|Buy a copy of Still Standing today and join the fight against bullying! All proceeds will be donated to the Crisis Text Line.|
***HOLLOW HILLS PRESENTS: TALES OF THE SIBLINGS NOT-SO-GRIM***
Every year the fine folks at Hollow Hills Publishing put out a new anthology and 2019 is no different. Last year it was Still Standing, a collection of short stories with an anti-bullying theme. The story I submitted to that one was Savage Beatings, a prequel to a novel I’m currently rewriting called Beautiful Monster. Copies of Still Standing are still available (why wouldn’t they be?) and all proceeds will be donated to the Crisis Text Line. What are you waiting for? Wait, I know. You’re waiting for me to start talking about what Hollow Hills is doing in 2019. Of course, silly me!
Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim, unlike Still Standing, will be lighthearted in nature. Comedy and romance are welcome, but they’re not required. This will also be a collection of stories with a PG rating, so there’ll be no excessive swearing, erotica, or ultra-violence. As you can probably guess from the title, each story will be a fairytale of some kind, though it doesn’t have to be a parody of an existing Grim Brothers Fairytale. It can be completely original or a parody of something else.
Of course, anytime Hollow Hills puts out a collection of short stories, I’ll want to throw my name in the hat. Yeah, I’m normally known for stories with excessive ass-beatings and over-the-top craziness and anger. But just for this anthology, I’ll temper myself as I write “Emilio and the Scratching Post”. It’s a clear parody of Jack and the Beanstalk except instead of a beanstalk it’s a gigantic scratching post and instead of a boy named Jack it’ll be my elderly kitty Emilio. Immortalizing my pets through my stories and poems is kind of what I do. I’m sure old man Emilio would love his own story. Right, cuddle bear?
Stories submitted to this anthology must be between 8,000 and 13,000 words long. In order to meet my minimum requirements, Emilio and the Scratching Post will be five chapters long and every chapter will be at least 1,600 words long, which is one hundred more than I normally do. Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy! It’s even easier considering Hollow Hills will start accepting submissions between April 1st and June 1st. I’d love to get my story done before the first due date, but I’ve got a lot of time between now and then. Like I said, it’ll be a piece of cake. Or in the case of Emilio, a piece of pizza pie!
I’m announcing this new project for a couple of reasons. One, I need something to snap my five day streak of mental sluggishness. I already drew a picture of a novel character named Animal, so this blog entry was naturally the next step. The other reason is because all of my other creative projects will take a back seat to this one. Beautiful Monster, Incelbordination, and any WSS contest entries I write will have to wait for Emilio to climb the magical scratching post to the giant’s fortress in the clouds. I don’t mind putting those other projects on hold, because having a singular focus is better for me than having a cluttered workload.
Speaking of chaotic workloads, tomorrow night I’m headed to Seattle to see Within Temptation perform at the Showbox SoDo. If the Soulfly concert before it was anything to go by, then my sore legs, feet, and back will come back to haunt me the next day and I’ll want to continue the five day streak of laziness. Actually, this concert shouldn’t be anywhere near as tiring because it probably won’t go past midnight and there are only two opening behinds before Within Temptation. Maybe if I’m lucky I can write the first chapter of Emilio and the Scratching Post before I go to the show. I’ve done that before. I wrote chapter fifteen of Silent Warrior before going to a Starset concert back in February of last year, so why not?
The deal with this anthology is the same as the last one: I can’t post my chapters online since Hollow Hills forbids it. That’s something I can live with. They’re a business and they need to make money, so why should anybody have their books for free? Speaking of profits, this new anthology won’t be for charity, but you should buy it when it comes out anyways, because you’re awesome like that. Right? If you’re wondering why I’m not posting as often as I do, it’s because my attention is fully devoted to this new project. Plus, there’s that whole mental sluggishness thing I was talking about earlier. Wish me luck! I’m Garrison Kelly! Even when you feel like dying, keep climbing the mountain!
***LYRICS OF THE DAY***
“Sunday morning I’m waking up. Can’t even focus on my coffee cup. Don’t even know whose bed I’m in. Where do I start? Where do I begin?”
