Getting a bit blue in the tooth

Hey, it’s me. I’m writing on a train.

It’s snowing, and I made the last minute decision to skip that nonsense and transit to work. I had a hidden motivation: I wanted to try out my new mp3 player. After humming and hawing for months, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. First impressions, it plays mp3s. I guess that’s good enough. The turning point in actually sitting on my arse and buying one online was realising that I’d never be truly satisfied. Or rather, I realised I’d probably be fine with a much wider range of players than my narrow desires expected. I wanted a dumb machine. Something that played music without a stack of extra features and apps. I wanted something weighty enough that it felt sturdy and safe. Definitely no internet. I was against Bluetooth and FM radio. I just wanted a simple player, nothing more. It’s weird, I’ve been obsessed with having hardwired things for some time. I think there was some fear founded on the idea that this technology is fickle. Thing is, Bluetooth has been around for 10+ years. I think it works just fine. In fact, I decided to road test some average earplugs I had lying around for my commute. Turns out Bluetooth works. Who’d have thought? I’ve been clinging to outmoded notions. I’ve been jogging and working out with studio sized monitor headphones for years, when I could’ve had a far more lightweight option. Based on today’s performance, I might even get some new Bluetooth headphones for active stuff. I’m not an old enough dog that I can’t learn a few tricks.

It’s rad having 100 or so gigs of portable music on the go. Over the past few months I’ve gotten by with podcasts and DJ mix sets. When I’ve been at a computer, I’ve streamed from Deezer. It’s mostly been working. What I’ve realised though, is that having nigh endless access to music from across history is somewhat stifling. There’s so much of it, and it doesn’t pop right out to you. You need to search up what to listen to, and without a bunch of curating, I found myself listening to roughly the same 40 or so albums most of the time. When I use a portable player, I have a long list of artists to choose from. I can continue getting new music and adding it, while still remembering old favourites. Not to fall into an adage, but what’s old is new again. I’m discovering all these bands I love, but had forgotten about. It’s kind of a gift, and today’s commute has been spent reacquainting myself with Dan Deacon.

And like, cramming into a bus with some dude’s bag pressed against my face. But mostly Dan Deacon.

Technically is all of their meat blade steak?

I’ve got nothing, so let’s get it over with.

Unpopular opinion, I think macaroons are grossly more enjoyable than macarons. The texture has just the right combination of crunch and chewability. The chocolate bottom is a wonderful treat, and the cherry tops it all off. Macarons make me feel guilty for eating them, I feel like I’m engaging in some form of class betrayal, and there’s no way I can eat more than one or two without feeling like I’m somehow committing a social faux pas. Macaroons don’t judge, they’re just delicious and morish. In fact, they’re the kind of food that grandmothers demand you endlessly gorge on, which is even better. Macarons taste like condescension. I’ll still eat a macaron, but the experience is significantly less enjoyable than eating a macaroon.

I can’t believe discourse is still flying around on this “Ok Boomer” catchphrase. Lots of disgruntled tweets from incensed folks claiming it’s discrimination or ageism. Funnily enough, the people that are offended are probably likely offenders. As far as I understand, Ok Boomer isn’t about shitting on people older than you, it’s a response from generations of older folks who dismiss what younger folks say without actually listening to what they’re saying. Catchalls like “you’ll understand when you’re older” or whatnot. It’s weird, because Ok Boomer isn’t rallying against age, it’s rallying against ignorance. It’s about people blaming millennials for thing after thing, instead of taking a look at the legacy of their generations economic decisions and how they flowed down to following generations. It’s about people who hold rigidly to outmoded ideas of how the world once was, instead of actually considering that times have changed. It’s a response to endless comments beginning with “why don’t you just…” followed by unrealistic standards of how things work in 2019. “Pounding the pavement” in search of jobs isn’t a thing anymore outside of service industries, and not always in them either.

Tomorrow I’m going to a Brazilian steakhouse with friends to celebrate a birthday. My friend’s birthday, not mine. I’m pumped. I haven’t been out for a nice meal in a while, and too few of my restaurant meals involve meat on swords. In fact, people approaching me with meat on swords is damn near my ideal. Even if it were to result in me getting stabbed or murdered, if I got killed by something I dearly love, I think that’s a piece of humble pie I could swallow. Just think, a blade pierces your heart, while the scent of beautifully spiced meat wafts up to your nostrils. You slump forward, and your face lands on a tender portion of steak pushed right up to the hilt. Just saying, there’s not a 100% chance this won’t be the outcome of tomorrow’s meal. If that’s the case, I think I’ll go gently into that good night with a smile on my dial.

