If someone comes as Ren or Stimpy I will lose my shit. In a good way.

So with my departure date to Canada looming ever closer. I’ve decided I want to leave my tearoa with a bang. No whimpers allowed. So I’m going for a leaving party theme I’ve always wanted. The inaugural (only ever) North Shore Comic-Con. A celebration of all things television, film, cartoons, comics, anime, video games, fantasy and sci-fi books. It’s an extravaganza of everything pop-culturesque that we do in our spare time, only on this occasion we’ll be gushing over them collectively. Discover others who share your passions and interests, engage in rambling rants about which season of Community was the best (hint: the answer is 2). Find those who’ll aid you in reenacting the dialogue of the entire LoTR extended edition (we’ll find a great spot for you down in the laundry chute). Unzip and flop out your sizeable nerd-cred, leaving a mess in your wake. There will still be that crying girl in the corner, only this time she’ll be dressed as a Dalek. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Of course for an event like this, costumes are mandatory. No dress-up, no entry. Since this is gonna be the last time most of you ever see me, it’d be nice for you to make the effort. You’ve got an absurd range of subject matter to choose from. Come as your favourite Justice League character, Sterling Cooper employee, Pokemon, Street Fighter, denizen of Westeros, Muggle or Wizard, Hunger or Game (sorry, haven’t read that one). You could be Dick Tracey or Buckey O’Hare, ALF or any single Ninja Turtle, your best Jabba, Jubilee or Jub-Jub. The possibilities are near limitless. So find that hero/ine or villain you’ve always identified with and bring them to the fore. Start working on ideas now, you’ve got just over 2 months. Justin has already expressed his interest in coming as Vegeta, complete with polystyrene shoulder pads (despite our pleas for him to go full Neo) which’d be worth dressing up to be able to see.

I’m thinking of throwing in a quiz element with fantabulous secret prizes. Questions will range across all media and texts, something for everyone. Considering finding different themed cocktail recipes (there have gotta be some amazing Spider Man layered cocktails, a green/purple Hulk concoction? Captain America colours?), plugging in some type of game system, maybe even a screening of something obscure and amazing. If anyone can think of any awesome ideas that’d “bring the noise”, lay them on me. I’ll be here downloading a critical mass of awesome TV/movie songs/themes (or I could just stick the 8x slower Jurassic Park theme on repeat) to make one playlist to rule them all.

I’ve still got no concrete idea of what to go as yet, but I’ll be working on it. Part of the fun is thinking of someone with a similar build/look and going from there. The hard part there is that most comic dudes are either lean and athletic or built like a tank. Let’s see how we go with that. I was toying with the idea of Wolverine since he’s short and Canadian, but even apart from the threat of bright yellow spandex (something tough to avoid in the Superhero game), making authentic looking claws is pretty tough without access to shards of metal and welding gear. It’s my last hurrah, I’m going for broke here. Is a halfway decent Venom costume possible? Colossus? Of course it’s not only restricted to comics, movies and TV shows are game too. Anyone in Game of Thrones I could come as? One-Piece shipmates? Planeteers? Do I just skip a shirt, take steroids and come as Adam from Girls?

Too many choices, so little time.

Yeah I googled “snuggie porn”. What of it?

I know very little about fashion and its associated etiquette. For the first 14 or so years of my life, hoodies and track pants were de rigeur (until my mates were nice enough to point out that my manner of dress was identical to our crotchety science teacher Mrs Handley) and at the age of 16 I bought my first ever pair of jeans. It’s safe to say that my fashion sense is retarded (in the French sense) and despite my best efforts of coercing female friends to take me shopping, I only seem to be stumbling forward like an infant in ankle-cuffs.