-“Where Do I Begin?” by The Chemical Brothers-
The next time I post a blog entry, it’ll be about my favorite time of the year: the release of the Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic awards from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter! They came out yesterday and boy, were there some whoppers. One big winner and six runner-ups. Not as many as I anticipated, but still, these are pretty god awful. Get your barf bags ready! It’s going to get ugly! Hehehe…heh…heh….I’m on an island.
It’s been about twenty days since my last blog and at this point I’m just reaching for topics like Luke Skywalker reaching for his lost lightsaber in the heat of battle. Just like that same Jedi warrior, I used the force to come up with this next topic. And by use the force, I mean exactly that: I had to force myself to come up with this topic because nothing else of immediate importance came to mind.
This coming September, Breaking Benjamin is coming to Auburn, Washington’s White River Amphitheater to put on a fucking rock and roll show. Their opening acts in order of appearance are Diamante, Dorothy, Three Days Grace, and finally Chevelle. The only opener that I listen to on a frequent basis is Three Days Grace.
Prior to this upcoming Breaking Benjamin show, I’ve seen Three Days Grace twice in concert. The first time was in 2013 at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle, where I was introduced to their opening band at the time, Otherwise. If you follow my progress with rewriting Beautiful Monster, you’ll understand how Otherwise became as important to me as they are. The other time I’ve seen Three Days Grace live is at the Pain in the Grass festival in 2015, where they were the third to last band to appear onstage behind Lamb of God and the headliner Slipknot.
Three Days Grace has been a part of my life since 2003 when I was attending school at Olympic College. I don’t remember much of the early 2000’s due to the onset of my schizophrenia, but I’ll never forget how Three Days Grace’s music made me feel. Their song “Home” perfectly described my state of mind at the time and “I Hate Everything (About You)” could have been a descriptor for my mom’s terrible ex-boyfriend Art. Seeing Three Days Grace live twice was psychological medicine for me and seeing them a third time in 2019 will be no exception.
Breaking Benjamin is the only other band in that lineup that I listen to on a regular basis, which is why I’m going to the concert in the first place. I don’t go to concerts unless I recognize the headliner. Prior to this concert, I’ve seen Breaking Benjamin on three separate occasions. The first was in 2004 when they opened for Korn. Like I said earlier, I have minimal recollection of the early 2000’s due to my ongoing battle with schizophrenia. When Breaking Benjamin opened for Disturbed as part of the Pain in the Grass festival in 2016, my senses were wide awake. Unfortunately, that show was marred by me having to sit next to a drunken lunatic who wouldn’t leave well enough alone. That’s okay, because in 2018, Breaking Benjamin came back to that same venue with Five Finger Death Punch and Bad Wolves as their openers. Much better experience!
I didn’t fully appreciate the music of Breaking Benjamin until 2006 when I first heard “So Cold”. From there, getting hooked on the music was easy. I listened to a lot of their fourth album Dear Agony in 2009 when I was taking the bus to and from my final college class. Coincidentally, I also started listening to “Life Starts Now” by Three Days Grace. We intersect once again! Who knew two sad-ass metal bands would make the perfect soundtrack for resorting to forced extroversion in a college class environment? I still don’t understand why college classes put introverts at a disadvantage like that by having public conversations in the grading rubric. It’s almost like there’s a bias going on here.
Breaking Benjamin’s upcoming show won’t be until September 22nd of this year, which is a country mile ahead of the current date. Like I said before, I was reaching for a topic this whole time. I don’t like going for a long time without writing a blog entry because I consider those to be just as important as my poems, short stories, and chapters of Beautiful Monster. Speaking of which…
Chapter sixteen will feature the fruits of Windham’s traumatizing labor in action. Shadow Asylum along with King Lars Stonewall and his troops will perform a raid on Shelly Atwood’s castle in an attempt to put an end to her sex trafficking business once and for all. Windham did a phenomenal job of exposing the castle’s weaknesses in his blueprints, so this should be an open and shut case, right? Sure, you can believe that if you want. You can also believe that monkeys will come flying out of my ass. After dining on Pizza Hut food tonight, monkeys are the last thing you should worry about flying out of my ass. Hehe!