Someone told me their salad is typically really good too. Weird, but great.

Welp, it’s not like I can do anything about that

Yesterday I had a vague plan about what I wanted to write. Today I don’t. I hope you’re ready.

I’m not.

I just got my bike back, and winter decided to kick in almost overnight. As if I have something to prove, I’ve been biking to work anyway. Today the wind was strong enough to bend a construction sign back. Pedalling into it was like I was being held back by a taught rubber cord. It kept buffeting me to the side. I pedalled harder. I made the bad decision to seemingly get caught behind every single red light, so a slow trip took even longer. Temperatures have dipped below zero, so I look like a fucking dork in my leggings. Practicality over flashiness always. When it gets that cold, wind whips through jeans.

Wait, screw this. I’m bored of that paragraph. I’m gonna move on. I’m the boss, I can do that.

I did DV on a show today hosted by Jack Osbourne. It was fucking stupid. Called Portals of Doom or something. Another in a long line of ghost hunter shows, it was particularly painful to describe. When it comes to doing my job, I understand that having to work on shows that aren’t made for me is part of the equation. I know how my bread is buttered, and that something I won’t seriously complain over. My mild complaint, when it came to this show, was that it was straight up difficult to DV. Not a lot happened. A ton of the show was speculation. They’d be like “did you see that flash of light” or something, but it didn’t always make it to camera. They’d look back at the spot and be all “holy shit that was so spooky”, but their actions weren’t really different to the ones preceding the apparent paranormal activity. Before the action they’d be shining a flashlight at a spot on the wall. Then after the apparent action, they’d shine the torch on the wall again. We’re supposed to be making things engaging, adding imagery for those who have trouble seeing it. But if nothing much is happening, there’s not a lot to describe. I’ve got no interest in shitting on the enthusiasm of anyone watching these shows. Let them have their entertainment. I’m not gonna make sarcastic comments in the DV. Why ruin their experience? But shows like this don’t always have a lot added with DV, and it’s hard to do a good job for the audience. That’s what gets me.

Ugh, I’m run ragged, and it’s my own fault. I just HAD to go out to Late Good (spiritual sequel show to Late Bad, Mark Little and Laura Cilevitz absurdist Late Night show), and it just HAD to start 45 minutes late. Then I just HAD to stay until the end, because I like it THAT much. I dunno, sometimes you just find something that resonates with you. The show has so many moving parts, from the many many late night style jokes from the writer’s row, to the balloon popping prompts. There’s the onstage musical accompaniment, the Truth or Dare drinking game, and the manifold of character sets. It’s a lot, and typically runs overlong. It’s so self indulgent, and I love it to bits. Last night’s show involved the rare treat of hapless folks off the street seeing a late night show on a Friday night. Coupled with Comedy Bar’s 11th birthday, the place was packed. Nearly half the audience walked out over the course of the show. Whether it was a matter of things running too late, or just a not my tempo style attitude, it was funny seeing where peoples’ breaking points were. I already avidly await the return of the show, though hopefully with an audience who’s deeply invested. That JFL42 run was a force to be reckoned with.

Turns out, the writing’s a lot better with a plan.

It’s what you call a proper-sition

Today I want to talk about propriety.

Propriety was important in my upbringing. Not because my parents were particularly strict, but because I was a loudmouth chatterbox with no filter. I remember how much I loved video games as a kid. Enough that I’d rank it above the company of others. Without hesitation, I can say that some friends I hung out with simply because they had video game consoles. When we left a play date, my parents would often tell me to say thank you. Before being nudged in a different direction, my farewell was often something along the lines of “thanks for the video games”. My parents taught me the phrase “thanks for having me” and it turned into a nifty catch all. I’m better now. Mostly, I have propriety to thank. My parents were big on manners, and being well-behaved. As the youngest kid, I was often thrust into adult situations and/or events. I can’t imagine how much saving face my parents would’ve had to do if not for teaching me those manners. And those manners? They’ve taken me far in life. Being polite has opened many doors, and encouraged me to hold many doors open. I still think manners are great, and I try to use them whenever the situation calls for it.

