Lies. I have no idea what the Hokey Pokey is actually about. Leprosy perhaps?

Just start. That’s all the advice I’m giving myself here. It’s 3.30am. I’m not intoxicated, but kind of tired. I’m not in the optimal condition to throw down knowledge or impart wisdom. Good thing that’s not the point of this project. I’m not in the optimal condition for anything (barring sleep really), but I’m gonna heed my advice. Just start.

It’s the advice I took when crossfit got tough this morning. I’m not gonna get specific about workouts because nobody cares (and seriously, why would you?), but things got tough. Staring at my bar I thought how easy it’d be just to wait it out and really catch my breath before getting those last 4 reps in. I then had another thought for my partner wanting to give it their all in this team workout and realised that my blockade wasn’t my body being incapable of lifting anything, but the notion of how temporarily unpleasant I might feel if I launched back into the exercise. What was I really worried about? I had a break coming up after these last 4 reps. If I spent myself now I’d have the time to recover. Also, why was I still thinking about this when the clock was ticking? Hands gripping the bar, hovering just behind it I looked down. Just start I thought. I harnessed the words of my main girl Taylor Swift from when she couldn’t find the word “bravery” and picked the bar up. It worked and I soon enough found myself in content, exhausted puddle on the ground. Steam rising from my body, breath coming in ragged gasps, I knew I’d given it everything I had. Just starting gave me the push I needed to move.

I took the advice at the latkes and crafts evening I attended tonight. Staring down at my blank page, I tried to imagine what I was really trying to make. Have you ever done one of those rainbow paper scrape things? I feel like that was the least plausible way to describe them, so I’mma start again with a comprehensive description. You take a piece of white paper and cover it completely with a mishmash of solidly coloured wax crayons. You’re looking for a rainbow sheen, not necessarily with any particular pattern. Then, and this may seem counter intuitive, you cover your colouring with black paint. Once it dries, instead of drawing in the conventional sense, you scrape out your intended outline with a nail or something. What it does is etches your image into the page with rainbow colouring. When done impeccably, it looks something like this. Still, if you’re wanting to do a good job and you’re anything like me, that involves an almost unreasonable amount of deliberating. What’s my content gonna be? I know it’s gonna end up on my fridge or wall, so what would I want there? What aspect of my personality do I want to exhibit for passers by through the lens of my admittedly lacking talents?

Shut up. Just start. I did and went instinctively for a sloth picture. When something’s this adorable and dopey, why wouldn’t you want it everywhere? I loaded up an image and copied it mercilessly. No room for that tracing bollocks, but the thing came out pretty well. So well in fact that when I was walking home at an odd time of the morning, I found streets fading away behind me at a rapid rate. Absorbed as I was by my new sloth picture, I hardly even noticed time or space shifting. Regardless, just starting gave me that push I needed to get across the line. My reward? Well, the aforementioned sloth picture.

And now I’ve tip toed over the line (like a 3 toed sloth), having heeded my own advice of starting I’ve managed to get digital ink down on a digital page. Did you like how I tried to shoehorn in a loosely relevant theme between disconnected narratives? Like the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about.

Reining in the singing.

Karaoke. Noun. A word grounded in the Japanese tongue. “Empty orchestra”, apparently. They obviously haven’t seen me karaoke.

I’ve had a long time fascination with the.. activity? Hobby? Art? It’s a pleasing pastime well served by alcoholic imbibing. In lieu of talent, enthusiasm is an acceptable elixir, fueling an impassioned performance that’s entertaining for everyone present. I’ve always been a bit of a karaoke hedge knight. I enjoy the process and don’t take too much stock in the end result. Once I’m in a state to karaoke I’m on board in every way as long as I have fun participating. For some reason in Toronto I’ve gravitated towards a number of musical theatre or otherwise theatrical folk. Nothing more than coincidence, but it’s harshing my karaoke mellow something fierce. Thing is, if you’re surrounded by people who can actually hold a legit note it dissuades you from competing. Like being challenged to a dance off by a superior dancer, you resort to ironic or comedic pursuits instead of actually trying. The less you make it seem like you’re invested, the less face you serve to lose. Hence, here’s my list of definitive karaoke classics for the tonally challenged (garnered through empirical evidence):

Will Smith – Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Got a room full of twentysomethings? This is the 800 pound gorilla of western karaoke. It should be expected every single time, but occasionally it’ll be that little bit of spice everyone was missing. If you’re good, you’ll inspire cheers and hoots. If you’re something special you’ll lead the bar in a sing-a-long. If you’re next level you’ll be packing the lyrical stylings of the full song, just in case. That’s some extra curricular activity that’ll pay dividends.

