Like Maui I sometimes fish up a large catch. Unlike him, mine turns out to be a cautionary whale.

I feel heavy lidded and much like The Angler (‘lo), I feel like the truth is not in me. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if this entry, riddled with likely spelling mistakes through drunken disregard, turned out to be the 100th entry? Orc-ward indeed. As it stands I’ve got my forward momentum mentality enabled. Gawd, this is one of the many reasons that I don’t update intoxicated… ly? It’s tough having a project resting in front of you and feeling an intense foreboding against throwing yourself into it more. At this stage of the night, about 4.40am, you find yourself following topics at a bizarre pace, and moving in different directions that seem counter-intuitive. Thoughts bloom in clusters of insane colours and images, like a 90s MTV station ID. At this stage I’m almost frightened to see what results from an altered mind-state and unmitigated reign over an assembly of meaning. If you’d only known the number of typos that’d made their way here, you’d be hiding your children under the floorboards, thus protecting the younger generation from Bed Intruders climbing in their windows.

INTO THE DRUNK TANK WITH YOU, LEONIDAS!

Several hours later I return. Mighty are my preparations! I really had to put a pin in that, things were getting silly. My typos were transcending English to pay homage to Eldritch deities. I do believe at some point I said ” I want to write some form fo caiibus, Iscuak ecuisn.” I just checked to see if my arms had morphed into tentacles, but alas I’m still as human as I ever was. I’m not gonna lie, with my self-policing and correcting typos, the above paragraph took me about 20 mintutes. When you think about it, this type of scenario in a way calls into question the value of aspects of this project. Is it worthwhile doing 30 minutes of writing if all I produce is solid junk? The idea is for a quantity above quality approach in the hopes that my output will eventually outshine the former to accomplish the latter. If I’m repeatedly putting it off to be the last thing I do before I sleep, regardless of mental state, am I really achieving anything by putting those thoughts out into the world?

I guess on one hand it’s a nicely indicative of my mental state. I can use it as a cautionary tale against the dangers of drinking/writing or trying to work creatively when I’ve got nothing left in the tank. I mean, here I stand with about 3.5 hours of sleep, so it’s not like I’m running on premium at present. Also the concept of achieving anything with this project is another interesting one. At some stage I might look back in reflection of the many words I’ve exuded in the last 3+ months. I’m probably running close to the mythical 50,000 number as it is. I don’t really go back and read what I’ve laid down, so I don’t know how much I’ve really learned or if there’s actually anything valuable hidden in the digital ink I’ve consumed. One of the few things I’ve noticed is my judicious use of needless modifiers. So many “just”s or “that”s clogging up the works. I’d love to learn to streamline my structure, not to the point of clockwork efficiency (’cause how fun would this be without a bit of flourish?), but to at least get a bit more out of my word output. A lean, mean writing machine? Low hanging fruit, Leon, you can do better. The Quiller in Manila? Nice. Tight. Gross. A whole generation of bro-dom has ruined the use of the word “tight” and now I can’t use it without mentally referencing a vagina or bum. I love how all it took was one word and unpacking its held meaning to entirely derail the integrity of everything I’ve written today. Oh me, never change.

Please change.
-Leon.

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Hirsute yourself.

This week is a beard week. Because it can be. Oddly enough a beard week results in more shaving than a less beardlier one, because there’s no beard like no neckbeard. If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m just trying to use the word beard as often as possible. Strange things happen when my short term goals are 1) expel words from your fingertips and 2) get to sleep. So yes, beardliness is currently A Thing. Because beardliness is next to manliness. That idea used to actually hold some resonance with me. When I was < 18 it was the most efficient pathway to buying alcohol. Which is funny, when you consider that I had no idea what the term “neckbeard” meant back then, even though I embodied it so well. I remember a shot that was taken of me while waiting in the Big Day Out mosh for Metallica. I was garbed in a black felt fedora and sporting a scraggly neckbeard. I believed I looked AMAZING, which I now look back at as adorably naive. I looked like the kind of guy who’d think I looked AMAZING when in fact I looked adorably naive. So time has revealed a truth or two. It’s at least revealed that I should eliminate all traces of beard on neck, but trimming it back to the chin is acceptable.

