Flight of the bumbling bee.

Oh hi! *Looks up from book* I didn’t see you there.

It’s weird to think that this time next week I’m gonna be in London (England, not the city in Southwestern Ontario whose  city centre features numerous parks and greenways along the Thames River). A whole new city known on a world scale. From my sleepy afternoon vantage point, next Monday seems like a completely different lifetime. People around me have inquired if I’m excited about getting away, to which it’s hard to muster more than a vague I guess? Truth be told, I’m not excited, which isn’t the same as not wanting to go. It’s more so that the holiday doesn’t seem real to me. Taking holidays almost doesn’t seem real to me. I went away last year for five days and that’s been basically all my travel since I arrived here in Toronto. I’ve become so used to the quotidian that departing from that seems strange and weird.

In a way, I guess that makes the need for a holiday all the more pressing. I’m constantly tired, beyond burned out and very rarely excited about much, let alone big international trips. Moving my head into a different space could be just what the doctor ordered, if there’s some kind of academic study of travel in which you can earn a PHD. Flychology, perhaps? It’ll mark the first time in my life I’ve booked an international holiday for myself, aside from my Canadian immigration. Consequently, I’ve done the bare minimum of planning.

I know that I’m staying with my cousin. I have no idea where he lives within London. I don’t know what public transport costs on a weekly basis. I’ve been in contact with friends to find out if they’re gonna be in town. Once again though, I have no idea of where they live within London. I’m not familiar with London’s geographical layout. I’ve made no attempt to research activities in London. I don’t care about landmarks or tourist attractions in London. I’m not interested in shopping. I’m basically flying over to London because a) I need to use up two weeks of holiday before the end of the year and b) I thought it’d be nice to reunite with friends I haven’t seen in over three years. As far as I’m concerned, being in one of the biggest cities in the world means spending quality time and eating new/different foods. If they lived in Southwestern Ontario’s London, chances are I’d maybe be going there instead, taking in the numerous parks and greenways along the Thames River.

None of this is to say I’m gonna have a shitty time. On the contrary, I love travelling. I adore visiting new places, taking in sights and experiences that’re foreign to my everyday. Trying new things sparks something in me that enlivens my spirits. The reason why I’ve put so little effort in is that planning is the antithesis of how I enjoy travel. I have an issue with a lack of presence and if I’m not physically in a place, it’s hard for me to care about that place. When I get to London I’ll be able to pick out events and experiences that sound awesome. I’ll travel laissez-faire, following what I feel like doing each day. Latching onto friends’ plans, wandering the city on my own. It’s a luxury, to be able to adventure to the beat of your own drum and it’s my preferred way to take in a new space. I’m gonna have a blast, but until I’m there, it’s not something I care to think about.

So for the moment, I’ll just get back to my book.

The wiching hour.

A lot of stuff has happened over the past day, but I don’t have the mental faculties to recount the what, where when of the past 24 hours. So I’m not gonna write about the fantastically spoopy Halloween party I visited, or the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s collaboration with the Orpheus Choir to perform the songs of Danny Elfman (which involved the vocal talents of my girlfriend). Instead I’m gonna write about the tuna melt I made this morning.

It was a groggy morning with a scattered headspace. My brain was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel. We’d gotten to bed around 5.30am, but had to be awake before midday. I could’ve resorted to my standard bowl of porridge (as standard as peanut butter, banana, chia seeds and nutritional yeast can be), but instead I had cravings that porridge could never hope to sate. My body needed protein, while my heart craved cheese and bread. A tuna melt could accomplish all of these needs and then some. It was decided. A tuna melt!

I grabbed the bread from the freezer, but all the slices clung precariously to one another. Sabotage! Some nefarious force out there in the aether was trying to undo my carefully plotted plan. I managed to wrench one piece from the other two, but could not for the life of my get them unstuck. My girlfriend suggested putting them in the microwave for ten seconds. I looked at her suspiciously. “But that’s the coward’s way!” I replied. She shrugged and went off to do any of the million things more important than trying to help someone who is incapable of helping themselves. I struggled for another few seconds, then put the slices in the microwave for ten seconds. After being bombarded with cosmic radiation, the slices came apart easier than they would’ve otherwise. Step one complete.

I put the mostly frozen bread in the toaster oven and set to prepping ingredients. Cheese was sliced, cabbage shredded, mushrooms chopped. Having checked on the bread, I spread layers of barbecue sauce, mushroom and cheese on one side. I tipped the contents of an olive oil tuna can into a bowl, mixing in mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. Mashing it all together, I spread it on the other slice of bread. At this point it should be glaringly obvious I don’t really know how to make tuna melts. I gazed onwards as the two slices continued to brown. Unsure of how warm the tuna needed to be, I erred on the side of caution, This was a delicate operation and precautions needed to be taken against fuck-ups most foul.

