Straight dude has hot take “for once”

I never really “got” the concept of hating all your exes. If everyone you dated in the past was a piece of shit, maybe the unifying factor is that you have terrible taste.

Or, like, stop dating men?

I intended the above statement as a joke, or maybe an intro/segue to some kind of stand up bit. I posted it on Facebook to gauge a reaction and, well, it got reactions. Mostly I think it was received in the spirit it was intended. Also friends chimed in with super valid comments on the complications abuse/trauma bring to the table in relationships. A friend mentioned the cycle of abuse and how it changes the way people see their own boundaries/what’s acceptable from someone you date. It can colour patterns of partner choice and cloud self-awareness. There are definitely shitty exes out there who take advantage of vulnerable people in frighteningly vampiric capacity.

Also many people are shit at dating.

I’m not saying I’m an expert by any means. I’ve done a bit and learned a lot. I’m extremely fortunate not to have dated any abusive, irreparably terrible people. For the most part, my past relationships have ended because of the realisation that we just weren’t truly compatible where it mattered. It sucked to breakup, but it was exceedingly better for both of us in the long term. We weren’t bad eggs by any means, we just weren’t good for one another. I’d wager that a lot of angry ex-haters probably fall under a similar boat without understanding it.

First and foremost, if you were dating someone in the first place, wouldn’t it be because you liked them? Who is out there dating people they don’t actually like on a fundamental level? If you don’t share interests or values, why would you be surprised and/or hurt when it doesn’t work out? I’m not knocking sharing consensual sexual engagements based on mutual attraction, but where in “we fuck good but don’t share values” is the part about realistic long term dating prospects? I don’t believe every relationship needs to be a forever one.

It’s 100% understandable to have shitty relationships that help you learn boundaries. Isn’t that the point of dating? It also makes sense that there have been some really raw past relationships that’ve burned bridges beyond the point of collapse. That said, if you point blank hate every single one of the people you’ve dated, perhaps that also says something about how you filter and choose the people you date? At some point there’s a responsibility on you to make decisions about whether or not a relationship gels with your needs/wants. If you’ve broken up with a bunch of people and learned nothing from them, it’s not entirely a potential shitty ex’s fault that you’re not considering who you are in a relationship.

The unpopular/unspoken truth of relationships is that a big part is being able to tolerate each other’s shit. Whether it’s being perennially late, dominating emotional labour, not doing their fair share of tasks, failing to consider their partner when making decisions that affect them, or whatever else it may be. We’re all flawed, we all have some modicum of baggage. We’re all just a little bit shitty; we’re human. I feel like part of a successful relationship is when people understand their partners flaws, their own baggage and accept them. They do the work of trying to find compromise while attempting to get better as time goes on.

Yes, there are 1000% shitty abusive behaviours that go beyond mere “flaws” or “baggage”. I do feel like a lot of us have blind spots, whether willingly or not, where we fail to recognise our responsibility in the degradation of a relationship and straight up don’t own our shit. Then when there’s a breakup it’s all the ex’s fault and personal culpability flies out the window.

I’m not saying it’s everyone all the time (and I feel like I know many, many considerate people who probably kick this concept in the arse), but I do think that a large proportion of people put everything on the other partner and when the ship sinks, put that blame in only one direction.

TL;DR – Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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Speaking of segues…

Nothing to report.

Maaaayun, if only it were that easy. No comment. Come back tomorrow. On hiatus. Snow day. Dave’s not here, maaaayun. If only.

It’s not. Ride till I die and all that. I wouldn’t say that you’re stuck with me, cause it’s entirely optional to visit. I, however, am stuck with this until I either reach 20,000 entries, quit or die. Realistically, if I found a full-time writing gig I’d stop devoting my daily energies to whatever this all is. Until that day I have to think about how to kill 30 minutes of mental ejections. Mental ejections? I don’t like the sound of that, but I’m running on empty and it was the least off-putting of four choices.

Speaking of snow days, I’ve called one for tomorrow. This week, even as a short week, has left me fresh out of fucks to give at work. It’s been emotionally draining and I’ve been fighting battles I know better than to get involved with. Head down, do the work and leave. Give the job as little of yourself as you can. That’s the mantra that makes the most sense right now. Caring makes no sense from this vantage point. Still, much as I hate my job and wish I were anywhere else, I don’t know that I have it in me to not care at least a little about something that absorbs so many of my waking hours. I’ve been pushing back because it’s the right thing to do, because honestly, there are younger employees on my team struggling and they work hard enough. They don’t need more shit to worry about. I feel bad and it’s not fair on them. As for me, I looked outside this afternoon and saw the snow. I thought of my shitty commute augmented by unwanted sleet and figured why? I’m at a point where I can kind of just say that I’m working from home and nobody questions it. They know I’ll get the work done and for my own peace of mind, I can do it at my own pace. Small victories.

