Surely the thematic ouroboros of having been practically raised in a second-hand toy store would make it worth it?

“This job would require customer service skills, do you have experience dealing with people?”
“Yes, I have multiple prior customer service jobs ranging from retail to inbound call centre work for a government agency. I also currently work as a children’s gymnastics coach, which involves managing the expectations of both children and their parents.”
“I have a lot of you kids come in here, but your generation doesn’t know how to work. You only care about money. I’ve got people calling in sick for no good reason in the middle of the Christmas season. I’ve got another store I wanted to open, but not enough good people to run it.”
“I’ve got a pretty strong work ethic. You read my references, right?”
“No, I didn’t. You know, there are tons of products you’d need to know in this store. You’d have to be able to learn things and know what to say if people have questions.”
“A few months ago I hadn’t coached gymnastics before. Those children seem to be learning quite a bit now.”
“A lot of these games are pretty complicated. You’d have to research and learn how they work. Do you think you could handle this?”
“I’ve played Magic the Gathering for years and I’m a pretty big board game fan.”
“Magic is a card game, it’s not the same.”
“It’s a game with over 20,000 cards with varying interactions. It’s ridiculously intricate, with an arbitrarily large number of combinations. I’ve been playing for about 13 years, I know it pretty well. I think you’d find that this would extend to other board game mechanics quite handily.”
“But still, it’s not a board game.”
“No, it isn’t. I also play Arkham Horror pretty often. It’s pretty convoluted with an absurdly detailed set of rules. I have a group of friends who I play board games with regularly. We play other games like Dominion, Escape, Game of Thrones, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan. I know board game mechanics pretty well.”
“Are you in school?”
“No, I finished school years ago.”
“You’re not studying, looking for part time work for pocket money?”
“Nope. I’ve got a degree that I quite like and I’m looking for something to do part time for now with the potential of full time work in the future.”
“So what did you study?”
“Communications, general media really. Radio, television, journalism, PR, that sort of thing.”
“My daughter wants to do communications. Look at you, you’re applying for retail work. Why should she bother going to university if she’s just gonna end up like you?”
“Excuse me, but I’ve worked for multiple large scale corporations. I’ve helped produce national advertising campaigns, I’ve catalogued a vast archive of radio material spanning over 50 years, I was awarded a special commendation at the national radio awards for my production work. I’d hardly say I’ve underachieved.”
“Then why are you here applying for retail work?”
“Because I was getting complacent. I was tired of things being too easy and chose to pick myself up and drop myself half way across the world without financial assistance, a core group of friends and contacts or any set job offers or engagements. Because I wanted the challenge. Because if I stop forcing myself to work hard, I’m gonna stop growing and I’m too young to let this happen yet.”
“Oh. Right. Well that makes sense.”

Do I even want this job? Seriously?

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Another dumb message that won’t get a response. If only I had some way of collecting these…

I think I’m past the point of assuming I’m actually gonna get anywhere online dating, so now it’s something I do for fun. This was fun.

I probably wouldn’t approach you in a coffee shop. Not because coffee shops aren’t great places and you wouldn’t be worth approaching, but because I’d assume you’d rather be left alone than interrupted. So I’d probably leave instead.

If I saw you the next day in the same place I’d consider coming in, phase shifting to some pale imitation of Don Draper and sweeping you off your feet, but we all know that Jon Hamm is an inimitable sonuvabitch and it’d come off as trite. So again I’d probably leave.

If I saw you for a third time I’d consider just walking out before realising self-respect means that if you can’t see the value in yourself, others probably won’t either. So I’d awkwardly walk up and blurt out something dumb in my silly New Zealand accent. You’d likely be taken aback, which I’d instantly take as a sign of disinterest. I’d apologise profusely and walk out. I’d pat myself on the back for giving it a shot before realising I’d forgotten to get my daily coffee.

