Thursday, April 28, 2022

Viking Octantis

 Just finished in 2022. Even has two submarines for guests. Upward bound St Lawrence, April 28, 2022.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Saturday, April 23, 2022

CAPE 2022 - Cornwall & Area Pop Event

Dr. Stevil

Care Bear

Greg Oliver, author, "Who's the Man? Billy Van!" about comedian Billy Van, best known for Hilarious House of Frightenstein. Oliver confirmed the story that I'd always wondered about Van's house, which was on the Scarborough Bluffs but had to be abandoned as the sand slipped out from under it.

Young Joker and Robin cosplayers

And from the next day, April 24:

Mrs Incredible and baby

You Cant Do That On Television original set, with Abby Hagyard

Magician (I don't know if this is a character) John Constantine, Batman and once more Mrs Incredible.

I talked with the sound engineer who saved the set - he told me that CJOH and other CTV station were independent and had their own productions before consolidation under Baton, which is why You Can't Do That On Television, The Galloping Gourmet, Kreskin and many other shows were produced in Ottawa - only Regional Contact, a light news magazine, is made there now.

Late Easter card


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Ofra Harnoy, Mike Herriott, Jeanie Chung after their first live concert since the pandemic.

This cheered me up - I have not seen Harnoy since the Guelph Spring Festival of 1983!
Ofra Harnoy, Cello, Mike Herriott, brass and piano and Jeanie Chung, piano, after their first live concert since the pandemic.


Very typical of her humor! 2019

Krystal sometime around 2000

Still sad about my friend Krystal Watanabe who just died. After her son Hitoshi died of SIDS, she wrote about seeing beautiful snow on birch trees and being sad he could never see it. I thought the same thing about her yesterday when I looked at a double rainbow that stretched across the sky.  She never even made it to 40. I can look at books on my shelf that I bought longer back than she was alive. Even this blog has entries dated older than her.  When she was on the bus to Minnesota a few days ago I played her the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show that has her moving to Minneapolis and ends with the line "You're going to make it after all". She knew a ton of TV trivia and told me that the original  version used in the first season went "You might just make it after all." The less hopeful version was true for her. She died alone in a motel room after the promise of a place had fallen though, with everything she had in a carryon suitcase that I'd bought her for the move. My poor girl. I'm glad I told you I loved you the last time we spoke.

Krystal had given me tons of information about herself, even old newspaper clippings, legal documents and medical reports that I never asked her for and that I otherwise couldn't have found, and I think she recruited me to write her story like she did the writers on her horror site twenty-two years earlier.  She didn't think she would live that long - she'd already had a heart attack when she gave birth, her liver function was seriously impaired by the painkillers and both her parents were already dead. I had written some obituary/news pieces for the Toronto Star, but this is something I hoped I wouldn't have to write.

I friended her because she was bright and had a Japanese name, as I'd been learning Japanese. I  thought she was Japanese-American for a long time and I thought the avatar she used of an elegant woman with long reddish-brown hair was something she'd just found on the web:


Of course, that really was her! I nearly stopped talking to her after I contradicted her on a post where she said  that bonsai meant 'little tree' in Japanese. It doesn't. It just means 'tray planting' and can be other plants or even fungus. She got mad and got personal. For some reason, I felt her anger was coming from some kind of pain, and I didn't stop talking to her. Then I gave money to a cause she had (can't remember what), and she said she was surprised that I did, and just like that we were friends again. And we usually just commented about entertainment and liked each others Facebook posts. She knew so much about really bizarre things - she even liked Miike Takeshi's films, like Audition and The Happiness of the Katakuris.  

"Mark-chan, totemo sugoi desu ne!" "Mark, that's really great!" she says in Japanese on hearing I liked Takeshi as well.
She went to Harrington Elementary in Waltham, a suburb of Boston, a progressive school where she played violin, keyboard, xylophone and drums, something she kept up on even in Japan:

And she said she got hit by her 3rd grade teacher for going on about Rush Limbaugh!