***MOVIE DIALOGUE OF THE DAY***
HUTCH MORGAN: Eat me!
PAIGE: No thanks, I’m trying to bulk up.
-Fighting With My Family-
***IT’S OKAY TO BE SINGLE***
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, a horizon covered by about ten inches of falling snow, by the way. For those who are single, Valentine’s Day is the hardest holiday to get through because it seems as though your non-existent relationship status is being rubbed in your face. I know this, because I too am single and I hated this holiday for the longest time. I wish someone had told me back in those romantically lonely days that…it’s okay to be single. I know it’s hard for some people to believe that the world won’t judge you if you are, but if it’s a comfort to you at all, I’m the very last person in this world who will judge you for being single. I won’t even judge you for being a virgin. Involuntarily celibate is an entirely different story, but still, you get my drift.
When you learn to let go of this idea that romance is a necessity, you’ll feel as though the weight of the world is finally off of your shoulders. That doesn’t mean you can’t get into a relationship somewhere down the line, but if you obsess over it all the time, then it’ll hurt you emotionally. A lot of the pain from my university days stemmed from being single and wanting someone I could never have. I crushed on Tarja Turunen, the ex-lead singer from Nightwish, and it hurt me constantly that I couldn’t have her. Even when I crushed on women within my location and economic means, I was too shy to approach them because I didn’t want them to be offended by my presence. I carried this pain for a long time, long after I graduated from college.
The idea of letting go of my obsession was insane to me, which I now realize is an ironic thing for a schizophrenic like me to say, but oh well. Why was I so obsessed? Was it a combination of teenaged hormones and having my first slow dance at 15? Was it a long-distance relationship I had in 2002 and 2003 where I desperately wanted to close that gap? Was it my first kiss in 2014? Was it being seduced by random women at rock concerts in 2016 and 2018? Those brain chemicals are addictive as hell, I agree. Any addiction makes letting go a difficult thing.
But when I finally let go earlier this year, I asked myself a series of questions that had “duh” answers all along. Would being in a relationship truly make me happy? Would having sex for the first time be as magical as books and movies make it out to be? What exactly are the consequences supposed to be for staying single? When the time finally comes to be in a relationship, will I be prepared or will anxiety take over my senses? Truth is, not everyone who’s in a relationship is happy, as evidenced by divorce rates, abusive situations, and constant fighting even when things are going great. First time sex ends too quickly, or so I’ve heard. There are no consequences for being single. I’ve done nothing to prepare myself for a relationship, so my anxiety and nervousness around women won’t dissipate.
None of this means that I don’t believe in romance. It doesn’t mean that if a woman asked me on a date, I would automatically reject her. It simply means that I won’t form unhealthy crushes or obsess over something unattainable. My emotional health means everything to me. It’s the reason why I’m able to sustain a writing career and an overall peaceful life. If I’m constantly in a state of unhappiness, then I don’t care how many poems and stories I write, because I can never satiate those obsessive desires. I wrote three first draft novels this year, all of them centering on my obsession with romance. While I’m grateful for the creative exercises, I can get the same result and probably more work done if I’m happy about life instead of miserable.
It’s particularly bad when you’re in love with a celebrity, especially one that’s been around since your teenaged years. You spend all of this time pining over and dreaming of them. Even when you realize it could never be, you obsess more and more until it ruins your state of mind. You carry this unhappiness with you into adulthood and by that time your celebrity crush is much older than you are. Everybody ages, everybody moves on, and you must do so too.
If you’re single this Valentine’s Day and you don’t know what to do, just treat it like any other day of the week. Do some creative work. Get some reading done. Draw a picture. Order a pizza. Watch a movie. Do something other than give into your unrealistic obsessions. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Treat yourself kindly. Don’t beat yourself up. Take good care of your mind. You only get one in this lifetime, so be good to it and don’t drive yourself insane. If you must get into a relationship, keep it healthy and happy and don’t be codependent. I’m Garrison Kelly! Even when you feel like dying, keep climbing the mountain!
