If you still read this, hi. See you in a few days

My parents are arriving in three days. It’s weird.

To be clear, it’s not weird in an unexpected kind of woah, how did these two aged humans manage to navigate hemispheres through sheer force of will and arrive in Toronto of all places? weirdness. It’s not weird that, post retirement, they’d want to take a holiday. It’s not even weird that they’d be interested in visiting their one child that has yet to procreate and give parents the one currency they desire over all: grandchildren and lineage extension. Hell, I think by now they like me, or at least they’ve gotten over the ludicrous sums it cost to raise what was once barely more then a sentient house plant. So it’s not THAT weird.

But it’s weird.

It’s weird because, for the first time in my life, my parents are gonna be under my roof. That’s weird, right? These people stopped me from dying thousands of times. They’d tuck me into bed and wash my little baby body. They fed me and instilled me with values like manners are important and people can love whoever they love irrespective of gender and that’s not weird. They created and enforced boundaries to help me become an adult with some scant clue about navigating a world that only cares about what you can do for it. Yet they’re gonna be under my roof, where my rules apply? Yeah, good fucking luck pulling rank, buddy. Not that I know any reason why I would. It’s not like we really have house rules, but if I ever felt like I needed to? Geez, I dunno.

I love my parents and by now I’m pretty sure I know then decently well. But what if I don’t know my parents, y’know? I’m pretty sure they’re reasonably socially liberal, but what if there are friction points? What if we’re so far entrenched in different bubbles of community that our views have tectonic instability? Will I have to spell out what privilege is? Or relate things that just aren’t acceptable now? Concepts of non gender binary or anything? There’s no way they’d know, right? Which doesn’t speak to ignorance on their part, but that things have drastically changed over time and it’s hard to care about that stuff as you age. I know, I care less about general whatnot than I did at age 20. Why should they give a shit post retirement? Or will I just swallow my tongue and let stuff slide? Figure if they were gonna change with the times, they would’ve made that decision on their own? They’re intelligent people and it’s not like they don’t grok things, but maybe they have views that *are* egregious in this day and age? I don’t know. The last time I spent physical time around them was around 17 months ago. If I did speak up about something they said would they accept my perspectives? Or brush anything off that the flesh lump they saved from cot death tried to teach them as condescending?

Even if I’m gonna give my parents enough credit, which they very much deserve, what about my extended family? We’re going to a big family gathering in Montreal. What if relatives I’ve never met as an adult start spouting off bullshit middle class white racism? “I was at the local market the other day and I noticed that nearly all the signs are in Korean. I feel like we’re the minority now.” That kind of thing. Also almost verbatim actual words a relative of mine has said. We don’t talk much. After a few glasses of wine I’m not gonna bother trying to hold my tongue. Is a family gathering even a good idea? It’s not high on my list of priorities, that’s for sure.

My girlfriend and I are also hosting a dinner for both our families to meet. THAT is gonna be weird as shit. Very different people. I don’t see any conflict happening, just a bizarre mish mash of assorted values and perspectives. It’s potluck, so at worst we can just talk about the food.

What if they get here and it suddenly makes me realise that yes, they are old? We’re all going to die and that’s a slow process. What if mortality is all that’s running through my mind? We’re having a mean and I’m thinking is this the last time I’m gonna have eggs Benedict with my parents? Or is the drive back from Montreal gonna be our last time in a car together? Who knows. You may call this excessively morbid, but all I know is my parents once picked me up for the last time without knowing it.

Yeah. It’s weird. I’m looking forward to seeing them though. It should be nice.

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And to think I woke up with no opinion on this song whatsoever

I was thinking about “The Girl from Ipanema” this morning. It’s basically just an unremarkable dude writing a song about feeling entitled to a gal he was oogling.

Thing is, he must have a bunch of albums. ‘Cause the kind of dude who gets so bent out of shape by a woman ignoring him probably gets ignored by a ton of women.

