HIM

Music was always very important to me. Some of the first music I really loved was The Doors, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I realize that they were in part, my mothers influence. The first band I found on my very own, was HIM. Which of course, led to a lot of other Finnish bands, like The Rasmus, The 69 Eyes, and Negative. But HIM was always special to me.

I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I saw them live once, as well as The 69 Eyes and The Rasmus, and I gotta say, HIM doesn’t hold a candle to the others, as a live band. (I know, I can feel the guns lock and load here, sorry.) Still, I “found” HIM in 1999, when I was just a teenager, and going through a very tough time, trying to find out who I was, what my place in life was, what I was good at, and most importantly, desperately fighting to save my severely abused horse, Poseidon’s life. I am honestly not sure I would have pulled through those years, if it had not been for HIM.

It may sound dramatic to say, but in the equestrian world, as the teenage girl with the crazy horse, you are utterly alone. Hell, in the equestrian world, as the girl with the top competitive horses, you are still alone, as one of my friends proved, by hanging herself at a young age. I guess I found a sanctuary in music in general, but especially in HIM, because of their lyrics.

One of the first reasons why I learned to operate a computer, and go online, while we were still dialing up for connection, was so I could stalk HIM’s website, Heartagram.com. That was back when it was an awesome place where fans shared pictures and stories. I even had a picture of Apollon and me, wearing the heartagram on our saddle pad at a competition, on the page for a long time.

I remember when they released Dark Light, and we still had the slowest internet connection. They redid the entire page, and my computer simply could not load it anymore. That was a terrible time. As much as I loved the music, Heartagram was a second home to many of us.

I guess that what I’m saying is, that I’ve followed these guys religiously for most of my adult life. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way, not much at least, but I’ve soaked up every little bit of information about them there has been released online. Yes, I tend to obsess.

With the change in record companies, the band lost the Heartagram.com page, which effectively killed it.  I don’t think it has been updated for two years now, but then we have face book and twitter and you know… We make do, gathering in groups from all over the world, sharing news among ourselves, even creating street teams of our own.

The band hasn’t released a CD since 2013, around the time Ablaze was born, that’s why I remember, and I guess that it is not a huge surprise, with the recent loss of their drummer, that they are announcing their break up now, but still. A small part of me was hoping they would just become a studio band, releasing a CD once in a while…

Instead, they are going on a last tour this year. I am pretty torn about that. On one hand, I want to go see them one more time, and on the other, I really don’t. I can’t imagine it not being horribly sad. This is not a band I want to say goodbye to. Not ever. And truth is, I don’t have to. I’ll always have their music. They just won’t make anything new anymore. And I guess that is okay too.

It has taken me a while to write this, because on one hand it hit me kind of hard, losing hope that they would ever release a “Love Metal Archives Vol 2,” for instance… And on the other, I guess it is the best for the band members, which we have sorta known for a long time.

So this is not goodbye, not really. This is not letting go. This is just accepting change, and holding on to the great music they have already given us. With a little luck, there’ll be more in the future, even if it won’t be labeled “HIM” anymore. Their guitar player already released two solo albums as Daniel Lioneye. So, who knows.

I’m struggling here, to find the perfect HIM song to end this post with, because truth be told, they are all awesome, and so many of them comes to mind. Being unable to choose, I’ll just post the song that I came across one morning in 1999, on MTV, at 3 am, as I was getting ready for my paper route. The song that changed my life forever and introduced me to a world of wonderful music and Finnish bands. Not to mention, introduced me to my amazing HIM’ster friends, who by now, are closer to me than most of my family.

Join Me In Death.

Thank you guys. Sincerely. Thank you for everything. Best of luck in the future.

And you know what, that is unfair, because that song was before Burton, so, I’ll have to post this one as well. Just cause. I wish I had a box like that 😛

I guess I do. It’s called youtube. *Sigh*

Oh, wow. I thought I could be an adult about this. I’ll miss you guys. I really, really will.

And I take it back, the http://heartagram.com/ page has been updated, to fit the final tour dates. That kinda makes it extra sad somehow. *Sobbing*

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Free Fantasy

Quick note that ALL of my fantasy books are free to download today, and all weekend, including Monday. So, three days from now 😉

And by all my fantasy books, I mean all my e-books, excluding Surviving the Equestrian World.

Look up Veronica Merlin on Amazon, or, browse through them via this link; https://starstonestenfalk.wordpress.com/e-books/

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Surviving The Equestrian World

Surviving the Equestrian World is free to download as an ebook on Amazon, right now 🙂 Check it out, and do please share.