Rewriting this story has been a slow process with many gap days in between the work days. You can thank my constant sleepiness for that. But fear not, because before 2019 is over, I will have this novel finished and published. The next chapter to be written will be number twelve, where Windham and Tarja deliver the blueprints to Shelly’s castle to their boss, Orpheus Rinehart. Will the boss man be grateful or will he reward his employees with a year-long membership in the Jelly of the Month Club? It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year. You get a cookie if you know what movie that’s from.
***PHILOSOPHICAL QUOTE OF THE DAY***
“You will find that if you get with reality, all thoughts of delusions disappear. But you must remember that the secret to all of this is not to be afraid of fear. When you can really allow yourself to be afraid, and you don't resist the experience of fear, you are truly beginning to master fear. But when you refuse to be afraid, you are resisting fear, and that simply sets up a vicious circle of being afraid of fear of being afraid of being afraid of fear. If then you try to obliterate fear, you're working in the wrong way. To attack at fear is to strengthen it. As if you were God, that is to say, you don't trust anybody and you're the dictator and you have to keep everybody in line, you lose the divine then. 'Cause what you're doing is simply defending yourself. So then the principle is the more you give it away, the more it comes back. The meaning of the fact we see that everything is dissolving constantly, we're all falling apart. We're all in a process of constant death. Then you truly understand that you don't have to let go because there's nothing to hold on to.”
***CONCERTS IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH***
Do you ever feel like you have stage fright even though you’re part of the audience and not the actual performer? The closer I get to the day of a concert, the more I feel this way myself. Don’t get me wrong, concerts are fun to go to and I’ll always jump at the opportunity to see my favorites. It could be my introverted nature, but when I enter a room full of that many people, I just feel like hiding in a corner. I can quickly calm down once I get settled in, but introverts don’t really like big gatherings, especially party-like atmospheres. Maybe it’s the aggression of my fellow concertgoers. Maybe it’s the drugs and booze they consume. Maybe it’s the crowd noise. Regardless of what it could be, I always try to find the loneliest space in the audience so that my batteries don’t drain too quickly. I don’t talk to anyone unless they talk to me. It was like that in school and it’s like that at a performance.
Despite the social malaise, I keep going back for more shows because I want to cherish these experiences forever. I call them one-day vacations because concerts are just as special to me as traveling to another country for a week or so. I purposefully post concerts I’ve been to as Life Events on Face Book. It seems like an arrogant thing to do, but I don’t care if nobody else does it. You know what else I like to do? Keep a personal ledger of concerts I’ve attended on my computer so that I can remind myself of the magic I experienced. Even the concerts where I’ve had negative experiences with members of the crowd, fuck it, I record those anyways. Drunken asshole at Pain in the Grass 2016? Fuck it, I record it. Femme fatale at a Pop Evil concert? I’ll record that experience too. Concerts and foreign vacations alike are badges of honor for the one who needs experience the most.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that in February and March of this year, I’ll be seeing three different shows, maybe more if they pop up on my radar. In the beginning of February, I’m going to Tacoma with my brother James to see Jason Mewes perform standup comedy. We both have seen him before in late 2017 and it’s actually one of my favorite experiences of all time. He made me laugh so hard that I sounded like a James Bond villain and made everyone else vicariously giggly. Jason Mewes actually stopped his set after I laughed and said, “I fucking love this guy!” We got to meet him after the show and he was a cool dude, every bit as goofy and funny as he is in Kevin Smith’s View Askew movies. Round two? Here we go!
Later in February, I’m going alone to see Soulfly in Seattle. This will be my third time seeing that band in concert, but my fourth time seeing a Max Cavalera-fronted band. I previously saw Soulfly in 2009 and 2018 and I saw Cavalera Conspiracy in 2015. All three times, Max was a heavy metal berserker onstage. He’s got the barbarian look with his bulky body, long dreadlocks, and fuzzy beard. He’s got the barbarian attitude with the way he makes everyone in the building jump the fuck up and mosh like animals. When I saw Soulfly in 2018, I blew my voice out because I was screaming along with their songs all night long. It’d be an honor to abuse my vocal cords again in 2019.