I’ve learned some things so far though. A Snuggie/slanket is not appropriate to wear outside or inside of the house. Despite its obvious comfort, it makes people want to immolate me, which I’m allergic to. I should not wear one in a box, I should not wear one with a fox. Apparently people are incapable of looking good in a Snuggie, but this is only prompting me to challenge Rule 34. Oh Gooooogle! Yep. It exists, complete with leopard skin Snuggie. Rawr. Myth busted! Maybe I can adapt mine for use as a one person picnic blanket or cape complete with feeding-bag. Unfortunately I only have one left. Cashing in on a great 2 for $20 deal while in Rotorua, I accidentally left one down there. I had a work Snuggie and a home Snuggie. You’d be surprised how effective a hooded blanket was at warding off the chills of an air-conditioned recording studio. And any potentially interested females.

I have moon boots too. Big fuzzy slippers that I’ve had since I was about 14. Once again, my blue moon boots are seen as criminally uncool and the many arched brows that cross my path as I cross theirs suggest that they’re indoor footwear only. IF only. In fact most of my favourite things to wear seem to be indoor use only. My pyjamas (whether adorned with dogs in top hats, triangles on a green background, blue and white striped (RIP moose PJs)) and dressing gown combo garners many an evil eye when I wear it to the supermarket. I justify my slovenliness (and by extension singledom) by purchasing chocolate bars and a bottle of wine. I tend to find the ensemble quite apt. Others apparently see it as a firing-squad level offence.

It is unacceptable to wear jeans that feel comfortable. Anything with less cling than gladwrap is sacrilegious and disqualifies you from whatever cabal those in the know are part of. Not only do I not know the hierarchy of colours/blends, but I also don’t know what footwear is meant to accompany them. Actually, I don’t understand shoes at all. I don’t know what makes a good or nice shoe, I see shoes like a staunchly bigoted redneck sees Asian people. The difference is beyond my grasp. My friends addressed my lack of knowledge by carting me around and making me try things on. I wish I could have absorbed any wisdom about the reasoning behind particular choices, but there’s a whole language of clothing that not even a babel fish could translate for me.

I think I’ve basically learned that if I’m comfortable, I’m doing it wrong. As being snuggly is one of my top states of existence I’m pretty much doomed to a life of disappointment one way or another. Either I can dress as I like and remain uncomfortably celibate or I can dress well and remain uncomfortable. Probably also celibate. I guess at this point it’s worth establishing who it’s important that I’m garbed for. Is the way that others see me more important than how I enjoy to be? Years of Disney cartoons and after school specials have taught me otherwise, but they have the luxury of living in an imaginary idealised world where plot lines just slot into place around each other and everyone is magically attractive.

Much as we all hate it (except for you blasted Good Looking People), in failing to adhere to the rigid beauty standards our society has put in place we’re severely limiting our potential. Pretty people will usually get preferential treatment, even on a subconscious level and will find things clicking that much easier for them. If I thought I were in any way above this jungle of messy self-image I probably wouldn’t spend half as much time getting fit or watching what I consume. I’d be free to exist in alternating states of sloth and gluttony, engaging in all of hedonism’s intoxicating pursuits. Oh what a world that’d be. I’d shovel bon bons into my gaping maw and sleep in my own refuse. Dream big Leon, dream big.

The first thing I’d do would be to buy a snuggie.

Aren’t all guys just looking for someone to hold their Pork Hock?

There is a large haunch of pig currently digesting in my stomach. My body is committing all available resources to vanquish this dastardly foe and it’s taxing all of my physical and mental faculties. I swear I ate my own body weight in crackling and now the gorgeously decadent substance is running interference on my heart, stemming blood flow to its required extremities. I expect my feet will be gangrenous by the morning. I’ve heard it said that when humans are burned to death, it smells kind of like pork roasting. I know this is meant to be disgusting, but it’s currently the only thing that would make me consider cannibalism’s viability as a life choice. I’m sure Jeffrey Dahmer was just looking for the most delicious brand of pork sausage he could find. Heading back from the restaurant I asked Dave if he could hold my Pork Hock. My pronunciation was lazy (I’m basically as capable as post-stroke Frankie Muniz at the moment) and my request came out sounding a lot more creepy and sexual than intended.

