Giving myself the run around.

I often forget just how much I love to play. Play for me covers all aspects of life. If the situation allows for it, why not find the most enjoyable way possible to make it through the day? This could be as simple as cracking a couple of dumb dad-jokes or puns, some light friendly teasing or something far more literal. Running, climbing, jumping and tumbling are all things that I somehow haven’t shirked since my days in the old school yard. We used to laugh a lot. As I’ve grown outwardly and upwardly through time, that youthful love of giving myself to wild abandon has done little to dissipate. I guess it’s not so strange to imagine myself teaching children gymnastics, given that I’m basically just a large child who’s capable of growing facial hair. I’ve always been into playing around, but as a kid who was never terribly active, I had a late resurgence once I realised I could run without immediately winding myself. Suddenly whenever I got the chance I’d bolt about, climbing/crawling/swinging all over whatever.

Over the last few years my greater awareness of my body’s limitations has meant that I’ve been throwing myself around even more. Any time alcohol and playgrounds mix, things are bound to get giggly. I love climbing on top of any kinds of structures, swinging higher than children are meant to go on swings (but not over the bar, that’s très cray cray hombre) and loping around like an unshackled animal. I have a longstanding desire for some kind of massive scale indoor adult playground to exist. My only qualm would be creating an environment where drinking was encouraged, but with the awareness that it’d hike cleaning prices up to astronomical levels. How does one even begin to remove vomit from a ball or foam pit? Think about how great that would be; there’d be trampolines, big padded mats, bars to swing on, ropes and rock walls to climb (wait, am I just describing my workplace?). We’re so often coerced by societal pressure to “act like grown ups” or “behave maturely”. Isn’t the privilege of being an adult the ability to decide how you want to respond to the outside world? When did letting go of that child-like jubilation and ability to give yourself over to the laws of physics become cast aside in favour of pretending that you have any idea what you’re doing with your life?

So given my love of playing, I seek out opportunities whenever I can. At the Crush event last night there was a stripper pole tucked away upstairs. Once I discovered it and everyone else had cleared out from it (I may have been quite liquored, but that doesn’t eliminate all self-doubt), I had a small play (hi mum! Look how your boy’s doing). I’ve always wondered if, as someone who engages in gymnasticish behaviour, I’d be able to achieve any of those awesome techniques I’d seen from my one or two times at strip joints (not even understating things to appear more adjusted. I think strip joints are usually sleazy, classless places that make me feel mega uncomfortable. Burlesque on the other hand…). I tried a basic invert, which was actually not particularly difficult. The pole was kind of slippery, so I found it tough to stay up without slipping to the ground. Super fun to give it a try. I saw people coming, so I got back to my feet and headed on out.

I also discovered a playground right around the corner from my friend’s house. On the way back from a routine popsicle seeking expedition I had a swing on the rocking horse contraption that was clearly designed for people a third my weight. I’m pretty sure your back and face aren’t meant to be touching the ground at each end of your swing. Holy shit, I think I was physically convulsing with laughter. I couldn’t tear the smile from my face and even thinking back now I’m incapable of frowning. There’s a video that you could see on my Facebook page, if we’re that close. If we’re not, just imagine howls of laughter and a face pulled into a Joker-like grin.

I may just be a large child, but that’s integral to my being. If I don’t occasionally accede to my more primordial instincts that don’t harm another human soul, then how am I supposed to look at the world as a place worth enjoying? The older I get, the more value I find in letting go of preconceived notions of what it means to age. Because why should we let the failings of others dictate our actions? They’re gonna be the first to go when the floor suddenly becomes lava.

If I were part of a superhero organisation it’d be called the ScAvengers.

One thing I’ve noticed in Toronto that’s not replicated back home is people putting free unwanted things out the front of their house. Passersby are welcome to take these things back to a loving home. I’ve seen any number of old couches and mattresses (matri?) that were likely bedbug ridden. I’ve also picked up a bunch of things myself. They don’t always work out for the best, but occasionally I find something new to enrich my life. I found a microwave once. It was pretty heavy, but as our home was lacking in radioactive devices I lugged it back on my shoulder. Plugged the thing in and turned in on. It hummed away pleasantly and I was chuffed beyond belief. Put some frozen chicken in to warm it up and pow, it came out frozen. I guess its inability to heat was the reason it was tidily presented for the taking on someone’s lawn. There was a keyboard (computer, not chopsticks style) that turned out to have sticky keys (as in they got stuck, that was not a seminal joke. Get your mind out of the gutter. Which was close to where I found the keyboard), so that one went straight out the front of our place for some other poor schmuck to pick up. A kettle joined the ranks of faulty devices that auditioned for our very own Kitchen Idol. As with all the other wannabe appliances I gave it scathing criticism before unceremoniously tossing it out on the front lawn. Joke’s on me though, inanimate objects don’t feel shame.