Seal – Kiss from a Rose

Boosted by the impeccable Community season 3 episode. Off key is perfectly fine. Preferred almost. Because we can’t all be Seal. Most of us don’t even have the lupus required. This is a song you can really “give’er” to and feel the love radiate back towards you in waves. It’s a Grammy winning song from back when that kind of meant something.

Wheels on the Bus

Looking to sideswipe your crowd entirely? Less expected than the Spanish Inquisition, a nursery rhyme done with proper energy has the capacity to bring down the house. None of this excessive trilling and authentic musical ability, a death metal scream or two here will accentuate the nostalgia perfectly. Make it you own and you’ll own the room.

 

Of course, not everything will land the way you expect. Some things seem like a good idea at a time, but are actually mental excrement that find their way from your brain into your fingers, programming themselves into those karaoke remotes with ubiquitously bad reception. These songs shouldn’t be performed (also garnered through empirical evidence):

Radiohead – Paranoid Android

You are not Thom Yorke. You will never be Thom Yorke. Whatever delusions you hold, for the sake of good taste and decency, hold them back. If your friends think this 6.5 minute track is a good idea, they’re either terrible people who secretly despise you or 14 years old. In either case, you shouldn’t be hanging out with them. Even if you’re 14 years old yourself. 14 year olds are the worst. Alternatively you can use this track as a litmus-test of whether or not you should be surrounded by those people. Or never key in that code, for your own sake.

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

I know it sounds hilarious, but don’t do it. This song is 4.15 of content, about 2 minutes of which you actually know. 1.40 of which is just the chorus repeating. You might know the intro, but you’re just setting yourself up for embarrassment by standing on a stage incapable of keeping up. If you can dance like MC Hammer, then fine. Do that. If you can do The Charleston, that’s probably also acceptable. If only because Alison Brie can and it’s adorable. Chances are, you’re not Alison Brie, so just don’t do it. If you are Alison Brie then, well. Maybe U Can Touch This. In karaoke.

Nothing makes me feel as much of a douche as implying my opinion matters. I must love this site then.

I don’t feel like I’m an authority on anything here, which is why I’ve hesitated in filling out the Live in Limbo best of survey. Still, it’s low stakes and I might as well throw my hat into the ring. I mean, I need something to write about tonight. Here goes…

Live in Limbo’s Best Music of 2014

Name: Leon Weinstein

City: Toronto

Title: Reviewer

How long have you been with Live in Limbo?: Since March 2014

Three favourite albums of 2014 (best to worst):

1. Spoon – They Want My Soul

The album exudes relentless swagger from start to end. The albums that engage me most tend to affect in me a certain mood. Can one listen to this album without strutting? Would you want to?

2. Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Whatever you think of Kozelek himself, the music here is raw and beautiful. The language seems touched with the innocence of a child’s eyes, tempered by the perspective of seeing life come and go. The result is stunning and emotionally stirring. If any album here is gonna age effortlessly, it’s this one.

3. Caribou – Our Love

This album’s like being temporarily possessed. It starts in benign fashion, your head starts nodding, then shoulders join in the fun. Soon enough you find your whole body moving as if being gripped by an ephemeral force.

Three favourite songs of 2014:

1. St Vincent – Birth in Reverse

If cassingles were still a thing, I would’ve burned copy one out and have moved on to a second. As soon as this track dropped, there was no doubt Annie Clark’s self titled album would kick down some doors in 2014.

2. Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami

A fantastic gem of a track. Shifting and growing, adding layers as it progresses, it’s a fun little nugget that’s got a lot more going on than it first seems.

