Coming up with a theme is no mean fête.

So now that I’ve finally got a free evening (he says at 10.30pm, at the evening’s commencement) I’m utterly flabbergasted as to how I should be spending my time. I’ve been so busy getting out to comedy/music gigs, that the novelty of having a mundane evening of the gym and have a simple meal seems almost exciting in itself. This just proves that the exception rules at times. I mean, the week gets busier from here on out, of course, but tonight it’s just me and my thoughts.

Shit. What do I do without something to do? Have I forgotten how to relax? Maybe my best call is to look ahead and plan stuff. Since this is such a ludicrously busy month, I should make hay. That’s it. No idiomatic purpose or anything. I’m just gonna use my time to make hay. Time to cut, dry and store some herbaceous plants. But not really. How about I sort some ideas for this flatwarming thing I’ve been promising for a while?

Idea 1: M People

The logic follows that since we’re “Moving on up” to new heights of flatdom, given my swanky new flatmate, I can justify this M People theme. See, M People were a 90s house band with a hit single Moving On Up, so in their honour I figure I can get people to dress as people or characters whose names begin with the letter ‘M’. Double names like Marilyn Monroe or Michael Madsen are double points. Yeah, this theme sucks the big one, right? Let’s move on out.

Idea 2: Art for Art’s Sake

That’s sake as in the Japanese liquor, by the way. It’s not, I’m just razzing you. The idea is to pull out the printer I found in the shed, buy some coloured pencils and print off a shit-ton of pop culture related colouring pages from the internet. Finding cool stuff is as easy as searching in Google. Imagine a whole wall covered in obscure pop culturing. Doesn’t that sound magical? A couple of Cthulhus, Spider Jerusalems and Street Sharks. I’m just looking for company for my Bioshock Big Daddy page I did back at my gymnastics job. I can only see the pictures getting more lewd and loose as the night went on.

Idea 3: Flat Chilling

The flat warming thing is so done. I’m thinking a night of ultimate comfort, chilling out like someone of calamitous intent. The dress theme would be to wear whatever makes you comfortable. I’d be hoping for pyjamas, onesies, snuggies, etc. BYO, with guilty pleasures encouraged. Maybe some great ‘girly’ cocktails, low rent alcohol. Food catered by the bakery I work at (well, free stuff I brought home after my shifts), which is essentially all comfort food. The music I haven’t quite figured out. I’m thinking either a bunch of Boards of Canada-esque stuff or a playlist of low hanging fruit style pop music. Catchy songs so obvious it’s like being sledgehammered in the face. Jack Johnson – Flake. Gnarles Barkley – Crazy. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire. Hits of yesteryear that were old and tired, but haven’t been heard in quite some time. This theme is currently winning.

Idea 4: Summer Camp

The summer’s over, but surely for one last day we can pretend it never left? Daisy Dukes and faded shirts. Swimming trunks and some item of clothing utilizing a handkerchief. Team colours/spirit. Fun camp style games (mixed with alcohol). Gaudy singalong with uke or guitar. Smores on the stove. This one has the greatest potential to kill us all. I love it.

Idea 5: Assorted

  • Rubix Cube.
  • Favourite Toronto event of the past year.
  • Best celebrity fiasco.
  • Orgy.
  • Famous alcoholics and their vice.
  • Too soon.
  • Watch Space Jam. Drink.
  • Congregate and socialise without a prescribed theme.

Okay, things got a bit crazy there. Look at what happens when I have free time to think. A dangerous thing indeed. What great ideas lie uncovered in this brain o’ mine? Only free time will tell.

I’m sure it was for many things other than just laughs.

JFL42 is over and I’ve no choice but to fill the vacancy left in my schedule with a normal life, or whatever my semblance of that passes for. Sleep, maybe? Abstaining from drinking with daily frequency? Going to the gym regularly (or at least 3 times weekly)? Getting on better with my associate employee contemporaries? Fitter? Happier? More productive? As if.