I expressed the above on Facebook today and one of my friends chimed in. He said, rightfully so, that there’s a lot of problematic stuff in past pop music, but as far as he’s concerned this song gets a pass. Who hasn’t felt the pangs of unrequited infatuation? Of wanting to talk to someone you take a fancy to, but being too afraid to say a word. This is undeniably true.

That said, the song still kinda felt a bit iffy to me and I started to think why. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with checking someone out in public. We all do it and anyone who says otherwise is probably lying. Checking someone out, in my mind, is a cursory glance or two. It’s not quite staring so intently at them you look through them and into the void. It’s not lingering unnecessarily enough that you gauge how similar the rhythm of their walk is to a musical genre. If you’re glowering at them day by day and you never make eye contact, maybe there’s a reason. People have a decent amount of peripheral cataloguing. I have no doubt that this girl- nay, woman- knows that dudes are watching her. It even says in the song that when she passes by, they go “ah!” The fact that they’re making actual exultations does not sit well with me. She knows where she’s sashaying (to the sea) and she’s pointedly staring straight ahead. This further underscores that she understands she’s being watched. She sounds single-mindedly focused, which may imply she’s had bad experiences in the past and just wants to get where she’s going. Then there’s this dude pining in the background studying her every movement thinking “how can I tell her I love her?” Love her? You’ve never met her, let alone loved her. You don’t know a thing about her, but you’re in love with her? You’re not in love with her, you’re attracted to her or infatuated by her. You’re not in love.

To be entirely honest, I have a ton of issues with the way love is represented in a wider sense. In so many movies (and not just romcoms, but especially romcoms), people “fall in love” for the sake of a plot. What they term as “love” I feel is closer to just infatuation. Maybe I have commitment issues, but love means a lot more to me than being attracted to someone pretty. I can like being around someone, be attracted to them and enjoy the chemistry, but that’s not love. Your mileage may vary, but love to me feels earned. Love is something that kind of takes hold when you realise that person is a large part of your life. Love is knowingly embracing the fact that your significant other has shortcomings. It’s not seeing the rosy ideal of how that person fulfils your needs. Love is when you want to go out of your way to take care of someone because them feeling better makes you happy. Love is picking ingrown hairs or shitting with the door open. Love is having the hard conversations without taking shots or one-upping each other. It’s understanding that there’s the option to cut and run, but there’s something larger worth preserving and working on that as a team. That seems like love to me.

Shoehorning romance into a plot or song as a way to make it easily palatable feels lazy and uninspiring. Stop using romance as a seasoning when it’s a veritable meal on its own.

ALSO after doing a bit of research and math, the “girl” in question was 17 at the time. The songwriters were 35 and 49.

Fuck this song. That girl dodged a bullet.

If a guy was horny, but too baked to get it up, would he be between a stoned and a hard place?

Day four of JFL42 and I’ve entire abandoned any notion of doing reviews.

I’ve got a life outside of the festival, y’know. Even if I’m eschewing it entirely. I’m more than my ability to park in a chair and observe funnier people make funnier observations than I could. I’m also a) not getting paid to do so, b) trying to build up a portfolio or c) getting free shows out of it. Also d) literally nobody cares about them. Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt. It just means I can continue in my usual vein of talking utter nonsense and not sleeping.

So here’s a thing. Weed is getting legalised in under a month and we’re not talking about it as much as we should be. That’s a pretty big fucking deal. It’s been a mainstream maligned substance for the better part of a century and suddenly it’s all gonna be kosher? Why aren’t we spending every day discussing the myriad of ways that society could change with its widespread adoption? Are prior convictions going to be overturned at all? Or will a likely overwhelmingly POC prison population be left to rot over archaic and outmoded laws? Are coppers still busting people to buff up the coffers?