3. Too Many Cooks Theme

This may sound like a joke. It’s not. This track transcends its applications and becomes exceptional. How many can honestly say they escaped the video without having the song stuck in their head for the next week? Each new stylistic evolution is entirely apt and its gradual degradation is impeccable. This was a perfect thing. Know it. Love it.

Which artist or band won 2014?

Did anyone expect Run The Jewels 2? Because it kind of ripped a hole in everything. Undeniably engrossing, the album on everyone’s lips come December.

Your favourite new/breakout artist of the year:

As far as breakouts go, having Todd Terje’s full length album It’s Album Time move its way through hushed whispers into many a lounge was a highlight for sure.

How many shows did you go to this year?

30 or so.

Three best concerts of 2014:

1. Neutral Milk Hotel – Kool Haus

Unexpected, but a dream come true. The crowd’s enthusiasm was wild and untamed. The band reciprocated. Magical stuff, really.

2. J.E. Sunde – Drake Hotel

A modern day troubadour opening for Phox. For some reason I was arrested entirely by his performance. Poetic, yet lyrically dense like a young John Darnielle. I expect big things from this guy.

3. This Will Destroy You – Lee’s Palace

I’d heard these guys a couple of years back and immediately signed up for the gig. At one point I was almost shifted to cover Hozier, but luckily they found someone else to take it. These guys were unbelievable. Post rock has a transformational and transportational manner and I found myself pulled along with each track, as if following an ever evolving narrative. Powerful stuff.

Favourite festival of 2014:

Field Trip – Fort York Garrison

The Arts and Crafts crew cultivated a great crop of performers for two packed days. The weather might’ve tried to put a damper on things, but its efforts were in vain. Great performances backed by a friendly atmosphere and lively spirits all around.

Favourite venue this year:

Definitely not my favourite venue, but I feel like “props” need to be given to the sound and lighting techs at The Hoxton. Tightly programmed and on the mark every time. Everything I saw there transcended its surroundings due to the actions of this crew.

What was the biggest music news story you remember from 2014?

Ghomeshi. Was it ever gonna be anything else?

Is there anything else you want to say about music this year?

If DJ Earworm’s annual mash-up has anything to say on the matter, things in the pop world looked up from last year.

What artist should/will we all be paying attention to for 2015?

It seems D’Angelo’s Black Messiah may have found just the right time to arrive. Slipping in outside most Best Of lists, coming from out of left field, it seems the album nobody predicted may have landed the footprint that’ll dominate next year. Keep watch.

Ignorfolk. I put the “son” into “bad person”.

I got home early enough tonight that I probably could’ve spared the time to call my parents. Notice the past and conditional tense in that sentence? Yeah, me too. I did consider it, truthfully. It’s been a little while since I’ve muttered more than a few scant words to them, asking for my mother’s date of birth to make her my beneficiary in the case of my sudden demise. Fun fluffy family conversation like that, y’know? Social media has stripped me of any excuse to be a stranger. Skype means we can be face to face almost instantly, yet here I am busting a gut to try and finish writing so I can almost cobble together 6 hours of sleep before work. Sorry Mum and Dad. I know you spent years of effort, emotional toil, patience and labour raising me, but I was too busy faffing around on the interwebs to lift my phone. My new phone. It’s even lighter than the old one, making any excuse I can muster increasingly feeble. You’re just gonna have to wait until the next time I deign to grace your screen with my countenance. Am I making a convincing argument in favour of contraception yet? If you didn’t have me, you wouldn’t be spending your nights waiting up, wondering when I’ll call.

Hah, fat chance. My parents are fully realised people who are significantly cooler than I’m likely ever to be. As if they’re losing sleep over not having heard my voice. They know I’ll get in touch eventually. Their work with me is done and as long as these entries keep coming up on the daily, they know I’m not dead. The system works. They’re probably out having a nice meal somewhere, or spending time with their grandchild (who’s thankfully taken the pressure off the other brothers) and her parents. It’s summer, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d loaded up steaks, sausages, capsicum and asparagus on the barbecue, sitting back with a great bottle of wine on the deck, surveying their harbour views. I’m the least of their concerns.