I don’t tend to see manners and propriety as synonymous. They can be closely interlinked. I’m also not entirely sure if people treat propriety as I do.

I get the feeling that propriety, in its essence, is basically meant to be read the room. It’s acting in a manner that’s contextual. The right way to act in a given situation. I have zero issue with the concept of reading the room, and I think it’s a great way to live your life. Propriety on the other hand, tends to translate to stiff and inflexible guidelines. I think of etiquette and propriety in the same general area. They’re nice in concept, but in practice they don’t always make sense. There’s an air of aristocracy that follows propriety around like a foul stench. Being polite is great, treating others with respect is great, adhering to strict social guidelines regardless of the context feels like a fast track to a headache.

These days, I think about propriety a bunch. I don’t always follow it, but I do think about it. I think about what role propriety plays in my life, and whether it’s doing anything for me. I’m generally a kind, polite individual, but I throw propriety out the window. My girlfriend and I are ostensibly adults, but we’re choosing what that means. We have onesies at home that get used almost daily. We put up Christmas lights inside just because they look nice. We hang up pictures our friends have drawn. They cover a wall of our kitchen/lounge. We’ll buy toys or goofy costume pieces if they fit what we want our lives to be. We also pay taxes, have regular jobs, keep the lawns mowed, cook and clean. I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing to justify adulthood, but I don’t think some of our more childish proclivities recuse us from it.

I think about this when I’m out and about. If I’m dressed in weird colours or an odd costume, I check myself. Are my actions hurting anyone? Am I infringing on others’ comfort in a meaningful or unfair way? Does others’ sense of what’s normal impact my ability to navigate the world? At work we had this water filter that would sometimes take upwards of three minutes to fill a bottle. During those times I’d often use the break to stretch. This was a public kitchen. A lot more than once I’d notice someone giving me a weird look, but be resolute in my stretching. Sure, it was unconventional of me to stretch in public, but were my actions really affecting others? ‘Cause loosening tight muscles was doing a ton for me. A quick math equation in my head helped me stay the course.

Many people have a sense of right and wrong, but it’s rare for their moral poles to be universal absolutes. I feel like it’s a worthwhile thought experiment for all of us to think of things we’d prefer to do on the daily, but refrain because we’re afraid of looking a little weird. Chances are, you’d probably be fine, and unclenching those tight social constraints would probably feel all too freeing. Is propriety always good? Are the people who preach propriety always good people?

Proper-bly not.

Dans la mason

I woke up at midday.

That might not be remarkable for some people, but it’s goddamn strange behaviour for me. I went to bed just before two, so that’s ten whole hours. TEN HOURS. To clarify, I’m not someone who gets a kick out of sleeping. I begrudge that my body needs it, and it’s healthy for me, but I get frustrated at my inability to do things while I’m unconscious. JUST THINK OF ALL THOSE WASTED HOURS. Daylight savings the other day was like a holiday, I got an extra hour to stay awake. What a gift. If cybernetic implants become a thing, you can bet your arse I’m getting some kind of battery with a proximity charger. Like, if I can be charging while I’m at a computer, and use that energy in lieu of what sleep gives me, I’m game.

Anyway, waking up at midday isn’t a boon for productivity. I’m on the last day of my four day weekend (and the fact that I get to say that every week still astounds me). Usually during my time off I like to try and get stuff done. It’s not like I haven’t been busy. I’ve been spending time with friends, I got my bike back and had a few things done to it. I did a yoga class yesterday. All of these were things, but it still felt like I had more I wanted to complete. I’d mentioned to my girlfriend the other day that I wanted to get stuck into our reusable container drawer, because it’d become inoperable. After rising at midday, it was the first thing on my mind.

