Am I too old to steal a street sign?

Here is a list of things I’ve appreciated at recent times:

Those moments where you walk to a bus stop and it arrives as you do. There’s something comforting about the idea of predestination. It’s not something I live my life by, but moments when you can feel like you’re swimming with the current have a certain a snugness to them that can turn a frown upside down. Walking directly to a stop as the bus pulls up, shifting your momentum from walking straight along the footpath to turning roadside and stepping onto the bus, there’s something there that feels like slipping your foot into a fresh, warm sock.

A road sign with an arrow that simply says “A WAY”. It might even say “AWAY”, but that’s not how I’m choosing to read it. Somewhere deep inside I harbour a certain mirth for the idea that there’s no reasoning behind this arbitrary sign. Why yes arrow, that direction is A Way. There are certainly other ways, but they don’t negate the Way you’re pointing me towards. If it does in fact indicate “AWAY”, what’s it in reference to? Maybe I’m being directed away from another sign, or perhaps there are more signs like it that point in other random directions. I didn’t really have a particular attachment to heading north on Spadina, but I do now. No longer is that A Way, to me it’s now The Way (which still doesn’t negate the sign. Nothing ever will).

Having found a great flatmate. I really lucked out first time around. She’s laid back, but ambitious, friendly and open. She helped me find work when she really didn’t have to. She seems to be a friend first and a room mate second, always having the time to talk when I need company. We’re pretty different people, which means we each have our own views on any given situation. Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to see an alternative side and she’s got a knack for offering her opinion without being intrusive or imposing. At other times we just need our space. It cuts both ways and we’re both respectful of one another while knowing that if either of us really needs to talk, the other is there. I was wary of the idea of moving in with one person, let alone a solitary female. But so far everything has worked out better than I could’ve conceived. Cut to a month down the line when she’s stabbed me with her tuning fork. Them’s the breaks though, right?

Stone fruit. There’s a chasm between New Zealand’s peaches, nectarines and plums and the ones here. The stone fruit here is so sweet, juicy and satisfyingly dense. I’ve had nary a flowery peach, instead the juices run down your chin like Niagara Falls. You’ve gotta fight off hoards of wasps (the insect ones, though I hear White Anglo-Saxon Protestants love their nectarines too) to get at the street-side boxes outside affordable Asian produce markets, but the delectable orbs of flavour are reward enough. I’ve yet to have a home made peach pie, but I’d wager that I’d float into the air as if I’d just ingested a Scooby Snack.

The generousity of others. I was given my bed, my sheets, a ton of blankets, towels and kitchenware. Family members scattered across the country have opened their doors and hearts to the peculiar character who projects his mind in this webspace. People have fed and sheltered me, shown me around, introduced me to friends and acquaintances without reservation. If a nation is to be gauged by the behaviour of its citizens then I’d be hard-pressed to fault this place. Canada may well deserve its status as loudmouthed America’s shy, embarrassed younger sibling, hiding behind its older sibling’s ostentatious displays of bravado. I’ve yet to find any real reason why I’d want to leave and no reason to regret my move.

Online dating. It’s no secret I’ve been messaging around. I’ve found it a great way to pre-screen people for some form of connection, rather than meeting random barflies and working out too late that you’ve got barely any commonalities. I’ve yet to meet anyone here who I’ve had a distaste for and on the flip-side, met a number of great girls who at the very least would be the type of people I’d like to form friendships with. I don’t know how much of this is my good fortune to be searching out the fairer sex, but regardless, it’s drastically improved my time here so far.

That’s just a snippet, really. My eyes have been opened to so many new experiences and cultural parameters. I’ve seen, heard, felt and tasted so much in the short time I’ve been here and I’m starting to cultivate a number of them that I want to keep around. I’m sure in a few months I’ll have exponentially increased this list (though I could probably write a completely different list tomorrow and still have a bunch of stuff left) and I can’t wait to look back from that vantage point.

Dear Future Leon, don’t fuck it up.

-Past Leon.

Admit it, that “nimpressed” line was kind of okay.

