Gordon, for the record, not Morgan.

I’m exhausted. The cat went bonkers at the wee hours of the morning and the lack of sleep has sapped my mental faculties enough that I’m using words like “bonkers” and acting like that’s NBD.

So let’s keep things simple and bullet point everywhere up in this bitch. What were some things that happened today?

  • I forgot my scan pass at home. This meant I couldn’t scan myself onto the elevators. I’d instead have to loiter in the lobby until someone came along and scanned themselves up. I’d then casually press my floor number. It felt like I was grounded and wasn’t allowed to go anywhere fun without a parental chaperone. Did I want to go upstairs to fill up my water bottle or grab coffee? Not on my own, so help me. Going out to grab lunch? Well I’d need to borrow a co-worker’s scan pass. It meant I had to be intentional about something I never even think about. Usually this pass is attached to my hip by one of those twiddly extension things. I still have the twitch response. Every time I walked onto an elevator I’d automatically reach down to grab/twiddle it. Instead I grabbed air. Cruel, empty air.
  • I woke up with the arch of my foot throbbing. Apparently all the grumbling my physio did about my lack of stretching had basis in consequence. It’s not entirely fair, I’ve been making sure to do active mobility pre-run and static stretching post-run (occasionally).While I thought the issue was karma, it turned out one of my physios saw it as mild planar fasciitis. We took a passive session to work through this ball of pain. White hot pain. Then he pulled out the ultrasound gun. The safe range was from about 2.0 to 3.0. We started at 2.0 and got to around 2.5 without issue. The gun hammered away with this “chugga chugga” sound, causing pain whenever it got too close to a bone. Apparently that sensation is a sort of feedback, when the waves hitting the bone rebound back into the oncoming waves. Or at least that’s my non-scientific take on the polysyllabic words he used. So I’ve got one or two days in which he says I should take the running easy. So I’ll try not to dash for too many pokémon.
  • Speaking of which, two snorlaxes ran away from me today. I had them chewing on delicious razz berries, threw my great balls (item, not scrotum), they took one look at captivity and bolted. I don’t know how a snorlax, ripped as it is, managed to bolt so fast. Still, I am a pillar of sadness. Yes, I have two snorlax already, which I’m grateful for (one of which may be the reason for my planar fasciitis. I ran over a kilometre for that one). I however seek a team of six snorlax for gym dominance purposes. I need a team that goes along with my kigurumi.
  • Today at our weekly 2pm meeting.

    Coworker: Did I hear correctly that they’re making Supergirl play baseball this season?
    Me: I just watched Air Bud Seventh Inning Fetch. Are you sure that’s not what you’re thinking of?
    Coworker: No, I swear I overheard she’s doing baseball.
    Strategy: You’re thinking of Pitch, our new drama about the first female MLB pitcher.
    Coworker: I thought she was doing baseball. Like one of those kitschy 60s super hero shows.
    Me: I think the show you’re looking for is “A Justice League of Their Own.”
    Meeting Room: *Applause*

Okay, time to go out for friend and sushi time. Best thing? I don’t need no scan card or parental chaperones. I’M A FREE MAN.

Have I convinced myself to invest in cloning yet?

Well this is goddamn confusing. I’m trying to take care of business with peak efficiency. Not only am I writing this entry as my usual daily exercise, but I’m working on the pawdcast simultaneously. “Working” might be a stretch, but I’m mixing it down. So I’ve gotta listen and make sure nothing goes wayward. Also I have to try make what I’m writing here somewhat readable. Is it possible? I have no idea. I know I’m getting repeatedly distracted and the outcome will likely be that both items come out poorly. Pray for Mojo.

