School was never really a problem for me. I was always much further ahead than my classmates and in the 5th grade, both of my teachers even recommended that I skip ahead to the 7th grade in the beginning of the fall term. The lowest grade I ever got during elementary and middle school was a B+ so yeah, I was the egghead and the teacher’s pet. I never once got a dentation in my life. I was that awesome.
However, I was bullied a lot as a child. In fact, kindergarten is the only time that I was ever happy attending school for this every reason. My mother was a teacher and always managed to help me make the best of things growing up in the same local system that she taught in. Things started getting worse by the time I was in the 7th grade, and continued to get worse through the 8th. My middle school decided to add a wood waste recycling dumpster near the playground for shop class, and one day, I was actually physically assaulted on the schoolyard near the basketball hoops by a class bully who was wielding a 2x4 that he procured from this dumpster.
I had massive black bruises over my ass and shoulders from this attack and it hurt like hell to ride the bus home for weeks as the terrible roads in town bounced me around with those injuries. As high school started to loom over my future, my family was desperately trying to find an alternative to sending me forward with the same people who had beaten me up on a near daily basis for several years. A coworker of my mom’s had a sister who recommended that I be enrolled in a parochial school forty minutes away for a fresh start and a better academic challenge compared to the local system, and just like that I was attending a school that I will refer to as St. Nard’s.
For the record, this coworker’s sister was going to be sending her own son to the same academy and it was seen at the time like “at least you’ll have one friend going in!” but he ended up enrolling in the local high school to her chagrin and I was completely alone in a strange, new world…
Now, I’m not Catholic. In fact, I’m Wiccan. But I know my way around Catholicism and the whole Christianity thing so it wasn’t so weird. At least, I thought it would be fairly simple to navigate. I was so, so wrong! These are the strangest, wildest and in some ways, funniest stories I have about my time at St. Nard’s.
The Dress Code
If you were to go out and purchase an extra starchy dress shirt, a thick bland tie, khaki pants and the itchiest, most flammable sweater you can find, you’d have the St. Nard’s uniform. We actually had two uniforms, the summer and winter versions. What I just described was the “winter version” and that was what we had to wear from late September until the end of April, or as you can tell, the majority of the school year. The summer version was mostly the same except we got a far more comfortable, short sleeve polo shirt instead. Boys could only wear brown or navy blue pants, and girls wore skirts or pants in the same colours.
Dress shirts had to be white, light blue, lavender, yellow or pink. It was generally recommended that boys only wear white or blue, whiles girls could have more options. One of my few male friends dared to wear pink with only a few nasty comments thrown his way, and I wore pink for graduation after years of nothing but white and blue had damaged my fashion sense. That was the closest I ever came to rebellion.
Boys were forbidden to have facial hair of any kind, including peach fuzz, and we had to shave every morning. If an administrator deemed you to have even a single stray hair, you were immediately sent to the main office where you were required to shave again in the tiny adjacent bathroom, using the school’s crappy Bic razor. It was a legend that St. Nard’s had only a single, ancient razor that was to be reused by everyone, but the reality was they replaced it weekly. Yes, you read that correctly. I also have to note that the headmaster, principal and vice-principal heavily enforced this rule and would watch you shave, while they all had thick beards of their own. The lay teachers called them out on this hypocrisy but as you’d expect, nothing was changed.
Girls were subject to some of the most humiliating treatment I had ever seen. It was common to see my female classmates randomly asked to perform the archaic finger and floor test, where they would have to show the all-male administrators that their skirts, were in fact, the proper length. Even those wearing obviously long skirts were checked while the administrators ogled them. If it wasn’t the higher-ups doing this, it was the school’s single, bony old nun whose mind was trapped in the 1930s. I’ll get to her in another post. Even parents made frequent complaints to the school about the skirts, and when I was a sophomore, all the girls in the school were required to attend an assembly on “female decency” (I’d like to see how that would fly with today’s MeToo movement) and the administration considered banning skirts altogether and requiring girls to wear a very restrictive jumpsuit instead. That never happened either.
Regardless of the uniform, we all had to tuck our shirts in. If your shirt was too baggy you were screeched at to tuck it in again. Every morning before homeroom, the halls were filled with a cacophony of religious teachers demanding that our shirts be righted and lay teachers kindly reminding us to do so before the “others” saw them. Those instructors rocked.
There was also a sort of unspoken and rarely enforced rule that made it so a guy’s belt had to match his pants colour. Only the nun seemed to care about this, but if she saw you wearing a brown belt with navy blue pants she would freak out and demand you get a black belt right away.