I hit 130,000 km on my speedometer today. It was largely momentous and uneventful. Dropping a friend off, I wanted another witness to this stupendously mundane feat, so we circled through some culs de sac (the plural of cul de sac, ce n’est pas faux) until reaching the desired number. The numbers came up slightly crooked, ruining this otherwise unspectacular but uncommon event. I’d say that many celebrations and fist pumps were had, but we kind of took it in stride and felt underwhelmed. What that does mean is that I’ve put about 72,000 km in the last 8 years. Under 10,000 km per year is pretty low. I guess a combination of taking public transport and not commuting between Auckland/Rotorua every week has tempered the result. It’s funny, but those drives were some of my favourite moments of my small town exile. Driving back home on a sunny day, singing along to the music cranking through the speakers. Shirtless with the warm seat-belt against my chest, cool fans blowing across my skin. The people I was returning to in the forefront my mind, casting thoughts of my purgatory aside for the rest of the weekend. With worries forgotten and nothing but potential in front of me.

It feels like I’m approaching a similar situation now, but heading towards exciting new frontiers by driving away from everything I know. Leaving my life in the here and now to find out just how different it could become. Who’s to say I’m gonna find what I’m looking for there? In some ways I’ve been prepared for quite some time, while in others I’m rushing headlong into the void with hopes that I’ll find footing on the other side. What will I say looking back at this moment? Like the beard, I’m letting myself grow just to see what the outcome will be. Maybe I’ll find something that I like, a new way to define myself. Perhaps I’ll realise that I’m comfortable with how I’ve been all along, that I can expand myself in other ways, working with what I have rather than trying to cast myself in a new light. Maybe I’ll one day regard my present self as adorably naive from my future lens of life experience, seeing all that I still had yet to learn and the multitude of ways that life had yet to imprint itself upon me. Maybe I’ll endure a number of attempts that’ll seem mundane or unimportant at the time, only to later realise the greater implications they hold. Sure, like the mileage milestone I achieved today, they may not be life-changing in themselves, but what did it take to get there? What course of actions led to reaching that one point? What are those seemingly insubstantial numbers representative of in a greater sense? How many neckbeards did I have to grow in order to discover that I look better without one? It’s my chance to grow some neckbeard experiences before time shaves them into a more fitting self-image.

In case there was any doubt as to why I’m single.

I was getting around to writing for the day, but “getting around to” it stretched into more hours than I thought it would. After I sent a bunch of emails off to potential people to hang out with in Vancouver (read: dating site people) I figured that hey, I have no dignity or self-respect. I’ll just kill two birds with one stone and post my introductory messages here. The best part is that out of context, I’m sure they sound even worse. If someone can at least get a laugh out of them, that’s worth something to me. Let’s kick it:

Judging by your interests it seems we’d have plenty to talk about. Mostly cheese.

More accurately your lack of interest in hiking intrigues me. I share your disinterest and since I’m going through Vancouver for just over a week mid July I figure you might be able to suggest some fun stuff to do of a non-hiking nature.

Or at least good places to buy and/or eat cheese.

This one actually came towards the end. I’d sent off a few and was kind of tired of writing things. Actually, that makes sense as to why I’m controlling my +Cs and +Vs. Goddamit. Use your words, Leon.

After squizzing (is that even a verb? It sounds far more lewd than I intended) through your profile, I could only find one ambiguous issue. Are you good at making Casars or good at making bad Caesars? It’s an important distinction, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

I found Tom Robbins by accidentally finding the opening line to Villa Incognito and awoke several hours later having finished it. I can’t decide between that and Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates as to which I love more. Thoughts?

I’d offer you a platter of my favourite puns, but I’m afraid you might be cringing too hard to return my servings.

If you’ve got any juicy puns then flick ’em my way. I’ll give you good and plenty of them back.

Under the “Things I’m good at” section she’d listed “Making bad jokes/Caesars.” Like John Matrix unravelling the enigma of Boy George’s gender, you can understand my confusion.

Does that Newfoundland happen to be one that you own (well, to whatever extent people “own” animals anyway)? Because I’ve never met one and I’ve always wanted to. They’re about the closest to a bear that I can imagine a dog being, which is a combination of two of my favourite things.

You seem swell as well, don’t get me wrong. Your taste in authors at the very least means we could probably kill a few hours talking feverishly about the absurd comedy of humanity before realising we’d failed to exchange names.