Speaking of small victories (what if my “thing” now was starting every sentence with “speaking of”? I could join new entries to previous entries and give the illusion of continuity. Time is a flat circle and all that. I wonder if the upcoming season of True Detective will recapture the magic of the first. Sophomore slumps are tough), Direct Challenge has arrived in Magic: Arena. That may mean virtually nothing to all of you. For me, combined with this whole Work From Home business, means I may never have to leave the house again. I can rot away in front of the computer, ordering my groceries online, dilapidating day by day. It’s basically everything I’ve ever wanted. My demise comes not with a bang, but a slow grind as I lose touch with the outside world. Imagine how long I could grow my nails. I could finally achieve that Quasimodo posture I’ve sought for so long. The house could fall into disrepair as I dither away the tattered remnants of my failure with the help of my high speed internet connection. Isn’t that the dream? The spirit ascends while the body withers.

Speaking of terrible transitions, it’s time for me to rebuke the previous paragraph entirely and leave the house for a friend’s comedy show. After consistent hard work hosting a bunch of regular shows, she’s landed a spot at one of Toronto’s most beloved comedy institutions: the eponymously named Comedy Bar.

With that, I’ll depart and leave you to figure out if I used “eponymously” correctly.

Was that enough of an info dump for you? Well now you know how I feel

I just had my first session with a new therapist.

This doesn’t mean I’m replacing my beloved current therapist, it’s just another potential option. My therapist is The Best. She’s incredibly perceptive and her style is very complementary to my way of processing. If I could see her on the regular I would. But I can’t. Or rather, I could but it would cost me a lot. She’s not cheap. So while my benefits can currently afford 3 of her sessions per year (which frankly isn’t enough to deal with a lot of things), I don’t want to not have those sessions. I do want to jump further into therapy as a means of finding ways to cope with unhelpful thoughts and patterns. I got a call a few weeks back saying that I’d finally come off the waiting list for an OHIP sponsored therapist. Today was the first of potentially a few sessions.

Introduction sessions with therapists feel kind of weird. There’s protocol and bookkeeping that needs to happen. They’ll tell you of the boundaries in place. Confidentiality is assured, except in a few key circumstances. Primarily this revolves around you being a potential threat to yourself or others. If you have suicidal thoughts that your therapist deems sufficient as a precursor to taking action, they can notify authorities and have you escorted to emergency to gauge whether you’re at risk. If children under your care are potentially at risk, therapists can also alert authorities. If you’re unsafe to drive in any capacity, whether that’s admitting to a habit of drink or drugged driving, being off certain necessary medications (like epilepsy medication. Which is fine to come off, but in that case you should not be driving), etc. If you could harm yourself or others, that is a valid concern. With that out of a way, the session turns over to you.

A therapist is only as good as what they can divine from what they’ve heard. The more they know about you, the wealth of information they can utilise to find ways to help. So they ask questions. It’s kind of like a first date, but a shitty one-sided first date where you’re monopolising the conversation. They keep asking questions, but you don’t get to interject. They’re also jotting down all of your answers too. It’s sort of checklist-y, but with good reason. It’s the most efficient method to get a base of understanding. An intro often happens over a couple of sessions where the therapist will dive into your background and mood.

Today was background. She asked about my upbringing, family structure past and present. She asked about relationships. Was I in one? For how long? At which stage? That kinda thing. She asked about my history of education and employment. What had I done to get to where I was? History of therapy and treating mental illness? Personal struggles? Drinking and drug use? How often? In what quantities? Did I have close friendships and a support network? Was I physically healthy? How did I think cognitive behavioural therapy would work for me? What were my expectations of our sessions?

You’d be surprised how long it can all take. There’s a little probing here and there, perhaps clarifying or asking for further information on something you’ve said. Going back to the first date notion, what the introductory sessions are used for is to see if the relationship of care would be a synergistic fit. Some people’s issues and personality don’t mesh well with particular methods of therapy. You want to find someone whose style complements your own. It’s the most effective way of ensuring the sessions are time spent wisely. If something doesn’t feel quite right, chances are it’s not. Intuition works pretty well with this sort of stuff. If you’re actively looking for therapy, please shop around and find someone who’ll be able to tailor their skills to your issues. Therapy is amazing. It can be life changing when it works. That said, “work” is the important word. It’s a lot on both sides, but it’s so goddamn worth it.