We went for our annual-ish meal at Der Metz. The portions were as obscene as we expected, the food was worth salivating over and the prices were pretty decent. The service though, was astoundingly shithouse. It became almost farcical and worth experiencing for the lulz alone (and many of those were had). A table of people left as we arrived and I noticed after we’d been there for around an hour that their plates still hadn’t been cleared. We were seated at a dirty table that was cleaned about 10 minutes after we sat down. The waitress didn’t grab me a glass of water with everyone else and had to be politely asked after a few minutes. By the time my glass got to me, there was no water in our jug and her look after I asked for another jug evoked a certain indignance at the audacity of making her work. Sorry I asked.

This was offset by the fact that my meal looked like the poster-child for an extreme food challenge. I feel like in eating half of it, I’d consumed a meal fit for a nuclear 2.5 kid family. Currently my stomach feels like someone has sowed salt so that no new life can ever flourish there again. I guess that’s good, I don’t want things living/growing in there. The hock that’s gestating at the moment is probably none too dissimilar to a Chestburster xenomorph. I expect it to erupt from my belly with an unearthly squeal at any second. I’d readily welcome death’s sweet release from my bloated corporeal shell. My eyes aren’t bigger than my stomach in a literal sense, but the ratio of desire to storage space equates to an inverted TARDIS situation. The amount that I expect I can eat would probably be more at home in Micheal Phelps’ lunch box (I bet it’s a hot-pink Kool Kids one) than in my ever suffering stomach.

My stomach is like a battered wife. She knows that I really do love her, but every now and then I thrash her in a fit of indulgence and confusion. I promise her I’ll be better next time, that she won’t have to go through it again. We cry together, knowing that she deserves someone better, but that our lives are too inextricably linked to exist apart from one another. We have good times where we work in unison as if gliding our way through a graceful waltz. We know the obstacles we’re gonna face and we stand against them, ducking and weaving around crippling temptations and creating sweet harmonious movements together. Other times the beast in me emerges and I give her a battering that leaves her barely equipped to function, left to slowly and painfully pick up the torn pieces of her dignity.

I’m too exhausted for self-loathing. I think I need to hibernate.

As an adult I will one day buy coco-pops. No regrets.

I really like supermarkets and spend far more time in them than is appropriate. Cartwheeling down the aisles in a transcendent state, every unopened box seems to contain a world of possibility. Each new packet is an alternate reality that results in a different delicious meal. An arbitrarily large number of combinations to be found. How many undiscovered sauces or marinades exist out there? Is there the Next Big Thing in culinary bliss hiding in plain sight? I ran a slow-cooker exercise the other day and chucked in a pseudo-random assortment of goods. Peanut butter, honey, tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, chicken stock, coconut flour, chilli and a red wine & mushroom stock pot powder mixed together and draped over kumara, carrots and gravy-beef. Something I threw together out of grave necessity and morbid curiousity ended up being disturbingly delicious. An infinite amount of monkeys in a room with those ingredients could never remake the planetary alignment of ingredient ratios that birthed my meal. Sucks for them, ’cause I’ve still got leftovers in the freezer.

People are fascinating to watch at supermarkets. There are the driven, relentless people who are in and out like ninjas snapping up what they came for, gone in 60 seconds. You get those who wander around aimlessly, sometimes freezing in everyone’s way, petrified by an inner monologue or attack of conscience over their butter buying habits. You see the parents facing an unexpected re-emergence of postpartum depression as they watch their children throwing yoghurt to the floor or demanding everything with a bright yellow box adorned with cartoon cats. There are awful people like me, who ho and hum over monounsaturated fat or sugar content and often backtrack late in the game to replace a cart-item over fickle doubts.

As the years pass I’ve noticed diminishing amounts of free samples being handed out. This used to be nine tenths of my reasoning behind accompanying mum. Free food is free food, but its absence is horrifying. How else am I meant to try out delectable things that I’ll never buy? I’m sure its lack of financial viability probably speaks volumes to its apparent disappearance. I wonder if the decreasing free sampling has sent fiscal quakes through the toothpick and mini plastic cup markets? Little Jimmy Mayhew can’t get new legos for Christmas because small chicken chunks with cranberry relish aren’t being handed out gratis. Instead he gets a 2nd-hand last season beyblade. Jimmy weeps for the future that could’ve been and vows great vengeance on Foodstuffs, hurtling him on a wayward path towards bio-terrorism. Jimmy’s dad hangs himself with a tie while masturbating to old Briscoes ads, but that’s a different story altogether.

