REVIEW: Restless: Living With Chaos

Restless: Living With Chaos is a great debut poetry collection by author Dandy Serenity. It gives us an in-depth look into the mind of the author as she navigates through major milestones in life: graduations, relationships, parental divorce, career path shifts, and everyday shenanigans. Dandy Serenity is open about mental illness in this book, and “Restless” serves as a look into what her daily life is truly like.

Now, now, full-disclosure…I’ve known Serenity for over half of my life, as we went to the same high school and quickly became writing buddies and close friends. In the (gulp!) 15 years that have followed, we’ve remained close, to the extent that she even designed a cover for me upon the release of Bad Con Adventures.

However, I have tried to avoid letting our friendship influence this review, despite what some naysayers may try to claim. In fact, this book actually gave me a greater insight into the mind of someone who I’ve known for so long.

Restless is open and honest. It doesn’t shy away from the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that often run through Serenity’s head, and it displays her fears, victories, worries, and accomplishments in a completely raw fashion. You sympathize with her. You drop your mouth in awe. You nod understandably. It’s that kind of text.

This book is available for purchase on Amazon 🙂

At a mere 48-pages in length, Restless is definitely a rainy-day kind of book. I finished it in one sitting in just a matter of hours. I know what sort of fiction Serenity has bubbling up, and I look forward to seeing what other books she will be releasing down the pipeline. In the meantime, do yourself a favour, and check out Restless: Living With Chaos.

Harmon Warhol’s Latest Album “Stockton Renegade” Pleases With A Hint Of Nostalgia

Rapper, producer, and videographer Harmon Warhol’s latest album Stockton Renegade recently released to all major music platforms. I took some time with this Californian ball of chill energy to learn more about Stockton Renegade, its influences, and what’s next for Harmon and his company, Rebel Activity.

You can purchase a copy of Harmon Warhol’s Stockton Renegade on iTunes today!

A: First of all, congratulations on the new album! Stockton Renegade is the follow-up to 2018’s Infinity Stones. What did you aim to accomplish with Stockton Renegade that differs from Infinity Stones?
H: Thank you. I just want the new one to sound better than the last one. I made some of the songs while I made Infinity Stones. Its called Stockton Renegade because I moved back to STOCKTON about 4 years ago and I drive a Jeep RENEGADE.

A: Let’s give our readers a chance to learn more about Harmon Warhol. Tell me a little about yourself and what helped to birth your love of music and creation.
H: I am Harmon Warhol, Rapper, Podcaster, and Master of Energy. I’ve always expressed myself in different art forms. It’s actually not until graduating college that I realized I want to take music and video seriously. I’d rather invest in my own products and ideas.

A: The album opens up with “Menace 2 Sobriety”, which has a great 90s rap feel to it. I take it–being a fellow 90s kid–that this genre of music had a large impact on you growing up?
H: Menace 2 Sobriety is paying homage to 90’s pop culture in general.  From the references of “Friday” or the Suge & 2pac, Steve Spiffler & I painted what we thought that was. Kriss Liss gave me a west coast vibe because I’m from the west coast. The song was also made 6 years ago. 

A: What is your creative process normally like for a new song, or even a new album? Like your start-to-finish route?
H: I used to write rhymes before the beat, but now the beat dictates the feeling and the concept of the song usually. Then I write whatever words come to mind for that particular topic and then cut out all the fat. As for a project, I will make songs for a certain amount of months until I start looking back and seeing if I have something for a project. For my next project on the sneak tip, Yuck Nasty sent me a pack of beats, and that pack is the next project.

A: There are many great collaborations on Stockton Renegade‘s tracks. Who were some of the artists that you planned to collaborate with, and who turned out to be a surprise?
H: Everyone is honestly a surprise. I made songs without a second verse and just showed them to my friends I rap with.

A: Which collaboration on the album is your favourite?
H: To make it easy on myself, I will say the one with Dialect 🙂

A: Fellow artist D0mino-a-g0-g0–who just released an album of her own in January 2019–produced many of the tracks on Stockton Renegade. This isn’t the first time you two have worked together. How did you meet D0min0, and what is it like working with her?
H: I met D0min0 in the dorms at college. She helped me record some of my first songs. We always kept in touch and our creative chemistry & friendship grew from there. D0min0 & I are blessed to be working with each other because we can fail in front of each other. We are super encouraging and supportive in each other’s ambitions.

A: You made the wise decision to place Stockton Renegade on multiple music websites, so a wide range of listeners could enjoy your album. Which platform seems to be performing the best in terms of listens?
H: iTunes slash Apple. People who support me usually buy the album from there.

A: A lot of your current energy is focused around your label, Rebel Activity. What are your plans for Rebel Activity at this time?
H: Rebel Activity is about pushing the next guy up when they have a product for the table. Yuck Nasty just released his project, and that’s what we are promoting now. I believe I am next up again with an EP, and then Dialect comes out with an album.

