I got it from my mama!

It’s my mum’s birthday right now and in lieu of flowers, a meal or some material gift, I thought I’d share a few words. Back in kindergarten we were taught that it’s the thought that counts, so I’m banking on New Zealand’s public education system pretty hard.

I think the first time I realised my mum was human, I was in my early 20s. She’d been to a funeral and it’d clearly impacted her. One of the most affecting things about the whole ceremony to my mum was how little the woman’s family really knew about her until she died. So many stories came out of the woodwork. Her upbringing and early years were shared and a greater picture of who she’d been throughout her life became visible. To my mother, the concept that her children could go their entire lives without a three dimensional understanding of who their mother had been was a terrifying concept. She told me that any time I wanted to know something about her life she’d share it. No matter the topic, any embarrassment over personal stories or life’s foibles paled in comparison to the notion that she could die without having passed on as much of herself as she could to her kids.

We’d always been close, but there was an understanding at that moment that deepened through the years. Something shifted. I wasn’t merely seeing the woman who raised me, but the teenager who grew to become that woman, the child who grew to become that teenager. The removal of that taboo changed the relationship in a fundamental way. Of course there’ll always be an entrenched nurturing dynamic to our relationship, but the shattering of that childish idyllic view of my parents as ideas rather than fallible people is irreversible. In no way do I respect them less. On the contrary, by hearing how they stumbled through their younger years has given me a greater appreciation for the foundations they were able to craft for me.

My mum and I have always been buds. There’s a resonance that’s unavoidable. She’s an energetic, driven person who is rarely content to just let things happen. Any ambition I have to make things happen is a direct translation of her prime directive. It’s pretty badass and something I’ve always respected, how she pushes herself to stave off the boredom of not being challenged. Whether it was starting her own business (a second hand toy store), taking to and dominating real estate, discovering her love of golf (taken to an international level) or deciding in her 60s that she wanted to learn to do the splits, she actively seeks new experiences because for her there’s no alternative. Last year when my dad had no interest in travelling through India, she instead called up a friend and they went together. My dad’s disinterest wasn’t an obstacle (and he’s no slouch either, but this isn’t about him), she’d just find another way.

My mum was also a chubby kid. She turned to dieting and exercise to work it off. She started working out, jogging. She started running a lot more. She ran a few marathons. She’d wake up at 5.30am to do classes or workouts with a personal trainer. She took control over something she wasn’t pleased with and instead of seeing an active, healthy lifestyle as a hindrance, she made it part of her life. She struggled with me. Knowing that it was something I was unhappy about but resistant to changing wasn’t easy. It took years, numerous diets and nutritional education. After some time I started to seeing small results, but she supported me the whole way. At some point it caught on and now it’s something I’ve just made part of my life.

Her support, not only in this area, but in all aspects of my life has helped me become the person I am. Craving variety, exploring new experiences and a desire to learn are all traits she’s given me and I can’t imagine who I’d be if not for her. I love you mum. Keep kicking ass, taking names and making life your bitch.

Oh, and thanks for the Canadian citizenship. I wouldn’t be here without it.

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You’re cuckold as ice.

Not Safe For Work content warning, etc etc and general disclaiming. If you’re not into porn things then stay clear. I hadn’t planned on doing this entry, but Facebook wouldn’t let me post the clip so I had no other alternative:

Like most clickbaiters and members of the internet generation, I’m given to bouts of hyperbole. There are things in my life that err on the side of amazing, awesome, phenomenal, unreal and unbelievable. In reality, my life is anything but. Sure, great things happen. I get surprised from time to time. Some situations I get myself seem inexplicable, but like everything else are usually the result of causality.

If you’re questioning the validity of my unnecessarily polysyllabic preamble, it’s because I found a porn clip that’s divine.

Yes, I know what the word means. I hear you out there with your squabbles and frittering. Hey Leon the chorus of voices in my head meant to represent this invisible peanut gallery cry you don’t believe in God, so how can you use that word in any conscionable fashion? Because, dear evocation of my increasingly obvious insanity, this clip is so transcendent that it confirms for me the existence of a higher power. It’s awesome, in that it inspires me awe. I’m amazed that it exists. It’s certainly a type of phenomena. It’s unreal because this scenario achieves a level of absurdity that reality can’t reflect. Lastly, I do not believe that a mere mortal had the insight and sublime humour to create something of this magnitude. In short, some kind of deity certainly exists, because unless I’m hallucinating, this clip exists. I can affirm with certainty that it wouldn’t without celestial intervention.