It’s weird when you start viewing your parents as entities rather than roles. My parents grew up through the 70s. There’s no way they haven’t had a cooler life than I, doing all sorts of amazing things I’ll only ever dream of. It’d be trite for me to wank on about how they’d experienced significant turning points within society as if I hadn’t and won’t do the same, but it’s such a different experience. World events are delivered to use as soundbites and it seems the instant nature of news travelling via Twitterwire has dampened the resonance of events. Things happen and they’re shocking until the next massive earthshaking occurrence. Twitter can’t shut up about The Interview and North Korea tonight, but in a week’s time will they even remember the existence of the film they were never gonna see? When things happened in the world of my parents, the crater of their impact must’ve been so much larger, louder. When someone died, it must’ve cracked the sky like thunder. Now people get a 5 hour eulogy on Twitter before our canine attention span finds some new shiny toy to slobber over.

I can only imagine an adult life in which bold strides were made when trying new things. Restaurants lived or died without Yelp reviews, products had no star ratings attached. Movies were still enough of a spectacle that even The Interview would’ve been revered as a comedic masterpiece. Then again, martyrdom will probably Kurt Cobain the film into legendary status. If North Korea had threatened total annihilation back then, you can bet your sweet cheeks that threat would have some magnitude. Then again, if the film came out back then, this kerfuffle wouldn’t have happened. There’s no way North Korea would know that the movie even existed, let alone have hacked into anything Sony. It’s a crime of our time that would have no relevance in their days.

Well now I want to call my parents and ask them all about it. If only I’d spared the time to give them a call. I got home early enough.

What would 1000 Mail Kimps in a room with typewriters write? Season 2?

A person found this project by googling “dollarama melon ballers reviews”. That’s basically all the validation I need to know that I’m following precisely the path I need to on here. I’m sure it’ll follow in the hallowed halls of “marshmallow porn” and “fuck blurred lines” as seemingly disconnected phrases that bring all the boys to the yard. I’d love it if someone was to trawl through my archives and discover a sprawling interweaved narrative I’d never been aware of (I mean, apart from the fact that all of these entries contain or reference myself as an entity in some fashion). As if there’s a unified theme holding my irreverent rants (irreverants?) together. I barely think my subconsciousness is aware of the endless torrents of memetic masturbation that find their way onto these pages. Let’s take a look at something for example: Did any of these previous sentences really make sense? Really? I have no idea. I’m just here to write, not to reason.

Though I am here for a reason. My quest is such that I seek greater fluency of the written word. I’m scribing in hopes that a recipe of thoughtfulness, imagination and style can seamlessly blend in a delicious mixture to satiate the minds of others. I’d love to be able to call on wit as easily as finding a taxi when you don’t need one. I don’t want to have to concern myself over whether or not my metaphors are coming off as clumsy, phrasing as clunky, paragraphs as clumpy and similes as like metaphors.

Nonsense, yes. Like the Ripley’s Aquarium and most doctors I’m operating without a porpoise. I’d grazed over some entries from this time last year and I felt strange pangs. I preferred what I was writing back then, but back then I was still casting my eyes back to when I’d arrived and preferring that. Ad almost infinitum, then minus some. Serious Midnight in Paris shit up in this bitch. I feel like the kind of flow I had has fallen away and left me marooned a few steps behind. I dutifully pick up my metaphorical quill each evening and cover the page with a range of ideas. I don’t know that it’s helping me move forward as much as I’d feel was ideal.

This isn’t quitting talk, you guys. I’m still keeping on with this project because, even if I currently find it hard to see the value, I’m sure it’s written between the lines. All I need is that same person to trawl through my archives for me and tell me what this all means. I mean, as we’ve discovered I don’t always reach the end of a sentence with all of the answers. How is the end of the project gonna be any different?

I have my fears that Serial is gonna end the same way.

“In the end, I guess we’ll never really know what happened that day.” starts Sarah “We may never even know if Adnan was guilty, but hey. How can you ever really know a person? What even is a person if not a human? And what could be more human than to make mistakes?”

Here lies Sarah Koenig. Twittered to death by the fingers of disgruntled podcast listeners. Maybe they’ll get Ira to announce the bad news. Who could be mad at that guy?