Silence Facebook. I know someone’s messaged me. It weighs on me sometimes how easy we are to get a hold of. Our availability coupled with our addiction to small blips and flashy notifications is a significant obstacle in our path towards development. I’ve been trying to sit down and start these mere 30 uninterrupted minutes of writing for the last 2 hours, being hobbled by Facebook, Gmail, RSS readers and texts at every turn. I fetishise this technology to a frightening degree. My relationship with my devices and sites is probably more dependent than a “welfare bludger” looking for their next meal, but exponentially less important. That being said, heading away and leaving all of it behind is one of the most rewarding, enriching experiences where I can actually engage with other humans without their attention being absorbed by reddit. Much as I love using this stuff, I’ve been hyper aware of not blocking anyone out who’s standing right in front of me. I know a little part of me dies every time a text is more important than I am.

It feels like a stab right in the narcissism.

In which Leon proves he knows nothing about the opposite sex.

Let’s take this slowly, because there’s a lot to digest here.

First off: Yes! Yes! Yes! It sounds like conversationally she’s more than capable of holding her own. Perfect, you wouldn’t want or deserve any less. Great work on slamming down her shit-test of leaving for study. Study is a fickle excuse that someone will throw out there as a way to excuse themselves when it’s not a hard need. You probably saved yourself something fierce there. The self awareness stuff shows a great side of you that I’m sure helps your position. All in all, well done.

Be careful with the overly flowery dialogue. Just be aware on who you’re using it on, because that has nuclear potential to be seen as pretentious as fuck. She sounds like the right kind of person, but around most people it’ll be Danger Zone. You’ll just be “that pretentious wank” and you don’t want to be there. As I said, she’s artistic and loquacious, she’s probably the type that finds it endearing (and this is based on personal experience, I also like to choke on my own vocabulary). Great, that means that as we spoke of previously, you haven’t shied away from revealing who you are. If she doesn’t enjoy the way you act then it’s not like a relationship would have any legs. This goes the same for you. It’s great to be in puppy-dog mode, getting to know someone in-depth in one go is a gut-punching jolt of excitement. That being said, be aware that regardless of your tongue waggling attraction you’ve got to recognise that she needs to have reciprocal great qualities. If there are overwhelming signs that she wouldn’t be good for you, your sanity or emotional well-being in any serious ways then that chumps a raging heart-boner any time.

Everything about her challenging you to be a better, more artistic person is great, but put that on the bench for now. That’s the kind of stuff that’s gonna lead to elevating your oneitis. I agree, you can always challenge yourself to progress as a person, that’s not something you need to place on her. It’s great she’s made you realise it, but if you ascribe those feelings to her rather than a personal development, it’s only gonna leave you futher emotionally indebted to her. If this does go anywhere and these feelings grow, that’s great, use that, but don’t leave yourself beholden to her for this otherwise you’re losing the power that these revelations give you.

Excellent work on challenging her on her own set limitations. You’re displaying immense value by being able to call her on her shit. It shows that you’re not willing to accept mediocrity and that you respect her enough to see the same qualities in her. It elevates you while affirming her. Pro move. Any of this doubt about being “in her league”? Shit on that, have some fucking self-respect. You’ve earned it. As long as you can display how awesome you are without being arrogant, nobody is out of your league. Confidence not cockiness is the name of the game. You calling her on her shit was a great way to show her that.

This also reveals that you’ve got genuine respect for her, a great call. It’s fine that you left without any sexual contact and the fact that she was the one who instigated physical touch (and your willingness to up the ante a little bit without her flinching away. Lower back is a borderline intimate area. If she’s ok with that, then that bodes well) are both good signs that there’s probably something there for you to pursue.