You may think you’re watching porn, but I can assure you that you aren’t. There is no humanly possible way that someone could stay aroused while viewing this clip. The narrative subverts the conventions of the medium in such a way that the medium is invalidated. It’s known that flexing and forcing other muscles to work is a quick way to bring down an erection. This scene should be forcing you to laugh so hard that your abs will constrict, ruining any hardon that’d been accrued.

The premise to the clip is that this lady’s husband bought a hoverboard from some dude, but couldn’t afford to pay for it. They come back to the apartment to see if she can pay for it, or work out some kind of deal. If this doesn’t seem all that amusing, it’s because you’re not picturing her husband gleefully gliding around the apartment while they fuck. His whimsy is all encompassing. While he’s meant to be in a submissive position, at no point does he give up status. How could he? It’s impossible to not focus on him spinning in circles while he jerks off another dude. The love he has for his wife is considerably less convincing than his lust for this new toy. He just wants to play with it and is willing to do anything in order to satisfy that desire. Of course she gets him to suck this guy off, but in the process his attention is laser focused at the vacant hoverboard offscreen. She’s moaning with this dealer’s member inside of her and he’s too concerned with practicing his spins (while naked except for a helmet). The dialogue is stilted and the delivery is all the actors can manage without breaking down into hysterics. The Harmontown podcast sent me here and I’m so glad to have lived a life with knowledge of this clip’s existence. Are you ready?

Behold: The most sacred and hilarious cuckold porn I’ve ever witnessed.

I gotta admit, Gambit throwing kinetically charged lit cigarettes would be all kinds of cool.

I have questions, which is great because otherwise my mate SoCrates would deem my life unnecessary. There are things that happen around me that I don’t do. Because they’re not actions I perform, I genuinely have trouble empathising with people who habitually take part. Habitually take part? Did I really just perform that absurd and ineffectual linguistic hop scotch just because I didn’t want to end two sentences in a row with the word “do”? Fuck me. Somebody needs to teach me how to actually write because I’m wasting a lot of digital ink here. What if The Internet starts running out of space and I’m the culprit? There could be people with menacing signs, pitchforks and burning torches. If there’s no space left on the net I’ll at least be safe from topical thoughtpieces, but concerned members of the community could resort to strongly worded letters that’d make me feel bad. I’m tiptoeing through a minefield here with all the grace of a rollerblading cephalopod.

Anyway, I should actually start asking these questions instead of raising more questions for my therapist (who couldn’t keep herself from laughing today at my immense discomfort with the idea of relaxing. “What would you do” she asked “if you were made to go to the beach and weren’t allowed to swim or run around? If you just had to lie down and relax.” I blinked, reached for words and stumbled. I thought for a second and spoke up “could I still make sand castles?” She shook her head. “No. In this scenario you just have to take time off and not do anything.” As dumb as it sounds, just thinking about it made my chest tighten. My breathing got shaky. “I just.. can’t. I can’t handle that. I’m physically tense and borderline terrified right now. Let’s just chalk this up as a failure and move onto other reasons why I’m a broken person.” She knew I was joking. Mostly). So first up:

Smokers, is it difficult to stamp out your butts?

Oh man, this probably sounds so fucking passive aggressive. Really, I have no idea. I don’t smoke. I’ve probably smoked about 15 cigarettes in my life. I always stomp them out or crush them in an ash tray. Even in dreams when I’ve lit up, I always stomp out the smoke after I’ve finished it. I’m not trying to ride the moral high ground here. It’s learned behaviour. My dad was always a big time smoker and he made a point of stubbing them each time. Because I was the kind of child who got joy out of crushing ants, whenever I see a still smoking butt on the street I take glee in stomping it.

I’m not a habitual user of this product though. For me, it’s a novelty. I enjoy being able to squish something. I like seeing something still smoking and extinguishing its life. It’s like doing that thing where you wet your fingers and squash wicks. If I had to do this (INSERT HOW MANY CIGARETTES A DAY YOU SMOKE. What’s a lot? 12? 20?) times a day, it might lose its appeal. I understand how cool it looks to flick something away. I love doing it with cards and those bread bag tabs. Is it a big effort to do this every time? Or is it a can’t be fucked thing? Are there other angles I can’t see? I want to learn.

People who spit gum into urinals, what’s your ideal outcome?