If you still feel like you had to hold back on listing bands/artists, I’ll be benevolent enough to let you list another 5. But only because you’ve got a proven track record so far 🙂

I’m heading through Vancouver mid July on my way to Toronto and you seem like you’d be fun to share a drink with somewhere in between both your jobs. If I seem the same let’s give it a try.

If not, no harm done. Just continue acting right by that dog. Unless you just posed with a random dog. In which case find another pooch like that one and act right by it. Or don’t, I’ll never know the difference.

I don’t really like the “owning” animals line. I’d intended a Community reference but then realised after sending that she hadn’t listed it as something she watched. Now it just comes off as cheesy. I also sent a smiley here. Because this entry hadn’t reached its self-loathing quota yet.

You seem unfairly interesting. Which is excellent, because that’s the exact type of person I like seeing across the other side of a table. Specifically the table I’m sitting at. I guess “sitting opposite me” would’ve been more appropriate, but I can admit a mistake. It’s our faults that make us interesting, right?

Yes to nerd stuff. Yes to writing. Yes to broadcasting experience. Yes to everything you’ve listed as favourites. Yes to your Conan reference. Yes to fun, brutally honest, interesting conversation.

I’m spending some time in Vancouver mid July on my way to Toronto. It’d be cool to have someone around with your wit who might know things to do outside the tourist traps.

Or if that doesn’t sound like your thing, no harm done.

Probably the most milquetoast message so far. Pity, she seemed like a cool girl.

“Full disclosure, I’m kind of technologically obsessed without being remotely scientifically minded.

See, I love the idea of science, I think it’s fascinating and absurdly interesting, but I’ve never had an aptitude for grasping its concepts. It gets me, but I don’t get it. Sadface indeed.

However I’m quite into communications-y, media-ish, pop-cultural-icious things. And thinking about how these things will be impacted by future technological/scientific discoveries.

You seem to also like these things, plus could probably recommend me some new music to wrap my ears around. I’m going through both Vancouver and Montreal on my way to Toronto. If you happened to be in either of those places and wanted to grab a warm mug of hot chocolate or even a hot mug of warm chocolate and discuss stuff, things and whatnot then that sounds like it’d be swell.

I think she’s significantly smarter than I am. Because she has more capital letters after her name. Of an educational variety. So she’d probably be quite fun to hang with. Unless she’s just an algorithm.

How do?

Though that seemed grammatically incorrect, imagine how it would’ve sounded in an ol’ timey British cockney accent. I don’t have one, but that shouldn’t get in the way of your imagination.

I’m gonna be passing through Vancouver for about 10 days or so on my eventual path to Toronto. I’m looking for fun people to hang out with to Stave Off the inevitable sanity loss of being cooped up with my Auntie, Uncle and imaginary tamarind friend Ampersand.

If you’d like to meet a friendly, open guy who shares your taste in music, comedy (but loves puns more than you. No contest) and introduce me to what makes Vancouver great, then I’d love to see you from the opposite side of a table.

To clarify I meant the same table you were sitting at. I’m sure you look lovely in profile, but I’d much rather talk with than stalk you.

This got weird. I’ll stop talking now.

A rare insight into my Don Juanian nature. Really I’d just like people to hang with in Vancouver to prevent a repeat of my lonely roaming in Melbourne. People are usually more interesting than Not People. Also it’s worth noting that any mention of puns was preceded by them listing puns as an interest. I knew there were others. Hopefully this is better than last night’s lacklustre entry, which I think was worse than most of the stuff I’ve written while unsafe to drive.

At least 2 sides to every argument, but exactly 6 sides to every hexagon.

I’ve downloaded a new game for my Galaxy S2 called Fractal: Make Blooms Not War and it’s taking over my life. I’m half convinced it’s actually some kind of reprogramming kit that’s ushering in the next phase of data mining, but it also happens to be fun, challenging and engaging. The game revolves around a hexagon structure filled with both blank spaces and hexagons. You’ve gotta create a hexagon of 7 hexagons by forming hexagons from the empty hexagon spaces. Confusing? It is. Whenever you touch a space it adds another hexagon to whatever adjacent hexagon side is available and pushes all blocks with the momentum of the side pushed. You can then reform the blocks to form clusters that explode and gain you points. I still don’t understand what I wrote at all and don’t know how to explain it any simpler. Fortunately we’ve got The Internet to weigh in here:

You’re given a board full of colored hexes that you manipulate on a grid. You move a block by clicking on the empty space near it, which spawns a new block that pushes the line forward. Forming large hexagons out of seven like-colored blocks triggers a bloom, which dissipates in a fancy flash of light that awards you points. Your goal is to meet the stage’s point requirement before you run out of pushes.
Thanks Gamespot.