Who can and can’t sell? Is it just going to be a governmental organisation like the LCBO? Or is the PC government planning on making a buttload of back pocket deals to license retailers? Will weed be available in bakeries? Bars? Cafes? Cannabis coffee/cocktails? Will weed products become more mainstream? Cosmetics like balms and lotions? Will hemp products face a resurgence? Will we be able to smoke everywhere or only in designated zones? Will smoking dope be treated as nicotine is? Will vaping be allowed indoors? Will there be weed only clubs, no alcohol allowed? What about in restaurants? Can you smoke while eating outside? What about the office? Will smoking weed be considered equivalent to alcohol? Not on company hours? Will it be looked down upon at work gatherings? Or once again be treated as alcohol is? What about medical marijuana? If you have a prescription because of anxiety or anything, will you be able to smoke up before coming back in the building to move numbers around a spreadsheet?

What industries are on the verge of emerging? Will we see an explosion of weed based journalism and editorial content? Will weed find its way into physical fitness? CBD based protein bars or smoothies? Will you be allowed to smoke then get behind the wheel? Will there be more accidents due to reduced reaction times? Will Chinese restaurants become governmentally run because of their vital importance to a stoned society? Will pizza pockets be covered by OHIP? What if you have The Munchies as a pre-existing condition?

How will social stigma impact use? Is it something that most people do/are doing already? Will legality only serve to make people talk openly about it? You’d be hard pressed to find any opinion leaders getting grilled over enjoying the occasional glass of whiskey or wine. What about a joint or edible? Will weed still be treated as the domain of unambitious layabouts? Or will assenting public figures help shift the tide of perspective?

Most importantly, will the public be educated on weed strains and their effects? The last thing we need is more businesses blowing smoke up our arses.

Yesterday I sent an email describing myself as “basically dilapidated flesh on legs”, in case you were wondering why I’m having trouble finding a new job.

An Afternoon Drive Announcer job has come up at work and I thought I’d create a video application. I’ve always tangentially considered on air work as a position I’d love, and have some experience in it. So here’s an application script I wrote and intend to film over the next week. Watch me change my mind and wimp out.

Looking offscreen
“So I said Fortnite? Only once every two weeks, baby.” Laughs
Holding book. Looks up from book.
“Oh hi, I didn’t see you there”
Book is of some faux importance. Think Crime and Punishment.

While I’ve got you here, I might as well tell you a little about myself. What’s to tell? Well I guess I’m just another hip young millennial who uses the words “hip”, “young” and “millennial” self referentially. Like any other twentyorsosomething, I love (stand up comedy) [SOCIAL MEDIA]*, (books) [MEMES] and (knitting) [THE ZANY ANTICS OF BELOVED LATE NIGHT HOST JIMMY FALLON].

* (said but muted), [LOW PITCH SHIFTED]

I grew up in New Zealand, a country famed for surprisingly not being Australia. I studied communications at AUT University, otherwise known as Auckland University of Technology University. The University so nice, they forgot that literal adults know how acronyms work and hideously overcompensated.

Why am I applying for this afternoon drive position? Because I think I’m the voice of reason this world needs right now. When you travel a bunch you learn to relate well to strangers, whether that’s the struggling student trying to make sense of a tumultuous political climate, an ambitious young go-getter looking for some sick afternoon beats, or that weird uncle at the family gathering who swears he’s known you since you were this big, but secretly you think he walked in off the street ‘cause he smelt your mum’s famous meatloaf cooking.

Wait, this is for radio? Why are you watching this off-brand Australasian Adam Driver talk about himself? Here, listen to me while this delightful chimpanzee rides a Segway. Look at his cute little overalls.

Picture is replaced by, you guessed it, footage of a chimpanzee riding a segway

Look, I get it. Toronto’s a big market full of complex individuals. You want someone who knows what’s up and gets people engaged without gratuitous pandering. I, for one, know all about the emerging platforms and how to connect with others.