Her family moved to Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in 1992. She was a very competitive sportswoman, even playing football and loved hard contact on the field. There's a newspaper article from 1994 (The Revue, October 21, p. 15) showing a mop-haired Krystal holding a bowling ball, after she was the top scorer in her age group in the Atlanta region. "The boys think they're going to beat me because I'm so much shorter than them - No, they usually won't talk to me after I beat them. They usually just walk away" and the article goes on to describe a 6'4"17 year old stalking away after she beat him. She said she wanted to go to the Olympics in 2000 and become a meteorologist. "I like tornadoes and hurricanes.", like here in California in 2011: 

 A quarter of a century later she still did, and stood out in a thunderstorm in Arizona: 

Roseville High School, some time around 2000
thanks to Music

They moved to California and she finished high school and lived with her father Fred Krampits, who died last year, until she was 30. Her dad was a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard (Her grandfather helped develop Bose's waveguide technology), and she taught herself HTML and other code. "He basically turned me into a little girl version of him with better tits." she said. She used computers her dad had his company donate to the school in the second grade and she'd been on the Internet since the 90s. "The Internet was the wave of the future and my dad instilled that and he was right. So I taught myself HTML and Graphic design, picking the things that fed my creative urge without getting on a stage. I could do it in my pajamas too." In the early 2000s she had been a webmistress (her words) for Horrortalk, where she wrote under 'Krystal Lake' (like in the Friday the 13th series) 
Her Krystal Lake avatar from Horrortalk

and for DVDTalk, HorrorDNA and HorrorDvdTalk (She explained how they had to change names somehow, or joined together, but I forget her explanation). Fittingly for someone writing about Horror and Sci-Fi, she'd gone to Roswell High School in Georgia. (Also the confusingly similar in name Roseville High School in California.). She used the handle "Whogirl", not for Dr. Who, but for The Who. I asked her why someone so young knew anything about bands that were big in the 60s, and she said she spun a lot of her dad's LPs at home. He had one of the earliest 7.1 sound systems at home.

She had a whole series of these - some as a schoolgirl. Early 2000s
thanks to Nick Danger

She described herself as a shut-in, and avoided going out, unless at night to feed stray cats, but went to about 300 concerts, and media events. She liked dressing sexy, but it drew unwanted attention and jealousy, and I said the busty figure she'd developed in her twenties (even in her late teens she'd been thinking of getting implants) seemed to be a drawback as well as an advantage. She answered "When they are a fucking E cup they can. Blessing and curse I would not change. Their name is officially 'my backstage passes'" and said she usually could walk through security to meet celebrities. She'd made friends with many people in the entertainment industry, like Eric Burdon of the Animals and Steve Hibbert of the movie Pulp Fiction. 

Krystal with Eric Burdon

She'd even been in a short movie called "Clean" (2002), before she moved to Misawa in Japan. She lived through the great Tohoku earthquake in 2011, and when the the tsunami was rushing in, they took off for higher ground and she remembered that "I filmed a goodbye message to my family while we were driving,  telling them that I died happy and “I had a good run.”  I stand by having had a good run. 🤷‍♀️
We made it to his friend’s house and about a half hour later we felt what we thought was a big aftershock,  but turned out to be the tsunami hitting.  **That** felt different than a normal earthquake,  and there was a sound to it that I can’t describe.  Deep, watery thunder in the Earth.  It was dark where we were.  It felt like it echoed. " 
Before I got to know her well, I thought she was either military or military family, since there is a large US base in Misawa, where by coincidence her father was born. In fact she lived with her Japanese boyfriend in an old discothèque,  which she loved, and started raising staghorn and other beetles, which are popular as pets in Japan. 

Krystal in wedding kimono, c. 2013

I think her life was happy in Japan and she talked about wanting to go back there. She  married another Japanese man and moved to Detroit, where she lived until last year and had a son named Hitoshi, and she light-heartedly announced on Facebook that everyone should say "Hi, Toshi" to introduce him to the world Sadly he would only live a few weeks and this I think was her biggest blow.

She took this photo from this blog and used it as a model for her own painting and sent it to me. I realize the photo would have been taken when she was 10!

🚤 So, I did something different this time. I used the pencil tool to sketch out Mark Bellis’s wonderful photograph, which he was awesome enough to suggest and let me use. 😁. I’ll post his original picture below with a link to his photography blog. Check him out. Thanks, Mark!!
She made this Facebook video for me. She was only 5' 1" and had back and neck pains:

And her Christmas Card to me for 2021:

And looking back on our Facebook posts I see she told us she wanted 

"Always look on the bright side of life" by Monty Python played at her funeral.
She'd organize game nights online for her friends. and, oh, could she be funny! 
Letter from Hell, Michigan.
And being Mrs. Roper from Three's Company.
Photo and video from Jennifer

I'm going to talk about some dark stuff after this which involves abuse, suicide, child loss and drugs, so if you've had problems with these things, please stop reading. She already spoke about these things on her Facebook, but I'm trying to give them some context and avoid giving publicity to someone who caused her a great deal of harm.