Wanting to avoid potential awkwardness I’d quickly dart into a local dollarama to pick out the perfect fake moustache and walking stick for a routine deception. While I was there I’d also grab an affordably priced carton of soy milk and a few Shakeweights, drastically reduced from their “As Seen On TV” glory days through a lack of consumer interest. What they lacked in usefulness they’d perfectly make up for as novelty gifts. I’d don the moustache and return to the coffee shop, walking with an unwieldy stagger and talking loudly with an exaggerated old timey gold prospector accent. While waiting in line I’d regale anyone in earshot with tales of the wild wild west. My story would become less and less plausible until I eventually realised that, in saying the words “giant mechanical spider”, I was just recounting the plot to the critically panned 1999 Will Smith vehicle, Wild Wild West. After realising what a fool of myself I was making, I’d throw a smoke bomb, attempting to disappear like a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Mistakenly inhaling too much of the smoke, I’d cough and sputter while the smoke alarm started beeping and the fire sprinklers doused us all thoroughly. Soaking wet, coughing and generally in a dismal state I’d say “fuck it”, cast down my painfully transparent disguise and walk straight up to you.

Me: “Look, this whole thing is getting absurdly convoluted. Would you like to go for a drink sometime?”
You: “No. You’re clearly insane.”
Me: “Fair point.”

I would then leave, knowing that at least I gave it a shot. Because god dammit that used to matter.

 

…That kind of got away from me. Maybe I should’ve just started the message “Sup girl” and left it at that.

In which I make a convincing argument for hermitship and against garments.

A day without the need to really wear pants. Truly the best of days. Okay, scratch that, I did go out to buy fruits/veges, which required a small modicum of pant. Aside from that, pants were optional and the option chosen was negative. Well, I felt like it was a positive option to choose, but I actively opposed the donning of trousers, pyjamas, sweatpants or overalls. Don’t worry guys, I wore boxers. It’s not like I’m shambling around making a point of laying my bare buttocks on every available surface. That just sounds time consuming. On the contrary, the lack of extensive bottom-half accoutrements surfaced for several reasons:

1) There are no uncovered windows or true sources of natural light.
2) No neighbours have any direct interaction with me unless they actively seek it.
3) My flatmate is halfway across the country, so I’ve got no chance of grossing her 0ut with the sight of my bare stomach.
4) The thermostat is cranked way up, despite the snow outside it feels like a summer’s day in here.
5) It’s kind of nice to walk around without an excess of clothing. It’s how I imagine women feel wearing a nice summer dress on a warm day.
6) I don’t own a nice summer dress.

So with that I’ve been traipsing about like a frolicking nymph, yet frolicking with nobody but myself. If it wasn’t for the multitude of dog owners I passed on my walk for produce, the grocery store owner and that guy who couldn’t stop raving over how cheap the basil was “Oh, do you see that? That NEVER happens. You just don’t get great basil for superb prices like these nowadays” (I’m mostly convinced he was a plant. An attempt by my favourite fruit and vege store to challenge newfangled social media marketing techniques. They also have no idea what SEO actually is), I wouldn’t have spoken at all today. Is it a positive or regrettable thing that I don’t talk to myself? I’m not a halfway terrible conversationalist if I do say so myself (just not to myself. Clearly I’m lacking in the motivational mirror conversation department), but I feel like internal dialogue is an effective substitute. I’ve sent a few emails off, does that count as conversing with others? I don’t really know who I’m trying to prove myself to here. Does this count as a conversation? Well I guess it would if anyone used the comments section.

The picture that’s beginning to surface is that I’ve become a bit of a recluse. Good thing I shaved the beard, that would’ve made it far too obvious. Going back to work the other day, a co-worker asked how my winter break was. I told them honestly that it was outstanding not having to interact with another human being. There were parts where conversation did have to happen, but that certainly didn’t overshadow the comfort I felt in my own company. Wow, narcissism 101. I’ve been eating well (thanks to my much maligned calorie counting), working out regularly, finally watching Twin Peaks and sitting down to my first hands on experience with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I haven’t touched Assassin’s Creed I through III, but I’m sure after I’ve finished the latest one I’ll welcome them with arms wide open. I hope enough time has passed that nobody picked up on the embedded reference. People have short memories, right? Remember when we were up in arms about the TSA scanner human rights violations in airports? What about that huge oil spill disaster? Anyone remember who Josef Fritzl was? I know he liked the show 2.5 men, truly a monster for the ages. It’s been awesome. That’s not to say I’m looking for a life without other people, it just so happens that I’m enjoying one right now.