Why don’t I just take my time and do each separately? Because a) I’m irredeemably lazy and b) I wanna get more spare time tonight. I’m loving the pawdcast, but I also have approximately a billion minus five things I’m craving right now. I’ve got SO much to do that I can’t be bothered working out how much a billion minus five is. Isn’t that deplorable? I’m bringing my own character into disrepute by cheapening the quality of my writing, my pawdcast and my mathematical prowess. You know, instead of bitching about having too much to do, I could bitch about what I’d want to do instead. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Obviously I wanna be playing Pokémon Go. I’ve had less time to play this week. I’m not about to say it’s putting me on edge, but I’ll put it this way: I think life is getting in the way of my Pokémon playing. I’ve been catching some nifty stuff lately (finally got a snorlax in Koreatown on Sunday), but delving more into the data, I’ve discovered that I have a talent for catching lacklustre pokémon. How do I know this? I’ve been using the IV calculator. It crunches the CP, HP and power up cost to work out the potential of your pokémon. You’ll get a percentage out of 100, which tells you how high on the scale compared with other pokémon of the same type. Mine are typically coming in at 40%-60%, which is kind of a bummer. My snorlax is apparently pretty average, but he’s still slaying it out there. I’ve got an eevee that’s a 97.5%, so now I’ve gotta decide whether I’ll power it up to be a vaporeon (when I’ve already got one) or get a lame flareon. Vaporeon towers above the other eeveelutions, so it should be a non-brainer. Shouldn’t it? LIFE IS TOUGH, PEEPS.

I’d also love to tuck into the next few episodes of Harmonquest. An animated show taken from Dan Harmon and his friends playing (what’s ostensibly) Dungeons and Dragons. Recorded in front of a live studio audience, episodes were improvised, cut into a tight 20 or so minutes and fittingly animated. I’m a few episodes in and it’s fucking hilarious. The plot moves (sometimes with a little Deus ex Machina) and the animation is adorable, with immaculate attention to the little details. Dan, Erin McGathy (his clever and eerily creative ex-wife) and friend Jeff Davis have a palpable chemistry that allows for riffs stacked upon riffs. Spencer, the Dungeon Master runs with whatever comes his way without flinching. Guest stars I’ve seen so far include Paul F. Tompkins, Ron Funches, Aubrey Plaza and John Hodgman. That’s a stack of talent. The show’s a blast and it’s ripe for bingeing. Which is what I’d be doing if I weren’t writing/mixing. Unless I was out catching pokémon.

Okay, that’s it. In T minus 20 minutes I’ll be out and about catching pokémon, then I’ll come home and finish the series. I’ll then sleep next Tuesday or something, when I finally get some spare time.

I might be confused, but at least I’m not bored.

Will I ooze carisma? Do you get tired of these puns? Exhausted?

It’s been three years since I last drove a car. That feels weird to me. Driving used to be a regular part of everyday life. I got a Toyota Corolla FX when I was 16 or 17 and drove the shit out of it. I stayed in the Toyota family and took a passed down Camry once my grandmother could no longer drive. I’d drive to and from work, to school (if I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered doing the 40 or so minute walk. How things have changed) and down country when I eventually moved to Rotorua. I liked driving and I’d be remiss if I didn’t note how much I enjoyed it. I was never a petrol head, but having the freedom of movement was excellent. Feeling that kind of control over a device with so much potential was empowering. I loved giving rides, finding out new and exciting routes to places, making music playlists perfectly tailored to the trip (after factoring in route times).

Yet in Toronto, I’ve been subject to the whims of public transport. I run on the TTC’s time and mercy. I have all the freedom of movement a grid pattern can provide. I’m not complaining about the quality of public transport (in comparison to services back in Auckland), but it requires a lot more planning and spare time. It also means that I don’t have to consider the danger of drunk driving, but that’s a slim advantage. Why am I mentioning any of this? Because in a few short months, I’ll be back in front of the wheel.

For the longest time (woah oh oh), New Zealand and Ontario were without a reciprocal driving licence scheme. I could’ve swapped my NZ licence for a Canadian one back in Vancouver, but not so in TO. It caused me no end of griping, given the aforementioned freedom of four wheels and a chassis (plus all that other stuff on top). I had no intention of buying a car, but the ability to rent a car certainly would’ve made things more flexible. Cottage country wouldn’t have been so far away or dependent upon the wheels of others. As recently as February of 2015, a reciprocal scheme was put into place. It took me over a year to catch wind of it, then several more months to realise my licence was out of date, find the application forms for an overseas extension and get everything done.