A: There’s a little something called the “Harmon Warhol Show”, with episodes featuring great artists and even your mom! Tell me a little bit about the show.
H: THA HARMON WARHOL SHOW is my podcast that I produce and release every Sunday on YouTube. THA HARMON WARHOL SHOW was just an idea, and now it has gotten bigger than I thought. I can’t wait until I have the same guests on more than twice so, so we can talk about life instead of more of themselves. I want to introduce a bunch of people to the world, as well as to myself. I wanted to create a platform and product for me, my guests, and my viewers to enjoy.

A: Whenever I find an album that I love, I can’t wait to see it performed live. There’s just something special about live music… Any hopes for a Harmon Warhol tour in the future?
H: Once Dialect and I finish our next projects, there will be talks of a tour. Besides Northern California, I would want to hit up Los Angeles and Louisville.

A: What does the rest of 2019 look like for Harmon Warhol?
H: I really don’t know. I’m just getting better and look forward to what I create in music or videos. Building the brands of Rebel Activity and Harmon Warhol are my only concerns. I always looked at success in entertainment as STRICTLY God-given, but then I realized a lot of people work hard. That thought alone keeps me creating because you can get better by fucking up and giving a fuck about it to fix it.  

A: Where are the best places for our readers to learn more about you and about Rebel Activity?
H: All you need to do is type in Harmon Warhol on google and all my content pops up. The link on my Instagram is updated with the newest content.

REVIEW: Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

VERDICT: Much better at 29 than at 15
STARS: 5 out of 5

I first read Candy Girl back when it was first released, around 2005 or 2006. I was a sophomore/junior in high school, and I was intrigued by the book. I enjoyed it, but obviously a lot of it went over my head. I remember my best friend and I having to Google a lot of the terms in the book to get through it because we were so young and naive.

Rereading it as someone a month shy of 29-years-old made the book so much better. I’ve lived more, experienced more, and shed my naiveness. I have friends that are or have been sex workers, and “Candy Girl” gives a great look into WHY people start stripping (moneyyyy) and why they continue despite learning to hate the industry (again, moneyyy).

Diablo’s writing is honest, witty, and easy to consume. Her descriptions allowed me to visualize her, the other strippers, and each club where she worked. Johnny and Peanut really made the book whole, as two people who loved Diablo no matter her job description and who just wanted her to be happy.

Whether you value your purity or are a former sex worker yourself, I feel like Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl is a great read for people everywhere, and a great look into a world that many never experience.

You can purchase your own copy of Candy Girl or the audiobook HERE:

7 Ways To Not Be A Twat This Holiday Shopping Season

The holidays are fast-approaching, and with them are all of the juicy holiday sales that we await all year. BOGOs out the wazoo. The “lowest price of the year”. Stores are trying to shove stuff out the door so that there is less for them to inventory in January, and they are willing to give you a mega discount in order to do it.

I can’t be the only person who’s had a private Amazon list going for the past few months, just waiting for the right moment to hit the trigger. Black Friday is coming, folks…

I worked in retail from the ages of 16-to-24. I was a manager from ages 20-to-24. And while a lot of customers are nice, respectful individuals…holidays bring out the WORST in human indecency and entitlement.

Below are several tips to remember when perusing the sales shelves this year, not only for holiday season, but while shopping in general. Follow these, and be the person that Santa always knew that you could be 🙂

  1. Employees do not set the sales prices. Like…at all. That’s not their job. They just work there. Do you feel like an item is priced too high for its value? Either buy it from another store or write a polite letter to the company’s customer service department. Yelling at an employee that “Your shit costs too much!!!!” is not going to magically make them say, “Like OMG it does! Let me just go ahead and lower that for you!” They’re going to roll their eyes, repeat the price to you, and you can either pay the cost or leave the store.

    “yOuR sHiT cOsTs ToO mUcH!!1111!!!1!!” — anonymous customers

    Please keep in mind that it’s not a matter of the employee WON’T change the price for me. It’s a matter of the employee CAN’T change the price for me. Giving a customer an unauthorized discount can result in that employee being fired. Giving you a discount illegally costs the company money. An employee’s ability to put food on the table for their family is not a good sacrifice to save you $5 on Little Suzy’s new doll.

  2. Local businesses are pricier than chain businesses. Keep this in mind before shopping there. The quality of the products at locally-owned businesses is higher than the quality of the mass-produced items soaked in the blood of cheap child labour at an overseas warehouse. Most locally-owned businesses also pay their employees a livable wage and not that minimum wage crap that so many chains offer. Better items and higher pay mean…gasp…higher prices.

    This fruit costs more than the fruit at Wal-Mart. It is home-grown and helps to support a local family. But it also costs more. Keep this in mind before you arrive.