Instant flashback to a memory of my dad walking past my open door. I was playing with a couple of toys, probably War Machine and some kind of dinosaur. I don’t know what the scenario was, but I’m sure it involved saving some type of princess, a battle in some alternate reality and a Mortal Kombat style fighting tournament (similarly named, but different for copyright infringement reasons).

Dad: “You know, I’m so impressed at how well you can play by yourself, Leon. You’re not always gonna have friends around and in that case you’re just gonna have to make the best of it. I’m pleased that you can keep yourself happy without relying on others.”
Me: “Go away Dad” I replied “I’m getting to the best part.”

So if you need someone to blame for my lack of pants, blame my dad.

Thanks Dad.

Google, giving morons like me a fighting chance at life.

Wow, that’s a lot of views from the United Kingdom. Someone over there must be a massive Robocop fan. Enough so that they just read 40+ of my entries. Like some kind of Lovecraftian horror, I’m sure their mind is reeling from the tendrils of madness imbued in these pages. Sanity ripped from their feeble mind like a baby snatched from its mother’s nurturing arms. Wait, do the arms really nurture all that much? I feel like it would’ve read better as “nurturing breast”. Do babies feed from one breast or two? I feel like googling (I’ve learned since yesterday. I can verb Google now successfully) has opened up a massive chance for us all to ask the things we never dared ask. I’m aware of the gaping holes in my knowledge (how long does a tampon stay in for? Every woman in the audience would be horrified to discover that my first guess would’ve been a day or two. Also I just learned what toxic shock syndrome is), but you’d be surprised at some of the things I search. “Defecating with raised heels” (actually amazing), “Helium tank heavier empty?” Also regular weight/height conversions between metric/imperial, because Canada’s still stuck in some awkward limbo between them. Sometimes miles, sometimes kilometres, sometimes pounds, sometimes kilograms. Some gyms have both pounds and kilograms, depending on the brand of barbell/dumbbell. It’s absurd. So these things, amongst others I google.

Thing is, having so much information immediately at our fingertips isn’t always as helpful as you’d think. I’ve started calorie counting again (boo, hiss shout the peanut gallery). I hate it, I don’t know if I’ll stick with it (3 weeks for something to be habit forming. Almost 280 days later I can confirm that somewhat), but it keeps me accountable like nothing else. Maybe I’ll factor in a treat day once per week to keep this train rolling along. Running at a 600 calorie deficit per day, I’m sure I can’t do 4200 calories worth of damage in one day. I immediately retract that statement. I know I could easily if alcohol were involved. Perhaps I’ll stick to the straight spirits for New Years then. I’ve finally discovered that whiskey or vodka on the rocks can taste quite delicious. Whether that’s a positive development has yet to be seen.

I digress, I’ve been using My Fitness Pal, which does what it needs to pretty well. I like how it breaks down everything you’ve eaten into proteins, fats, carbs, sugars, sodium, etc. Thing is, eating two eggs in a day puts me way over my recommended cholesterol intake. This is where Google comes in. I tried to find out whether eggs are healthy or not and was greeted by an endless clusterfuck of varying reports. Only eat one egg a week, eat 3 eggs a day, leave out the yolks to cut down on cholesterol, the yolks contain a host of beneficial nutrients, the cholesterol in eggs isn’t harmful, eating two eggs daily will increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Seriously, who am I supposed to believe here? I know I’ve got healthy blood pressure, but I don’t think this has any implications on developing diabetes. I’ve read the arguments for and against eggs again and again (egg-ain?) with zero resolution whatsoever. To compound this, I’ve looked into the sheer amount of tinned tuna I eat and I’m half convinced that I’m already dead. Seriously, looking this shit up is worse than Web MD. I’ve been eating tuna almost daily for years. I’ve probably been mercury poisoned many times over. This healthy eating thing is so far from easy, no wonder dieticians get paid the big bucks.