There are times that my mind gets away with me. I find myself constantly referencing any number of pop-cultural artifacts in everyday conversation. I can’t count on two hands the number of times Emily (of “Well fuck, Emily” fame) has wanted to hang me by my own entrails for my inability to stop quoting song lyrics in everyday conversation. I’ve often fancied the idea of spending a whole day talking in nothing but lyrics. Like some kind of goofy peripheral 90s sitcom character named Chez with fluoro glasses and a purple shirt. I think in my head I’m just picturing Goofy’s son Max (oddly I didn’t intend to be that literal when I said “goofy peripheral 90s sitcom character”, but perhaps my subconsciousness did), who was seemingly manufactured explicitly for Disney’s 1995 animated feature A Goofy Movie. But I digress (actually, digression seems to be the point of this whole entry, so I guess I’ll allow it. My head is trying to throw out some kind of “tangenital” pun, because as always I’m thinking of sex.), there are times that my predilection for pop-cultural savant-ism has been slightly intrusive.

Here’s something tangenital: I once made an American Psycho reference during sex. No lies. You know the scene where Christian Bale is going at it, looks in the mirror and flexes? Yep, I’ve done it. How’s that for full disclosure? Several things though, 1) It was for nobody else. My partner was blissfully unaware of my referential dalliance. I told her later. She was halfway between impressed and unimpressed. “nimpressed”, I guess? 2) Beyond wry amusement, it didn’t “do” anything for me. It wasn’t like I was vain enough to even enjoy the view (of myself?) and it certainly didn’t expedite the current copulatory efforts (not gonna lie, kind of surprised that “copulatory” is a  real word). 3) It started me down a path that I probably shouldn’t be comfortable with. It gave me a thirst for more… References during sex that is, not perving at myself while going at it. Once was quite enough of that. I don’t know how porn stars watch themselves fucking, it’s gotta be pretty excruciating (actually, that’s part of one of my favourite Chuck Palahniuk short stories) to see the reflection of your pale body pumping away in front of you. I wouldn’t blame my partners if they all fucked me with their eyes closed.

Let’s see, what other strange nuggets have i thrown out there while throwing it down (seriously? “throwing it down”? I might as well have just written “bro-ing it down”)? I’ve referenced Microsoft Word‘s Clippy. Yes I have, yupyupyup (A Land Before Time reference, if you were wondering). Then again, it was referencing a YouTube clip whereby a guy calls a sex line and asks for her to talk him through while she voices as a sexy Clippy. So vaguely on topic I guess? Also a recent arrival to the stable was a reference to my favourite 90s LTNZ (LTSA?) ad. With my partner replying that she was sorry about something (I can’t even remember what it was, though I’m sure objectively it sounds like really bad sex. It wasn’t, I swear (by the moon and the stars in the sky) it was pretty choice (wait, did I just refer to sex as “choice”? This is why I don’t write post-coitally). Honest bro), I responded with an earnest (well I wasn’t Scared stiff. Okay, this is getting intrusive now. Moratorium on parentheses for the rest of the entry.) “DON’T SAY SORRY TO ME, SAY SORRY TO HIS KIDS.” She got it, it was okay. It’s not like I completely blindsided her with a foreign reference. I laughed at my own joke and we continued to have fun. Good ol’ fashioned family fun for everyone.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there were a ton more references I’ve made while carnally engaged, but they’re outside my grasp right at this moment. Do I have a problem? Likely yes, plenty more than these if this project is anything to go by. Is this pop-cultural obsession one of them? Probably also yes. At some point I’m gonna have to forge forward under my own steam rather than living out scenarios and conversations derived from pre-existing media texts. As it stands I’ve probably got bigger things to sort out first. For now I’ll just play my hand like my main man Kenny R.

Dispelling any doubts about being on some kind of NSA watchlist.

Yet another bit I’m working on. Have I got enough material for a 6 minute set yet? To be honest I’ve probably got enough material for a 30 minute set, but do I have enough for a *good* 6 minute set yet?


Have we got any strange fears in the audience? Strange fears. Things that you think nobody else thinks about late at night. Don’t worry, this is a safe space, nobody will laugh at you.

Okay, it’s a comedy club, they might well laugh at you. That’s kind of the point, actually.

I’ve got weird fears really. I’ve got this big fear of small-talk with people in public that I don’t know very well. Like old high school acquaintances, my friends’ boyfriends or girlfriends, my parents.

I’m scared because I actually have no idea how to do small-talk. I’m just no good at it. Someone asks me how my day is going and I’ll end up telling them about the delicate weight of our existence or my fear of small talk.

I’m trying, I really am, but I can’t seem to give a satisfactory answer. Which brings me to my next fear: small children.

I try to talk to them, I ask “so what’s happening in your life?” and they’re all “well you know how the rat-race goes, another day another dollar, am I right?”

Nothing, they’re giving me nothing. I know they’ve got limited vocabularies and sentence structure, but how am I supposed to respond when they’re just giving me empty drivel?