Look, we all have these drawers, and we know how unruly they can get. You’ve got different types of containers with assorted lids. The lids get lost in the drawer, and you need to call on an archaeologist to uncover them. It becomes a chore to find the right container or lid. You fish around, but then things shift in a way that the drawer won’t close easily. So you shuffle things around in a manner that works to get the doors shut that time, but you know it’ll be a problem next time you open it. It’s not sustainable. You’ll have containers without lids, or lids without containers, long lost to some crack or forgotten at a dinner party. In a word: unruly. Today was the day to sort stuff out. I think it’s important to note that we’ve never bought a mason jar. We’ve been gifted foods in mason jars. A lovely woman at my girlfriend’s old cafe job would present her with wonderful home made jams. Other friends have sent us home with leftovers. Seeing as they’re ideal for holding foods, they found their way to our container drawer. I realised the other day that enough people use them as glasses. It was a perfect solution.

Turns out we had eight. Eight mason jars in the drawer. That of course doesn’t count the ones we already have in the fridge. Or the jars smaller than the standard size. Or the fact that we had one jar and lid leftover that didn’t match. Do you realise how much space eight mason jars take up in a drawer? It’s a considerable amount, and not conducive to packing away a slice of shepard’s pie. Not to mention the reusable coffee cups and thermos type vessels in there. The solution was pretty simple. Anything that could conceivably be used as a cup could instead be reclassified as a cup and moved to the cup-board. Turns out we had too many mason jars to fit in there, so they got shoved into another cupboard with the excess plates and bowls. The containers got sorted and grouped, and there’s actually room in the drawer now. I can reach in and get the exact container I want. The lids are all stacked together on the right hand side of the drawer. It’s actually functional, and the ten minutes I spent sorting the drawer are gonna make things exponentially easier from this point onwards.

Just think, I did that in ten minutes. Ten hours sleep is SO MANY ten minutes’. Imagine what I could’ve accomplished if I didn’t sleep so much.

I’m telling you, it’s unquestionably ugly and I love it

It is cold outside and warm inside. Nature, we have won.

Of course, we’re all gonna die, so nature gets the last laugh. I dunno, I’m in a weird head space. I slept in, ate a banana, had coffee and biked to a yoga class. I biked back and ate a sandwich, and now my brain is floating away. What I think I’m saying is that I haven’t eaten enough for my mind to get on track, but without my mind on track, I’m not sure what I’d want to eat. It’s a conundrum to be sure. I’m at day three of a four day break. Yesterday I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends. I met a friend for brunch. She’s been having a hard time lately, so I wanted to give her space to vent. We tucked into some eggs and bacon, and chatted. We spent time wandering Kensington Market in search of nothing important. Mostly, we got to spend time hanging out. We moved between a bunch of vintage stores. I’ve loosely had my eye on Paddington style duffel coats lately, in an attempt to get closer to my hero.

Instead I came out with this long leather coat. Knee length, in this off-yellow. If yellow got sick, it’d maybe turn this shade. Like a putrid beige. I don’t know what I’ll match it with, but I’m ready for the challenge. It’s a piece that speaks, and says mostly nonsense. So naturally it’s ideal for me. The remarkable thing about this coat, and remarkably odd thing that led me to get off the pot and purchase it, is that the pockets are ideal. It’s some serious Goldilocks shit. They’re at just the right height, with perfect depth. My arms can relax fully instead of being slightly bent at the elbows. I can let my weight drop into the pockets, and the feeling is sublime. If that isn’t worth spending $40 on an ill-coloured 70s leather jacket, I’m not sure why you’d buy one.

After we parted ways, I went to hang out with another friend. She too has been going through a lot. It was another good opportunity to listen, and let someone vent. I dunno, when I was going through heavy depression a ton of people created space for me to rant my little heart out. I think it’s important that while things are solid for me, I make sure I take the time hearing people out. Providing support and listening. Being there when it matters, and doing what I can to make them feel understood. I consider it a quiet act of rebellion in a world that teaches people to minimise their own hurt. If we all made a bit more space for others, I think it would do a remarkable amount to increase our capacity to care.

Just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep each other warm.

Millenials may have killed the power lunch, but you killed the economy. Can we call it even?

I said Boomer are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay, Boomer?

Honestly, I’m in love with this whole “Ok Boomer” thing. It’s perfect. As someone pointed out, nothing is more on brand than Millenials getting blamed for a saying created by Gen Z. The level of contempt and vitriol from Boomers about this phrase is astounding. Maybe it’s just a few vocally outraged twits on Twitter and online op-eds, but Ok Boomer really seems to have struck a nerve. I’m here for it. An infamous post compared the word “Boomer” to the “n-word”. Someone responded with just how important it is to hit the “hard R” in Boomer. Unfortunately for Boomers, Millenials are far more internet savvy, sassy and have endless years of salt built up. They’re rubbing it into the wound.