Flashing hashtags across the bottom of the screen: #facebook, #twitter, #snapchat, #otherbuzzwords

I’ve snapped my chats and insta’d my grams with the best of them. Also I have a great work ethic. I wrote this entire thing in twenty minutes and you can’t even tell because of the austere production values.

Beep and test screen. *PLEASE STAND BY* messaging. Camera cuts back to me.

I’ve been there and done that. I know that working in an office is just you and your coworkers saying hi in the hallways until one of you dies.

Then you get to do their work too.

Flashing hashtag #thanksglobalfinancialcrisis

I know that it’s not all fun and games. That creating memorable and relatable content sometimes takes a backseat to corporate responsibility. I’m telling you now that I have exactly zero scruples and will shill for any company whatsoever.

Flashing hashtags #nestle, #nike, #buck-a-beer

Mostly, I believe that as a broadcaster you have a responsibility to your audience. You’re behind the mic to make their days a little brighter. Whether that’s easing the stress of being stuck on the 401 in rush hour or pretending to do work while eyeing up which co-workers are about to be let go and saddle you with all their work too.

#pleasehireme

And if none of this has changed your mind on me, I’m just going to leave this here…

Fans out a stack of play money and puts it in front of the camera

…and if it’s gone when I get back, I won’t say a word.

Gets up and walks out. Nothing happens for five seconds. Pops back into frame and grabs a note.

Sorry, I need to pick up some (milk) [MEMES] on the way home. Call me.

Messaging onscreen says “For Your Consideration” then lists my personal details below.

Day one and I’m already underslept. In a week I might just dissolve

Fall has descended upon Toronto and brought with it JFL42, the comedy festival renown for its unintuitive pass and sprawling venues. With the weather cooling down it only makes sense to take refuge in the subterranean chambers of Comedy Bar. Time for ten days straight of yuk infused shenanigans. SHENANIGANS I say. Let’s get to it.

Greg Proops – The Royal Theatre

I had no idea how Proops would perform. He’s more known for pulling comedy out of the aether than carefully scripted punchlines. Turns out he does those too. The most erudite and alacritous verbal aerosalant I’ve seen take the stage. He put the “fun” into “funambulist”. He was also just warming up. The pervasive sense I got from Greg’s set was that his material was tightly put together and he needed to take one or two laps to really bring it together. A lot of it relies on polysyllabic words being strung together in a rapid fire manner. Toronto audiences can sometimes be stuffy, but it seemed like everyone there had a ton of goodwill for Proops and really wanted him to succeed. His physical comedy was impeccable and he slipped effortlessly in and out of impressions/accents. That said, there were a bunch of stumbles that maybe belied a little unfamiliarity with the material. If you heard it, you’d understand. Very wordy and convoluted sentences that must be a nightmare to memorise. I don’t know if it was first night nerves, or getting used to weaving in local references, but once he’s tightened it up a bit, the set will have a much better flow to it. Here’s the thing, he’s almost 60 and his finger is pretty adroitly on the political pulse. I wasn’t so big on him denigrating white dudes (which I obviously have no problem with itself) without admitting that he’s still complicit in it too. Still, for a mainstream audience it’s pretty progressive stuff. A little of it veers into clapter, but I’d be curious to see how the show’s running by Saturday evening. Honestly, I’m looking forward to his podcast a lot more. I feel like the lack of structure fits his personality way more than traditional stand up.

Janelle James and Tim Dillon – Comedy Bar

The double act performances usually feature delightful up and comers. These two were no exception. After a stellar (as always) opening set by local Courtney Gilmour, Janelle took the stage and immediately brought energy to the room. Confident and self-assured, she told the crowd she was ready for Fall ’cause she was in the mood to be angry, wear swaters and let everything behind them hang out. Digging her heels into the curmudgeon material, she riffed on being the other woman and sex with a younger man, having no time for romance. Maybe ten minutes in she joked “I think my edible just kicked in”. Was it a joke? Who cared? It was a strong set. She had no illusions about purely scripted material and delved into a couple of angry rants she figured could maybe glean jokes over time. It was a blast listening to her work through stuff (with slightly more cannibalistic content than any of us expected). The crowd had all the time in the world for her son’s schadenfreude ridden birthday. I think any of us gladly would’ve taken a full hour.