What do I mean by everything? Well it turns out you can extend an expired licence from overseas once in your life. Every other time you need to do it in person back in New Zealand. I figure I’m going back in January, so once I have my Canadian licence here, I can get a new NZ licence when I visit. There was no snazzy online application, so I had to go the manual route. I called home and spoke to a nice lady named Joy who helped me pay via credit card. I filled out the necessary forms then realised I needed notarisation on my driver licence photocopies. I’d never gotten anything notarised here in Toronto. Back home I’d always just talk to a friend of my parents. Some Justice of the Peace or other qualified person. Here in Toronto though, it’s not quite so simple.

Looking up notarising services, it’s not cheap. There are either outfits created exactly for that purpose, or Kijiji/Craigslist style individuals who’ll meet you in a specific Starbucks for $15 (plus $10 for each page after the first). I went to a notarisation place across the road from my work and they quoted $40 for the first page, $10 for each page after that. There was no fucking way I was spending $50 for someone to stamp two pieces of paper.

I put on my thinking cap, then had a light bulb moment. I work for a large corporation. Large corporations have legal departments. Some legal professionals have the ability to notarise documents. I made a few email inquiries and within an hour I was talking to a nice lady down in legal. She got out her big stamp and wrote a couple of remarks on each page. Service with a smile and without cost. Sometimes it pays to be a corporate sellout. I mailed it off so now all I have to do is wait. Then get my licence. Then exchange it at the College Park Service Ontario (specifically. No idea why).

The wheels are turning, folks. Soon I’ll be the one making it happen.

Mexicanadian. BurriTO.

Howdy doo, neighbourinos? Nidourinos? Nay, burritos!

I realised yesterday that I have weird hang-ups over Mexican restaurants. The long-and-short is that I don’t really know how to pick the good from the bad. Yet I seem to have arbitrary distinctions that effectively mean nothing. I’ve got an aversion to places with really cheap, borderline word-art signage. You know the places, their menus will have a red/green/yellow gradient background with black comic sans font over the top. There’ll be grainy menu photos of poorly presented food. I take a look at that and turn away in search of somewhere better. Then on the flip side, if there’s a super high-class Mexican restaurant I’ll turn my nose up at that too. Mexican cuisine seems a combination of basic foods and I don’t mean that in any derogatory sense. Rice, beans, fresh vegetables, salsa and guacamole all simply but skillfully cooked. If I see a Mexican restaurant trying to bring in foot traffic on the basis of their cocktail menu it makes me wonder what they’re compensating for. Is it worth paying extra for that kind of décor? Not in my mind. So what do I go for? Midrange looking places. How do I even judge something like that?

As my girlfriend pointed out, my best option by my own biases is picking out the cheaper places. They’re probably focusing on the food, not the ambience. If I don’t want lavish meals with fusion inspired concoctions, why don’t I follow the KISS principle and follow what I’m actually looking for? It’s not to say that upmarket places are trash, just that they’re not my ideal. Hell, my girlfriend and I went into a gaudy looking place yesterday with the most earnest chef behind the counter. He really wanted us to enjoy our meals and asked how he could make the experience special for us. The burrito bowl we shared was delicious, filling and packed with flavour. Not flashy, but exactly what we wanted.

What’s the point of any of this?

I guess it’s to say that a lot of us walk around with long-held biases that are entrenched so far in the past they’re almost entirely meaningless. It’s possible that at some stage in the past I walked into a cheap Mexican restaurant and had a crappy meal and my brain formed a causal link. Perhaps that never even happened and instead an opinion leader of mine once made a negative comment and it stuck firm. I have no idea what made me give the side eye to these kind of establishments, but it’s frankly absurd. If an individual, rather than a chain, has invested what they have into a small restaurant, they’re probably quite secure in their culinary prowess.

Furthermore, where do I think I come off as any kind of expert on Mexican food? New Zealand is so far away from the rest of the world that Mexican food was always pretty scarce. We used Old El Paso kits at home to do taco and burrito nights. I made many a nacho plate in my bachelor years. That hardly affords me a Michelin Star or reputation as a bastion of culinary prowess, does it? Fresh ingredients and understanding of flavours are all that I need. Which part of a comic sans menu negates that again?