Anyone feel like creating me a meal plan? If I’ve got something concrete that I can stick to it’d take a huge load off. I’d google one, but I’m afraid it’d tell me I had cancer. Where’s Soylent Green when you need it? You know, I reference that film far too often for someone who’s never seen it. Dear person who’s been reading this project like crazy. Do you know what I can eat in order to not die? Maybe I should’ve just stuck with breast milk all along. I’d even switch breasts, as Google has taught me.

How many times did I just type Robocop? More times than I’ll see that remake.

Robocop is buff now. That’s a thing that happened. Just Google search (wait, did I just say “Google search”? Now that Google has been unofficially (or officially. Holy toots) added to the lexicon, it seems a tautological fuck-up on the level of ATM Machine or AUT University. I am become shame) Robocop and you’ll see what I mean. Firstly, the remake never really needed to happen. What’s the target demo for something like that? Die hard fans of the original? Die Hard fans? Surely anyone who loved the trilogy held those feelings because of the ridiculous campy nature of the whole endeavour? The guy walked like ASIMO (fucking hell. almost 8 years later and that clip still fills makes me guffaw like a donkey) and was anything but efficient. If new Robocop is just Iron Man in a shade of black, I’m gonna be very disappointed. Quick moving, matrix style flexibility and reactions. Why would it need to be branded Robocop in that case? Couldn’t it just be any generic robot movie? Do people even like cops any more? Couldn’t they have chosen something slightly more “in”? Robohacker: part human, part computer, all hacker? Ugh, even the premise sounds hack. #Robo: part robot, part tweet. All trending. Robodoge: so dog, very robot, such meme.

Then again the movie wasn’t made for me either. So who was it done for? Teenagers just looking to watch something else with The CGIs (halfway through that sentence I realised I couldn’t avoid sounding like an old codger. No half measures) and explosions? They looking to cash in on the successful formula of the muscled Marvel Super Hero stable? Hey, I’ve got no real problem with it. I’m not naive enough to think sex doesn’t sell and if women are gonna be ceaselessly objectified, why not hold the same yardstick for men? We could just not objectify anyone, but not even I am radical enough to oppose the exploitation of human desire for material gain. Not gonna lie, I don’t really care as much as it sounds. I’m mainly just creeped out by the fact that he has human hands. When I was a child, Robocop‘s human lips freaked me out. I remember my friend having a big plastic bubble bath bottle in the shape of Robocop. Whenever I used his toilet I’d stare transfixed at it, slightly too scared to move. Thankfully not too scared to use the toilet.

So be it. Robocop is now a robotic beefcake. Because robots deserve objectification too (sigh, but he’s not the first). I’d be more surprised, but I’m pretty sure there’s a Fleshlight attachment for the ipad. Clearly guys, we weren’t giving women enough chances to see us as creepy. I have no issue with the idea of sex toys for either gender, but don’t pretend that the toy is something it’s not. I’m sure a Fleshlight or dildo/vibrator feels great. If you’ve bought yourself one (and hey, I’ve used them in relationships before) that’s awesome. It’s all greenlighting from me. My view changes when you’re attaching it onto an ipad to make it seem like you’re fucking porno gals. No matter how realistic they can make it feel, I’d bet it’s no stand-in for actual human companionship. Not gonna lie (and I’ve probably mentioned this before. Just remember, I’m the kind of old bastard who says “Google search”, my memory can’t be all that), I’ve often wished there was less stigma about guys owning sex toys. It’s not necessary, because the action itself isn’t the most taxing. If you find yourself with a sore arm at the end of it, you might be doing it wrong. If one forearm is Popeye sized it’s relatively telling. If I didn’t feel like it’d be something I’d need to hide from sight, I’d fully treat myself. I loved toys as a kid, why not offer myself the same pleasure (okay, a different kind of pleasure) in my adult life? I still think the concept of owning a treasure chest of toys as a couple is radtastic. Maybe that’s what I should put as my ad on these dating sites. “Seeking someone to share a chest of sex toys with. I promise I won’t try to fuck an ipad. People with Robocop fetishes need not apply.”