“So what’s new?” I say and they reply “ugh, well this weather lately has just been absolutely ghastly and those blue jays can’t seem to pick up their game. Sometimes life gives you lemons, you know?”

Superficial bullshit all the time. What’s wrong with these kids? When I was their age it was all Street Fighter and Power Rangers.

I loved anything with teeth, claws or violence. My favourite things were Dinosaurs, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat and Aliens vs Predator.

Hell, at the age of 8 I watched Ninja Scroll, a brutally gory anime that has a graphic rape scene in the first 5 minutes.

Here’s a story written by little Leon aged 6:

The Decepticons are fighting with the Autobots. Megatron is shooting Optimus Prime with his lasers. The Autobots are dead.

From the mouths of baby sociopaths. I don’t know why I’m not in front of you wearing cuffs and an orange jumpsuit right now.

Actually, now that I think about it maybe I’m terrified of kids because I was kind of a terrifying child.

You want to know the worst thing? I work as a children’s gymnastics coach. I’m basically training the people I’m afraid of to become ninjas.

Now all I need is my milk, my cookies and my View-Master.

Delivery day (deserves its own Silent Night Deadly Night 2 parody)! It’s like a lifetime of presents have come and arrived on my doorstep. First I got an assortment of towels and sheets, then a car worth of more towels and sheets. The car also had an iron/ironing board/cast-iron pans (in case my mother had fears that I was becoming iron defi… dumb. Just dumb.), blankets, pillows and (I’m now the proud owner of a two pillow bed, ladies (is it possible to do an emoticon with a quirked eyebrow? How about something like s:-) or ;:-) or ¿:-) .) Let the fine Canadian lasses roll on in to my eligible bachelor pad, especially now that it has) an assortment of single use kitchen utensils. Not only am I running a two pillow bed, but I’ve got a double potato masher kitchen and a melon baller (clearly the utensil isn’t the only baller) up in This Hisouse. To brighten the day that extra bit, my stuff arrived from Vancouver. It’s like a return to normalcy (or whatever that passes for around here).

Things that exist in my life once more:

  • My collection of Magic the Gathering cards that I’ve assembled over the last 13 years or so. I’m not ashamed.
  • Random useful trinkets and knick-knacks.
  • An assortment of warm weather gear. Coats and jackets. I now have more than 2 pairs of long pants and sweatshirts.
  • My snugglicious trio: pyjama pants (complete with top-hatted smoking dog pattern), dressing gown and moon boot style slippers.
  • My treasured green scarf, which was knitted with strands of TLC (except for Lisa Left-Eye Lopez. She was off chasing waterfalls by this point).
  • My first edition copy of Dan Harmon’s You’ll Be Perfect When You’re Dead (complete with misspelling of “foreward”, changed in later editions).
  • My ol’ drinking buddy Dr. Tipples PhD. She is a sippy cup, if that wasn’t apparent.

It’s strange, but as someone who doesn’t place a ton of sentimental attachment on material goods, these things carry a ton of loaded memories and connections to people, places and situations from my life. Some items of clothing were purchased during travels and automatically tie themselves into those trips. Other items were gifted to me by beloved people who’ve since left my life (so it goes). Dan Harmon’s book was the first present I bought myself in quite some time. It was to reward myself for pushing to enact change in my life (though shouldn’t the change technically be its own reward?) and continues to return on its worth with each subsequent re-read. Dr. Tipples joined my adventures after I’d gotten tired of the number of uncoordinated dolts ruining carpets by spilling precious alcoholic liquids. She seems to be much maligned by those who pass her off as unnecessary (much like the NYT one word review of Ghost Realty. In-joke much?) and childish. At times I think they’re really extending those descriptions onto me.

The concept of actually having enough clothing to fortify myself against the encroaching wintry months is more exciting than a mere seasonal imposition should be. Barring snow boots and a beanie, I might be able to brace for the bluster and rage of those bitter winds now that I’ve regained my armour. Even now I’ve got soft-filtered scenes of hot chocolate and warm slippers with a special someone and a new season of Community playing on repeat in my brain. I’ll be surrounded by things in my life that bring me joy and it’ll heat me more than apparel specifically designed for that very purpose. Of course I could always pre-emptively get splashed with toxic waste while holding a mole (rodent, not facial blemish) to gain burrowing powers and create an intricate network of interconnected tunnels, thus circumventing the need to ever set foot (or paw, in this case) into the harsh elements. I’d dig that.