I was Facebook friends with her since 2016, but I never spoke to her until the middle of last year. I really wish I'd gotten closer sooner or realized how bad things were going for her earlier. She called me most days that she could, but it was her doing nearly all the talking - she got scared of being alone and sometimes asked me to leave the call on when I slept. Although a shut-in, being alone also scared her.   She'd been in solitary after being arrested and that made her hallucinate. She said she'd had chronic back pain since a cop had thrown her up against a wall hard, I think at a bowling alley, when she was 12, and this got worse after an attack by a German Shepherd which gave her thoracic outlet syndrome and a fear of dogs. She burst into tears when she could not turn the key to open her door because of the pain. She used large amounts of painkillers since then, and her health suffered greatly. I think that this was the cause of her problems - she was unable to rest properly and spent hours pacing around her room - lying down would be so uncomfortable and she'd pop back up again - she'd often go 24 hours without sleep and then crash for a few and start the cycle over, and the lack of sleep probably made her have the angry outbursts that alienated her from her friends. She said she actually did better on codeine as an analgesic along with marijuana - both are available without prescription in Canada.
She was on the pill and did not know she was pregnant for a while - she did not want to carry the baby to term, but she said she did it because her husband wanted her to. Her pregnancy was high risk, and she developed gestational diabetes and extremely high blood pressure. 
The loss of her son hurt her badly, and her enemies trolled her over it, called her "Krystal WantedToHaveABaby" and other things. She blamed herself for his death. Since her son had failure to thrive and was not growing, she felt that because she wanted it to be over, she'd wished her son's death, and she had to put his body into the crematorium herself, following Japanese custom. She kept the hurt closely hidden, but she'd get into fights with people online like in her old DVDtalk forum, which she returned to in 2019 after years away to criticize old members who she said mistreated her at the turn of the century, and was expelled from a Facebook group we were in over a fight I never understood with someone.

She made enemies. Reddit, c. 2015

She got into a fight with her husband, went to jail, (her enemies put her mugshot online) then was homeless, which meant she had to leave a shelter at 7 A.M., and wander around until 7 P.M. when the shelter reopened.  It was getting cold so she checked into a mental hospital - then since she was offline people claimed she was dead.
 One of the drawbacks of being a shut-in was most of the people she knew were online and couldn't help her because they were far away from her. At the hospital they gave her a course of ECT, which she said was a condition of her being discharged "Physical pain is one thing. Mental pain is worse. I try to hide it and hate talking about my brain trauma. But it’s true. I had a serious medical procedure that tinkered with my brain. I’m so frustrated and this shit is why I think dark shit. When your brain feels broken you’re trapped in Hell." she said. She said the ECT left her with brain fog and even two and a half years later she had trouble with numbers and other basic tasks. And the worst was to come, as she hooked up with a guy who was dying of cancer and she said she got into a suicide pact with him. He wanted her to finish a book he'd been writing (he originally dedicated it to a former girlfriend) that was a bad William S. Burroughs pastiche - the idea was he'd kill himself, then she'd follow him after the book was published - he'd written out a list of famous suicides, including Hitler and Eva Braun, favourites of his, and added his and her name to it.  He'd gotten her to stop taking her psychiatric medications and start using heroin too, a goddam greyish powder that he fatuously called 'China White'. Krystal said to a lot of people he died in her arms, but she said to me she found him dead after she came back from the store after he snorted a large amount of heroin.  "I did the same as I talked to God about killing my only son." but the dose didn't kill her, and she flushed all the dope left before calling the police. He was heavily into BDSM as well, and put her on a fetish dating site, with a user name that was from a Nazi antisemitic phrase which he spelled wrong. He made her adopt a new Facebook name and put a phrase on her page he'd had tattooed on his arm in Gothic letters under a German eagle that was his name for the area of North America that would be ethnically cleansed of Non-whites and Jews after the racial holy war neo-fascists believe is coming. She even let him get away with mocking her dead son's Asian features by saying "'that kid is not white! Sorry. Your husband diluted your gene pool' and that I lost the genetic battle in this war.", even though her son had the same reddish-brown hair as she did. She acted like a teenager with an abusive boyfriend, explaining all of his behaviour away as jokes or acts of a genius the rest of the world couldn't understand. She even wore his clothes and jewelry and a friend said it was like he was looking out from her eyes months after he died.
She'd developed violent sexual fantasies for that guy's entertainment and acted some of them out. Some were deeply racist or pedophilic as well. She always had an odd relation with sex - she liked being sexy but she said to me "Do you know what it's like growing up with literally everyone wanting to fuck you silly and rotten? Everyone. No one does not want to fuck me and I hate it. From age 11."
She thought that the book she was supposed to get published, which was just a collection of notebooks written out in pen, would make her a fortune, although he never had any success as a writer. She spent the last months of her life talking and posting obsessively about him.
As part of her 'experience' as a writer she wanted to try IV drug use like he did, but as far as I could see from the photo she'd shown me, she'd missed the vein. She'd also started an online relationship with an Aryan Brotherhood member that that guy liked and said she was being an 'embedded journalist'. I was trying to help her out of Detroit and paid for her flight to Wyoming, where she stayed with a friend. She got into a fight with her as well, and then jail and hospital. She stayed at another person's place, but became very delusional. She said she'd been held at someone's house and raped and beaten, losing one tooth. She was hospitalized again. I tried to get her a place in the town where the hospital, the Wyoming Behavioral Institute, was so she could recover her passport and try to get into Canada, but the hospital would only discharge her if she got on a bus leaving town, and she was discharged without any follow up plan for recovery, she said.


