnant or anything. I slouched in my chair, thinking for a moment, before deciding to tell him the truth.

 "Well, I really miss them. I mean, it's not like I'm depressed or anything, but still, they were my friends, you know? It feels so weird not being able to see them everyday. I mean, I miss everything! I miss snowboarding with Cerise, even though she's way better than me and has won tons of metals and stuff while I can barely make it down the bunny hill. I miss watching horror movies with the guys and chick flicks with Jenny and going to football games with Aiden and trying to understand what Brent's saying and making fun of people in the mall with Brandon…"

 I took a breath and leaned back in my chair, staring up at the ceiling. "And I miss how we always drank slurpees outside the 711, even in the winter, and I miss how the guys always rolled their eyes every time we mentioned a guy we thought was hot and, and… I even miss doing homework with them. Really! It's like everything I do reminds me of something I'm missing out on with them, or something I could be doing if I was there, but instead I'm here in the land of a thousand rain clouds."

 I admired Norm quite a lot for not laughing at my previous statement, because even I know how stupid I can sound sometimes, and he just nodded understandingly. "I see. Moving can be really difficult, especially in a situation like yours. What did you say Norman did again?"

 "He broke into my house, stalked me, and threatened us with a rusty knife that my friend quickly took away."

 "Ah. But tell me, have you met any new friends here in the land of a thousand rain clouds?"

 I grinned slightly. "Well, sort of. I did meet this guy in the Ebony Fields store. His name's Coren, he seems pretty nice."

 "And what do you think of Ebony Fields?"

 I groaned. I knew that question would come up sooner or later, since it seems to be one of the only things people talk to me about nowadays. "I think I'm going to hate it, and I'm not just saying that."

  Norm raised his eyebrow. "And why would you say that? Personally, I've never actually been there, but please, explain."

 "Well, in a nutshell, we have to wear sexist uniforms and we can't have pink hair or wear pants. They're going to stomp all the creativity out of me until I'm another mindless clone who thinks about nothing but clothes and boys and would shave their head if someone told them Justin Timberlake thought that bald girls were hot. I bet they won't even let me play guitar."

 "Well, I can see you're a non-conformist." Norm said. "And an opinionated one at that. But that's a good thing, although it's rather unfair that you're judging the school before you've even gone there. Sometimes blending in slightly can be a good thing, especially in a school as, well, um…"

 "Snooty?" I offered.

 "Well, not exactly the word I would use, but okay. Especially in a school as snooty as Ebony Fields. Maybe we can think of ways to express yourself and be creative without multicoloured hair."

 But before we could do that, Mia knocked on the door and said it was time to go. So now I'm back in my room, listening to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's No Quarter CD, and thinking about what Norm said. Maybe he did have a point about the whole expressing myself in other ways thing. I should make a list or something of things I could do before school starts. I mean, I only have six days left (or something along the lines of that). And Mia took the liberty of making a hair appointment to get my hair dyed, and just maybe I'll dye it a normal color, like blond or brown or something.

 But no time to think about that now. I'm hungry, I have to go to the bathroom, and I'm feeling inspired.