So basically you construct and destroy colourful hexagons with the aid of more hexagons. My issue is that once you start looking at the board and strategising, forming paths and blooming(/fractaling/whatever verb they use), you’re incapable of doing anything else. Once you see the blooms and grid you can’t unsee them. Every object in your vision becomes categorised into different colours. Your subconscious messes with reality and its applications. I was working this afternoon after lunchtime fracticality and my work became absorbed into the grid. I’d entered a trance and transcended the physical realm. Noises and colours shifted alignment in my head and while I continued to operate at the same pace, all of my latent synesthesiac qualities were ignited. Words, and actions were filtered into the grid as I lost touch with our material world. Once I eventually shifted out of it I felt like I’d been lowered back into a lesser state of being, only alleviated by my homeward commute and subsequent immersion into the fractal.

I can’t tell to what extent I enjoy the game, vs being sucked in or finding adversity in the challenge it presents. It doesn’t really explain the rules in depth at the start and you’re left to find your own way through. As the difficulty increases you’ve got no choice but to adapt and reframe how you see the board. When new colours or board segments are introduced it changes the dynamics and you’ve got no choice but to rethink your approach. I think part of the reason I love playing it so badly is that any progress in the game I’ve achieved is something I had to work for. There’s a fantastic balance to the difficulty and it rewards concise planning. As a person who’s more inclined to lateral thinking, I’m sure I’ve been having more trouble than most. I’m bet anyone else that got in on the game would probably pick it up a whole lot faster than I have. Maybe I just don’t tell ’em, eh? It’ll be Our. Little. Secret. Eh?

Sorry, I zoned out there. Too busy thinking about colours, grids, hexagons and chaining bloom clusters. Here I was searching for a new game to play, not a new belief system. Seems like I’m all set for my final day of commuting tomorrow. I almost missed my stop today. Yeesh. I’m sounding like some kind of junky, desperate for my fix. Aspects of mental discipline, progress and relationships falling to the wayside? Perhaps I should give this up before I’m in too deep? What happens if I step off the plane after 13 hours with nothing left in my skull but meaningless blooms of colour? All ready to start my new life through the lens of an undead slave to the fractal. Surely it can’t take over my life if I’m already dead inside?

But it all started out so well.

Egads I’m full. We partook of the banquet meal at the Blue Breeze Inn, Ponsonby Central. I’ve heard of Asian Fusion to have a bad rep, but if this place is any kind of yardstick then I like my food like I like my music – remixed through a combination of art, math and science. It’s not worth mentioning how much it cost, suffice to say that it was more than $10, but under $1000. So somewhere in that range. It reminded me, as a few things have recently, about the things I appreciate about capitalistic society. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to work in order to obtain things that you want. Paying to defer labour that I’m incapable of doing or would rather not dabble in is a nice luxury. Does capitalism work for everyone? Not even close. If there was a more sustainable, equitable financial model to subscribe to that actually worked well I’d consider putting in my lot. The only problem being that I, like most, am fundamentally lazy. It’d take an amount of sacrifice/hardship that I’d most likely prefer not to subject myself to. There are things I’m sure I wouldn’t want to give up. If I feel this way, how must those who have significantly more than I feel? Do I feel kind of like a sellout? Not really, I don’t know anyone over 17 that uses that word in a non-ironic sense. At the same time I know that I’m as much the problem as anyone else.