It’s not all Bad News Bears though. I’ve picked up one or two things that’ve found a place in my life. The first was a stack of plastic drawers just sitting out on the kerb. They’re not flashy, but I’ve packed them to bursting with essential components for couchforts and disposing of corpses. Wait, did I say corpses? I meant… copses. I like to wrap excess trees in sheets for disposal. *Wheuf*, nice save man. I walked past a place last night and saw a bunch of kid’s stuff on the curb. The family was still in the process of dragging things out so I asked them if it was up for grabs. Affirmative, they said (actually, the kids looked at me like I was a weird stranger asking if I could have their old toys. Fair enough. I asked them if they could talk to their parents and see if they minded if I rifled through it. Sure enough, I was free to fossick away. Things I was tempted to grab:

But given my limited carrying capacity (which would’ve been extended with a toy basket) and large distance to cover I opted to just grab a sealed copy of Anomia, which is a great game I’ve played before. Totally a bonus from a day that marched to the beat of its own drum.

As a vulture of sorts, I’m always on the lookout for free things. There’s a house around the corner from me that keeps putting out baby related things. For some reason (because I’m an awful person) my initial thought each time reflects some notion of infant mortality. Blame Lullaby (wow, today is getting link heavy). Seriously, they put out a stroller, a high chair and a large fluffy bear. Wouldn’t you think that their child had passed away in some tragic mishap? Maybe I’ve just seen too many traumatic movies (and I guess this is the wrong thing to be bringing up when I’m on the cusp of becoming an uncle) and my pessimism engram (as a scientologist (fuck you Google Dictionary, scientology doesn’t deserve a capital letter) would say).

It’s a cool service provided by the people of Toronto. I know we’ve thrown out a bunch of clothes, baskets, pots and pans. It’s like the inorganic collections back home, but all year round. If someone else could actively use the stuff we’re jettisoning, why not throw a smile into their day? It’s a mutually beneficial engagement, much like some hookworms. Keep it up Toronto. If only so I have another excuse to use the plural “passersby”.

I feel like making fun of Creed in 2014 is unnecessary, yet fun. No judgement here.

The digital sands are running and this piece has got to get a move on. So basically I’ve set the timer and I’d feel strange if this entry finished without any content. I’m not gonna attempt relevant content, because I so rarely ever do. Writing in an impaired (read: intoxicated) state is hardly conducive to contemplative thought, so stream of consciousness is more likely gonna be the order of the night. Today was an eclectic assortment of happenstance, which, while unexpected was not unpleasant. I tried starting off with a jog in my new running shoes, only to find my flat-footed nature grossly rejecting the shape of this flashy footwear. I was set for my 10km loop, but after about 20 minutes I was wracked with unimaginable pain in my footsies (seemed like the cutest possible name for them) and felt my entire posture slipping. I walked home before limping became my only viable option.

I ventured back out to look for remaining bits to complement my CrushTO costume. I guess a little backstory is in order. CrushTO is one of the tiers within a specific group/community here in Toronto. It’s totally open to all sexual persuasions and gender identifications. The key words are acceptance and consent. The first tier (ranked on material of a sexual nature, rather than any kind of status thing. The groups are all non-judgemental) is Puppy Love. I’ve talked about Puppy Love before, it’s like the fever dream of an early 90s 12 year old: Arts and Crafts, dating games, Truth or Dare, Spin the Bottle and dancing to non-clubby hits. It’s an awesome mixer that encourages people of all sexual persuasions to get out and meet people. Many random hook-ups thrown in. At the last one we filmed a truthful take on the “20 random strangers kiss for the first time” (rather than 20 models advertising for clothes) and had a bunch of Truth or Dare sloppy makeouts. Quite co-incidentally everyone I’ve talked to post-event has come down with some form of flu that was obviously passed through lip on lip action. It was a fun night that paid dividends in terms of meeting new people, which meant that my diminished health was an acceptable loss.

CrushTO is the next level up. I’ve also talked about CrushTO events before (filtered through my love of dancing with lesbeans), but I’d do them a disservice if I didn’t cover them again. So CrushTO events are all themed. They’re far more clubby than the Puppy Love events. They involve some kind of onstage performance and a culture more predicated on meeting people and pairing off. Private rooms are provided in case people want to get hot and heavy, which means that anything truly tactless gets moved away from the dance floor and into a safe space. I felt pretty intimidated by the idea initially, but my fervour for libatious lesbean liasons of a precocious prancing persuasion (holy shit, those two sets of alliteration kind of rhyme) led me to have an outstanding night. The theme for tomorrow is “Foxy Fiction” and I figure my costume will earn me at least a modicum of nerd cred, which is all I’ve ever asked for in life, apart from a Mercedes Benz. It should be a stupendous night on the town and one that’ll nicely cap off my last evening of drinking for at least a month.