Cover Saleem

Surviving the Equestrian World;

http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Equestrian-World-Veronica-Merlin-ebook/dp/B00JYFNEIC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412979780&sr=1-1&keywords=surviving+the+equestrian+world

And no, you don’t have to know a lot about horses, or want to learn how to train them, to read this book, although it is written mostly for the competitive rider, who want’s to train with kindness.

Starting tomorrow, all my other ebooks will be free for three days, except Surviving the Equestrian World, so if you are browsing Amazon and come across something else I have written that you might find interesting, look me up again tomorrow.

Or, simply find them here. Remember time difference.

https://starstonestenfalk.wordpress.com/e-books/

 

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On Men And Women

One of the trainers at my gym is a fairly young girl. She told us a little story today, about how she has started working the reception as well, not just training. That kind of work entails checking up on the bathrooms and the dressing rooms. Fine, right? It’s a job like any other, you go in, make sure there is paper in the stalls, stuff like that. Simple.

Or well, as it turns out, not so much. Aside from checking up on the women’s dressing rooms, she has to check the men’s as well. So she knocks the door, and ask if they are decent. They answer yes, and she comes in, keeping her eyes down, and even shielding her eyes with her hand, really, really not wanting to catch a glimpse of “something” anywhere.

She does her thing, checks the paper and is about to leave, having been in there for possibly 35 seconds, when she turns around and comes face to face with a completely naked dude.

Clearly, from the way she was telling it, she did not find it funny, as she had just asked if they were dressed, and they had said yes.

This has happened every time she has had to go in there since, mostly the same guy, but others has been joining in as well. One of them even commented as she was leaving that they just “made her day.” Being polite, and AT WORK, she didn’t feel that she could tell them that they so did not make her day at all.

I will admit, when she told the story, I smiled, like everyone else in the room, but it stuck with me when I went home. The things women has to put up with, and the way we don’t even support each other, when we are in trouble. In a room full of women, not a single one of us told her not to accept that kind of behavior from anyone. We laughed, because it was sort of funny, the way she told it.

I mean, I know its a dressing room, and accidents happen. If it had been once, or different guys, one could say that it was just bad luck that she had seen them naked. But this actually feels kind of criminal to me, the more I think about it. This girl is at work, and these men are flashing her.

Imagine if they did that to the girl working at the convenient store. They’d get arrested, wouldn’t they? So why must she put up with it? She did not sign up for having their private parts flashed in her face, by agreeing to make sure their bathrooms has paper. She has no choice but to go in there, time and time again. It is her job.

Only, really, it isn’t. It shouldn’t be. I don’t know how management at the center would feel if she actually told them, I hope they’d be supportive of her, but really, she won’t complain. She is way too uncomfortable about it. I’d be surprised if she ever tells anyone again, since none of us told her not to put up with it when she told us.

I might have to bring it up the next time I see her, for my own peace of mind, because I can’t shake the feeling that I let her down greatly.

“We just made her day.”

This girl is in her early, (very early,) twenties. What the fuck kind of way is that to behave around her, and talk about her? What kind of men thinks they are so amazing that they need to force their nudity on little girls? Perverts? Or is it such a common thing that men thinks we really want to see their penises?

Dirty little truth is, guys, we really don’t. We are pretty selective with how and when we wanna look at male genitalia. And having it flashed in our faces when we are at work…

Well….

In a time where people are talking about transgender people using the bathrooms, and how women don’t feel safe, having a man around, this feels pretty relevant.

Really, it is not the men, who identify as women, we have a problem with. It is those who identify as men, but who needs validation from women to feel like a real man. They are the ones some of need protection from. Especially young, shy girls. Who just wants to do their jobs.

I’m not sure I ever really understood the whole bathroom debate until now. To me, having unisex bathrooms was never an issue. Or, if a girl who may not be female anatomically, should use the women’s dressing room, then it really isn’t my business what is in her pants and I hope I’d be hard pressed to find any woman who would feel threatened by that.

But clearly, some men can’t be trusted around women. That really is the problem, isn’t it? That we, as a society, needs to raise our men better? Teach them not to violate women? And teach our daughters not to accept it?