So things are finally coming together. I’ve got two pillows, many utensils, my Dan Harmon book for intellectual warmth and many fuzzy things to insulate my corporeal form. Also hypothetical plans to develop subterranean superpowers. I can finally start to merge my appreciation of the new and unfamiliar with physical manifestations of past memories. It was a day that truly delivered.

The one where Leon tries to justify his childhood crush on Amy Jo Johnson.

Do we form relationships with the shows we watch? I know for certain we form fandoms, which seem like a kind of one-sided relationship by which you heap adoration onto a certain program. They can provide a certain emotional release or elicit an emotional response, but does that really constitute the return of affection? I am, of course, a massive Community fan. I gain absurd amounts of satisfaction through following the lives of all my favourite characters. I thrive on watching Abed and co. come to terms with certain trials and overcome them, having changed through the ordeal. I love learning the intricacies and special details of the multitude of characters and gain the feeling like I’m growing closer to them in the process. I’m well aware these people are no more than the evocation of words on a page, but the more I experience their lives through the conduit of actors, the more realised they become. The more time I spend with them, the more I feel a kind of kinship or relationship between us growing. Yet again, they’re artificial and it’s more like I’m growing closer to the writers who create the characters and situations that I’m viewing. Thus my weird idolatry of Dan Harmon, the matron behind my beloved series. He’s probably the Venn diagram between the relationships I’ve built with my television shows and the similar one way relationship I’ve formed around the various podcasters that I follow (which I’ve spoken of previously during this project). Still, it’s not something I’d really term as a true two-way relationship. Is the internet changing this though? Many writers are accessible through social media, the twitterscape/verse/plane (as in planar, not aeronautical)/whatever new trendy term newscasters are expelling these days. I know that Dan Harmon regularly engages with the fandom on Reddit (though I’ve always been far too intimidated to engage). In this way can we start to engage in fostering a larger relationship with the text? Or are we still one step removed by conversing with the people who create the shows that we relate to?

I guess it’s also worth looking at how we respond to these textual constructs. I know that I watch shows on a “use” basis. They fulfill particular needs and allow me to vicariously experience certain events that I’d never have the chance to partake in otherwise. This hopefully isn’t the way that one would value their relationships with other people. If I based my relationships with other humans on what they could provide for me I’d be some kind of monster (like the eponymous documentary indicated much of Metallica might behave). Then again in even bringing up the idea, do we at all form relationships in this way? I’m not saying it’s necessarily a deliberate and malicious action, but subconsciously do we surround ourselves with people who make us feel a particular way? In some ways this might be by making us feel better about ourselves, providing reassurance or affirmation, stoking our egos like a well tended fire. In other ways we might have people in our lives because we appreciate their views and ways of seeing the world. By having them around we allow ourselves to be open to new and exciting ways of experiencing certain situations. This could even be shown through interest in hearing the stories they tell, the way they conceive of the influences of society and how they’re impacted, the way they re-frame their position in a way we can identify with and cherish. How different are these things to the way we savour the television we watch? We find characters to identify with, value how they respond to situations and stimuli and enjoy how they confront incidents that come their way.

I still know intrinsically that a bond formed with a television show is not the same as one formed with another living being. That being said I have at times been more affected by the twists and turns of a favourite text than the happenstances of people in my life. I’ve heard people tell me of crappy things that’ve happened and my response has been along the lines of “wow, that sucks” without the event giving me a huge amount of emotional impact. I don’t think I was being disingenuous in my reply, I could identify that something shitty had occurred, but it didn’t hit me as hard as it’d hit them. Concurrently I’ve been laid low by fictitious emotionally raw scenes that’ve made me reexamine my own past experiences and examine how I’d respond in the shoes of the characters. Am I the only one? Is this another chalk mark on the side of me being a shitty person, incapable of honestly relating to those around me?

I hope this isn’t the entry where I have the epiphany that I’m a sociopath.

Then again I’ve always wanted my own organic wings.