The dress code became fully draconian my senior year, when the new headmaster came up with a rule that students with “unnatural” hair colours would be sent home until they dyed it back to “normal.” This also forbade girls from getting highlights which caused an uproar, and it was changed so that only “natural” coloured highlights could be worn. I saw two of my classmates kicked out (with a 0 for the day in each of their classes) for having hair that was too blonde or highlights that were too red. This same addition to the dress code outlawed natural hairstyles for the very few black students at St. Nard’s, forcing them to receive distinctly “white” haircuts.
Two of my female classmates had natural red hair, and despite this, they were penalized for having “radical hair colour” which resulted in both of them obtaining blond dye jobs just to conform to the rules. It became that insane.
It is for reasons like the above that I have an enmity towards uniforms and strict dress codes, in addition to my antipathy for their traditional nature of dehumanizing individuals in order to instill control over a group. I was taught from a young age that a uniformed body is a uniformed mind, and that is a dangerous entity to be dealing with. This sort of animosity likely stems from my German and Polish family, who fled to Canada and the United States to escape the pogroms of the late 19th century and the rise of the Nazi party. My great-grandparents, settling in the States from Germany, would hide in their basement when the post or milkman arrived, fearing he was a Nazi spy sent to take them back to Europe.
After high school, I wore a tie exactly five times in fifteen years. If I ever perform in a venue that requires prestigious attire, I will happily wear a dress. You've been warned, Carnegie Hall.
I hope you've enjoyed the first entry in this series of school stories. I have dozens more about St. Nard's and realized while writing this first one that there was no way I'd be able to fit it all into a single blog entry. I'll probably be focusing a lot on high school at first since I have a list of topics to go over, including the time the administration brought in a self-described abortion survivor during our week of mandatory right-wing protests, a speaker who plagiarized a well-known chain email, and a rapping Jesuit priest who told racist jokes to break the ice.
Years ago, I ran a humour blog called Krowness Chronicles. The character of Krowness was a creation of mine dating back to 1999. He began as a fish out of water geek, the son of corporate pirates (literal pirates that drove a land ship and raided skyscrapers for paper booty) who would go on various misadventures in short stories I’d share with classmates well into high school.
By 2007, I was taking a course in writing for the web and part of the class required that I keep a blog and update it daily. The content would be of our own choosing, with a few required writings sprinkled in. I had the idea to make my own comedy platform where I’d rant about tiny nuisances in everyday life, or review strange school scare films and bizarro music. However, I had no idea what to call the blog and just tossed on Krowness as a placeholder. I never got around to changing it, and my musings were gaining popularity (and I was getting a ton of both fan and hate mail, mostly about a one-off article where I whined about my lack of interest in American football), so it stuck.
I ended up rebranding Krowness as a great Space Viking, born of Odin, sent to Earth to defeat stupidity. He was killed in battle on 9 November, 2016 when the powers of idiocy triumphed in a wave of neurological failure emanating from the United States, ushering in Ragnarok. His spirit was briefly sent to Valhalla before he joined his brothers and sisters in the final battle on the fields of Vigrid.
One of the staples of Krowness Chronicles was a jumble of bullshit under the title of “Here Comes [Year]” where I would make unrealistic predictions of the coming 52 weeks. 2012 was a favourite of mine as every other line was “The world will end on 21 December.” Remember that nonsense? I also repeatedly projected/begged that American Idol would be cancelled, it was (eventually) so this legally makes me a psychic.
Now that all my work is under one roof, I feel it is necessary to restart this annual tradition, so here’s what we can expect in 2019!
I'm just going to start by saying that I hate myself. I'll explain this in more detail as this piece goes on, but it is a critical part of my personality that keeps me writing anecdotes, articles and more over utilizing video.
Currently, the denizens of the internet are happier with a video first experience over reading. With the massive growth and popularity of YouTube it is not surprising to see websites originally created in the late 1990s and early 2000s gradually shifting to such methods for the distribution of content. There's nothing wrong with this; it is honestly more engaging and provides people with a way to experience content while multitasking (how often do you play a video just for the sound while you are browsing a different website?), but it's just not for me.
I might be old fashioned, but I simply prefer reading an article or book to watching or listening to one, and it has nothing to do with a certain American leader who may be illiterate or some misguided, narcissistic sense of pseudo-intellectualism on my part. As a result, I also prefer to express myself in writing over producing vlogs or podcasts but there are other issues that I have with myself that are responsible for this approach to communication.