I don’t know. This whole story has me wanting to hang out with her at the reception, waiting for the flashers to show up, so I can ask them if they usually flash little girls, or if they somehow think that she is special because her job puts her in a vulnerable position. But I guess that is not the way to go either. That is not my fight. Not my place. But I should have told her not to put up with it. I hope I will. Otherwise I am joining in a culture that raises women to accept and put up with abuse. I never thought I’d find myself here. I guess I was raised in that culture as well…

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Zumba

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to write anything at all, so it’s not just this blog that has been silent. Or, well, my head is never silent, I always feel my characters following me around, waiting for me to get back to writing their story. But, that is so not what this post is about.

No, it’s about Zumba. Ha, yes, you read that right. I started working out about 6 months ago, and one of the things I’ve found most challenging is Zumba. Or, most of the dance routines they have at my gym. So, naturally, I got kind of obsessed, because it bothers me that I suck at it.

The funny thing about Zumba is that you have to read people. The instructor, generally, gives no instructions, she just does her moves, and you copy her and hang on. I could feel my little brain cells jamming in my head at first, running around in wild panic up there.

I was pretty surprised by that, because all my life, I have been reading body language. Horses, people, it has been my job, more than anything else, to read body language, and respond to it, fast. But to copy it… Oh, my.

I mean, the horses I have worked with, I have had to read them and respond to them instantly, to avoid getting killed or injured, and mostly, I haven’t failed at that. (I’m not dead yet…) And I have had to read the owners of the horses as well, to help them figure out what they did wrong, if their horses were “acting up.”

Long story short, I thought I was good at body language, and responding to it. Turns out, I am a ninja horse, and a lousy human.

But Zumba is fun. I can always feel my spirits getting up whenever I dance, no matter if I am lousy at it or not, and by now, after 6 months of practically making sure to dance almost every day, I am not horrible at it anymore. Some instructors are easier to follow than others, but still. My brain is starting to catch up, making my body respond to human body language. Imagine that.

One thing that caught me off guard about Zumba, is how sensual it is. Again, some instructors more than others, but they usually all include shaking your hips and shaking your chest, and stuff like that, which is way out of my comfort zone.

And, add to that, you kinda have to find your inner girl, as most of the moves are very feminine as well. That is scary, for someone like me, who has been the alpha on my pasture since I was a teenager. Shaking my hips and twirling on the spot? Come on, that would get me killed in a second, if I did that next to Poseidon… Or Marble… And shaking my chest, does that mean that I have to acknowledge that I actually have breasts now? Cause mostly, I’ve been ignoring that since I was a teenager. They were ever, always, just in the way, when I was working with the horses.

So yes, this has been an amazing journey for me. And it’s not over yet. I ran into a male instructor lately, and he is, well… Very hard to follow, first of all, and second, he is waaaaay out of my league. I mean, if I thought I had found my inner girl, I realized I was wrong when I came across him. He is so feminine, I can only stare at him in wonder, most of the time.

One of the downsides to always reading body language, is that even if I have a hard time copying it, I pick up on every little detail, all the time and this guy is so amazingly distracting, I don’t think I’ll ever learn to follow his routines.

So, of course, I must follow his classes obsessively. I cannot accept that I am being out-girled by man.

He is a very popular instructor, especially with the old ladies, which is something else that has me distracted quite a lot. They all seem to find him adorable, and when he high-fives them, they blush and talk about how soft his hands are, which has my brain instantly jumping to all kinds of gay fan fiction I may have accidentally read. I can’t help it. He has soft hands. Come on… How is that not going to make one miss a step?

And it’s not like he is especially subtle about his sexuality. He easily spends an entire class flirting with a man outside the window, somehow persuading him to join us in the end, which I can’t help but be impressed by. He sure got skill. But I cannot focus on dancing when the entire AO3 (Archive Of Our Own, the place for fan fiction writers- don’t ever go there,) and Tumblr are screaming in my head.

That is my problem, of course, that his sexuality distracts me, and I am so trying not to let it. I will do better. I will.

He was filling in for one of my favorite instructors the other day, and it was kinda funny seeing him in an environment that wasn’t his own. At his own classes, he is very confident and very sensual, and every one in the room stare at him like he is a lost puppy, except for me, who is trying not to laugh when he says stuff you only hear in the gay community, and no one gets it. He speaks English, so I have a sneaking suspicion that the old ladies don’t get half of what he is saying, and that the other half, you have to be a crazy person like me, to get what they implies.