After so much social interaction lately, I’ve been pulling back over the past few days. Curious things were happening. I found myself getting exhausted quickly in conversation, getting exasperated with people after they made simple requests (or merely even wanted to converse) and generally withdrawing into myself. I was getting drastically tetchy with almost everyone for almost anything and felt that I needed to abandon almost all social connection. It’s strange thing being a massive extrovert with a significant core of introversion. I don’t know if I’d been overdoing it, getting out there too much and not leaving enough time for myself. Or maybe it’s a number of other factors coming into play. The end result of my mood was a strong surge of ennui, feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness over lack of full-time employment and accomplishment. I’ve been sending a ton of CVs around and even calling after a bunch of medical trials and such in an effort to have some funds flowing towards rather than away from me. While in Montreal I jokingly brought up the idea of medical testing, as of a few days ago I’ve called a couple of places, who all refused me on the basis that I’ve given blood too recently. Curse me and the combination of boredom and cookie craving that hit me that day. I also called some social drinking test that was planning to do some CT scans and general testing. Seemed like an interesting experience, paid $400 for about 6 hours work. I answered their questions but they never called back. Still, desperate as I am (well to be honest I’ve got cash to last me quite a while. I’d just rather keep some of it as savings) I’ll stay away from this non-smokers test I found today. $7000 for 40 days work. Let’s see how this one reads:

Clinical trial for NON SMOKING men only…
Easy job to receive a medication and give blood, board & fed, soap, shampoo,
clothing except undergarment.
Activities: listen to the tv, computer or other. You can have your CD, DVD, your computer, your phone, ipad, games, books, etc. …

Explain to me how I participate in this experiment and end up without extra limbs, purple skin and fighting for my life, armed only with a crowbar in a research facility populated by the denizens of hell, spilling forth from some unearthly portal to the netherworld? Please explain that to me. Either that or I’ll be force-fed soylent green [spoiler]It’s made of people[/spoiler]. I’m pretty sure there’ll be people who’d miss me if I vanished off the face of the planet for 40 days and 40 nights. Some might think I’d embarked on some ancient Old Testament journey of pilgrimage or absconded to a foreign dimension. I’m sure it’d seem suspicious if I went 40 days without updating this project after staying on the wagon for so long. Then again if I’ve got my phone, surely I’d have internet access. I’d be saving money on food, toiletries and transportation. Not to mention I’d be well garbed in whatever swag they’d dress me in (but no undergarments. Unless that means I’m not allowed to wear undergarments. Going commando for a whole month? Sounds almost freeing). Maybe I should reconsider, it could be an adventure waiting to happen. I could discover all new things about myself. Just think, in 40 days I might even get through half of the media on my computer. I could finally get a Netflix account. $7000 would pay my accommodation for almost a year. What am I even hesitating about? It seems like everything I really need in life. I mean, I was just complaining about being overly sociable, right? This solves each problem handily.

That being said, they only mention soap and shampoo. No word of conditioner in there. What’ll I do without my hair retaining its sheen or softness? If it were to become wan and lifeless, losing that lustre and health that bring the girls in droves. That being said, they’ll be giving me constant medication, so I’ll surely be in tip top shape, right?

Oh, that’s right. They’re pumping me full of drugs the whole time. There’s the rub, my health likely plummeting or the potential of widespread side effects for the rest of my life.

Maybe I’m not that desperate to shy away from other human connection. Over the last few days I’ve retracted into my room, started catching up on various TV shows and reacquainted myself with how it feels to be in my own company. It’s been amazing, actually. After an initial bumpy road I’ve found myself to be quite the conversation partner. Perhaps I should take the next few days to once again familiarise others with this extroverted introvert.

But it’s funny because infant mortality. Right? Right? Tough crowd.

A bit of almost anti-joke comedy I thought I’d try to get down on a page. Seems a sure-fire way to bomb, do I really hate myself that much? Only time will tell.

New Zealanders have a messed up sense of humour and I can tell you why in 5 words:

“It’s the same day, David.”

Say these 5 words to any New Zealander of a certain age and they’ll either crack a smirk, start shaking with laughter or guffaw uncontrollably.

“It’s the same day, David.”

You’re giving me blank stares, rather than the Julia Roberts grin I’m used to seeing, so I should probably explain a little. I’m guessing you think it’s from some classic New Zealand cinema? A Kiwi heritage history moment or saying of some beloved national icon? Let’s go for b) none of the above.

“It’s the same day, David.”

5 words, one saying. The saying comes from a much loved anti-speeding Land Transport New Zealand advertisement.  I’m realising now that the more I explain of it, the less you’ll get it. So try to stay with me here, but I’ll totally understand if you keep up with this stony face thing. Because you’re normal people, not New Zealanders.