The last tier is that of the SPIT Play party. This is a barrier I haven’t crossed yet, but I’m considering heading along to see just where my boundaries lie. The SPIT Play parties involve a live porn shoot occurring on the premises. Volunteers can opt in to participate (I might leave this one to others) in advance, or just come along for a night of consensual touching and sharing. As with each of the above tiers, participants of all sexual persuasions and gender identifications are welcomed and encouraged. The idea is to leave your sexual hang-ups at the door with your coat and just enjoy your body and those of the people around you. Once again, consent is that magical word that makes the world go around. As I said, this might be beyond me at this stage, but perhaps I’ll head along at some point.

I feel like whatever this was meant to be, it’s become an unflinching advertisement for the group I’d Tap That. Fair enough, they’ve offered me a bunch of great nights and introduced me to a number of outstanding people. Only fair that I pay it forward, right? So if you’re in Toronto, consider coming out (no pun intended) to one of the parties. You’d be welcome with arms wide open, but not in the Creed sense. Because friends don’t let friends like Scott Stapp.

I just realised it’s taken this long for me to add “love” as a category. I swear I’m not a robot.

In this weird limbo right now. I’m waiting to hear back from home as to when I’ve officially become an uncle. My brother and sister (in law, because otherwise that would be weird. That being said, she almost feels like birth family at this point)  are awaiting the arrival of their first child. Leading up to this moment I’ve seen a number of ultrasound shots that’ve proved its forthcoming emergence, I think. To me ultrasounds seem about as discernible as Rorschachs or images in clouds. I know there’s meant to be something right in front of my eyes, but I feel like looking at them under a certain light changes what you see. Maybe if I went cross-eyed everything would perfectly align and a hidden image would pop to the forefront. “Yo bro, that was an awesome sail boat picture you sent. I love the blue shadowy filter you chucked on it.” If my big brother and sister give birth to a sail boat I’ll be pretty impressed. Even more so if it can transform into an infant at will.

At this stage I’ve heard nothing. There was no early indication (or if there was, they’re keeping it close to the chest) of the gender, so I don’t know whether I’ll be giving piggyback rides to a boy or girl in years to come. Whichever gender, they’ll be great parents. They have so much capacity for love and so much to offer that the child is gonna be cared for, supported and encouraged at whatever it chooses to do with its life. In defiance of my site name, I’ve got no doubts as to their ability to raise and nurture a young life. So here I sit, awaiting the news.

One of the things that I find strange about the situation ties into the distance. They’re in the opposite hemisphere, hours away. For all the value of this hyper-connected world we live in, it’s gonna be years before I get to hold my niecephew and offer said piggyback rides or make stupid cartoony voices in an attempt to curry favour. It’s a surefire indication that life and the world go on without my help. Whatever it is that dominates our experiences, people all around the globe are living complex, nuanced lives that are unaffected by whatever menial trivialities concern us. The hardest thing I had to deal with today was teaching a bunch of lively children gymnastics. My sister is expelling another human out of her body.

I was thinking the other day about how bizarre and surreal it would’ve been for the first ever human baby to be born. I guess it’d be learned from years of apes giving birth, but how would our ancestors understand the umbilical chord for instance? Who looks at some long, meaty cord protruding from their belly and thinks well I guess I don’t need that any more? How could you resist losing your shit when you felt this overwhelming pain in your lower half? Every stage of the ordeal would be confusing and terrifying. The baby’s head crowning? What the shit? Why are there eyes poking out from down there? I mean, I guess the common consensus is that pregnancy is a beautiful thing (which it is in the abstract), but I’ve seen a fair share of horror films that involved screaming in pain/terror while blood spurts everywhere.

So I guess you could say that I’m excited, because I love horror films, but I also love my family. The idea of having more of them sounds doubleplus good. I know I’ve got more than enough space in my heart for someone else to support, to offer them wisdom, guidance and understanding. To share laughs, smiles and cuddles. To learn whatever I can about the way they view the world and encourage them to seek their dreams. I know that I love the spirit that my brother and sister put out into this world and the physical embodiment of their love for each other seems like something the world could benefit from meeting. I look forward to meeting it too.

All this illness is gonna land me straight into a coffin fit.