Why do I like “Ok Boomer” so much? It’s snappy and efficient. It takes so many layers and fits them into two succinct words. It’s cutting and sarcastic. It has an ideal amount of condescension and sadness rolled into a simple reply. It seems to incite reactions that are wholly incongruous for the mild insult that it is. It’s a perfect thing, and we have to appreciate it while it’s here.

Why does Ok Boomer work so well? Many many things. Part of it is this whole greatest generation nonsense. Not to downplay Boomer achievements, but the world was a markedly different place when Boomers came into adulthood. I’m sure life was still tough, but the rules made sense. My parents bought their original home for something like $25k. Even adjusting for inflation, that place would be well over a million now. It’s not commensurate. Without degrees, they managed to get jobs in companies where consistent hard work was enough to lead to promotions. These days, if you’re looking for a corporate job, your CV goes on a stack with 200+ others. That’s not an exaggeration. They get run through algorithms that search for buzzwords, and cull most people who were unfortunate not to use the right vocabulary. Then of course, nepotism puts a few people on top of others. A university degree is mandatory for almost any position, many of which require 2-5 years of experience for entry level positions. Boomers still lived in at a time where single income families were a reasonable expectation. These days, starting salaries are often $30k-$40k. I know here in Toronto, $45k is classified as a living wage, and you’d expect a double income at $45k to be almost reasonable for raising children on. Almost. The thing is, seeing as buying a home is not a realistic goal for this generation, we have to rent. But wages aren’t rising equivalent to rents. For an example, here’s this December 2018 Blog TO article placing an average one bedroom rental at $2,260. Try raising a family on $45k with that cost of living.

It’s not like Boomers are villains, but their young adulthood was entirely different. So they make a lot of well-meaning but misguided statements based on how things were for them. Things aren’t like that any more. The prosperity that was on tap for so long has dried up. It’s not like everything is a disaster these days, but when so much of your life is spent in crisis mode, it’s hard to focus on the positives. Things are exceedingly complicated. We live in a world of nuance that seems vastly different to that of yesteryear. Like, the 80s were 40 years ago. We now know what bullshit trickle down economics are, even if they seemed all the rage back then. We’re now economically, politically and socially disenfranchised. Things are way out of wack. Thisisfine.bmp is just life. We’re never gonna own houses. We’ll raise children with roommates, or be forced to live in corporate owned neighbourhoods/cities. We’ll grow in a surveillance state, where our actions are accounted for by the Five Eyes Network, while the laws are written by sociopathic businessmen who pay for privileges. The new normal.

We’re tired of being told about this bootstraps mentality, because in this corporate world bootstraps are a proprietary optional extra when buying boots. Pounding the pavement and dropping off CVs isn’t quite the affirming action it once was, because everything is run through an algorithmic filter and processed. Having a good handshake is secondary to having a spotless, connected Linkedin. We’re well aware that things were better in your day, and we don’t disagree. We’re just trying to do the best with what we have. It’s not that we’re lazy or entitled, it’s that the rules have changed and simple hard work is not enough. You have to work hard strategically, get lucky, or be connected. Many of my friends work several jobs to make ends meet, and that’s not irregular. I’d argue that this generation is doing remarkably well, considering the circumstances.

Really though, the reason I like Ok Boomer so much is that it’s the summation of turnabout is fair play. For years, Boomers have derided Millenials as lazy and entitled. They’re “killing” all the industries that Boomers set up, because those industries are unwieldy relics of prosperous times. Millenials have spent years continuously explaining why things aren’t the same for them as they were for their parents, which is often met by a condescending chuckle and a dismissive wave. Even the word “millenials” has been thrown around as a stereotype for a clueless generation who thinks everything is unfair, and refuses to put in any work to better themselves. It’s taking a myriad of concepts and boiling it down to a buzzword that denigrates without any analysis or understanding. It’s saying “you’ll understand when you’re older” to people who are already older than Boomers were when they procreated. Yet when they turn around and say “Ok Boomer”, suddenly it’s unfair to distil an entire generation into one dismissive catchphrase.

Ok Boomer.