I have a lot of body image issues that prevent me from making video content. When I was a kid in middle school, my weight fluctuated a lot due to the asthma treatments that I was undertaking. In one grade I'd be the tallest and thinnest kid in my class, the next I'd be a pudgy butterball that still managed to tower over my peers. Yes, even the girls. This was due to the overprescribing of prednisone by my pediatrician which is notorious for adding pounds when used frequently. And I was taking a daily regiment for over a year at a time. Yes, this is horrible for your health but they didn't really know any better in the late '80s and early '90s and my pediatrician was awful (she nearly killed me twice with a misdiagnosis of pneumonia and again with the wrong dose of allergy vaccines that sent me into anaphylaxis).
I was given every foul name in the book starting in the first grade and up until high school. By then, I had developed anorexia and was over 18 kg underweight. I was 190 cm and weighed only 65 kg. By my junior year in college, I had gained over 20 kgs after my medication and diet changed. I was just over 95 kg, and this was at the same time I started to make myself more visible online. My YouTube videos were filled with comments where I earned such flattering nicknames as "Tits Boy," "The Rack," and "Shitty Titty."
Today, I am 79 kg and still 190 cm, but I still feel like a bloated, ugly puss bag. The idea of showing myself on camera brings back all those YouTube comments (this was 2008, I was in my 20s and didn't know any better) and the heckling of children on the playground. I get so anxious at the idea of being seen in motion pictures that the only times I allowed it as of late was in Deliverance Chips where part of my face is visible for only a few frames, and for a brief instance when I appear in a Slender Man costume as a gag. Irony.
Adding to my body image issues, my hairline has thinned quite a bit over the past several years. This has been mostly due to exceptional anxiety (see the previous posts about my experience as a stalking victim to understand why) and, again, misuse of my asthma medicine. For most of my life I only took albuterol, and was taking my rescue inhaler and a nebulizer several times a day (14 to 25 for the inhaler, twice a day for the nebulizer). My blood pressure was high, my heart racing and my stress became worse as they fed into one another. As a consequence, I have a thinner spot of hair in the back, and down the middle.
This makes me unbearable uncomfortable. I know it's stupid and vain, but I feel like I'm opening myself up to further attacks based on these sorts of petty things. My hair has been growing back since changing my asthma medication and relaxing more, but it's a slow process. For an example of this, my headshot on this site is from late 2012, and in any recent shoot I've done I always wear my Irish knit hat or a Red Sox cap. There, I've admitted it.
You might think "Well, there's a lot of people out there who don't use actual videos and just speak over images or stream a podcast, try that if you're too picky about your body image!" I hate to break it to you, but of all the things I hate about myself, I hate my voice the most.
I have this odd vocal range. I can sing baritone without any difficulty, but my speaking voice is noticeably that of a tenor. And not just any tenor, but the sort of tenor that has some shrill articulations that make many telemarketers think I'm a woman when I clumsily answer the phone to their hijacked numbers. (And I am all woman and all man. Two spirits!) Every time I hear my voice in a recording, I intentionally use effects in Ableton Live or with the iZotope Nectar plugin to lower its pitch. It's that embarrassing to me!
In addition, I have a speech impediment. I stutter like Bill in Stephen King's It when I get nervous, and when I'm recording video or audio of myself, oh boy am I at the mercy of Pennywise! I often hold over vowels or consonants like "s" while repeating any sounds with a "p," "t," or "b" in them.
However, I don't have to worry about any of this when I'm writing. I have no obligations to try to capture my disgusting figure before the camcorder, and there is no possibility of me stammering. This reduces the need for excessive jump cuts, transitions and other forms of video editing just to share a short anecdote or tutorial. Never mind that it's much easier to just sit down and write over setting up camera equipment, plugging the microphones into the camcorder, adjusting the lighting, iris, and sound to be presentable for the shoot, and then all the editing. This includes colour correction, audio mixing and mastering and much more beyond jump cuts and any wacky filters to emulate whatever gaming channel is popular on YouTube at the moment.
In writing, I am in control. I am confident and I am free to express myself without excessive work in postproduction, or my personal hatred of my horrible body. I have honestly considered a podcast, but am currently missing additional people to collaborate with. That would make recording my voice so much easier if working with friends or colleagues and provide more entertainment while discussing various topics. While there are solo podcasts out there, it's just not something I can mentally or physically do right now. I mean, look at this, I just wrote an entire essay on why I hate myself!
I shouldn't do that. I should end this on a high note like, "I feel awesome no matter what random people say!" But, we all know that's not going to happen. Let it end like this.
Ho. Ho. Ho. Fuck.
Gods, I just want 2018 to end.