So how was the festival, I hear you asking. Swell. I managed to get out to 18 gigs altogether, with a diverse range of comics showcasing markedly different styles of comedy. Without further adieu:

The Bad

  • Chris D’Elia just rubbed me the wrong way. He was the only gig I walked out of through disinterest. After 15 minutes without evoking a single laugh, I grabbed my stuff and walked back up the aisle. The bits that I caught involved one where he gave himself props for calling a fat female heckler at the bar “Blanka” (a green skinned monster from Street Fighter 2), thus comparing her to a subhuman character. Also a round of Cubans do this, Russians do that trite kind of shit that I thought was considered old and hack back in the 90s. As a good looking dude from TV, half his audience seemed to be young girls who’d seen his sitcoms and cheered at everything he said. Many bros too. So many dudes wearing hats inside. Not my kind of scene. Leaving to get a burrito was the most fulfilling thing I could’ve done in that hour.
  • I hesitate to say it, but Broad City was kind of a disappointment. The gals were charismatic and loveable, but so many bits fell flat or could’ve used a much more intimate venue.It just felt clumsy structured and composed. Too much, too soon. I really wanted to enjoy this a heap more than I did.
  • Nikki Glaser had a really tight 10 minutes before Dave Attell, prompting me to go see her whole set. There didn’t seem to be much else of worth left after that. Pity, ’cause her opening slot seemed to promise so much.
  • I hesitate to criticise the pass, since it managed to get me into 18 gigs over 10 days (and that was while skipping 3 evenings for personal commitments), but there were some kinks that needed ironing out. Why did you even need to check in if you’d been scanned? Couldn’t that send a signal back to the database which prompts the return of your credit?

The Great

  • Pete Holmes killed it with both his stand-up set and the You Made It Weird live podcast recording. He’s a talented comedian, quick and sharp with a precise way of eviscerating a target. “Laser accuracy” as he likes to call it. The live podcast left me sweating, holding my then sore abs from the cardiovascular laughter assault.  It was easily my favourite thing I saw at the festival.
  • Mike Birbiglia is still an amazing storyteller. It’s hard not to be instantly pulled into his narrative structure. Impeccable, constant call backs were weaved into his act.
  • Mark Little everyone. Very funny guy, Canadian  too. I think he’s Toronto based.
  • Customer service were super friendly and helpful. If an issue arose Like Vanilla Ice, yo they’d solve it.
  • Openers. Some immensely talented performers only came into my orbit because they opened for others. Mark Forward, Mike Lawerence, Sabrina Jalees, Joe DeRosa, Ian Karmel. Check ‘em out, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
  • The ability to turn up and be let in. I felt like passholders were pretty well respected.

Amazing festival to be a part of. Bring on next year and I’ll just block the time off work.

Presented that way, living in a Psychic City does have enduring appeal.

Gig review. Somehow I found the time amidst JFL42. I’d been wanting to see YΔCHT for years, at least since See Mystery Lights. It was every bit as batshit insane as I expected, which was a total delight. I’ll post the link once it’s up.

Link is up:

http://www.liveinlimbo.com/2014/09/28/concert-reviews/yacht-at-the-hoxton.html

I want to be clear, in the interest of transparency.

A few admissions:

  • I just picked a bunch of grey/silver/opaque hairs from my moustache/beard. The problem with owning facial hair when you’re lax in your appearance’s upkeep is that things tend to grow rampantly. I’ve got a wild swarm of hairs attached to my face’s pelvis (you dissect that, I’m too tired) and not all of them are desired. For whatever reason (age? Stress? An eccentric billionaire looking to create a miniature theme park in my chin, seeking to turn my hairs into individual fiber optic poles?) some of them are paling, causing me to get in there for overdue maintenance. Many of the hairs I pulled were either black or weren’t really wanting to come out. Those ones left little dots of blood. Ouchies. I’ve always had a weird predilection for plucking hairs with tweezers. Before I knew better (and/or owned a specific motorised tool) I’d pluck my nose hairs. That hurt. Lots. It was oddly satisfying though. Sometimes it’d bleed a little. I learned to leave that one in the past. I love plucking ingrown hairs and, due to a certain ex-girlfriend, discovered that I’d get just as much joy from plucking eyebrows. I learned to shape brows simply because I enjoyed the sensation of quickly tugging on a hair, a fact that she turned to her advantage. I couldn’t blame her, plus I genuinely got a kick from doing it.
  • I just realised that most of the times I remember to cut my nails are when I’m expecting female company.
  • I’ve got this weird intrusive thought thing whereby seeing a portrait style photo of someone on the front page of a newspaper, I instinctively assume they’ve been killed, raped or abducted. I don’t know if the thought even lasts a full second, but it’s there. I’ve been encultured by news media to naturally assume the worst. This thought has somehow taken root in my brain, making me the Hayley Joel Osment of newsprint.
  • My diet/exercising have gone to complete and utter turd-dom. Working at the cafe we’re often rushed off our feet. When I get a sec I’ll grab something sweet to revive myself, but these things add up. Then when it comes to the end of the day if there’s stuff left over, we’re free to take it home. I figured I could slowly amass things to cater my eventual flatwarming, but that means there’s heaps of sweet stuff in the house. Given the frightening amounts of alcohol I’ve been drinking since JFL42 started, I’ll often come home and think “wow, an almond croissant would be better than being tarred and feathered.” So that happens. I’m also an expert at coming up with excuses and justifying things to myself. I actually enjoy going to the gym, but I rarely seem to have the time (when did that become the most valuable commodity?). It’s a pity, ’cause my difficulty with moderation is severely hampering my ability to keep my puku to a manageable beer gut. Maybe it’s time for another no alcohol/bread/milk month. Or just, y’know, learn restraint.
  • I was on the subway today and saw a lady with a particularly nice bum. I ogled (since there’s no less embarrassing or apt word for it) then felt gross and looked away. I noticed another guy obviously looking her up and down, then another. I spent the rest of my trip watching guys watch her. That was equal parts illuminating and depressing. There’s no way that kind of objectification doesn’t leak into your psyche. I mean, she obviously would’ve been able to see guys doing it in the reflections of the train windows. That’s gotta grate on you, right? I’m surprise she didn’t look to the sky, start spinning around and shouting “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” Because that’s what I would do. Us guys can be quite classless.