That’s an entirely different abuse of good taste.

I legit used to think pumping up my Air Jordans would make me jump higher. Marketing works.

Usual disclaimer. Once the review is posted on the mothership, I’ll change this to a link.

Tired (drowsee?) from too many late nights playing Pokémon Go, squashing into a packed Phoenix Concert Theatre to see Anderson .Paak was the last thing on my mind. It was the opposite of bed. Exhausted, it was a combination of obligation and adoration for Paak’s tremendous 2016 album “Malibu” that got me through the door. The place was rammed (paaked, even) and filled with a tangible excitement. I found a cosy corner and settled in grumpily.

Have you ever seen a performer who immediately lights up a room? Paak crackled on stage like ball lightning and never let up. Any qualms of exhaustion instantly dissipated in the face of such strong stage presence. The crowd were into it straight away, bodies moving and surging. Voices singing along to every song. A sea of hands and smiles getting down to an irresistible dance beat. It was, in Paak’s own words, a “packed-ass house of sweaty, beautiful people.”

There was a vigour to Paak’s show that doesn’t translate well to paper. His style was eclectic, with a freeform flow similar to jazz. Sudden tempo changes, builds and samples came out of nowhere. Paak rarely stood still, whether he was front and centre, hopping to the back of the stage or behind the drum kit. I don’t know that I’d ever seen a rapper/drummer, but Paak carried it like it was the norm. The band was filled out with a lead/bass guitarist, a DJ plus keys/vocoder and everyone got a shot in the spotlight.

If a lifetime is a series of moments, this gig was alive. An anecdote about fear of dirtying his new Air Jordans aged six (“Momma can you carry me?”) brought new meaning to The Season/Carry Me. Later in the gig Paak started to give a heartfelt thanks, while the band members jokingly played saccharine riffs in the background. A few keys of Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles on were enough to derail the sentiment and get the show back on track. Kaytranada’s Glowed Up was a real highlight, Paak jumping into the crowd with a fierce energy. After the crescendo of audience favourite, The Bird, the band performed a quick riff on Bowie’s Let’s Dance to close out amidst rapturous applause.

Wet, sweaty people filed out, but the remainder of the crowd bayed for an encore. Five minutes later to a half empty theatre, a dressed down band came out for an obviously unintended encore. Smiling, they walked off-stage to cheers for “one more song. One more song.” They graciously obliged and performed another two tracks. Paak took the mic. “Thank you Toronto. This was one of the best gigs of my life.” It was easy to agree.

In university we were taught that the word “race” had been supplanted by “culture”. I’m unsure. I don’t know if the way we treat race is particularly cultured.

You know that feeling you get when you meet someone wonderful? You leave the encounter with a metaphorical glow about you? That’s me right now. See, I get interested in hearing about someone whose life experience is so different from my own. As anyone who’s seen me interact with strangers after one or two drinks can attest, I get into question mode. There’s so much world out there I haven’t witnessed and hearing stories or insights from people who have is like taking a journey of my own.

Let’s wander back a little. After a lot of physical activity this week, my body is kind of wrecked. This morning I decided to do something about it. I booked an RMT session to work out all the congealed lactic acid in my system. I had a new RMT I’d never met. I lay down and we started chatting about food, travel and cultural experiences. She mentioned that while she grew up in Toronto, her heritage is Trinidadian. Conversation shifted to Facebook and the bubble experience of being surrounded by politically identical groups. We started talking about racial politics, BLM and so on. Soon enough it became apparent that there was a lot I could learn, so I talked less and asked more.

We discussed identity and labels, how they’re such a personal thing. She said she has a problem with the way the US history curriculum is taught. How black people are taught that their history starts with slavery, when in fact there’s so much more to it than that. Neglecting what came before is harmful and provides a lack of greater awareness. She mentioned how this representation affects perceived potential. When you tell people that they started as slaves, it limits what they believe themselves to be capable of. Back home in Trinidad, she said, everyone is black. Unlike in America, the majority of white collar jobs are populated by black people. Kids don’t see barriers to their success, because the thought of being disqualified from any role on the basis of their skin colour is absurd. It never got in the way of anyone else they knew.