As to the romantic vs BFF thing, fuck the BFF thing, that’s pure beta-male. Make your moves heading towards intimacy, that’s obviously what you’re interested in. There’s no dishonesty there, you’re not playing her. You see her as a person you genuinely want to know better. If the fact that you’re interested in her sexually is too much for her she’s basically saying that she’s had doubts and it’s more likely that she just wants to use you as a conduit for her feelings. Don’t worry about or get hung up on this. From the way you’ve described it (in a crystal clear fashion I might add) I think she’s interested and you’ve been doing the right kind of stuff. From here your next call is to make another date for the next couple of days and try to accelerate the personal contact. What you’re looking for here is reciprocation of touch. If you’re getting that I’d be confident you’re heading in the right direction.

So tl;dr

From what you’ve told me it seems she’s a good fit. It appears that you both have ways to help one another develop emotionally and personally. It sounds like there’s attraction there and that if something were to happen between you two, you’d have the makings of a healthy relationship. Let yourself be excited and happy, but if nothing comes of it be thankful that you’ve had a chance to divest something of yourself to another person, something that’s becoming increasingly rare in our society steeped in shallow interactions.

tl;dr2 – I’m not good at tl;dr.

Is orgy/polygamy/massacre a viable option?

One of my favourite games to kill time during waits is Fuck, Marry, Kill. I find that the game is far more layered than you’d expect and lends itself to intense discussion and debate. Rather than being an innocent tweenage pastime, it’s a game that involves a variety of strategies to confound your opponent and create perplexing (sometimes moral) dilemmas. I guess it depends, there are many different ways to play. So for instance you can just go for the simple eye candy route. Let’s say something like Fuck, Marry, Kill – Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Emma Watson. So you’ve got three people who are justifiably awesome, gorgeous and talented. Whoever you go for is gonna be a matter of personal taste, but out of the three beauties, they’ve gotta decide who they’re throwing to the wolves.

You’ve got the “nohomo” technique. Try throwing a trio of the same sex to your opponent, say Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ryan Gosling and, I dunno, James Franco or something. Now they’ve got the decision between who they objectively see as more attractive, who they respect who they think you’ll decide is the right combination, that kind of thing. The flip side of that is to work with a bi threesome. So you mix it up. Say your opponent is female, you choose two females they respect and a male they’d respect/be attracted to in order to make them agonize over who they’d kill off (the inverse works for a male opponent). Let’s say Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Daniel Craig.

You can also play around with the sexuality of your subjects. Female target, your grouping could be Hugh Laurie, David Attenborough and Stephen Fry. Who are they the most attracted to? Who would be the best to live and sleep with on the regular? Who are they gonna leave to bleed out by the roadside? Choices get tough when they love one of the targets who would be without sexual chemistry. The game doesn’t necessarily need to revolve around people either.

The “all enemy” platform’s interesting to run too. Who will your opponent pick out of Hitler, Judas and Joseph Fritzl?

It gets really fun when you start throwing abstract concepts together. Fuck, Marry, Kill, anthropomorphic orange, anthropomorphic apple, anthropomorphic banana? Well they’re all quite sweet, but the banana might not have as sturdy a constitution as you’d be looking for and bruises quite easily. Conversely the apple is pretty thin-skinned compared to the others, but he can also be quite dense and might bleed out emotionally more often than you can stand. So is the orange the best candidate for marriage then, if he’s more sturdy and dependable? Well he’s quite robust in comparison, but that might translate to an obstinate personality. Also sometimes when you get to his core he can be quite acidic. Tricky tricky? That’s when this game gets fun.

How about coffee vs wine vs water? Water is the safe dependable choice, but isn’t half as attractive as the other two. You know she’s better for you, but she can be bland, boring and lacking in taste. Coffee is hot, stimulating and when you’re around her she makes you feel like the rest of the world slows down. Wine however helps you ease back and relax, she’s easy to get along with, invites entertaining conversation and is always the life of the party.