That’s about it for this time around. It’s not like I keep much in the way of secrets, but I’ll try to figure out something juicy for the next time round. Good night to all.

99 bottles of Four Loko on the wall would’ve likely killed even Andre the Giant.

I’m actually starting to not mind the taste of Four Loko so much. Is this an attack of Stockholm Syndrome? Or something far more sinister? I thought familiarity was meant to breed contempt instead of acceptance? Perhaps Four Loko is tampering with not only the health of my vital organs, but my sanity too. I think my quest to not drink as often has hit a brick wall. The thought of watching a bunch of comedy over consecutive nights while entirely sober just doesn’t seem nearly as fun as the alternative. What did the words “will power” mean again? It’s alright, I’m reviewing a gig tomorrow, during which the requirement that I write works as insurance against a tipple or two. I just can’t put together workable notes during a gig if I’ve had even one beer. I’m not gonna drink at the behest of any work I do. At least I have that measure in place. JFL42 ends on Saturday, so that’ll help me cool my jets on the imbibing, keeping me sober maybe even for the next week.

October is an issue. There’s so much going on that lends itself to excess that I know any discipline I put into action is likely to stumble. Harmontown Live, Thanksgiving, flatwarming and Halloween are all portals to a magical place where sobriety is a four letter word. It’s sad to think that it’s entirely possible to control myself, but the ease of giving in and having an amazing time is so much more enticing than approaching these events with a clear head. Let’s not pretend that it’s impossible to enjoy oneself without a lubricated state of mind. I mean, I’ve gone 6 months sober before. It was mildly irksome, but little more than that.

I guess it’s worth looking at what makes the concept of drunkenness so exciting. Central would be the notion that you’re taking reduced responsibility for your own actions, which is stupid in itself. Using intoxication as an excuse for shitty behaviour is pretty poor, but it’s true that alcohol, with its inhibition lifting capabilities will often push you towards trying things that you’d be otherwise wary of trying, whether good or bad. I’ve had some formative relationships begin because of my liquid courage. I also think there have been times that reliance on the substance has taken as much as it has given. Nobody is ever as slick as they think after a drink or three, regardless of how chilled they feel. I don’t think my propensity for booze has ever seriously impacted a relationship, but there have no doubt been a few times that I haven’t been as present as a partner would’ve liked. If anything would push me away from the “devil drink”, that’d be it. The thought that I was poisoning my connection with a loved one due to seeking some kind of displacement seems more than I could take. Why give people reason to be disappointed in you? That seems even crazier than Four Loko, which is quadruple crazy.

I can be Jew-venile at times and a Pesach-er for a Torah-ble pun.

Happy Rosh Hashanna, shonah tovah! Did I spell any of those words correctly? I think I at least got “happy” right. Tonight I came gave to face with my Jewish roots, which is to say I ate a ludicrously decadent/delicious/plentiful meal and one token prayer was said. I even made a Fiddler on the Roof reference that only one person got. Oy vey! I almost wish it was terrible so I could call it Hebrutal. I got sandwiched between two grandmothers (not mine) who talked at length from positions of oblivious cultural privilege about any number of inane topics. They kept talking over others with no regard for common courtesy. One of them kept prodding me every time she wanted to talk (while I was busy conversing with someone else). How are old people different from children again?