That said, Tim Dillon burst out the curtain and took the crowd immediately. Loud, brash and a burst of constant negativity. Nothing in Dillon’s world view was sacred and we all had a one way ticket to oblivion. His cruise line material was sweat-inducingly funny. He put augmented reality on blast and grilled the crowd for their mundane and unnecessary careers (my row featured multiple product managers and me, a TV promo scheduler, if only to prove him absolutely right). Big laughs all around. If you thought a constant negative outlook onstage would be draining, you just haven’t heard anyone as loud as Dillon. You should though. If only to hear his rationale behind Big and Tall stores stocking Ralph Lauren.

Matteo Lane (Streisand at the Bon Soir) – Comedy Bar

This was the gayest thing I’d ever seen, and I mean that for every inch of the compliment that it is. Matteo Lane, a trained opera singer, sat on a stool, riffed, and sang Streisand/Mariah Carey songs for an hour. Accompanied by his pal Henry Koperski on keys, Matteo would tell stories and rant while Henry vamped along. Very New York, it was a fun, ultra campy experience to a surprised and delighted audience who didn’t know what they were getting into. Matteo has a hell of a voice and milked the experience for all he could. He chatted with the first few rows and eagerly took requests. Very little structure, but a unique experience in the stand up dominated landscape of the festival. I’m not sure what I expected, but it certainly delivered. At one point I got up to go to the bathroom and he called me out. “Hey hot gay dude, you’re gonna miss a Liza Minnelli song.” I was flattered. I think that was a genuine compliment on my fashion sense. I have no idea how he’s planning on doing another hour of stand up followed by an hour of song tonight. God bless the ambitious.

Margaret Cho tonight. She was always ahead of her time. Genuinely keen to see what her material looks like now that society has caught up to her.

Situation: Comedy

In case you’ve never worked in an office, it’s just you and your coworkers saying hi in the hallways until one of you dies.

Then you get to do their work too.

Thanks Global Financial Crisis.

We’ve hit our busiest time of year, which means I’ve actually got stuff to do for most of the day. It’s kind of a treat. I get to put my head down and only be a fraction of the menace I usually am. Case in point. Today I noticed a co-worker had a three litre bottle of distilled water by his desk. I walked up to it and took a closer look.

Me: Do you think they call it distilled water because they were worried people would think it was no longer water?
Him: What?
Me: Dis still water?

His groan was palpable. What’s worse, a couple of times I went up to him and “checked” it was still water. I may have made a legit enemy. The best part is that I’ve orchestrated with other co-workers via email to do some cursory check ins. If this isn’t a firing offence, I don’t know what is.

I actually don’t know what a firing offence is. I wonder about it all the time. I get all of my work done and get the fuck out of the office on the dot. I’m generally pretty pleasant to my co-workers and bosses. I also hate going into the office every day and desperately want to quit once I find another job. That’s not a fireable offence though, right? Being unhappy isn’t a fireable offence and I’m sure that unless I was spreading despair throughout the building, I’m safe there. I goof around a bunch, for sure, but as I said, the work gets done on time and to a high standard. Goofing around isn’t fireable if I’m not constantly making mistakes or causing co-workers to, right? Being unmotivated and distractable isn’t propable cause, right? I can continue to walk in and out of those doors and cash a paycheck every two weeks without concern. I think, at least.