Let’s see how “date two” goes…

Stan by your man

Like any film character before a monstrous transformation, I don’t feel so good.

Must be nice, is all.

I dunno. Would my life be served by shifting into an inhuman creature? Maybe. It seemed to work out for that sexy fishman in The Shape of Water (spoiler, I still haven’t seen The Shape of Water). If I could get extra appendages or the ability of flight that’d be pretty slick. I know a lot of animals have cool abilities that humans would only dream of. At Te Papa museum my girlfriend and I visited this wicked exhibit on insects. There was a type of flying insect that basically had precognition. Or at least it could rapidly analyse the vectors other organisms and predict their actions. Spider Sense, by any other name. How cool would that be?

On the topic of Spider Sense, I guess it’s worth thinking about Stan Lee a little. Like most men in positions of power, I have no doubts there were times he abused that power. I’ve heard allegations of sexual misconduct and I think we’ve seen enough of this to know they were likely true. I also know that it’s hard to place the sum of a person’s worth upon one aspect of them. We all have nuance. I’m not gonna all out galvanise the guy. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the myriad of times he pushed others out of the spotlight to improve the way he’d appear. At the same time, it’s not possible to trace the sheer hope and inspiration his creations (many co-created with the talented Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby of course) brought to those who found solace in his work. I’m sure a lot of what we consider trope-y was at the time revolutionary and boundary pushing. The X-Men stand in for almost any marginalised group. I know personally that my own resolve was strengthened by the notion that despite insurmountable odds at times, I’d never really be alone. It’s notable too that both Lee and Kirby, of Jewish birth, changed their last names for the purpose of mainstream acceptability. These characters they made, fighting for the downtrodden against oppression, existed in a world with the spectre of WW2 a faint memory. Whatever realm of moral compass I have, I know that being brought up with an array of heroic opinion leaders formed a large part of it. None of us are saints, but if we can leave this place a little better for having lived here, that seems like a worthwhile use of an existence.

I don’t know why I pulled the escape lever on that paragraph, it’s not like I have anything better to follow it up with. I’m feeling a bit green. Last night my stomach was topsy turvy. I thought I was just suffering the effects of an overspiced pasta dish and rice for two means in a row. I don’t eat a ton of complex carbs, I figured, my body was having a rough time processing them. My throat was scratchy and a little warm. I tried TUMS, then covered my bases with some oil of oregano. No dice. Who knows? I drank a lot Saturday night. Maybe I made out with an uncooked chicken and forgot about it. Today my throat has been uncomfortably hot and my energy levels have plummeted. Just all over fatigued. I’m fortunate I had very little work today and could easily work from home. It’s a luxury. I guess the real luxury would be working a job where I didn’t feel I needed to “show up” for the day when I was ill, because I didn’t want to pass my work onto my co-workers. But that would take a major societal overhaul whereby we stopped venerating martyrdom and suffering for the sake of your job. I’ve been in the position long enough that it’s a breeze for the most part, but tons of my newer co-workers still stay after hours, take lunch at their desk or skip eating for hours because they’re too busy. Maybe, as much of a luxury working from home is (and it is), it’s still part of an overall fucked up system.

Look, if I’m about to Hulk out, I’m here for it.

See you in the stars, Stan.

I do have a children’s Wolverine mask I bought from Dollarama

I’m planning and plotting RIGHT NOW. You don’t even know. Probably because I haven’t mentioned any of the details. Heck, you didn’t even know what I was plotting until I mentioned the fact that I was. Upon reflection, I don’t even know if plotting carries the connotations I’m looking for, so let’s revert back to planning. Because if everything comes together, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Did that sound clandestine? Blame me for following a thread I’d be quick to abandon. I’m doing a thing next weekend and I think I’d be served coming to the table with some ideas. I’m still being vague, ain’t I? Like I’m hiding behind some kind of… mask?

Look, I’m playing Masks: A New Generation on a friend’s Role Playing Game podcast. I don’t expect you to know what Masks is. I also don’t think you know my friend. I’d maybe hazard that you’d know what a Role Playing Game is (think Dungeons & Dragons), and podcasts are evergreen enough by now that I’d suppose you’d have heard of them. With that considered, a general rundown.