Though I would totally dress up as Robocop for some sexy roleplay action. Because that sounds hilarious.
Me: You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. Anything you say may be used against you.
Her: I know something of yours I’d like used against me.
Me: Your move, creep.

I’m sure some lad’s mag has made the same pun about a voluptuous woman interested in aquatic outdoor pursuits. Am I really any better?

Started watching Twin Peaks today. Somehow I’ve avoided spoilers thus far, hopefully I’ll manage to hold on for the few weeks it’ll take me to finish it. I figure if I’ve gone 23 years so far, there’s a good shot that I’ll make it to the end wrapped up in the intrigue of what’s to come. I’ve got my computer right next to my bed, so I’ll often try to watch from the warmth and comfort of my mattress. Only thing is, being so comfy in a prone position, no matter how engaged I am in what I watch, I’ve got zero chance of staying awake. So I watched the opening movie length episode in two parts, intentionally pausing it to fit in an hour’s nap half way through. Given that it was floating around in my noggin, my dreams were centred around the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer in the sleepy town of Twin Peaks. As it transpired in my dream, the important plot point not revealed ’til the end of the episode was that [spoiler] whoever it was, they left fully intact dinosaur skeletons [/spoiler]. The reveal left me reeling and I woke up fizzing with excitement. It’s David Lynch, dinosaurs aren’t out of the realm of possibility. Are they? “Outlook was not so good” says my imaginary magic 8 ball. Sarcastic bastard.

I’ve done the requisite amount of lounging that one would expect on Boxing Day. Catching a Pump class in the morning, I got the hell out of the city centre as fast as I could. Being stuck around large department stores as greedy dealmongers zerg-rush every available chain outlet (chain outlet? Sounds like Ren Faire enthusiasts having a field day) sounds like a depressing affair on par with Requiem for a Dream. Crammed as I’m sure the stores were, “ass to ass” fits both contexts remarkably well. I’ve only ever once gone out to buy things on Boxing Day, when I found a $100 digital camera right before my Chicago trip. Harvey Norman was stacked to the rafters (now I’m just craving the chance to make an outdoor sporting equipment store “stacked to the rafters” pun) with people stacking their trolleys to the rafters with electronics. Like some strange Jenga tower type situation. An amazing feat of balance, unbalanced as the environment was. Social niceties dissolved and a strange hysteria took hold. Tempers flared as supplies dwindled. People literally pushing in front of others to grab an item. I’m surprised I didn’t see any physical altercations or promises of fisticuffs at dawn. It was disheartening and off putting, showcasing the worst elements of human nature.

Thing is, that was New Zealand. Canadians may be polite, but I think of a city’s regressive lowest common denominator shopping culture as directly proportional to the number of big box stores around. Toronto has its share, so it probably also has its share of greedy, meat-headed, selfish loud-mouths willing to compromise their respect for others in order to come out on top. One thing that really shits me is when people leave an item lying around an area entirely foreign to where they picked it up. I’m sure their rationale is that someone else is employed to take care of that kind of thing. Yes, but they’re not omniscient. Most of them are probably paid minimum wage and have enough to take care of without rude, entitled customers making their lives more difficult. The sheer amount of fruit and veges that I see scattered around the place is staggering. That’s basically dead stock, it’ll probably go off before it’ll go back to where it needs to be. Thanks for contributing to the kind of shitty, wasteful behaviour so indicative of first world culture. If you had the thought to pick it up, you probably have the time to put it back. Or have you just decided that your time is more important than that of others? Inconsiderate louts, I hope you’ve maxed your card with that kind of thoughtless conduct. I hope you face the shame of having wasted all that time trying to find exactly what you want, then have to walk out without any of it. Apologies to the staff who’d have to then sort your trolley back onto the shelves, but the misery you’d feel would be finer than a well aged vintage. Maybe I’m the selfish one here.