Seriously though. So many questions and only one episode left. There’s no way this isn’t gonna be a massive disappointment. Like the disappointment of the person searching for “dollarama melon ballers reviews” and finding this place. Sorry. I tried. Not very hard, or really at all, but I tried. Almost.

I mean, he’d probably have a crucifry up. Deep fried turkey anyone?

It feels like yonks (the technical measurement) since I’ve written from public transport. I feel like so often when I travel I’m faced with an assortment of colourful characters and curious vestments. Toronto’s a vibrant, diverse cultural nexus and it really shines out in public. Or its public’s transport. There are two empty boxes of Nicoderm patches on the floor in front of me. That’s something. Either someone really needed a mummy costume quickly on pain of death or wanted to not smoke so badly they adopted the medical equivalent of smoking a carton. In either event, there may be a very sickly person roaming the streets. In that case would it be fair to say they’d cigarotted themselves to death? Also, was that a triple pun? I’m not so gangreen at this shiz. The afflicted Nicodermatologist however, may be. In my mind’s eye I’m basically imagining Swamp Thing, but plastered entirely in nicotine patches. So kind of like one of my many childhood heroes, but with spectacularly disappointing powers of shortness of breath and mildly off-putting coughs. Smoke Thing seems a less appropriate youth role model than his more ad-mire-able relative. Though I’ll be fucked if I can remember why Swamp Thing was. It had to be something environmental. Like Fern Gully vengeant or something.

With all this talk of humanoid elementals, I’ve actually shifted transport from the famed 63 bus to the fairly enjoyable 506 streetcar. I’m just passing Sneaky Dee’s, which seems to be predictably dead on a drizzly Monday evening. The streets do seem to be kind of sparse, but I guess that’s just winter hibernation for you. Like bears, people are staying in practicing a little Treat Yo’Self. I’m mentally drooling with scenes of fireplaces, woollen sweaters, crisped marshmallows and mulled wine intermingling. Guys, I think we’ve established that my heart wants winter to be eternal apres ski. Wanted, slope bunny to cuddle up on the couch with me and my fantasy. Reality: I’ll just be wearing my snorlax kigurumi, supping on whiskey and Netflix, but that’s cool too, eh? Well its cool to me and ye of the peanut gallery can’t quench my fire. How would I crisp my marshmallows? You know, I’d quite like an excuse to try making Baked Alaska. Can that be Christmas?

On the Bloor line coming home now. Some dude is decked out in a Santa suit with a red bluejays cap. How ChristmasTObatory. Speaking of the festivus with the bestivus (opinion based on rhyme scheme only. One of my least favourite holidays in truth), I’m gonna play the hostivus with the mostivus. I’m holding my first Christmas potluck this year. Much like thanksgiving, I’m trying to create a safe, fun and inviting space for anyone who wouldn’t otherwise have access to one. My friends as family mentality is my new reality, drawing people through commonality of lacking familial relativity. Also if they’re lucky I might drunkenly rap. I’m hoping like last time that we’ll have a copious table spread and a cast of happy bellies afterwards. Here’s the thing, I don’t necessarily want to accede to Christmas recipes. The majority of us are gonna be kiwi, so we’re used to summertime Xmas vittles. We’re in a brand new country without adhering to family obligations. We can eat whatever we want. So what do we want to do with all this power? What Would Kanye Do? I assume he’d make something in his own image. I happen to have a turkey, just cause it was cheap. This doesn’t necessarily mean I need to roast it as per the norm. I could try the Kanye and make it in my own image. What does this mean? Frankly I have no idea. I’ve never considered the borderline nightmarish Cosmo quiz style line of questioning that states “What method of autocannibalism are you?” Could I slow cook pulled turkey this bird? Sweet and fatty, but packed with flavour. Seems to fit me in a nutshell. Is there some way to smoke a turkey? That sounds phenomenal, though requiring resources I’m not even close to owning. I’m sure my old pal Smoke Thing could help me. Mmm carcinogens. Maybe I won’t even serve the turkey at Christmas and just revel in the fact that I got 4.5kg of turkey for $9. I was practically losing money by not buying it.