I’m tired of being sick. Again. I feel like my time here so far has been underscored by the tune of a certain malady. I’m becoming fluent in illness, an ever-present cough or sneeze punctuating my speech like gunshot. Over the past 10 days I’ve often awoken in the middle of the night (around 4-5am. It’s the middle of my night anyway) with a rough start, throat heaving as if exorcising something unearthly. Getting up to grab a glass of water doesn’t help like it should, I’ve probably inhaled a desert from being incapable of breathing through my blocked nose. All great Neptune’s ocean couldn’t stop that irritating scratch at the back of my mouth. I’d drown first. Eventually it subsides, but coughing fits keep recurring at inopportune times.

At my haircut today, for example (and as an aside, I know I went to a hairdressing college for a cheap haircut, but how can a trim take 2 hours and still leave me with a borderline bowl-cut? Maybe a cross between a bowl-cut and a Lego haircut. It all worked out so well last time. Gone is my excessive fringe and Adam-from-Girls scruffiness. I’m more like season one Adam, but more shirted. I’m still shaggy, but on the dorkier side of it. It’s not even adorkable, because much as I love portmanteaux, that word makes me want to cruelly socially isolate people who use it in earnest. Is it even possible to say “adorkable” without wanting to succeed at self harm? If not self harm you’d at least inspire violent thoughts from everyone in earshot) I had to repeatedly stop her from cutting while I had my own coughing fit, so as not to come out looking like Van Gogh (as a redhead, obviously). Maybe that’s why it took 2 hours. She offered me a glass of water, then upon discovering they had no glasses, said I could go to the café across the road and ask for a glass, so she could fill it with water. I declined, telling her I’d rather not have someone perceive me as adorkable. No I didn’t. I wouldn’t risk saying that word around, not in a room filled with sharp objects.

I even had to stop in the middle of… going out to dinner with a girl (smooth, because innuendo works best when you basically just rephrase the common vernacular. The ellipses were a dead giveaway too. Also when has it not been appropriate in this project to use the word cunnilingus? I guess since it was decided that this wasn’t an academic paper and I’m fully entitled to use colloquial terms that real people say (like “adorkable”. Okay, that was the last time I swear. If I say it once more I’ll probably start using it ironically, and irony is only a few steps away from sincerity). Like eating someone out. Okay, it’s settled, I probably should’ve just said that in the first place. Then again these entries have been awfully lean on parentheses lately (wasn’t I just talking about speaking like a real boy? Brackets, everyone, not parentheses), so we would’ve missed out on some beautiful unnecessary irreverence. What a shame that would’ve been. They’re probably more interesting than whatever I was writing before) because I couldn’t stop coughing. But that’s why we were born with fingers, right? To find other ways to… communicate? Digitally, that is. Dumb. I don’t even want to think of what kind of innuendo “smoke signals” would be used for (too late). Also the quick mental association I just did between that “digital communication” remark and the fact that I’m typing has left me quite confused and a little aroused. Dumb, just dumb. Staaaaahp it. Cut. It. Out (okay, occasionally my attempts to find cute synergy backfire. What the fuck is this?).

I don’t even think I know how to end this properly. So to compensate, here’s an awesome video of a slime mold solving a maze (with time lapse, of course. Still fascinating). You won’t believe what happens next ([spoiler] the video ends. Fuck you Buzzfeed[/spoiler]).

Time for me to step up 2 the streets. I would’ve typed the word “two” but I was far too lazy.

You can almost taste the spring in the air. Almost, because you can’t. Firstly I was using evocative language to paint a picture. Also there are still the lingering lumps of snow scattered about. I’ve now remembered that we have a lawn in front of our house (that we’ll have to mow sooner or later. Is mowing preferable to shovelling snow? Well I’m equally slack at either job, so the real answer is that it makes no difference). I thought about this lawn during my time in Costco yesterday, when I espied a gargantuan playground complete with swings, slides and other climby things. It could’ve been mine for a mere $1099 or pound of flesh closest to the heart, but I decided I needed both of those things to live and thus left the playground behind. For a split second I imagined the joy of being in house of twenty-somethings all with access to this fun wooden structure. My heart swelled as I foresaw parties that broke down into booze fuelled play sessions before it was crushed by the cruel weight of reality. In another life, maybe.