My teenage cousins escaped from the table at every chance they could. I can’t say I was different as a teen (or my early to mid 20s depending who familial company was). I always had trouble with non-immediate family. I guess I always felt that it was like forced interaction with people who seemed like strangers that’d read a brief outline of what your life consisted of, but in reality knew next to nothing about you. “So how’s school? How’s work? What are your hobbies?” It’s kind of like going on a date where you already know you’re not gonna end up forming a worthwhile connection, but the meal has already been ordered and you feel obliged to stick around until it’s finished. Small talk suffices, but it’s more draining than anything else. You can’t wait to leave and be left in the more preferable company of your own presence. Wow, narcissistic much?

That may be the core of it though- An inability to connect and empathise with others outside of your immediate scope of experience and interest borders on a prominent self-centredness. If you don’t care what’s going on in the lives of people who don’t share interests or passions of your own, maybe you’re too self-obsessed. How myopic, right? You’re incapable of extending effort into learning more about them, but you expect them to try on your behalf? I guess that’s something that becomes easier with age. I’d hope compassion and empathy are coming somewhere within my orbit (though judging by my own behaviour/views tonight, I may still have some growing to do) as time goes by.

I can’t blame teenagers for thinking their own dealings are far more important or interesting. As an adolescent you’re barely coming to terms with yourself, let alone other people. As I was taught: be polite, smile and nod, then escape as soon as possible. At least make it look like you put minimal effort in. Not only does it work with family, but it’s an essential lesson in navigating the world. People get pretty easy to placate the more you learn, but first and foremost at least be polite. If you smile, the world has a habit of smiling back. Unless you look like you make furniture from the bones of kids. But if you don’t have a beard to your ankles or a toothy Cheshire Cat grin, you should be mostly ok. Just remember your salutations: Shalom, shalom and shalom.

How was that? Can I still keep my Jew card?

More like I effic-ain’t.

I like efficiency. I really do. The only thing that’d affirm my love of efficiency more is if I actually practiced what I preached. Seriously, I think so much about efficiency and how I could be doing things to get the maximum bang for my buck. I almost worship the idea of being able to hoard time, finding ways to maximise every ounce of my day. I learned a new method of time to capitalise on it. It’s super fast, efficient and useful. I swear it’s about three movements and I’ve got nicely presented bows holding my feet firmly in that cushy material shell. I think I might save a solid 1.5 seconds each time I do it, which means I could gain myself back around 15 minutes a year. Perhaps less though, considering that for around 10 months I wore shoes without laces. Wait, I never even thought about this one. How much time did I save by not using laced shoes? 40 minutes a year? Holy shit, that’s almost an episode of True Detective. Alright, alright alright, we’re getting somewhere now.

I do try to be efficient often and construct elaborate ways in which to fully utilise my movements. When I’m moving around the house doing things, I try to think of things I could carry to and from each room on my way to other rooms, like some contrived goat/wolf/hay puzzle. For example, if I’m taking my washing to the laundry I can put my dirty dishes on top of them in order to drop them off in the kitchen en route. I can then set a glass of water filling up on super low pressure as I go to the laundry. While in the laundry, I can put in the load and set it going, then go back to the kitchen, grab the detergent and dump it into the laundry. I can then bring the messy detergent cap back to the kitchen, washing it out with the now full glass of water, thus circumventing having to use the now low water pressure from the tap to clean out the detergent cap. The only thing is I’ll spend so long thinking of this convoluted plan that I would’ve been faster to just do the simple actions on their own. Net efficiency = -5.

The other thing I do is try to exploit the time I spend brushing my teeth by finding things to do with my other hand at the same time. This would be fine if I either a) chose tasks that could actually be accomplished with one hand or b) had any talent in multi-tasking whatsoever. Unfortunately I don’t. For either. I’ll be brushing away and see that my bed isn’t made, so with one hand I’ll try to put my duvet inside its cover, before taking away the hand used to brush my teeth and having it help out in the duveting. At this point I’m just duveting with a foamy mouth and toothbrush sticking out from my lips. Failure. Or else I’ll try to brush and tie my shoelaces at once. I may have found a way that saves 1.5 seconds each time, but it’s not a one-handed method. Somehow this never stops me from trying. It always stops me from succeeding. If only I learned from my mistakes, but I’m too busy coming up with some workaround to circumvent having to put in the straightforward effort.

Because clearly I don’t have the spare time to just do things normally. That wouldn’t be efficient.