Do I get a kickback for that sweet Crown Royal plug? Crown Royal maple, when the only way to celebrate Christmas is by drinking it.

I feel like I’m missing some spectacular Christmas adventure as we speak. I have yet to be visited by a spectre of holiday celebration, whisking me back through my past. To be honest I think this spectre knows just how much I’d enjoy re-living the past. It’s gone off in search of easier targets. “Oh, you’re gonna drag me back to previous Christmas days spent drinking alone in front of the computer? Awesome!” If it’s a day for tradition then why mess with that (he says, while adopting everyone’s favourite Fiddler on the Roof pose). Almost 10am and 3 whiskeys deep. Today’s entry is brought to you by the sweet taste of Crown Royal maple finished whiskey. It’s like drinking Canada, pleasant and sweet, a perfect holiday drink. Speaking of which, I’m revelling at how little I really need to do today. Make a small batch of marinade and let it soak in for a few hours, then put together a nice little dish for afternoon/evening festivities. The fun part will be pacing myself throughout the day.

I’ve been asked how I’m doing with a lack of family and friends around at this time. To be honest, neither were really truly synonymous with Christmas for me. After yesterday’s verse, I’ve been looking at my relationship with Christmas. See, as a kid I loved it. Christmas to me meant time away from school, engaging in fun traditions and a culture of excess. Still, family and friends didn’t hold importance so much as TV holiday specials and a general cheer. When you’re a child you’re immune to the stress that seems to pervade the adult world, right? I remember at the age of 5 or 6 running into my parents’ room around 6am and asking them “Santa doesn’t exist, does he?” “No” they replied (this is a memory, one of them would’ve responded, but I can’t remember which. Therefore they’ve become some kind of fused entity in my mind), “are you ok with that?”. I thought for a second and responded “well it never seemed to make sense. If he was this guy who cared about all the children in the world, then why would he ignore Jewish kids? I’ve never gotten presents, so he mustn’t exist. Or he hates Jews. Santa’s a nice man, he wouldn’t hate Jews. So he probably doesn’t exist.” They looked at each other and looked back (fused entity, as they were) “okay, but keep it a secret. Don’t tell the other kids. Their parents might not want them to know.” So I didn’t.

From that point onwards though, something fell off. I noticed the ads on the television promoting great gifts for Christmas. I saw how obsessed people were with what they were getting that year. I started to feel left out (as kids do) and it only got worse with each passing December as it became evident that nobody else really cared about the traditions, which I’d loved so much as a younger child, but that it was more about the receiving of goods. Resentment growing each year, Christmas soon started to evoke a season where the same shitty songs played on repeat. Commercially, it seemed to begin a week earlier each time. The Warehouse, Toyworld, K-Mart. Circulars every week leading up to the event. Christmas was a means to make money, nothing more. The compassion and warmth sold to me by every Saturday morning special seemed like a distant notion. Why would I concern myself with something so fleeting and trivial? Fuck Christmas, and all that jazz. Every mention of the holiday just made me feel more alone. Distant from others, I had trouble connecting and so consciously rejected it. With time, this grew into a visceral disgust, born out of loneliness and a solitary sadness.

Which brings me back to the present (no pun intended). Something about o’erleaping that mid-20s bump brings back the things I always wanted to like about the holiday. So I don’t really celebrate heavily with family and friends, but I love that people do. I like what I see, now that people have jobs and the receiving of gifts takes a back seat to engaging, quality time. A celebration of the people who you have in your life seems aligned with my general beliefs. I don’t really care about the baubles, tinsel and other ostentatious accompaniments, but the notion of acknowledging love for one another seems as good a reason as any to make a fuss. I mean, every day should be an observance of the love in your life, but if people need a beacon to make them pay attention, then that works for me too.

So if the Ghosts of Christmas are out there, they’re free to join me for a drink. Christmas spirits in more ways than one.