Sometimes I wish there was some scenario in which I got paid out. I know that as miserable as I get, I’m not gonna leave a job without another lily pad to jump to. Can’t do it. I’m too wrapped up in my security blanket. Kind of depressing, n’est-ce pas? I’ve got self-preservation skills enough to ensure I don’t starve, but have no problem letting my soul slowly dwindle to a trickle. My soul is water in this metaphor. I guess it’s flowing too. I don’t know why I didn’t just opt for evaporation imagery. It went along with the “starving” idea a lot better. If I wasn’t so focused on treading water I could’ve seen that much more clearly.

It’s okay though, I have escapism on my side. A safe little oasis where I can pretend that everything’s all sunny and plentiful. Tonight, for instance, I’m going to the first night of JFL42, Toronto’s comedy festival. I can forget my woes for the next 16 odd hours and instead see what transpires when tragedy meets time.

It’s funnier when it’s happening to somebody else.

It’ll henceforth be known as Indrik Lamar

Magic the Gathering themed post today. If that’s not your thing, come back tomorrow.

I hope everyone enjoyed another fun and successful spoiler season. There’s some neat stuff on the way. I can’t wait to play with Pelt Collector, which embodies the beloved fantasy trope of elves wearing an overabundance of coats and charging into battle. We’ve got plenty of memeworthy critters including Generous Stray, a cat who brings you a lizard treat. There’s Affectionate Indrik, solid limited fodder that loves so hard it hurts. Also Book Devourer, a big ol’ lug who enjoys words as much as I do.

Without diving too much into specifics, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for limited. There’s good, efficient removal in abundance, a sign of an excellent format. Prey Upon, Luminous Bonds and Dead Weight are all superb tempo plays. I’m personally kinda excited to see how Undercity Uprising plays, let alone all the neat coloured mana heavy uncommons. Will the plentiful Gates make for easily castable nonsense? I sure hope so. I’ve got lots of time for nonsense.

What about the mechanics? Did they get there? It looks like Dimir got an alley ooped big time with Surveil. Seems like it’ll have a subtle long term affect on the game while powering out any Undergrowth/Jump Start shenanigans Dimir players will be able to swipe from others. I’m not sure on Undergrowth yet. Traditionally Golgari’s strength has been slow attrition, coming back in the long game. This time around, I’m not sure. The full spoiler was just released this morning and I haven’t combed through it much. Undergrowth seems like it has marginal enablers and might not get there, but it’s often hard to tell what, on paper, will be good on the board.

Mentor looks like an ability that will play out much stronger than it looks. I’ve got echoes of Renown thundering in my heart. Will combat tricks keep the moMentorm rolling? Probably. I expect to be rolled over by it infinite times. Last up, Jump Start. I’m quite not sure that Jump Start got there and I’m very prepared to be wrong. Feels like Wizards were super worried about it being too strong and didn’t make it strong enough? Chemister’s Insight does look dope though. Flashbacks to Deep Analysis? Pun intended. Convoke was super strong first time around. Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi and Siege Wurm were total gas. Siege Wurm is back and this time it looks less like a penis. I’m not sure that small creatures are as common as they were in original Rav (anyone remember how dominant Selesnya Evangel was?), but who knows? The game has shifted and maybe getting a turn 3 4/4 vigilance is good enough. Conclave Tribunal certainly is.

Big news on the Magic the Gathering: Arena front, we’re finally getting a wipe for Open Beta. I think I’m in the minority seeing that as good news, but I do. It’s neat to start from the bottom and work your way up. Sure, it means any decks I’ve made will disappear, but I get to create new ones depending on what I open/draft. Plus everyone else will be running their jank cobbled together decks too. I love it when everyone has clunky one ofs that slowly get tweaked over time. The wipe will also make drafting Dominaria fun again, now that I’ve collected pretty much the whole set. Better yet, there’ll be Rav to draft. Plus Ravnica sealed. They’ve promised friend finder functions and all sorts of helpful tweaks. The game has gotten kind of boring with all these retread formats. A party’s on its way and I’m ready for it.

I guess you could say I’m all Rav’d up.