The more fingers I have, the higher chance this bottle will give me the middle one.

Because I’m a large child of advanced age, I’m sitting here on a “school night” I’ve left my responsibility of writing to the last moment. I’m now forced to pen an uninspired stream of consciousness piece in order to ensure I get to bed with the minimum allowable amount of sleep before work tomorrow. The allure of vodka in the freezer has been a prime enabler to this childishness. My motivation for drinking tonight was the fact that last night I managed to resist the temptation of drinking. I think this is how alcoholism starts. It’s fine for me to say that the amounts aren’t excessive right now. So far it’s just an enjoyable two fingers of vodka on the rocks times 2. So four fingers of vodka over the course of a few hours. The concept of putting fingers down my throat is vomit inducing, but let’s go with it. I’m lukewarm on the idea of actually having spirits in the house. It’s great and fun, but it also means they get consumed. My common rationale right now is that if I don’t have dessert things in my kitchen, vodka can be dessert. Problematic, right? Especially the part when I supplant one kind of substance abuse with another. On the other hand I’ve had a bottle of vodka for almost a week and it’s not finished. I’ve had about 4 or 5 drinking occasions and I’ve still got over 1/3 of the bottle left. I feel like given any number of drinking sessions 5 years ago I’d already have less than that, so maybe that’s progress? I also didn’t drink it on the rocks back then, so who knows how to feel about that? Is this just some subliminal attempt to further my Dan Harmon sycophancy now that I know I may actually be able to meet him (and inevitably embarrass myself through rampant fanboyism)? I’ve already got enough vocal ticks I’ve picked up from the guy. Can’t I leave it at that? Or am I just gonna have to create a critically lauded, commercially unsuccessful sitcom to further the comparison? Television certainly didn’t need a series based on illiterate White House speech writers (unless West Wing already did it), but it may well get one.

I got chilly as I sat down to write this and went to grab my dress-robe. I realised that nobody could see me, so I could effectively wear anything I wanted. Here I am garbed in tophatted dog pyjamas, a dinosaur T-shirt, moon boot style slippers and a leather jacket. I’ve been wanting to be the kind of person who looks good in a leather jacket for years, but I’ve been lacking in any leather jackets that suited me. A few months ago I corrected that grievous injustice. I feel like wearing a leather jacket and carrying off the look is dependent on feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing, so the more excuses I find to wear the jacket, the higher incidence of being someone who can “rock” it. So at the moment the soothing sounds of my typing are joined by the reassuring creak of tanned animal hide. Owning it. The jacket that is. It’s mine, not anyone else’s. Getting possessive in more ways than one.

I started swimming again. Today I finally got back to where I was a year ago. Jumping back to a few years ago I’d done some pretty heinous things to my knee (all legal, just unfortunate) and had to take time off lifting heavy things or activity involving knee impact. I picked up swimming, because I’ve always come to life in the water, like some kind of growable water sponge toy. I started by swimming 30 laps and had a plan to get up to 80 laps by the end of 3 months. By adding a few laps each week, I got there. 2km in one swim which, due to my shitty kicking technique, basically meant pulling myself 2km across the water. I started a week or two ago and could barely tie together 2 laps in a row. I went again on Sunday and managed to string up 50 laps. Today I started as soon as the lane swimming session begun and was one of the last in the pool. Just managed to hit 80 laps as they pulled in the lanes. Slow and steady. They’ve got reflective windows surrounding the pool and nothing makes you feel more like a god than stepping out of a pool dripping wet and seeing your reflection. Regardless of physique (obviously. Present company, y’know?) you can’t help reflecting a shade of Adonis. Your muscles are all tense from the workout you’ve just had and it makes you look like a total badass. Or a slightly more risqué Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth. Anything to smooth over that ego.

Or else I just step out of enough pools and I’ll feel confident enough to think these leather jackets actually suit me.

Because how many children can admit to their parents that they competed in a strip spelling bee to win a Choose Your Own Adventure book?

Guys, I have a weird relationship with my parents. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great relationship, it’s just not strictly standard. We don’t talk that often. In the end communication evens out to about once a month. At the same time we’re close enough to talk about absurdly superficial and candid things without much of an issue. We discuss and exchange TV series or movie recommendations. We talk about great meals we’ve recently eaten. We give each other shit about our occasionally conflicting values systems, whether religious, political or moral. They’re mostly right about things, because that’s the prerogative of time and wisdom, to know better. We complain about inane, quotidian things and just generally shoot the shit. I’m also comfortable telling them mostly anything, whether it’s about occasional exploits of a legally questionable nature (ok guys, I admit it, more than once I VCR recorded live TV broadcasts), or strange sexual predicaments I find myself in. To be honest though, they’re also contractually obligated to be I Have My Doubts‘ number 1 fans and they fill that role pretty well (hi guys. Remember that time I called you on Skype? Like an hour ago? Am I son number 1 yet?). Hence, they know most things that’re going on with me. What would be the point in hiding anything?