I wonder what the answer is? I’m not attempting to find a realistic solution here, but one would assume that to shunt the global paradigm into a suitable place for change you’d need a significantly impactful world scale event. Some kind of apocalyptic scenario, invasion of creatures from another world, the fabric of existence breaking apart, M. Night Shyamalan taking over creative duties for every single text in the world. Just something that would unite the entire world against a force of adversity. That’s not even a new idea, it’s been done and redone. It’d have to be something catastrophic that really infringed on the safety or rights of the human race. Large scale events aren’t quite enough, it’d have to be colossal, gargantuan. We’re used to our personal freedoms and rights being challenged or stripped. We care so little for privacy that we’re basically telling the powers that be exactly how to control us. It’s no secret the scale of data mining/prying operations pervading the interwebs. This PRISM thing is just another in an inconceivably large web. If people ever get unsettled or unruly we’re truly easy to placate. Like the animals we are, just distract us with something colourful or tantalising. Let us show you a story about vapid, worthless, beautiful people who have privileges far beyond the rest of you. Don’t you want to live their lives? Well subscribe to this system and that could one day be you!

I’ve had a longstanding belief that we’re caught in a spiral of disappointment and disillusion. We’re all told stories as children of magical lands with exciting creatures and unreal adventures, then we grow into a world where these things are beyond the scope or hopes of anything the majority of us will ever achieve. Adventures are often hard to come by or not quite what the fiction made them out to be. Happily ever after doesn’t exist, things take time, effort and maintenance that extends well beyond the fairy tale period at which a storybook will often shut the curtains. That’s not to say happiness can’t happen, but it’s different from what the books teach us. So we grow disillusioned that we’re not being presented with what we were promised. We get depressed at what we don’t have, then messages pop up all over our society proclaiming that to achieve everything we ever wanted, we just need to open our hearts and wallets to new products and experiences that will fill us with the joy we’re missing. Then that joy proves to be more fleeting than we expected, but don’t worry, here’s something else that’ll make you feel okay about how well that last thing didn’t work. A brutal downwards spiral that’s almost impossible to escape from. We’re so busy digging ourselves further and further into it, burrowing past the shit we leave behind us. After a while we’ve dug so far that we can’t see past all that shit and into the light, so we continue to dig in hopes that it’ll unearth a promising path. Maybe we’ll bust out through the other side of this world around us? Could do, but probably won’t. I don’t know how I started down this path, didn’t I begin in praises of capitalism? Hey, at least I can afford a new shovel for when this one wears out.

The Simileon? Podcasting my net? Insomniacting the fool? Excitemental? This title’s getting a bit tired.

Well it’s finally happened. The excitement has hit like the fist of an angry god and I can’t sleep. My heart’s beating like a corrupt authority figure on an unjustifiably oppressed minority. I woke up about 3am and couldn’t stop thoughts from turning over in my head like an idling car. Now my similes are breaking down like a middle-aged man who’s lost his job and is incapable of caring for his family, but doesn’t want to hurt the ones he loves so is instead suffering in silence, turning to alcohol and illicit substances to manage his mental state, which ironically is being thrown even further out of balance and pushing himself away from the ones he cared so much about in the first place. I guess I could’ve gone for a computer based simile there, but I’ll live with it.

The odd thing is that the excitement that’s thrown me for a loop has much less to do with my pending inter-continental displacement than you’d think. Very little in fact. They added a few new shows to the Montreal Just for Laughs festival and suddenly there’s the potential to see/meet some of the podcasters that I hang out with for about 8 hours a day while I work. Pete Holmes has added a live taping of You Made it Weird and they’re doing some Montreal shows of Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail. Now I’ve got my obsessive neuroticisms kicking in and my mind is devising and replaying any number of scenarios in which I meet and communicate with these people. Over the last few hours I’ve played out several extended conversations in my head. The hardest part has been framing myself in a way that I’m not too excited, that I can be chilled like Fonzie. In almost every single conversation I’ve been trying hard not to gush, not to be That Fan Guy, but it ain’t working too well. At the moment they’re playing out like any of my crippling beta male meeting/flirting scenarios where I’ll see a girl in public and instantly mentally relay a number of potential paths/situations that could happen in order to figure out the ideal way to approach. I spend so long thinking about it that by the time I’ve decided on what a decent opening line would be, I’ve been sitting, staring for 10 seconds with a half-vacant expression on my face. Probably an eye twitch too. I then decide that if I was them I wouldn’t talk to me. Problem solved. For them, not me.