Okay, this is a straight up fuck these guys moment. What do you really think is gonna happen? Where do you expect that gum to go? Your ball of chewed gum is bigger than the little pee holes in the urinal, so it’s just gonna stay there until somebody forcibly removes it. Do you know how they do that? With a fancy little urinal robot butler? With a matter-vanquishing ray? No, with their fucking hands, you insufferable dipshit. Of course they’re wearing gloves, but why does this need to be a part of their job? It doesn’t. You’re a vampiric piece of shit preying upon the expense of others to salve your own laziness and lack of consideration. You’ve been chewing it for an hour, can’t you wait another 20 seconds to spit it into the paper towel bin? You could, but you’re a malignant blight festering upon the human race. You are the reason I can’t fly to work on a jetpack yet, because you’d probably just leave it running and it’d fly off to take out an innocent passenger plane. Fuck you, just swallow it then shit it out. The result will probably look like your rotting, ebony heart.

Maaaaan is it a good thing my therapist doesn’t read this or what?

Is an arrogant hippopotamus a hippocrite?

I never deny somebody calling me a hypocrite. I don’t know whether it’s symptomatic of changing my mind once I hear ideas that challenge previously held notions. It could have more to do with the notion of judging myself by my intentions and others by their actions. It could even involve conceiving a high minded ideal then sliding into a lazy frame of mind where doing what’s right cedes to doing what’s easy.

Remember earlier in the week when I was all galvanised over changing my viewing habits to include more people of colour? Well I marched right out and watched The End of the Tour, quite possibly the whitest movie out there.

I’ve never read anything by David Foster Wallace, so I can’t fall back on that. I simply wanted to switch off and watch a My Dinner with Andre road trip film where two white male intellectual writers discuss notions of authenticity, artistic merit, fame and success. Solid performances, enjoyable film. Did naught to challenge held ideals outside of my worldview. So that’s a net progressive gain of zero.

Here’s the thing though, it still made me think. It’d be the mildest stretch to say that I have attention seeking tendencies. I was a teenage drama kid who was loud and animated. I enjoy the sound of my own voice. I’m embarrassed to admit, but the concept of people coming to me for advice or to hear my views thrills me to no end. I love thinking that I know things or that I could wield any amount of influence. I want to matter and the way that manifests is a quest for validation buoyed by a frightening and uncharismatic sense of entitlement. I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does. Unlike everybody else, part of me feels like I deserve it and that part of me terrifies the rest.

Since childhood, I’ve thought of fame as desirable. The idea that I could be an opinion leader, that people could look up to me, has been intoxicating beyond all else. If I had any modicum of influence, I wouldn’t deal with it well. The more people told me I was special, the more I’d believe them. The more I’d believe them, the more I’d desire even more people to join the chorus. I’d get high on my own supply and tell myself I was worthy of the adoration. Fortunately if this monster ever threatens to rear its head, the balance kicks in.

The logical part of my brain knows I’d be awful, that any ego stimulation threatens to foist me into the realms of egomania. It’s the namesake of this site. It manifests in personal attacks, telling me that confidence is arrogance in sheep’s clothing. Telling me that I can’t, I won’t. It makes excuses and encourages me to believe them. I do. It limits my reach, but also my desire to do so. Consequently I end up in this bizarre limbo. Some kind of narcissistic self-loathing.

Please don’t see this as a call for sympathy. PLEASE. The last thing this world needs is another overly confident white dude. Humility is important and thankfully I’ve got enough people in my life that ground me and help with perspective. Hearing alternate voices helps keep the monster in check and it’s so important that I keep it up.

Perhaps as I age I’ll learn healthier ways of coping with my own mediocrity. Perhaps that’s part of what maturity means for me, the ability to understand how I can best fit into the social ecosystem that surrounds me. Perhaps it’s having the insight to call myself on my own shit, to know when thoughts are self-serving. Perhaps it’s the ability to discern the difference between confidence and arrogance, to ensure I walk on the right side. Perhaps it’s knowing when and where my views serve to help and when the best course of action is watching, listening, learning.

Perhaps it’s taking the time to do the latter, to stem hypocrisy before it starts. To stop seeking reflections of myself on screen and Do the Right Thing.

If you want to know how dumb I can be sometimes, I sincerely thought Waltzing Matilda was the Australian national anthem.

Because I need some excuse to stop refreshing the same Facebook feed, I’m gonna just start writing and see what comes out.