Masks is a game based around Halcyon, a city of heroes. Preceding generations have paved the way for a superpower aware society. The gold generation are long past, the silver generation are a little younger. They might be in their 40s-50s and possibly still operating in the city. Your squad are teenagers coming into their powers. It’s a volatile time for anyone on the verge of adulthood, but doubly so when you’re filled with warring motivations and parahuman abilities. The framework of the game allows for some detailed backstory and potential Acting, which seemed like a fun thing to take part in on a Sunday afternoon. If you’re interested in knowing a little more, try this link.

So I thought I’d brainstorm a couple of character ideas based around the different archetypes. I’m not making characters now, but maybe on the day I’ll think back to these and consider some of the concepts.

The Bull is your classic Big Guy in a Five Man Band. Driven by impulse, they’re strong and rush headlong into conflict. Typically they have a love and a rival. This archetype doesn’t super appeal to me, but I do like the idea of being an emotional glass cannon at a time when angst is rife. Maybe they could have skin that shifts elemental state based on emotion? Kind of like The Thing or Colossus, but with an added elemental state. Anger could case the skin to harden, sadness could weaken it and leave it vulnerable. This character would be at the mercy of their own mental state, but also highly susceptible to villains’ emotional attacks.

The Transformed is a character whose physical form has become twisted into an inhuman visage. Think a lycanthrope with no recourse back to true humanity. I typically really enjoy lycan type characters and the notion of turmoil with human vs animalistic nature. I’m kind of into the idea of some form of insectoid characteristics. Maybe Metamorphisis left some kind of imprint on me, but a cockroach could be neat. Truly disfigured, maybe a departure from previously attractive features. There’s some really disgusting stuff you could do with fighting base instincts. I’d have to do research, but this would give options of flight, maybe some kind of poison attacks or asexual reproduction to create minions. Who knows?

The Beacon is a character with no powers, but an overwhelming desire to enact heroics. Think Iron Man or Batman. Something drives you and vigilante activity is your everything. I’ve always had fascination with a character who has an innate, almost unnatural understanding of physics. It’d be cool to have a true daredevil, someone impulsive and a total slave to adrenaline. Maybe they had a life threatening situation they narrowly escaped from as a child and it forever altered the direction of their life. Very athletic by design, they’ve trained their entire life in the pursuit of heroism, but their motivations are anything but pure. Reckless to the core, it’s all about chasing that high. Could be a gambler, parkour, a throwing weapon they could use for rebounds like Captain America or Daredevil.

The Janus has a secret identity, and keeping it that way is of the utmost importance. I think this character could be neat as a total pedant. Perhaps very privileged and inflexible upbringing. They’ve always had everything they wanted, but it’s never been enough and they don’t know why. They could go their lives without working a day, but they’re lost, purposeless. Maybe a part of them has secretly felt like they’re not doing enough and it eats them up inside. Perhaps they see inequality, but it’s so far removed from their existence that they don’t know how to deal with it. They’re all about propriety, and it’s a challenge to break loose from that. I honestly don’t have any great justification as to why, but I’d really like a sound based character, maybe with the ability to manipulate waveforms in the air. They could make people hear things, mess with volume, create pressure and pain through overloading eardrums. Physically though, they wouldn’t be gifted. Why would they? They’ve never had to be.

It’s all stuff to think about, looking at central motivations and how powers fit into a character’s personality. I’m pretty excited to get rolling and figure out who I’m gonna be. What kind of mask will I wear?

Fall for one and one for Fall.

Okay, okay. I’m here. I mean, I’m also not here. I’m typing and that counts for something. At the same time, my attention is on the other half of my screen. My favourite player is in the Magic Pro Tour semifinals and I’m rapt with the game. I’ve been tracking his progress all weekend and it’s really fulfilling seeing him dominate. He’s up two games, so he’s currently the forerunner in this match. Still, that could change on a dime. It’s all very exciting, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

Well I think so.

Today’s a loose day. I went out to a rave style event last night and I’m suitably hungover/recovering. It was fucking great, exactly the kind of dance event I look for. Weirdly enough it was in a home and garden centre. If not for the sign above the bar, you wouldn’t have known. The party was themed after The Fall, both seasonal and biblical. Lots of autumnal wear, angels and demons and an absurd amount of glitter. So yeah, typical rave fare, I guess. It was a paid private party, so there were a bunch of stipulations. You needed a code to buy tickets, and only a certain number of people had codes to give out. This basically cut down on a lot of potential douchebags. Friends of friends, mostly, made it a great crowd. I swear, I entered the dancefloor and instantly saw someone I knew. Then I turned around and bumped into another friend. It was practically this ad infinitum for the rest of the evening.

Oh wow, LSV takes the win, three games in a row. Onto the finals.