And then there’s the middle of March, where for the first time in my life, I’m going to see Within Temptation perform. The first song I ever heard by them was “Angels” and it was superimposed in a You Tube video celebrating the romance between former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen and her husband Marcelo Cabuli. I didn’t buy my first Within Temptation record until 2014 or 2015 and that was the Hydra album. One kick-ass song begot another and it wasn’t long until I completed my collection of their CD’s. I was even able to convince my late Uncle Brian to become a Within Temptation fan. In his words, “Sharon Den Adel is soooooooo gorgeous!” Unfortunately, Brian died in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel back in November. He never got to see Within Temptation perform before he passed. I’ll be moshing in his honor.
I know every time I do a blog entry about concerts I’m attending, I always say that they’ll affect my creative schedule in some way, but they never do. At least with a foreign country vacation, I’m away from the computer for a week at a time. Concerts? They’re only one day long. I’m back on the computer when I get home anyways so that I can record the concert as a Life Event on Face Book. I don’t have the Life Event feature on any other social media platform I use, so these blogs will have to do. Wish me luck on overcoming my social shyness! I’m Garrison Kelly! Even when you feel like dying, keep climbing the mountain! Wait a minute, I’m not seeing Three Days Grace! What the hell?!
***BEAUTIFUL MONSTER PROGRESS***
After days of psychological torpor, I finally got around to writing chapter nine of Beautiful Monster. I got all of Windham and Tarja’s talking points out of the way before the two of them were thrust into a battle with Shelly Atwood’s goon squad. Chapter ten will be the actual unfolding of that battle. If you remember in the first draft, the battle ended when Windham whipped the shit out of a bandit for making rape jokes about him. In this new version, the battle will end a little more realistically, but the intense drama of it all will remain the same. How will it end? No spoilers for you! Nee-ner-nee-ner-nee-ner! I know something you don’t know! Nee-ner-nee-ner-nee-ner! I know something you don’t know!
***LYRICS OF THE DAY***
“Vanishing point of the blacktop. Shithole venue smells like rot. A thousand nights I left behind. Another tribe, another time. A brotherhood at stage right. A circle pit night after night. A congregation packed full of sinners. Another road, another winter. Broken bottles thrown in a fight. Cannot move, sold out tonight. Stage dive, no fucking glamour. Tonight’s show, it’s all that matters. Many were cursed and many alive. Carry a torch for those who have died. Carve your skin, a mosaic forever. Never say die, never say never. Feedback, feedback, not a fucking regret.”
-Soulfly singing “Feedback!”-
You wouldn’t know this from some of the politically liberal short stories and poems I post on a regular basis…but I fucking hate debating. I told you all before about the woes of my opponent having more talking points than me. I might have even mentioned something about scrambling for an answer and getting nothing. But here’s something you probably didn’t know about me until now: I have no filter for the bullshit that enters my mind. It could be an autistic thing. It could be a schizophrenic thing. Maybe I’m just really fucking sensitive. But whenever an opposing talking point enters my mind, the most important organ in my body doesn’t seem to want to do its job of filtering out the horseshit. It stays with me just like any other stimulus, because my mind takes in everything all at once and doesn’t quiet the fuck down for just one minute.
It’s because of this that I purposefully go out of my way to avoid watching conservative or religious videos on You Tube. I also skip over conservative memes on Face Book by averting my eyes and scrolling down as fast as I can. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the titles of the You Tube videos by now:
“Ben Shapiro DESTROYS transgender teenager with just one Tweet!”
“Ronda Rousey SHUTS DOWN feminist in just one minute!”
“Jordan Peterson DESTROYS this and that! He DESTROYS Mickey Mouse! He DESTROYS Hulk Hogan! He DESTROYS EVERYTHING!”
You’d think with all of this destruction going on that there’d be more settled debates in this world. Nope. They just keep talking…and talking…and talking…and talking. They keep talking because they have stronger filters than I do. Me? I have to constantly be on my toes when it comes to brainwashing and loss of individuality, so I scroll by the DESTROY videos as quickly as possible.
“But, Garrison! You have to challenge yourself! You can’t live in an echo chamber!”