So the ad opens on a happy family vehicle, kids are playing in the back seat with the parents exchanging pleasantries in the front. They’re laughing gleefully and they’re New Zealanders, so one can only assume she’s told him “It’s the same day, David” or something (as we know how much Kiwis love that saying). We see the flash of a speed camera and the car continues on, swerving into oncoming highway traffic. Screams ensue, the wife yells a blood-curdling “DAVID” as the inevitable crash occurs and the camera spins. It’s a violent, bloody mess which is probably making you guys wonder why I’m smiling so much to myself like I just heard a particularly musical fart. Try to bear with me here.

So the camera fades up on a hospital room. There’s our old mate David sitting wheelchair bound and some woman comes up to him with a letter:

“This came for you in the mail.”

He opens it up and starts reading, She continues.

“It’s a speed camera fine. You were caught doing 126Ks.”

He looks down at the paper, forlorn, she turns away.
I’ve really gotta stop giggling, but here it is. Say it with me, guys:

“It’s the same day, David.”

He starts whimpering, sobbing and chokes out:

“I…. I’m sorry.”

She turns around, incensed and yells at him.

“Don’t say sorry to me. SAY SORRY TO HIS KIDS!” and storms out.

You guys obviously don’t get it. Can’t you see the hilarity? She’s just yelled at him, he’s sitting there bawling on his own as the camera zooms out. Big bold words appear onscreen:


This is odd, I’m hearing a distinct lack of hollering, cheering and braying like hyenas. This is a preserved piece of national comedy gold, yet you’re treating it like I’ve just insulted the esteemed Tim Hortons coffee blend. A bit culturally insensitive of you, don’t you think?

Maybe you just had to be there.

At least I can be assured that none of my customers will be drunk and abusive.

I feel considerably more human than I did this morning, thanks to a nice cocktail of pain meds, coffee and comfort food. Was the pain worth the pleasure of the night? Working through the equation I’m gonna conclude yes, it was. I guess it’s worth mentioning that I kind of found employment. Kind of? Let’s dispense with the modifiers here. I have found employment, but it’s far from full time work. It’s something that harnesses zero of my skills whatsoever, but it’s actually a hell of a lot of fun and I feel like I might actually get good at it, given enough time. Suspense aside (really? That’s how I build suspense? I feel like it sags a tad from the lack of deep, dark threnody), here it is… I’m teaching kids gymnastics.

Yep, never worked with children or taken gymnastics before. Somehow despite my utter lack of qualifications I’ve found myself enamored with the position. I’ve found a lot of skill-bleeding (is that even the right term? I’m using it anyway. What I meant to convey was a general leeching of abilities from other activities. Neither of the terms sound endearing and both sound like they’d befit vampirism a hell of a lot more. End parentheses.) from different hobbies I’ve had over the years. My gym/crossfit work have given me the necessary strength for most of the techniques, plus handy things like rope climbing without feet. At times I think I’m more simian than evolution would have you believe. I am the missing link. A lot of the bar work has been aided by my base expertise in trapeze (that rhymes, check it, yo!), while having a trampoline as a kid helps with, well what else? The rock climbing, clearly. I can kind of do a forwards tuck jump, but I’ve got trouble sticking the landing. Give me time, I’ll show you results. I’ve been shadowing the coaches and doing a little bit of practice before/after class. My cartwheels are coming along nicely, soon I’ll be able to ninja (verbed, bitchez) with the rest of them.

The place is ten types of awesome. It’s got those soft springboarded floors that you’d expect, a couple of parallel bars, some high and low bars for acrobatic shenanigans, two rock climbing walls, a large soft foam pit, a couple of big gymnastic trampolines, a tumble track (basically a 20 metre trampoline) and enough padded boxes, mats and bouncy things to shake your tailfeathers at, if that’s your prerogative. We take kids of a large age range, from toddlers to early tweens. The kids are actually cute, and despite my previous thoughts of not really liking small people (yooves, not little people) I’m kind of taking to them more than I’d expected. It’s fun to teach them the intro stuff, but the part that I really like is taking the novice class. One they reach a certain age we can start doing a lot of conditioning work. Push ups, burpees, handstand walks, high reps of cartwheels/round-offs. I get to bark out like I’m starring in Full Metal Jacket and I feel a surge of power. As if my head needed the extra bloat. We also take them through awesome tricks and tucks, the stuff they do is pretty wicked. With the adult classes I’m taking I might even get as good as them eventually.