One of my favourites is Fuck, Marry, Kill – A white A4 piece of paper, a thick piece of cardboard and a thin sheet of corrugated cardboard. The piece of cardboard will be solid and stable, but he’ll also be stubborn, unyielding and entirely inflexible. In a word, the safe (but boring choice). The white piece of paper is the most open to change, he’s a blank slate for you to be able to mould as you see fit. Totally flexible and accepting of new things. At the same time, he has the highest potential to leave deep cuts if you get too close. The corrugated cardboard is ribbed, textured and has the capacity to give, but only in one direction. He’s likely quite narrow-minded and may have difficulty seeing things outside his myopic viewpoint.

Ok, so it’s a stupid game, but it can be a helluva lot of fun. Give it a try the next time you’re waiting for a meal, on public transport or killing time on a long car ride.

Until next time, Fuck, Marry, Kill – Chocolate/fruit/cheese.

Gimme a hit of that Old New Zeal.

I’ve had every intention of attending an ANZAC day dawn service tomorrow (this morning?), but that was before a bottle of wine and the current time of 2am. Now? Maybe I’ll settle for the parade. I’ve got no real emotional attachment to the ceremony or occasion, no family connections or anything, and apathy seems the best reason to skip 6am in favour of 10.30am. That and the aforementioned wine and time. If I’m apathetic and unattached why am I attending? Nothing substantive, I just feel that with skipping the country soon I kind of owe it to the national tradition to come together with my fellow Northcote countrymen to honour the sacrifices of the past. The last time I went along I probably hadn’t yet reached age 10. So at least 16 years have passed since I’ve engaged in any kind of civic acknowledgement. It’s not like ANZAC ceremonies are gonna be all the rage in Toronto, might as well inhale the scent of patriotism while I still can.

The concept that men my age were fighting off on foreign soil seems so beyond any potential experiences I might face in my lifetime. Ignoring the looming concept of drone warfare, I don’t think I’d ever be able to bring myself to lay down my life in defence of my homeland. I’ve nary a patriotic streak in my blood and I’m as far from a violent individual as can be. There’s such an odd disconnect between theoretical and practical violence, a line I can’t see myself crossing. Of course like everyone else I get violent thoughts on occasion, but like most others the world in which I act them out is on an ethereal plane outside this physical existence. I’m roaming the barren wastelands and blasted landscapes of memory, searching in vain for a time in which I’ve instigated a violent incursion. Nothing. Zilch. Either I’m too drunk, or I’ve got more of a Hufflepuff core than I’d care to admit. Then again, Ravenclaw would likely desist from forceful activity in favour of a logical solution, so I’ll not relinquish my membership just yet.

I haven’t really thought too much about the hypothetical shape of my patronus. My first instinct would be a bear. While we’ve agreed I’m not violent at heart, I’ve got obstinance running through my being and a certain reciprocal attitude to being pushed. I can get pretty protective when things I value are being threatened and maybe that’d manifest in something ursine. A colossal squid or octopus would be amusing. Are patroni just illusions or are they actually susceptible to the environment around them? If so anything deep-sea would be less impressive. Sea anemones might not strike fear into the heart (void?) of a dementor and a proboscis monkey would probably fail to garner the desired response. Also if your patronus is a fainting goat, say goodbye to your happiness.

I’ve heard that’s the effect of prolongued heroin use (and bear with me here, because I’m using precisely zero science to back myself up). After extended heroin-ing an addict’s pleasure receptors wane in effectiveness and it becomes difficult, even nigh impossible, for a junkie to feel pleasure. You’d no longer gain enjoyment out of the world around you and eventually happiness itself becomes a thing of the past. That freaks me out to be honest, the concept of cold, robotic detachment from joy and permanent susceptibility to a state of depression. Having things that used to flood you with pleasure elicit a dispassionate apathy. I can’t fathom no longer enjoying chocolate peppermint slices, the writing of Warren Ellis, Z grade films, pushing myself to exhaustion and feeling the endorphin rush that follows, the nervous excitement of a first date, the joy of discovering shared experiences or the twinge of excitement when someone says they miss you. I can’t conceive of missing out on any of my beloved experiences and the plethora of feelings I’ve yet to experience. In short I’ve got no current plans to try heroin and no concept of how it could ever be worth it.