It’s strange, the relationship that builds up between podcasters and their listeners. Because of the nature of the format and its reliance on comedians who’re inclined towards emotional openness, it creates this disproportional exchange whereby the fan knows so much about the host, their lives, tastes, hopes and fears, while the podcaster doesn’t know this person one iota. It’s like a socially condoned stalker situation. Because of the absurd amount of time I’ve spent hearing these people talk, it feels like I know them on a personal level, like I’ve spent time hanging out with them. I’m sure I’ve taken on a number of their views or mannerisms through osmosis. It reflects the idea that You are the combination of the five people you spend the most time with. I effectively spend a lot more time with some of these people than I do with a lot of my friends. Thus some kind of twisted anxiety comes into play where I’m worried about how these people, that I have some kind of kinship or affection for through hearing so much about them, would potentially react to a conversation with me.

It’s like that thing that happens when you talk to someone you met/Facebooked at a party, then try to avoid focusing on things you’ve read/Googled about them (c’mon, everyone in my generation does this cyber-stalking thing. Admit it and we can move on) because it feels inorganic or disingenuous. It’s not like you can say “oh, so you like Bon Iver, right?” (though who doesn’t?) without admitting to looking them up. With any of these podcast hosts, it’s not like I can just start talking about developments in their lives and relationships without talking about myself, but why would any of them care about some random pleb from New Zealand? It’s not really any different from the culture of celebrity idolatry, just presented in a seemingly more accessible package. Then again despite my desire to seem cool and down to earth, I’d still ask for photos. And they’d refuse. Because after being incapable of sleep for long enough, I’ll look like a zombie with a bad hair day. Also they’ll be scared of my terrible similes.

Do they make Buffalo Bill onesies?

The technology at my parents place seems as self-important as I am. Between the dish washer, the front loader and the dryer, I guess they do a damn good job. That’s what you get when you grab top quality stuff. But goddamn they can’t stop exclaiming how wonderful they are. I swear after every wash/dry, they’ll go on and on for the next half hour, harping at you about the fact that they’re finished. Obnoxious fucks. Yes I know you’ve done what was asked for you, but you can stop bleeting on about it. We got the message after the first minute or so. I know you seek validation, you want to be heard, but can’t you wait for that kind of thing rather than sitting there expectantly? The fact that you feel so entitled to praise diminishes the amount that I feel you deserve it. Do I take the good with the bad here? Should I be looking more at what they do right rather than their glaring flaws? Maybe an optimist would.

Having a mirror directly next to my computer desk scares me. It’s reminding me that I actually need to sleep tonight. After a few nights of alcohol fuelled tumultuous tossing and turning I should probably let my body slip back into a cycle of normalcy. That and it looks like someone beat me in the face with a burlap sack. I had an arrangement of weird dreams. I went to LA and hung out with Dan Harmon. I also drove half way across the USA looking for an airport that didn’t exist, then giving up and just driving to Canada in an orange Cadillac. I dreamt that all my friends started buying morph suits that let them walk on any surface like Spider-Man, but when I tried them on I couldn’t. I dreamt that I got trapped in a giant bagel and had to try and roll away from my captors. I wish that any of these things would happen. Even the bagel thing. Because it’s interesting, engaging and it’d enable me to boil up a batch of bread puns.

I’m so glad that onesies are becoming A Thing. It’s no secret how obsessed I am with my childhood and willful regression to that state. The idea of being able to see any number of people dressed as colourful soft-toys seems hilarious, like visiting some kind of Wizard of Oz universe without the tedious flying house commute. Furries must be frothing at the mouth, bone and lips over it. I don’t know what my tipping point is. I’d love to get one but I haven’t seen any that pull at me enough. An Ankylosaurus or Snorlax perhaps? A quick googling tells me that Snorlax onesies a) exist and b) are adorable. Maybe when I find a place to live in I’ll reward myself with one. The concept of buying a Snorlax onesie to sleep in also isn’t lost on me. Covers me for the eventuality of gaining winter weight too. The combination of capitalism and the internet truly is magical. Friendship is too according to the Bronies.

For now I’ll just have to settle for throwing out every excess thing I own. I’m pondering if my computer is gonna be able to be stored as carry-on, weighing about 6.8kg without the box or styrofoam. It’ll probably pip at about 7.2kg. Maybe I’ll email ahead. Poops, time gone. I might have spent a little too long looking up onesies. I better go before the dryer starts yelling at me.