I’d had concerns about my ability to properly teach/handle them, but my boss Eugene has every confidence that I’ll pick it up. He’s actually pretty close in age and he’s super proactive about getting shit done. He says he can see that I’m good with the kids and he’s keen to have more male coaches, as their number of male students grows. A lot of the guys there started without prior gymnastic experience and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea they didn’t backwards tuck out of the womb. A lot of the job requires spontaneity and adapting to the demands of the kids. They throw a lot at you (ideas, words, etc. Nothing physical) and it’s important to be able to respond appropriately. There’s a lot of flexibility to the role, going with the flow and being capable of changing it up. From the small amount of time I’ve spent there, I absolutely love it. Regular IHMD readers will understand that I’m basically a little boy in the body of an ungainly adult, this is a great outlet for me to essentially play for a living. I walked into the gym and my eyes lit up, it’s like working in a massive playground. Looking across everything (the light touches, Simba), my face split into a cheek-hurting grin. In doing the adult class I’m constantly running around trying to play with everything at once. I’ve fallen and tumbled onto and over almost everything and I can’t stop laughing with joy. Having just worked my first full day yesterday, I found myself not really wanting to leave at the end of my shift.

So it’s a bit strange, but I’ve found something anyway. I don’t know how long I’ll last at it, if the pressures of needing more hours or money will sink in. For now though it’s a total blast. Not the path I expected to find myself on, but one I’m willing to walk down, taking time to sniff the flowers. More than anything else it’s just great to be back in a role that requires applying myself to something. It’s so exciting having things to learn and grow through again, rather than just spending all day on the computer, sending out resumes. So maybe something else will come through and shunt me back to the path I’m used to travelling, but until it does I’m happy to continue down this one, somersaulting all the way.

At least I didn’t attempt the pokerap. I think.

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve felt quite this wretched. I met up again with my friend Drunk Leon who I hadn’t seen for quite some time and oh boy, we did certainly imbibe. As such, this is the “episode” that almost didn’t happen (does midday the next day count? Since I’m creating these arbitrary rules I guess it does). Fortunately for me the only walk of shame I had to take spanned the distance between my lounge and bedroom. I honestly tried last night, but somehow managed to delete my updates 2 or 3 times. They had very few words in English, Drunk Leon apparently prefers writing in some form of Eldritch scripture as if trying to summon dark spirits through sheer force of will. It’s probably the side-effect of consuming too many dark spirits. I don’t feel as bad this morning as I deserve to, which I’ll take as a freebie. It’s not like I feel perky and upbeat, but as long as I’m not walking with my face scraping along the ground I’ve gotten off better than I should’ve.

I feel surprisingly hungry, which is less surprising when you consider the lack of food in my stomach. We catered well, to our credit, but that’s all gone now. Hours have passed and as I passed out my vittles all passed the storage stage and I’ve now passed them on. This first though, writing. This project that I’ve chained myself to, splayed open like Prometheus for all to see. My liver has certainly been pecked at enough for one night. My body craves the things it naturally would, such as eggs, bacon, cheese, strong marmite and dense bread. I may have to quest to one of Toronto’s multitude of amazing eateries in order to get my fix. The bar up the road serves pretty decent grub. I just feel like something that involves grease, protein and dead things to make me feel better about my place in the world. Where does that impulse come from? Is it some form of conquest over the state of my body? In its impaired condition it still wants to know that it has dominion over the kingdom of the animals? That even feeling like an invalid, I still want to validate my position as a hunter/gatherer and destroy these formerly beautiful things with my powerful teeth and stomach acids. Whatever it is, something in my body is screaming at me to devour everything I can in order to fill the void inside of me.

We had a flatwarming last night, which was a fun affair but not hugely populated. The people who turned up get a metaphorical gold star for effort, those who didn’t… well we gave pretty late notice, it’s quite understandable. We enjoyed great conversation, a game of Kings (with bizarre Nova Scotian rules) and Drunk Leon gesticulating wildly, as he’s want to do. Come to think of it, I’m assuming that we all enjoyed ourselves, but I’m just reliving the memories from Drunk Leon’s internal hard drive. I awoke this morning to find that random bits of furniture had been strangely angled, as if Drunk Leon moves with hands dragging gorilla style across the ground, shifting anything that impedes his progress. As such, a wake of furniture at Eshcerian angles to greet my daylight face. Oh what a character, that guy is.