My mother once said to me that after her parents had passed, she still felt like she never really knew them. They’d fulfilled their roles as parents, provided for their family and set them up with strong foundations, but that’s kind of where it ended. She said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that they’d never really been fully sculpted people to her. She hadn’t known them as friends, vulnerable, honest and open human beings. Likely because of the societal values structure of the time, creating a wall between yourself and your children was de rigeur. If your children saw you were fallible, how would your children respect you as the authority figures you needed to be in order to ensure they became upstanding members of society? So that distance was necessary, practical, proper.

It was a poignant moment that hit home. Since then I’ve made a point of letting my parents know who I am and asking the same in return. I figure there’s little point in hiding my opinions and (often uncouth) viewpoints for the sake of propriety. If anyone should be able to accept me for who I am, that role lies with my progenitors. Thankfully, they’ve reacted in kind. In the years that’ve passed since that conversation, I’ve gotten to know who they are and who they’ve been over their life. They’ve freely given perspective based on years of experiences and observations. I’ve learned things about my parents that’ve really opened up our relationship to something more akin to friendship. I can unload and vent to a receptive audience, albeit one who can offer advice on how to navigate my situation. Of course the familial dynamics come into play occasionally and I find myself playing the role of the petulant child, but things have certainly balanced out over time.

I feel welcome to give my opinion, I feel understood and considered when they listen and I feel loved when they help guide my reasoning to somewhere practical. Most of all I feel fortunate that I’m in a situation that allows me to have this relationship with my parents, that they were able to offer boundaries, support and guidance in order to help me become the person I am.

Also I’ve finally surpassed my dad at making puns. I hope he’s proud.

So political right now lolz.

Wow. When did the New Zealand election become such a farce? This has to be prefaced by the admission that I’m not a politically motivated person. I try to abstain from most political discussions because I’m generally under-informed and navigate myself based on emotional reaction rather than reasoned logic. So, I basically don’t play along with the common rhetoric. This election, though, makes it impossible to ignore.

First off we have the revelations of mass surveillance. Edward Snowden released reasonably damning evidence that our Prime Minister John Key was well aware (and gave permission) for mass surveillance of most NZ telecommunicate metadata to be logged and recorded. What this means is that texts, emails and whatnot of New Zealand citizens have been monitored and archived. Key has adamantly denied the existence and extent of public surveillance for quite some time (wait, were you expecting links to this stuff? Please don’t assume I’m a credible or well-researched news source). I’m sure once he has no choice to admit it, he’ll justify it under the guise of “national security”. I mentioned this to a co-worker at our Toronto based New Zealand bakery today and she dismissed its importance. “I don’t really care, I have nothing to hide. Frankly I’m just impressed they can use satellites to track my GPS coordinates. Isn’t that fabulous?” So I guess while it’s a massive issue within my closed circuit community of young upwardly mobile tech savvy netizens who make up my Facebook friend circle, the general public won’t give two shits. It’s like a glorious fusion of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, but in a tiny country with population 4.5 million or so. Still probably not enough to sway the “honest New Zealanders” who think Key is just a good ol’ bloke, but still many kinds of alarming.

Secondly it was revealed that Hollywood was in fact 100% behind the assault on eccentric German millionaire Kim Dotcom’s compound and the subsequent seizure of computers. John Key was involved and signed off on the extradition attempts in a ploy to curry favour with the lucrative foreign film industry. Ruh roh! Pity they tangled with someone of significant capital, able to competently fight them in court. Pity that Kim Dotcom has turned the whole debacle into a platform to run for government. Pity his merger with the Mana Party means that the former #1 world ranked Call of Duty player may soon have some modicum of political clout.

Now we have The National Party being sued by Eminem‘s Detroit based publishers for copyright infringement (for unlawful use of Eminem‘s Grammy nominated and Academy Award winning song Lose Yourself) which is funny, but funnier considering the draconian Three Strikes copyright infringement bill they pushed through against significant opposition. Apparently unlicensed use of recorded music is illegal, even when utilised by those who make the laws. The defining quote from the whole calamity is as follows:

“It is both disappointing and sadly ironic that the political party responsible for championing the rights of music publishers in New Zealand by the introduction of the 3 strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright.”
-Joel Martin (I’m assuming not this guy. Heh, “gooch”), on behalf of the publishers.

I’m sure Google NZ is feverishly alive with punters trying to comb Eminem lyrics for great puns right now. I’d join them, but the chances of me finding anything good would be slim and the outcome shady.

I’m a hack.

Secrets have a way of rising to the surface…

I’d been aching to see Chet Faker for the last two years, thrashing Thinking In Textures constantly. Not an ounce of disappointment was had, he significantly outperformed my expectations. Also I think it’ll soon become apparent that I know nothing about electronic music. Oh well. There are worse secrets to have. Unrelated, if you’re ever staying over, don’t check those creaky floorboards to the left of my bed. Trust me:

I actually tried tweeting someone, but I’m so bad at Twitter that it just ended up on my own feed as a tweet. How did I graduate Communications?