For all intents and purposes, both of those phrases are correct. However, when you consider the source of that compound quote, you begin to realize that whoever said it probably lives in an echo chamber of his own. Open-mindedness is supposed to be a two way street. If I have to be open to the other side’s ideas, they have to be open to mine too. But being open-minded doesn’t mean agreeing with everything the other side says with one-hundred percent submission. Open-mindedness simply means giving the debater a chance. What he does with that chance is beyond your control, but if he blows his chance, that’s it.
I’ve given a thousand chances to a thousand debaters. Any stubbornness I showed towards them had to be worked for, because my filter for BS is weak as shit. Some talking points are easier to resist than others, but the lazy-ass filter is the common denominator. It’s amazing that I didn’t become a cultist right away. Actually, I probably would have resisted joining a cult, but I wouldn’t have the debating skills or quick answers necessary to strike down their talking points. That’s the thing with debates: if you don’t answer in, let’s say, five seconds or less, you automatically lose. You don’t get to think about it. You don’t get to mull it over and come back with a completed homework assignment. It’s now or never.
If you’re reading this and you think I’m ripe for the picking for your zealous cause, do me a favor: don’t even try. Just give up. Because my filter sucks ass, I’m more prone to shut you out despite not giving you a chance. You won’t get philosophical talking points from me, just curse words and waves goodbye. I know this seems close-minded and that’s generally considered a bad thing. I know my responsibility as a pundit is to research my arguments and use my knowledge to shut down opposing talking points. But I don’t have it in me to DESTROY anybody, at least not within the five-second timeframe required to respond in a debate. The natural answer for me would be to just stop writing poems and stories about politics, but…that’s just not going to happen. I care too much.
If I refuse to engage in a debate with you, it’s nothing personal and it’s not an indication of surrender. It’s because my filter for BS can’t be bothered to work overtime for the Ben Shapiros, Charlie Kirks, and Milo Yiannopouloses of the world. Even if I promised my filter a private jet, healthcare benefits, and a vacation in Hawaii, I wouldn’t be able to convince it to work for me the way it does for the Cenk Uygurs and Rachel Maddows of the world. In other words, you won’t see You Tube videos with any of these titles…
“Garrison Kelly DESTROYS the establishment!”
“Garrison Kelly DESTROYS the corporations!”
“Garrison Kelly DESTROYS EVERYTHING IN SIGHT! RAAAAAAAAAWR!!”
What is this, a fucking Godzilla movie? Does everything have to be destroyed?
My next assignment for this ongoing rewrite is chapter nine, where Windham and Tarja walk through the forest together for more thought-provoking conversations (they won’t need their weak-ass filters, though). The day’s topic of choice: dreams and ambitions. Windham wants to be an artist of all genres while Tarja wants to care for fuzzy animal babies. There’s even going to be a scene where Tarja feeds walnuts to the squirrels and she offers Windham a carrot to give to a rabbit. If you’re wondering where the hell all the action is, keep in mind that Beautiful Monster is a drama first and a historical fantasy second. But if it’s action you want…you’ll have to wait until the end of the chapter! No, not that kind of action, you perv! They’re just friends! Jesus Christ, man!
***LYRICS OF THE DAY***
“I’m just a-wandering on the face of this earth meeting so many people who are trying to be free. And while I’m traveling, I hear so many words. Language barriers broken, now we’ve found the key. And if you want the winds of change to blow around you and you’re the only other person to know, please tell me. I’m just a singer in a rock n’ roll band. A thousand pictures can be drawn from one word, only who is the artist? We’ve got to agree. A thousand miles can lead so many ways. Just to know who is driving, what a help it would be. And if you want this world of yours to turn around you and you can see exactly what to do, don’t tell me. I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band. Why can’t we understand? Riots by the people for the people who are only destroying themselves. And if you see a frightened person who was frightened by the people who are scorching this earth. Music is the traveler crossing our world, meeting so many people, bridging the seas. I’m just a singer in a rock n’ roll band. We’re all just singers in a rock n’ roll band.”
-The Moody Blues singing “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock n’ Roll Band”-
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