I wonder if I feel like I actually need to draw a division between myself and this fellow. It’s not the first time I’ve referred to my liquored, loquacious alter-ego and I kind of feel like it might be a coping mechanism to excuse his behaviour, whatever it is. It’s not like he/I’m wildly offensive or angry, just a bit silly. All id, no super-ego, is my alter-ego who I occasionally ID as. That made middling to no sense, let’s quit the shitty wordplay for a second here.  I think as far as I went last night I tried to define the differences between rural New Zealand and Australian accents, made many references to hilarious New Zealand road accident PSAs (if it was any other culture you’d substitute “hilarious” for “horrific”.) and took a long shower during which I’m almost certain I didn’t fall asleep, but not entirely sure. With behaviour like this, is it truly necessary for me to extricate myself from those proceedings? Surely I should be taking ownership and responsibility for my actions regardless of impaired state? It was still me doing those terrible accents, it was still me shooting my mouth off on any number of absurd topics. I think it’s time to kill off this character I’ve created and embrace him in all his failings.

Except for his Canadian accent, that shit’s unforgivable.

The more I write the words “fleshed out” the less comfortable I feel with myself.

I’m staring at my newly washed comforter with lust in my eyes. Freshly cleaned sheets are one of life’s many little pleasures that instantly lighten up your day. I can almost smell the freshness from here, which is exceedingly better than smelling the lack of freshness from here. I’m currently wearing some kind of throw-blanket as a sort of makeshift shawl and I feel like I’m only half a metre away from more warmth than my body has room for. Of course, nothing’s really stopping me from grabbing it now and adorning myself in the warm freshness, except for some misguided attempt at delayed pleasure. It’s gonna be straight up tantric up in here, except in anything pertaining to sexual release. Because I just washed these sheets, that would be counter-productive. I’m probably half an hour away from bed, which’ll mean that I’d have only been awake for just over 12 hours. I’m attempting to kick my sleeping schedule back into something approaching normalcy, but previous attempts have painted that goal as largely illusory. A guy can dream, can’t he? Well I’ll be trying to in 30 minutes anyway.

I feel like I haven’t had any significant dreams lately. I’ve had a habit of being drawn into bizarre subconscious landscapes for quite some time, but I haven’t had many that’ve blown my brain out through my forehead in a while. After having a night that culminated in inheriting a complete Operation board game (to the amazement of the wasted small town physio next to me on the bus, who’d just unwillingly moved to the big smoke), I dreamt that I was the head of a surgical team at a large scale hospital that serviced giants. We had to run the length of this colossal board removing water on the knee, a charlie horse and other assorted game pieces. That was pretty straightforward, not remotely abstract. I had one the other day where I got to hug Thomas’ beard. He was nowhere to be seen, but there was just this disembodied beard (complete with floating cheese cutter hat) and I gave it a big hug. It was fuzzy and soft, like I imagine it would be to hug the Cookie Muncher (the Cookie Time mascot, not to be confused with Cookie Monster of C is for Cookie fame) and I recall it smelling like home. I had a dream that I hung out with Doug (the Pug dog) who lives upstairs, while his owner paced back and forth around the room. As her room is directly above mine, I figure that was just the thumping of boots on the floor while I slept past a reasonable hour. It kind of came true this evening, when I met her flatmate, flatmate’s friend and Doug (the Pug) in our yard out back. He’s a pretty chilled pooch, likes being patted while staring back with his big round eyes. Always looks on the verge of tears, but never really reacts to anything. Doug (the Pug) seems like an excellent companion for watching shitty television, without getting judgemental about your poor taste in entertainment.

The next time I attempt to watch a whole episode of New Girl, I’ll bring him along. Okay, that’s unfair I guess. I’m not certain it’s a bad show, but that I’m so far outside the demographic (deficient in ovaries) to find any humour in it. Much like the common occurrence of male written shows having poorly written female characters, I feel like New Girl‘s male characters seem ripped straight out of chick-lit. There’s nothing wrong with that per se (as I’ve said, the inverse is obscenely common), but it doesn’t really work for me. Especially not when Girls manages to write such nuanced and interesting guys. The more that I write about it, the less charismatic this seems, as if I’ve found one of the few instances of sexual double standard and I’m calling it out in some form of faux offense taken. It’s not like that, I just wish everyone would write better characters regardless of gender. Just because it’s not the norm to have the males be poorly fleshed out, it doesn’t mean it should be happening to anyone. Maybe I just watched crappy episodes. Any Toronto New Girl fans willing to take me under their wing and prove to me exactly why I’m wrong? I’m willing to be proven as such. Doug (the Pug) can come too.

Until then I’ll be melting into the soft, warm, fresh recesses of my wondrous bed, hoping the subconscious narratives in my head have well fleshed out characters of both genders.