This year, without a doubt, has been one of the most challenging I have faced in my life, and comes in around only second to 2004. For the past 12 months I have enjoyed:
It should come without surprise that the Chelmsford Police are now under a massive state and federal investigation, not only for what I have experienced, but for several alleged instances of egregious misconduct throughout the department occurring over the past several years. Similar scrutiny plagues much of the northern communities of Middlesex County, where Chelmsford is located. Maybe this is just what happens in a state where heroin runs rampant and oversight beyond Boston is little.
Below are his messages. I have only blocked the names of the innocent parties whom he had made direct threats of violence and kidnapping to. His official Town of Chelmsford email was clearly used to log into the comments section, and a VPN changing his location to Paris, France was also incorporated in a weak attempt at hiding his identity. Working with my host, I was able to find this officer's real IP address as the VPN he used was a free, run of the mill, and poorly constructed proxy website. The real IP address shows that these messages were sent directly from a computer inside the Chelmsford Police Station.
Warning! These messages contain highly offensive, graphic and racist language targeting my Jewish ancestry. I am only choosing to show this as evidence against these crooked cops:
Apparently, this guy can't be too good at his job if he doesn't realize that I'm Canadian.
I have closed all comments on my site indefinitely to prevent any future occurrences of harassment.
Now that I am finally safe, I have resumed working in public as a musician and artist, but have made it a point to never perform in or around that corridor of Massachusetts for as long as I live. I will go to Boston, Worcester and Springfield, but I will never perform or show a gallery in any North Middlesex city, town, or hovel. That region is to me what Innsmouth is to the Cthulhu mythos. In fact, it'd probably be safer for me to work with the fish people and cultists of Innsmouth than it would be to make an appearance in that county.
Before I end this article, I must share some very important information with you:
I hope my story can help others find the strength needed to overcome whatever challenges you are facing. Please remember that you are loved and take care of yourselves this holiday season, and all year long.
I've been keeping very low profile lately, going so far as to cancel all performances and galleries in much of the Northeast US for the majority of the year. I had written a post a few months ago explaining my absence, but had to remove it. The reason being that I have been the victim of a violent stalking incident that has only just stopped in the past four weeks. This is my story.
Originally posted 8 August, 2018:
I have been rather quiet lately on the site, and I want to write to explain what has been going on.
Beginning in December of 2017, I have been dealing with perpetual, organized harassment directed at myself, my family and my friends. This is not internet trolling or junk comments on a website. This is criminal harassment, stalking, and assault and battery. I am actively involved in a court case regarding this matter and as a result, I will only share the details that I can.
On 7 December, the local police came to my home and demanded to speak to my sister. My sister Hannah passed away on 3 May, 2004 so it was an incredible shock to be hearing this from police officers, never mind that it was in the midst of the holidays when her passing weighs heavily on me no matter how much time has gone by. The reason for the police response, I was told, was that my sister was making threats to my former high school sweetheart over Facebook, and that I had to contact the police in Chelmsford, Massachusetts to figure out what was going on.
I have not spoken to nor seen that ex-girlfriend since December of 2004. I called to wish her a Happy Christmas and her father answered, where he proceeded to call me an anti-Semitic slur word and threatened to outright murder me if I called again. That was the end of that relationship and any mutual friendships it bore.
I explained to the officers that Hannah had passed away over a decade ago, and that she never had a Facebook account because it didn’t really exist back then. She didn’t even have a MySpace page as those were fairly new at the time of her passing. The officers were very shocked that this was going on, and further informed me that they had little information other than that the Chelmsford Police had been trying to contact me all day.
I never once received a call from the Chelmsford Police that day, or anyone for that matter, meaning someone in that department was lying.
To solve this mystery, I called the Chelmsford station. I spoke to an “officer” after a long time on hold who never identified himself by name, and refused to give me his badge number when asked. He told me to stop bothering people on Facebook, and to cut out the pranks. I informed him that my sister had no Facebook and I had no means of making any such pranks using the site as I seldom use it anymore and, at the time of the incident, my account was deactivated and had been deactivated for several months while I was upgrading my studio computer system and had no time for social media nonsense.
He refused to listen to me so I told him, very bluntly, to inform my ex to leave me alone and to never bother with myself or my family again. The officer nonchalantly agreed and hung up, seemingly irked that I had him figured out as causing trouble on her behalf.
My high school ex-girlfriend, a woman whom I have not seen nor spoken to in (then) 13 years, and her mother made a false report at their local police department just to harass and upset my family. The officer was talking to me off the record, as a favour, which would explain his failure to provide his own name, and why I couldn't hear the usual beeping noises of a police phone system recording the conversation.