I recently discovered that the life expectancy of Dollarama sticky tack is around a year. I know this because I hung a shitload of pictures in my kitchen after my birthday last year and now they’re falling down one by one. The self portrait of a friend done in only oversaturated colours? Down. The especially veiny and commendably detailed penis? Down. The piece that I can only see as a Lovecraftian ode to the vagina? It’s hanging by two corners. This could be due to using insufficient tack. This could be due to dry conditions in my kitchen. This could be due to a prudish elder god trying to smite my unsavoury false idols. Joke’s on them though, this year’s crop is doubly lewd.

I went to a local Australia Day celebration yesterday and found myself facing conflicting thoughts. On one hand, the country’s foundations stand tall upon piles of systematic oppression and inhuman treatment of the indigenous people. On the other hand I wanted vegemite toast, fairy bread and Tim Tams. I wondered whether I should go. Australia Day as it’s often celebrated is a glorification (like most colonial histories) of the whitewashing and erasure of aboriginal culture. It’s come to represent yobbo behaviour at its most loutish and I know I’m not the only one who questions just how much that should be commemorated. While I do tend to get that kind of friendly sibling rivalry with Aussie folk, there’s no denying that they excel at casual racism. Quite possibly the poster boys of white privilege, typical Australia Day behaviour highlights the elements I dislike most about my own New Zealand culture. Let’s get this straight, I’m not putting a blanket damning on both countries. So much representation of Australia Day tends to follow the more bogan aspects of the society, when there are so many amazing artistic and cultural products coming from Australasia. Perhaps this is just because the louts are the loudest. The lighter side of this rugged behaviour tends to be an amicable, earnest desire for friendship through misguided means.

So anyway, I went along to TRANZAC for Australian karaoke. It was equal parts sad and adorable (sadorable?) to see a small room with no more than five Australians and around 20 Down Under groupies. Most of the Aussies had been here for under six months, but they were friendly and happy to meet someone else from the same hemisphere. Some particularly awful karaoke surfaced (with the exception of some socially awkward Jewish dude (he was wearing a kippah) who kept singing Savage Garden songs. He was Truly, Madly, Deeply good at it) including an a cappella version of Advance Australia Fair. I had trouble finding Australian artists in the song book, so I just did OMC’s How Bizarre. It was a strange, fun/uncomfortable (funcomfortable?) evening and I can’t decide if I’m glad I went. Still, I had some Tim Tams, vegemite toast, ANZAC cookies and fairy bread, so it wasn’t all bad.

I did not pay $6 for a can of imported Fosters though. I’m not thaaaat dumb.

Core blimey. Sorry, I felt like a token Australia Day pun needed to be shoehorned in somewhere.

People who have slept with me (let’s be real here) all know something about me: I fucking love apples.

Why? I hear you ask

Is it because their pet names are all apple breeds? Jazz? Red Delicious? Granny Smith?

Is it because kinky orchard role play is the only thing that can get you there?

Is it because you like to bite through firm skin into their juicy flesh?

Not remotely. I just fucking love apples and my post coital conversational skills often dwindle to banal subjects like how much I fucking love apples.

If I wasn’t explicit enough about it already, I’m quite the fan. Particular types of course and if I was good enough at searching my own site I’d be able to pull up numerous occasions that I talk about my favourite types. A quick checklist would read: Dense, crisp, sweet and slightly tart. I love apples so much that a shitty apple will ruin my day. If it’s mealy or sour, get that crap out of my digestive tract. Red Delicious can go fuck itself and its clever but deceiving name.

All of this preamble to say, for the past two days in a row, I’ve encountered an issue. For the past two days in a row, I’ve been driven into a fierce internal conflict. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that over the past two days I’ve seen apples in the supermarket for $1.50 each or the fact that I’ve bought them.

It’s a problem, but the apples I like aren’t in season and as such I haven’t bought a bunch. Hence I find myself in price gouge central: Longos Hudson’s Bay Centre. Apples cost $2.49 per pound and while I know it’s borderline robbery, I’ve bought a single apple two days in a row. They were delicious and my only regret is that desperation brought me to this point. The way that I look at it, they’re around the same price as a chocolate bar and I’d rather have a juicy, sweet/tart (sweetart?), dense apple over chocolate. Seriously, it’s not hippy dippy shit, I just love apples that much (as my sex partners would know).

Here’s the part that throws me for a loop: How is this a sustainable situation? Say I had a family (well, I do. I just don’t have offspring) and we all liked apples, how many apples would we buy per week? I’d probably eat maybe 1.5 apples a day (I’m a bit apple eater), so let’s say 10 apples. I can’t imagine the rest of the family would eat as many, but let’s assume two kids and a wife who collectively might eat as many apples as I do. The kids have school every day (and might eat other fruit too) and I it’s likely my partner would work. So 20 apples for a family for a week. If apples were $1.50 each, that’s $30 for a week’s worth of apples. $120 a month on apples. $1440 per year just for apples. Holy shit.