I think this train of thought, like the train I took, has come to a stop. It’s time for me to disembark for the evening. Until next time, What Would Kanye Do?

Because Fjords and Frogs didn’t hold the same mass appeal.

Today we embarked on the first step of that teenage nerd right of passage. It’s a time honoured tradition where a young adult throws off the shackles of reality and embraces the land of fantasy, creating an imaginary avatar with which to navigate a brave new world. A whose strings are held in the hand of another whose transcendence from human to god is all too pronounced. A shrine to the mercy of statistics and chaos, coupled with vivid imagery. A world filled with mysterious dungeons and a bestiary including all manner of critters, from benign squirrels to fearsome dragons. It’s… well it’s D&D of course.

Dungeons and Dragons. A game I haven’t touched for years, through no lack of interest, but a lack of time and dedication. I’m sure a lot of people have ideas about what D&D actually is. Most of them honestly probably skirt correct notions. You’ll definitely have some vague concept, but in reality it’s shit tons more fun than one might expect. Or maybe I’m just squarely in the demographic. I’m no expert, I’ve played a couple of times, but Dungeons and Dragons can basically be described as such:

You get a bunch of players and a Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Master goes off and creates a world on their own. This could involve maps, storylines, potential outcomes in potential locations, small villages, dungeons, anything. It’s set within a fantasy environment with an enormous roster of monsters, magical spells and arcane technology. Within those restrictions, imagination is your limit. As the Dungeon Master is creating an entire world, they decide how far they want to go. The more creative and evocative the world, the richer environment there is for players to experience. The Dungeon Master won’t usually show players the environment they’re exploring, but will keep this information hidden until players discover it. Let’s look at the players now.

The players are a bunch of adventurers experiencing the Dungeon Master’s world. They each create characters from different classes. These might be Barbarians, Druids, Bards or Clerics. There are tons more and it’s insanely customisable, but we’ll keep it simple for now. As a player, you can make your character as in depth as you want. You can form elaborate back stories and personalities. It all depends on how deeply you want to role play or act as this character. I’d assume if you were playing D&D, this idea holds some appeal. Characters might have special skills, spells or weapons to use in order to defeat enemies or accomplish tasks. That’s the basic run down of making characters. So you’ve got a Dungeon Master who’s made the world and a party of characters who reside within it. What’s next? Adventure!

Remember how I said the Dungeon Master would keep information hidden? That’s because the players need to explore to discover its secrets. D&D is not like conventional games. In its basic sense everyone has a written character sheet and uses the information on that to roll dice and find the outcome of their actions based on probability and statistics. THAT would sound boring, if it wasn’t for the role of the Dungeon Master. The DM is basically a storyteller, pulling characters through an interactive story. They assume the roles of the characters they’ve created and affect the story as it’s being created around them. As a player, decisions you make will affect how events evolve and change. You’re not drive to take a particular route, players can decide to do anything they want. How does that work? Let’s look at a scenario.

You’ve entered an antiques store in a small village. Your party is looking for information on a murdered gnome and you think the wiry elf behind the counter may have some clues. What do you do?

Well, you could.. examine your surroundings?

The walls are sturdy timber and you’re surrounded by small tables covered in dusty relics.

Did you want to talk to the owner?

He seems to sigh as you walk closer. “Yes?” he starts “what do you want?”

You decide you’re not fond of his tone. You jizz on a rusty looking teapot to your right.

TOTALLY a legit move. I mean, anything is. I don’t know what it might accomplish, but that’s for you to decide. You could have tried to persuade him to give you information, threatened him, killed him, tried to buy something (even tried haggling), started swinging a large knotted rope around and smashed everything in the store. You could’ve immediately set fire to the place, or left instantly because you didn’t like his tone. The game has combat and exciting magical items to discover. If you’ve got a great Dungeon Master they’ll sort out a compelling narrative for you guys to follow. If you’ve got an excellent party you’ll work together to try and overcome adversity and explore the recesses of someone else’s imagination.

I mean, my character is basically an Animorph with an anteater skull totem. How would I not want to play this?