    You get what you pay for, and by shopping local, you are helping to build your community’s economy. If you don’t care about this and just want to save money, then stick with a chain. Even though the owner of a local business could lower their price for you, gentle screamer, they won’t, and they can also tell you to leave without getting fired because your discount is literally taking the money out of their pocket and your let-me-speak-to-the-manager haircut is scaring away all of their other customers.

  3. The “that means it’s free” joke isn’t funny. At all. The first time you hear it as a retail employee, you’ll laugh along with the customer. The second time, it’s a half-hearted chuckle. Any time after that, and you’ll just get glared at.Price tags fall off sometimes. People handle merchandise, and it just happens. That doesn’t mean you get to skip out of the store with our merchandise. And the fact that every customer thinks this is the appropriate joke to make means that we have to hear it multiple times a day.

    Even worse are the customers who aren’t joking. “Well, if there’s not a tag, then I should be able to just take it!” No, Karen, it doesn’t.

    There is a wonderful thing called INVENTORY. It is where we get to count EVERY ITEM IN THE STORE after Christmas to see how many items have gone missing thanks to sticky teenage fingers. If you “just take” our tagless sweater, it is the same as if you “stole” it. It hurts our business. It hurts our raises. And it hurts your wrists when our loss-prevention department handcuffs you.

    Was that sweater really worth it, Karen? Was it? WAS IT???
  4. Want a problem fixed? Be NICE to the employees trying to fix it. As a manager (and even as an associate), if something went wrong and a customer was polite, I would bend over backwards to fix the issue. I authorized discounts. I called other locations to have merch shipped to the customer. I gave the customer coupons. I did everything I could to make sure this customer would know that I was genuinely apologetic and to make things right.

    If someone marched up and was rude, my primary concern became, “What can I say to get this jerk out of my face the quickest?” It’s human nature.

    Look at the face of the cashier. Look at the faces of the patrons still in line. Look at the face of the small child. No one is applauding this woman for raising hell at the checkout line. They are looking at her like she’s being a twat. Don’t be this woman.

    Think of someone being nice to you versus someone being rude to you. Who are you going to talk to the longest? Who are you going to help the most? The nice person, right? Of course! Even if the situation is ridiculous, keeping your calm and being a reasonable human being will get you the best results. Holding an air of I’m better than you and acting like a lunatic is just going to make the employee hurry you out the door with or without fixing your problem. Even if it gets fixed, it could have been fixed better.

    Trust me.

  5. Check the return policy BEFORE you check out. Most stores have special return policies for the holidays. Sometimes, the length of time to return an item is extended further out than normal. Sometimes, it is reduced. If you feel like you may need to make a return, ask what the return policy is. It’s normal. The employee will explain it to you, and they may even write it on your receipt or circle it on the receipt’s printing.

    “No, you cannot return your McNuggets box for a refund, so stop yelling at me!”

    If the return deadline has passed, again, don’t turn into a twat. A lot of times, the registers will not be able to process the return if it’s past the deadline. If the register cannot process the return, then you don’t get a return. Yelling at the poor cashier doesn’t solve that or get your money back.

  6. Don’t cut in line. This one should be self-explanatory, y’all. Lines are long during the holidays. Everyone is trying to purchase their goodies at once, so you will be standing a lot while holiday shopping. Saying this, don’t just shove someone aside to take an earlier spot in the line.

    Sometimes, a visual example is needed, gentle reader. Here is what I mean by “cutting in line”.

    I actually called people out on this and made them move to the back of the line, but I know many stores do not allow their cashiers to do this. Don’t take advantage of stores with lame policies. Follow the rules you learned in elementary school. Wait your turn. If you don’t, I hope everyone in the line makes a stink and embarrasses the hell out of you until you slink away in shame ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  7. If you’re willing to harm someone over a physical item, you need a therapist, not a shopping spree. When I was nine-years-old, there was an incident at the Wal-Mart in my neighbourhood. While early morning Black Friday shopping, a pregnant woman and a non-pregnant woman began to fight over a doll. The women both insisted that they saw the doll first, and neither was backing down. The non-pregnant woman then rammed her bloody shopping cart into the pregnant woman’s stomach, sending her into premature labour.

    The pregnant woman was rushed to the hospital. The non-pregnant woman was rushed to jail. Someone else bought that doll.

    It ain’t that serious, y’all. It’s really not. Y’all need Jesus.

    What the hell is wrong with you people? A doll is not that serious. If it was, you would either have bought it in advance, or you’d go home and buy it online. A doll is not worth potentially killing a baby, and anyone who thinks that it is deserves a very long psychiatric hold.

Would Santa want you to be a twat at the checkout counter? No, he would not. Santa doesn’t give gifts to twats. That’s how you get coal.

I guess you shouldn’t have pushed that lady down in the store, Cindy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Be a good person. Get some gifts from Santa this year 🙂