Anyway, as a sub teacher, (seriously, no pun intended,) he was way more shy, and the girls at this class mostly looked like I feel when I look at him. He is out-girling us? What the…

And again, I am way more busy studying others than actually keeping up with the dance moves. Damn my brain. One day, I’ll learn to ignore him as well, and just dance. One day.

I’m not sure there is a point to this post. Mostly, I just wanted to sit down and write again, other than go out and battle pokemon gyms with my team, or hang out at a fitness center, trying to learn how to be a human. Mostly, I am just delaying opening the file for the book I am currently writing on, because I know I’ll have to make some tough decisions about the story and the characters soon, and I really don’t want to do that, so I dodge as much as possible.

In all fairness, Zumba has helped me a lot lately, as I’ve been going through a tough time and it has never failed to make me smile, one way or another. That is kind of priceless, to me. The boyfriend and I are moving in a few months, which means that I’ll have a lot longer to travel to the fitness center, but I really hope I won’t quit it. Somehow, learning to be human, can’t be that bad, can it? And I still have a lot of studying to do…

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Joy

I was on the bus yesterday, going to the harbor for the sole purpose of playing Pokemon Go while the valentines event is going. Yes, you read that right.

While on the bus, I was of course, playing, watching my little avatar run like crazy to keep up, and as amusing as that is, I cannot tune people out. I hear every word that is said, in every corner of the bus, no matter how much I try not to listen.

There were these two persons, a man and a woman, sitting a little while away, one of them charging her phone from the bus. The man suggested that she just got a power bank for it, that way she could play Pokemon Go as well. She instantly shut him down, and told him that that game was so stupid, she’d never even consider it.

Meanwhile, I was sitting with my powerbank, very obviously playing, a smile creeping onto my face, when he answered. He said he had played, you know, when the game was new. He even took part in some of the city march events. Geek alert, right? But of course he was so not playing anymore. Stupid game. Really.

It is funny, isn’t it? How someone who doesn’t know the game can, not just take away your joy for the game, but also make you deny ever having liked it in the first place? Geek alert? Really? Through out the conversation, they were playing some other game on their phones, clearly very into that, both of them. So what if you are a geek? That just means that you have found something you like and that you are willing to spend your time on getting good at it.

A lot of my friends, who play Pokemon Go, tend to do so after dark, or in secluded areas, and if confronted by strangers or even people they know, they say that they are only playing on their kid’s account, you know, to help them out a bit. They hate when people look at them funny.

I always thought that was part of the fun, with a game like that. Having people look at me funny. Yes, I play, yes it is MY account, and if I had a kid, it was so NOT touching it. This is my game and I am darn proud of it. Yes, I am a geek with a very obsessive personalty and I don’t mind that people shake their heads at me when I meet them in the streets because I have to run off and catch a nearby pokemon all of a sudden.

What I do mind, is people who have no idea what they are talking about, trying to kill the game for someone else. Like the girl in the bus, who clearly thought it was stupid, and the boy who instantly felt that he had to agree. That, I despise.

I have grown up with My Little Pony, and it is rare people I can tell that I collect, watch the show and play the game obsessively, but those who do not flinch when I do, they are the ones I know I want in my life. Anyone who shake their heads at the My Little Pony game, instantly lose my respect, because they doesn’t know it and they judged it based on one thing only. It is a game, and a series, made for girls, and clearly, girls are not cool in their eyes. I have come across a lot of people as well, who I have told about the pony game, and who has instantly shrugged me off, and belittled it, until I told them that my boyfriend plays it too. Then they wonder if it is any good.

That pisses me off. So, if a boy plays it, it must be good, but if a girl play a game made for girls, it must be stupid? Am I getting this right?

What they are really saying is that his opinion is more valuable than mine, simply because he is a man. Isn’t that wonderful?

It is so easy to belittle others and what they like. I had a friend tell me on instagram that I should play some other game, rather than “that silly Pokemon Go” game. I will never understand why people need to say stuff like that. Clearly, I am LOVING Pokemon Go, clearly I am obsessing over it, playing it night and day, why tell me that it is silly?

It may be silly to you, but keep it to yourself, because to ME, it is the most amazing thing that has happened in a very long time and if you really were my friend, you’d have no need to tear it down, now would you?

The thing about Pokemon Go is that it can be played alone or as a multiplayer game. I love spending days alone, walking the streets of the city, collecting potions and poke balls. I love how it makes me get up and go, rather than leave me in my bed, drowning in my depression. I love how this game makes me fight, makes me build something, and most of all, makes me go outside in the freezing cold.