She mentioned how racism and cultural profiling start so young. She once helped out at a church based youth education program. The class of 12 year olds was predominantly white, with two black kids and a Filipino boy. The lesson was on the difference between signs and symbols. Signs, she’d said, were defined. They had a very specific purpose and message. A symbol, on the other hand, was open to interpretation. Like a group Rorschach test, the teacher held up cards for the class and they called out with what they thought it meant. The teacher held up a dove. “Peace”, “freedom”, “goodness” the kids called back. A card of a tree prompted calls of “growth”, “nature”.

The teacher then held up a card with a bunch of hands holding onto one another. The hands were all black. Immediately the class called out “starvation”, “suffering”. The teacher balked, my RMT was stunned. They were cartoon hands that just happened to be black. The Filipino boy visibly recoiled and spoke up. “I was gonna say teamwork.” There was nothing indicating any kind of ill health within the picture. A strange pall settled over the class, the kids that had all shouted out were sort of taken aback at their own answers. It was uncomfortable. She said it was one of those true esprit d’escalier times, she wished she could go back to that moment and say something they could take with them for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know if it stuck with them, if it resonated. Thing is, it resonates with me. I have a feeling I might hold that little anecdote with me for some time. That’s something, right?

I’ve got doorman’t potential.

Ugh, it’s late and hot and the humidity has left my brain feeling kind of murky. It’s been a while since I wrote after midnight and I now remember why. In some Gremlin-esque twist, my mental faculties morph and twist into spiteful, mischievous creatures whose only wish is to render my sentences unrelatable and nigh incomprehensible. See? Did you read that last one? The proof is in the pudding. Or prose, as it were.

The question stands then, why have I left one of my quotidian foundations on the back burner? Also, why does my vocabulary sound like it belongs to a first year theatre major, untimely ripped? Quotidian? Really? What else is in the bag? Prestidigitation? Sesquipedalian? I’m sorry, the polite thing for me to do would be to wipe that wank off the page for you. Things have gotten weird, haven’t they? Fucking gremlins. How about some quaint observational humour to lighten the mood?

Do you ever hold a door open for someone, then see someone else coming and figure you might as well hold it open for them? Then a succession of people come through and you just keep holding that door open because you figure it’d be rude to step in their way and obstruct the flow of traffic? Then you think to yourself I guess this is my life now. You wonder when someone’s gonna come along with a hat and uniform and start paying you am hourly wage. No? Just me? I think I need a better hobby.

Oh, I finally got to spend a little more time in our eventual workplace. Since our company was acquired, there’s been the looming expectation of moving the entire staff down to the waterfront building. Teams have left sporadically, but we haven’t been given a clear timeline of our move. The combined department today had a combined departmental barbecue out on the waterfront patio. It was optional and at first I skewed contrarian. Fuck that noise, I thought. Why would I waste my afternoon going down there for a barbecue? Then I did a mental spit take at the word “barbecue” and had an instant 180.

The building is stunning. It’s massive, right on the edge of the waterfront with its own little artificially created beach. There were people in boardshorts and bikinis sunbathing, people had set up a couple of pokémon lures. If that doesn’t say summer, then I may have a divergent understanding of what that word means. So my afternoon involved hanging out on a sunny/windy deck with burgers, hot dogs and a Caesar salad bar. There was an array of beer, wine, soft drinks and fancy flavoured Perrier waters. I realised I was the only one from my team to come down and appointed myself the team ambassador. I met our eventual merger team mates and they showed me around the department. The offices are awesome. Much less corporate, with wide open floors and a fun vibe. Even if the new building is in the middle of nowhere, it’s gonna be a great place to work. Even if getting there feels like a literal journey.

Okay, it’s late enough after midnight now. I’m gonna check out this sleep thing everyone’s raving about.