This woman has shown up from time to time online via this website and the social media pages I had in the past since late August of 2011. She always would appear out of the blue, asking to be friends again and when I refused, she would leave a stream of poorly spelled threats, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs, and comments directed at my closest friends and relatives.
Each year in May and again in the November and December holidays, times when I was (and am) at my emotional weakest, she would reappear with new names, new email addresses and new social media accounts just to torment me. Her mother got involved in it, and eventually, so did her husband.
What began as an online nuisance became a real world threat last December. This is a woman who was willing to lie to the police and openly falsify police reports in order to attack me, and to attack my friends and family. If she was capable of this, and if the police were that willing to side with her just because she "knows so-and-so at the station,” it put my entire public life in jeopardy.
Just as I’m recovering from this latest reappearance, the phone calls started. I would receive dozens of calls a day, all in my ex’s name on caller ID. One day she called my cellphone 57 times in a single hour. Every day she called. She called my cell, my landline, my parents’ house and their cell phones. So far, I have received over 500 phone calls from her, and they continue to come each day. In addition, her best friend, the mutual friend who had set us up back in high school, has also been involved in calling myself and my family. This mutual friend’s father, who is (or was) a police sergeant, has also been calling which is extremely unnerving.
They never leave a message. They almost always hang up if the call is answered. If they don’t hang up they just shout slurs into the phone. Their primary phone numbers have been blocked since December and they still call, knowing that the blocked call message is enough to cause aggravation. When the primary numbers don't get through, they use a new, unblocked, cellphone to call from.
Last month, my family and I hired an attorney to handle this ongoing situation. That is all I can say about that for now. The calls are still coming in, and just today they called me four times and my parents three times.
I have been afraid of leaving my house because of their connection to the police. I fear that if I am out performing live, they will harass the venue or call the police to the location to arrest me in front of an audience on counterfeit charges. They have used these ties in the past in order to issue a false arrest warrant on my best friend, which was dropped after the police in her area realized it wasn’t authorized by a living judge (it was “signed” by a long deceased judge from Kansas).
For this reason, I have kept a low profile online. I normally see and can now expect an uptick in harassing, incessant phone calls after posting this. Every new post I’ve made since last December results in such activity.
I can only hope that the justice system hasn’t eroded completely, and that I can bring charges against this woman and receive a restraining order against her for my own protection.
Shortly after posting this, I began receiving threatening calls from a man claiming to be a police officer in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Things escalated further when two men claiming to be from the FBI came to my home. They had no badges, and did not provide names. The only thing they were interested in was the personal information of friends of mine (addresses, when I last spoke to them) which I did not provide to them before demanding that they leave my property.
My attorney called just as these men were leaving to go over the Cease and Desist notice to be issued to my stalker and her family, and a few weeks later it was mailed to them. They immediately retaliated by having the Chelmsford Police Department call my house (their number is permanently blocked due to this harassment) over Labour Day weekend, even sending the local authorities to my property. I showed them the court notice and they left it at that, knowing that they were being played and that my ex was bypassing the court order by establishing indirect contact using the Chelmsford PD for her illegal gain.
The calls started again after that, pushing the number to around 900 in total.
My stalker then hired a relative of hers in New Hampshire, near the Canadian border, claiming to be an attorney (I have never found his name in the Bar Association or any legal records to this day) who then proceeded to slander my name by publicly proclaiming myself and my family to be a danger to society. At the same time, my stalker began sending me death threats where she stated she would shoot me on sight if I left my house.
She sent several similar threats to friends and family across Canada and the United States.
This resulted in many of my closest friends discontinuing contact with me, leaving me more alone than I've ever been.
I contemplated suicide during the height of this period and was nearly hospitalized for that, for incredibly high blood pressure (that was measured at 148/102) and frequent asthma attacks.
Then all of a sudden the girl who set my ex and I up back in high school emailed me using a Tor address, and confessed to being an instigator in this entire seven year ordeal. She claimed to have moved to Europe so she felt that there was nothing we could do legally in response to her actions.
Everything stopped after that.
Some of my friends and relatives who did receive death threats from my stalker did end up pressing charges and there are now warrants for her arrest in the states of California, Pennsylvania and Washington, and in the province of British Columbia.
Right now I am cautiously optimistic that I can advertise, perform and host galleries again. I have no idea if this woman is in police custody and fear searching for it as she is crazy enough to use that against me.
For now, I'm posting this update and hopefully can return to a normal life.