That didn’t quash the joy of spring arriving though. I’ve had no major issue with the winter here, unlike the locals. According to most, my arrival has heralded one of the worst winters on record. The ice and snow have enveloped us like a cloak, blanketing the city in an eerie pallor. Yet again, according to the locals. Once I found my winter stomping boots (the second ones, not the second-hand ones that fell apart on their second walk. Should’ve given those a second thought) and warm coat, winter wasn’t shit. Okay, so I’ve basically spent the whole season inside a heated flat on the internet, amassing static electricity like a corpse draws flies. Not a bad life. I have experienced precious little melatonin though, so perhaps when it’s safe to lounge outside (we’re getting temperatures of over 10 degrees next week, fellow Torontonians. That’s practically summer, right?) I might make a point of doing so.

I’m keen on the idea of doing some spring cleaning of my own. When April strikes I’m looking to do a month sans alcohol, coffee and bread. All things I don’t need, that do nothing but ultimately slow me down. Given that I’m not making as much as I thought I was, I can scarcely afford liquor when I’m socialising as much as I am (and drinking as much as I am. A bottle of wine shouldn’t be considered “pre-gaming”). Coffee’s another drain on the pocket too. If I get four of them a week that’s at least $20 I’m pouring down that sink. Much as I love the short rush it throws my way, I know it’s just filling a deficit it’s created. A few days after having dropped coffee I tend to feel more awake and alert. It stops that chain of coffee keeping you awake, which leads to poor sleep and the subsequent pouring of coffee as you’re sleep deprived the next day. So quitting for a little while won’t hurt me (and if I plead hard enough, maybe Hammer won’t either). Bread just makes me feel heavy, bloated. I don’t think I’m gluten intolerant or anything, but eating too much bread leaves me with the same lethargy of drinking too many beers.

Aside from easing financial pressure and giving my body a break, I know that at least part of it is motivated by vanity. If I could drop a few pounds of flesh closest to my belly, get down to my goal lean weight, that’d be greatly appreciated. I’ve been spending the winter hibernating and feasting, giving less concern to what I put into my body, which has led to a sub-optimal output. I bought a new pair of running shoes at Costco yesterday for $40, which (unlike my cross-fit New Balance shoes. They’re lightweight and were excellent while I did the sport) have great heel support and will be a boon once the rest of the ice melts. I’m hoping to supplement my body weight training with cardio on my off days. There’s a choice 10km route through the surrounding streets of my area. It’d be a nice way to get out in the sun, replenish my melatonin, stoke my heart so cruelly crushed by the reality of not being able to afford a playground and listen to all of those sweet summery sounds. Maybe I can almost taste spring and I think it’s making me hungry.

Cue next week, when I try to scribe the story of the pokérap.

I don’t know what possessed me to write a rap about one of New Zealand’s most iconic children’s books, but something did. If I get bored maybe I’ll try to record it. It’s kind of tricky syllabically.

Out of the gate and off for a walk
Strode a badass dog that didn’t give a fuck
Furry little terrier, you best be wary
Goes by Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Assembling his posse, from down on the street
A down dirty gang lookin’ for bitches in heat
Six canines with twelve sets of paws
Rows of sharp teeth on six fierce jaws

First a mastiff, a rough ‘n’ tumble soul
A massive hound, larger than a foal
You’d pay him respect as a matter of course
It’s Hercules Morse, as big as a horse

Next dog wasn’t loko, but sorta crazy
You step with him you’ll be dead like Swayze
One wild dalmatian who calls the shots
Name of Bottemley Potts covered in spots

A sheepdog stacked like pile of wool
If you think he’s soft then I pity you fool
You cross his path? You best walk away
Watch out for Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay

Now the next in the crew was a special kind’a mean
Some say scrawny, hell I’d say lean
A crafty little whippet, eyes all stony
That’s Blitzer Maloney all skinny and bony

Last up a German mutt with no sense of morality
The only thing lower than his centre of gravity
The brains of the group, bitches under his thumb
Holla Schnitzel von Krumm with his very low tum

Suffice to say their disposition ain’t sunny
They’d give the Killa Beez a run for their honey
Posse roaming the streets, lookin’ for tail
Six hound dogs, strappin’ young males

Sniffin’ around for a bit of rough-housin’
Knockin’ over trash, feasting, carousin’
Whatever it was, each pup had a niche
Like a mongrel gone feral, desires unleashed

This went on for hours in the dead of the night
Until out of the shadows stepped a terrible sight
This pussy had talons and a roar like a lion
Even look at him wrong and you come away cryin’

A black hearted cat some called Kitty Soze
Would they tussle with him? No way hosay!
They had to back up, they had to step down
Don’t mess with Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town

Six against one? Those odds weren’t right
Not when their bark was worse than their bite
Their confidence cracked like a basket of eggs
They scattered at once, tails between legs

Yowling, howling with a wail and a cry
None of these pooches wanted to die
And Hairy Maclary, the pup who led
Ran those little legs, straight back home to bed.