 At 4.15 am local time on April 1 she sent me 12 messages on Facebook, but then unsent them. I didn't ask about that when we spoke later, but she was upbeat and was happy that her brother and his wife had contacted her. She spent time with him during her childhood, and proudly showed me a picture of him with his daughter who looked exactly like her at that age. She also has a second half brother by another mother that she only learned about later in life. She had been estranged from her family, and I kept encouraging her to get in touch with them again. She was also distraught that her divorce decision did not provide support - she'd filed an online response, but the court did not seem to have gotten it - she said her grandfather sponsored her husband for US citizenship in exchange for a promise he'd always support her. 
I don't know yet what happened - she was not despondent when I spoke to her, but she'd had a fight on the phone later on that day with her friend. She was struggling with mental health problems and was not getting any treatment - I was trying to get her help from agencies in Minneapolis. I tried to get her into Canada in the fall but she wouldn't get vaccinated. She listened to Joe Rogan and also believed the hepatitis vaccine might have caused her son's death. But when she did get vaccinated in March she had lost her passport. When she got to Minneapolis I suggested that she move close to the border where I live so I could help her get aid and a new passport, but she wanted to try Minnesota.

Krystal Lee Watanabe, born June 19, 1982, Lexington, Massachusetts, died April 1 or 2, 2022, Bloomington, Minnesota.

Krystal leaving Wyoming for Minneapolis, March 25, 2022
It is the latest photo of herself she sent to me, with the greeting:

"Hello bitch.

I’m back in the saddle again."

She's smiling here but is using a scarf to conceal her missing tooth. She was feeling positive about starting a new phase of her life.
I like this photo because it shows her without filters as she was, a 39 year old woman sprouting some grey hairs who had been through hell but resolved to give life another shot.

Lessons Learned:

I learnt that, though trying to help somebody who was mentally ill is exhausting, it opened me up to new perspectives - I'd do it again.
BUT I'd get more support and try and network with her other friends to help her.
 I should have asked what was really wrong, after a cooling off period, when she got nasty to me over bonsais. 
Keep checking - unless you know for sure they're in a safe place, they might not be - I thought she was back in the hospital when she was really in danger.
You can try your best and still not save them.

One thing she used to say was that she was related to Nazi leader Hermann Göring - sometimes she'd even say she was his granddaughter or grandniece. Records show neither Göring or his brothers or sisters were her ancestors, but one of her ancestor's maiden name was Goering, which is a common German name, and she was born in 1873, well before Hermann's birth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Homeless camp, Brockville

 Right by the Stewart Blvd exit to the 401 - they have been there throughout the winter - one I spoke said they weren't homeless, just camping. About 15 tents.

Crocuses 2022


Sugar Shanty


Sugar shanty -  distinctive roof helps to get rid of the water vapor.

Sugaring off in the spring - the syrup has a delicate floral scent, like strawberry flowers.

Summerglen Maple Products, 5920 County Road 27, South Glengarry, ON, Canada, Ontario