Now, this is at an expensive supermarket and it’s out of season. I’d more likely shop at a local fruit and vege shop. Still, if I’m to find the apples I actually like on season, let’s say that goes down to 99c per pound. Is that conservative enough? So for maybe five months per year (there’s a little leakage into off-season, right?) I can get them at 99c/lb, but for the rest they’re $2/lb. Let’s assume an apple is .60lb, so we’re looking at 12lb of apples per week. Over the viable season, that’s $237.60, but over the other seven months that’s an additional $672. So for an entire year, I’d be paying $909.60 just for apples.

Bummer, guess I need a sugar mama to support my apple addiction.

No, simply watching The Wire doesn’t make change happen. Gotta start somewhere though.

Dope, one helluva drug. An even better film. I’m making an effort to catch up to all those films I wanted to see last year but forgot about. Thus Anomalisa, Turbo Kid and Dope. I’m gonna start scanning year end lists to find those hidden gems, because frankly I’m finding it harder and harder lately to give a shit about big budget cinema. Trope laden plots, big splashy effects and large, known actors. I’m obviously not shitting on Hollywood as a whole, but I want new stories, fresh stories. I want stories that stop me from predicting the narrative arc 15 minutes in.

Dope was terrific. A coming of age story revolving around a nerdy 90s hip hop head black kid from a poor neighbourhood. Hilarious and affecting with unconventional narrative strands and an endearing self-awareness. It was a blast from start to end, with an affection for its subject matter that showed. Solid performances all around, laugh out loud funny and characters you really want to vouch for. As I said, terrific.

The one thing that struck me upon finishing the film is just how whitewashed my pop-cultural habits tend to be. It’s embarrassing and makes me feel guilty. I’m justified in feeling like an asshole about it. The majority of pop-culture I consume tends to be from socially dominant voices. Having realised the gender inequality in my viewing some time back, I’ve pushed to try and explore more texts from female sources and it’s been excellent. I’m not gonna blow myself for it, because the rewards have come in access to viewpoints diverse from my own. People are gonna gravitate towards stories that represent themselves on screen and I’m obviously the demographic that’s overwhelmingly catered to. No, I’m not gonna even try claim that I’ve achieved gender parity in the dominant voices of my consumption, but it’s a work in progress.

Stories from cultural minorities though? They’re a colossal blind spot in my viewing habits. If it’s a story from a white, male comedian, my ears usually perk up enough to give it a shot. Alternate ethnicities though? It’s not like I’m avoiding content, but for all intents and purposes not making an effort may as well be the same thing. Outside of my pop-cultural consumption, the ethnicities and cultures of my friends have never been a big deal. Oh fuck, this sounds like I don’t care to hear about the culture of my friends. Gross. I’m wading into a disgusting racial morass here either way and I don’t doubt I’ll say some stupid shit. That’s on me. How do I put this properly? People are people and if they’ve got values or thoughts I think are neat, then that’s what I latch on to. If they happen to be of a different ethnicity, why would that matter? I mean, it does, but it’s incidental, y’know? I’m not gonna like someone more or less because of their culture. It’s interesting to learn about my friends and their cultures, how it influences their day to day experience and life in general. Obviously I don’t search out people based on their ethnicity, that seems weird, creepy and mercenary all rolled into one.

Where am I going with this? I want to make an effort to expand what I watch. For a long time I hadn’t even considered the importance of diversifying my habits. It just so happens that a ton of people in my orbit are vocal about the necessity of intersectionality. It took a while of being bludgeoned over the head with it, but it’s finally starting to sink in. Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee’s criticisms of the Oscars are on point and critically necessary. No, it’s not gonna magically solve inequality, but questioning dominant structures needs to start somewhere. In my case, things need to change and widening the voices I listen to surely can’t have adverse effects. I really loved Frances Ha when I saw it first, but on a recent re-watch it dawned on me just how whitewashed the whole film is. I still like the film, but it did make the experience kind of a bummer. That’s not a thought that even occurred to me first time through. After watching Dope though, it couldn’t be clearer how much my viewing habits need to be shaken up. I want to be exposed to new ideas and expand my perspective. I want to see so much more and it’s obvious as hell that swimming in the same pond won’t take me anywhere new.