The other perk of the private party thing was the bar. It was all based around a shared economy. You could buy drinks as per normal, or you could bring an unopened bottle with you to donate and drink for free all evening (plus tipping your bartenders, of course). I had a bottle of moonshine I happened to buy last week, so I figured it was ideal. I mean, moonshine is fun to drink now and again. I feel, I dunno, kind of filthy when I have it. Which I mean only in a positive manner. At the same time, it’s not the kind of thing I want to down all night. Donating it to the bar was the perfect compromise. Everyone was told to bring a refillable cup with them to cut down on rubbish. I had my faithful sippy cup, Dr Tipples. PHD. Faithful she was. There were no spills on the dancefloor and she was tactile enough to keep hold of. So easy that even a baby could’ve been mess free. In other words, perfect for me.

Ticket codes aside, it was fucking packed. The event sold out and it showed. The dance floor was rammed. I oscillated between dancing and being a human thoroughfare. When space opened up I took advantage and moved into it. I tried to stay together with friends, but dance floor traffic kept shifting us apart. As time passed and I drank more, I stopped caring and just danced on my own, relishing the selection of ace DJs. The gig started at 10pm and went all the way to 6am. I’ve got this thing where I don’t really like seeing the sunrise on a night out. I danced for hours, intermittently going upstairs to relax in the plounge (pillow lounge. It’s a thing) and chat with friends. By the time 5am rolled around, I decided to take the long hard journey home. Psyche, it was a five minute walk to my front door. What a goddamn great night.

And with the finals starting, it’s time for me to GTFO.

Snow point in complaining

I’ve had “Beyond the Sea” stuck in my head for days.

This is not me complaining whatsoever. I’ve had an extra jaunty little skip to my step. I’ve felt the need (though barely resisted) to take diagonal cross-steps, twirling my chain as I walk. Maybe a fedora (not trilby) on my noggin, waistcoat clad. What? It’s a living. Instead today I’ve basically worn my giraffe onesie and watched/played Magic all day. While snow drifts down across Toronto, it’s been a good use of my waking hours. I had loose notions of cobbling together soup, but any motivation died at the feet of leisure. There is no work, only pleasure.

I don’t think I’m ready just yet for snow, but Winter waits for no man. The central zipper on my winter jacket is still busted. All hope is not lost. My jacket has two layers and, instead of zipping them together, I can independently zip them. It’s surviving, not thriving. My winter boots are also in a state. The fabric on the inner heel has been torn up for the past few seasons. The laces are mostly ripped apart and the eyelets on one side of each shoe are holding on by a… well… you get the idea.

Is it time to dump a bunch of money on new accessories? I guess we gotta do a cost:benefit analysis. I could probably make it through Winter without getting new boots, but it’d be in unnecessary discomfort. To be clear, I’m not worried about getting value from these items. Combined I spent about $200 on the two. One was a super lucky out of season find on clearance, the other I also lucked into through the store having insufficient stock. I think I may have spent more on replacing lost hats/gloves in the past five years than I have on boots/jacket. The boots, as I said, could survive, but they’ve also done enough. I think I’ve come to terms with the idea that I should let them rest in peace. The jacket still works fine, but it is getting worn out. I’ve already replaced the zipper twice. I think to get a high quality zipper and have my alterations lady take care of it would probably cost around $30. If it’s gonna bust again quickly, that’d be a shitter. If I got another two seasons out of that $30, it’d be a bargain instead. It’s probably worth getting it fixed. It’s a warm jacket that still serves a purpose. I mean, even if I got a new jacket I’d still have the old layers that function independently. Is this boring anyone else as much as it’s boring me? Let’s try something different.

Oh, I finally had time and finished The Killing Eve. I don’t know how to say this without it sounding like total hyperbole, but The Killing Eve season one is one of the best seasons of dramatic television I’ve seen in years. It’s slickly filmed. So much money has gone into the production and you can’t help but notice. The sets and costumes are lavish. The plot spans cities and countries, which all carry their own lived flavour. The writing is sharp, provocative and unexpectedly funny. I’m pretty sure that no matter what future projects Phoebe-Waller Bridge took on, I’d make sure I watched. The characters are all given a ton of moments in which to really breathe. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer play a captivating game of cat and mouse that pulls you along with every step. There are unexpected twists and turns galore. The final scene had me actively yelling, both with laughter and surprise. It’s just utterly enthralling. It’s eight episodes long. Your mediocre Netflix originals will still be there after you mainline the series in a day. Do yourself a favour and get it in front of you.

If you’re still bored, try playing “Beyond the Sea” on repeat for days. See how jaunty you feel then.