I love too, how my team is amazing at meeting up and reclaiming “our” gyms when they are lost. I love how I have met a gang of people almost as obsessive as me, and ready to run out at 2 am to battle down a gym, just because. I was never really the kind of person to have a lot of friends, and I am not even sure if my team are my friends as we hardly know each other and I am not sure what most of them looks like in daylight, but they sure are people I love spending time with. People who needs to know nothing about me, or my life, as long as I show up when they need a soldier. People who show up when I call, because I need back up with a gym. That is priceless to me.

I apologize for this little rant, I guess hearing those two on the bus got under my skin. Not because of the game, nothing anyone can say will ever make me lose interest in what makes me happy, but because of how we treat each other. That just gets tiresome. I felt so bad, on the boy’s behalf. And at the same time, I felt angry with him, for not telling the girl to shut up about something she knew nothing about.

So, once more, YES, I play My Little Pony and YES it is a game/show and toy series made for GIRLS which is what makes it AWESOME! And Yes, I play Pokemon Go and I LOVE it and now I’ll be off to catch some fairy Pokemon before the valentines event is over. And walk with my buddy while it gets extra candy. Buja. No wait, I have to tap a few ponies before I go…

But it this is that makes me happy, anyone who is my friend, should be happy that it does, and have no need to shoot it down. Killing joy is so easy. Spreading it is very easy too, if one stops to think before they speak once in a while.

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Ibn Saleem

Since my Samsung won’t cooperate with my computer, I have a bit of a backlog of pictures that I haven’t showed yet, because I have to transfer then via the network and the Dark Mare computer. So, I guess it’s time for some pony spamming.

I know I have been posting pictures of Tardis a lot lately, since with her Cushings, her transformation after she started on medication, has been amazing, but I think it’s time to show off the boys again now.

We have had some changing weather lately. Mostly it’s been cold, and one day, it was really wet and freezing. The boys were cool.

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I love how, since I stopped grooming them everyday, not even Apocalipse runs for cover in the rain. They might seem wet and muddy, but they have never been better than they are now.

And once I feed them inside, they don’t use the real house, but I can lure them under the roof, if hard pressed.

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Yes, Marble too. Look at them, sharing…

Only Tardis does not want to share too much, and there was one day where she was actually so cold, I surrendered and covered her in clothes. I have not done that for years.

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Or well, she usually gets me once or twice every winter. We take it off a few hours later, as soon as it stops raining too much. I am actually very optimistic about her now that she is on meds, and fingers crossed, she will grow just as strong as the others, next year. I know that Cushings destroys the fur coat, so maybe she’ll be tougher next year. I am looking forward to find out.

Because when its not raining, she looks like this;

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So amazing, seeing her like this… Anyway, the boys. Yes.

Saleem is still Saleem…

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Fine motor skills was never his strong side, but he is still improving a lot, after we removed his shoes. Is it two years ago, by now? I think so. He is starting to rear up against Apocalipse now, when they play, and he doesn’t always look like he was pushed into it. That is pretty amazing.

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Although, as far as walking on two legs go, I have never met a horse as natural as Apocalipse. Yes, perhaps his late mother. But this horse… I never tire of looking at him. The raw power, the refined touch, the superior balance… No matter how much Saleem is improving, Apocalipse is one of a kind.

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And he is so careful, not to touch his dad.

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Because no matter how superior Apocalipse is, Saleem is the alpha around here, and Apocalipse does not question that.

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Saleem is perfect at teaching the little boys how to fight without contact. Ablaze is learning too, even though he is not sure he is allowed…

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Nothing compares to what Saleem and Apocalipse has, though. Those two are so wonderful together.

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These are all cell phone shots, by the way. It speaks volumes, how safe I am around them, how careful they are, that I can take pictures like this, with a cellphone and no zoom.

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Which is why there isn’t any pictures of Marble and only “running by” pictures of Tardis. The girls are very much into contact sport, and they are gunning for me, when they get excited. The boys know it too. Here we have the perfect picture of Tardis and Marble attacking each other and Saleem and Ablaze instantly pretending to be invisible.

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When the girls bitch, you stay out of it.

And slink off to play with your son.

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I know its a cell phone shot and it’s kinda blurry, but I have to zoom in on that… Here goes, my Llama;

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And look at that back, on Apocalipse… That horse is magnificent…. Truly… If I may say so myself. And I may. This is my blog. He sure is “Ibn Saleem.” (Translates; son of flawless.)

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