Here’s my recipe for a perfect day:

Greet your alarm at 8.30am with a smile. It’s early on a Saturday (after a 4am bed time), but you’re lying next to a lovely person who’s intentionally set the alarm to ensure you both have enough time for fun sexual things before she has to meet family for brunch. Sometimes people truly get you, right? She then announces that this is silly, why not just come back after brunch for round two? She tosses you the book Ready Player One with a knowing nod.

Bide your time by grabbing a decent coffee, then settle in for Korean food for breakfast. Order the mackarel/soon tofu combo. You get a hearty warming breakfast full of protein, flanked by assorted delicious Korean side dishes. Cracking the book’s spine you find yourself engrossed in what seems to be a pop culturally focused Harry Potter-esque world handled by someone with the wit and vision of Douglas Coupland. Both the book and breakfast cast your subconscious to foreign lands and worlds, causing you to fantasize what life could’ve been like in an alternate reality.

Walk around Spadina for a bit before deciding on a second coffee just because it’s Saturday. Screw the justifications, enjoy your coffee and the motley crew in the cafe/bar at 11.30am. Discuss how so many attractive marine biologists happen to be Australian, how so many Australians tend to be mega attractive and mega racist.

Walk back to meet your friend in her bedroom. Discover that her 2pm plans fell through and you’ve got nothing important to get to until the evening. Proceed to a leisurely “business time” without any time constraints.

Feel so sated at its summation that you both nap for the next 3 or so hours in each other’s arms. Eventually her cat joins for snuggles and you all snooze together.

Wake organically and chat excitedly and openly about each other’s sexual awakenings and development towards maturity.

Comfortably decide to part ways in order to head towards separate evening plans. Leave with a warm heart and a smile strapped across your face.

Realise that today involved fewer than 2 clothed hours.

Head out to review Chet Faker at the Danforth Music Hall, an artist you’ve been itching to see for about 2 years at a venue that consistently draws excellent performances out of musicians.

Meet a girl who hypothesizes that the reason why people look so lost in the break between acts is that they’re vapid individuals who have no idea how to have a conversation with a real person, so they engage their smartphones to compensate.

Witness an adept and nuanced performance by a sincerely talented performer. Spend your time alternating between feverishly taking notes and giving in to compulsion to drop the book and just dance.

Get the blush-ful ego boost of being asked for your number by aforementioned gal.

Go home to tie on a few vodkas while chatting with your flatmate about bizarre concert spectacles.

Learn that your dreams are coming true, Harmontown is doing a live podcast in Toronto. Immediately try to push this to the back of your mind so as not to become overwhelmed. Fail and simmer in wonderment.

Wrap up your daily writing with a piece that’s essentially a thinly veiled bullet point list. Hope nobody notices.

My feet will smell like a baby’s butt.

I’m “that guy” who’s drinking on public transport. You know it’s Friday when, right? I assume that now I’m living the quotidian work week my comedic repertoire will be composed entirely of Jim Davis tropes. Those Mondays, eh? Too bad my work doesn’t have a water cooler. I’ll just have to congregate around the pie warmer for my regular updates of current events and city gossip. What’s that you say? Jennifer Aniston was walking the red carpet at TIFF? She must work hard to maintain the illusion of relevance as Friends rapidly becomes “the 90s How I Met Your Mother“.

I actually did the TIFF thing last night. Attended my first Midnight Madness, which is kind of like Midnight Mass for those whose religion is absurdist immoral cinema. I can’t emphasise enough how at home I felt. The whole thing was a bizarre moral quandary where I pitted my naturally progressing maturity against my willingness to put myself out there and keep trying new things to avoid going stagnant. I had a review to write (and a mere hour to do so if I was gonna make the flick) and work the next day. A film screening at midnight didn’t seem cohesive with consciousness the next day. I managed to get the review done tightly on an hour and surveyed my options: I could be responsible and sate my surmounting sleep deprivation, or I could throw caution to the wind and do something I might regret, but enjoy. Well, spoilers were openly displayed at the beginning of the paragraph; I went.

The Midnight Madness set up is intimately comparable to Auckland’s Incredibly Strange Film Festival of yesteryear. Amazingly bizarre flicks curated with loving care. Horrors and films that would openly offend most audiences are the mainstays, which makes for an endearingly enthusiastic (read: rabid) audience. The screening I attended featured an intro from the creators and a Q & A session following the credits. The Editor was a brilliant send up of 70s horror films. Testament to the quality of the piece was the fact that they hit the conventions so well that a layman to the format such as myself could immediately pick them up. Prolix. Layers of pointedly casual misogyny, intentionally clumsy cinematography a la Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and gratuitous amounts of gratuitous nudity. A perfect brew for beyond the witching hour.