I gazed upon my works and despaired. Sitting alone on the cutting board was the shredded cabbage. At what stage did my greenery need to join the flavour medley? I desired slight crunch, but not enough to dominate the sandwich’s texture. I umm’d and ah’d for long enough to invalidate my choice. A familiar “ding” reminded me that my food was ready to go. I looked at my two separate halves, both warm and delectable. How would I smoosh them together without having food drop out? Did I pick up one pile and hope for the best? No, because I’m no quitter. I covered the cheese in cabbage, picked up the tuna half in my other hand and quickly slammed one piece into the other. Heart beating, I checked the area below this fusion for debris. Nothing. I was safe. I placed it down on the plate gingerly and applied the knife. I attempted to arrange one half artfully atop the other, but abandoned these foolhardy plans in favour of just eating the fucking sandwich. I was tired, groggy, no use in flying too close to the sun.

Mission accomplished. A delicious tuna melt that combined flavour and texture into 360° of satisfaction.

I can only hope it was as good to read about it as it was to devour it feverishly.

Like Anzac Day, 9/11 and Dre, lest we forget.

My girlfriend and I were lying on the couch last night. Exhausted both mentally and physically, huddling for emotional warmth was near all we could do. The past few months have been tough. While we’ve slept side by side each night, we’ve found ourselves leading inextricably separate lives. She’s been doing shift work split between mornings and evenings, while I’ve held a regular 9-5. Even when we’ve had free nights, they’ve infrequently aligned. I’ve been spending at least two nights per week on the Pawdcast, while she has regular choir rehearsals. They’re doing a concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra tonight and ramping up to that has meant even more preparation than normal.

We’ve somehow reached the point where we concurrently live together and miss each other constantly. On the rare occasions where we have a night together, it’s difficult to muster the energy for more than cooking a meal, catching up on TV and going to bed. The proviso has always been that we’ll get up to more when we have the time, but that hasn’t happened. Things haven’t yet reached the point of getting stale. We want to be seeking out excitement together. We’re still very much in love, but keeping the spark alive has been harder than it was when we were consumed by passion. Lying on the couch, it came to me.

“You realise that we’re not just busy for now, right? This is how things are. We’re gonna keep being busy, but if we want things to remain exciting that’s something we need to be intentional about. We need to make it happen.”

So today we went on a date. In between her rehearsal and call time, we went out and adventured. You know the feeling of reuniting with long lost friends? That’s how it felt. The warmth came back to our cheeks, which soon hurt from laughing. We were silly and goofy. At one point I picked her up and held her at my hip, while I withdrew money from an ATM. At an open bank, two fully grown adults acting like kids. We were handsy, sexy, grabbing at one another like teenagers. Butt touching all day. Kisses everywhere to the point of absurdity. Simply walking along the footpath with her was more fun than I’ve had in some time.

We brunched with friends and hung out, catching up spending stress free quality time. We ordered coffee and, after I’d ordered, she told the barista just how I liked it. She was right. We visited the IKEA retrospect exhibit, groped each other under the cover of the ball pit and staged a faux domestic argument in the picturesque IKEA catalogue photobooth. We sat on a park bench in David Pecaut Square and, in lieu of having the time or space to do so, told one another just what we wanted to do to the other had we said time or space.

It’s easy to forget who you’re really with if you don’t make a point of reminding yourself. It’s scary that you could lose what you have without tending to it. Like anything that grows, a relationship can stagnate and die off without the proper attention. Like anything that’s worth it, effort is required. Like anything that takes effort, that’s a choice you make.

I’ve made her my choice and that’s something I need to remember every day.

Isn’t that what love is?

Except for wet socks. My eternal arch nemesis.

It’s been a while since I had a decent amount of sleep. It’s a Friday of what’s seemed like three weeks in seven days. I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I’m in a mood, but not in the mood to do much of anything, let alone write. So in my expansive grumpiness, here’s a list of things I don’t like right at this moment.

  • People who aren’t feeling surly right now.
  • My overabundance of body heat. As a corollary, the fact that I need to be clothed just because I’m at work and my naked body is NSFW attire.
  • Working in a TV station, but the majority of the TVs scattered around being in the wrong aspect ratio.
  • My desk being underneath a pipe labelled “Storm Drain”.
  • Rachael Ray taunting me with her endlessly delicious looking recipes.
  • The party happening downstairs, but more so my current disposition precluding me from enjoying it.
  • We’re still not in a paperless office, even though *mic drop* “It’s 2016”.
  • The lack of cellphone signal I get at my desk.
  • Not wearing a dinosaur costume.
  • The “heavy” feeling in my eyeballs.
  • The crunchy sound of people eating chips.
  • Positivity.
  • Commerce.
  • Clowns.
  • Heartburn.
  • Wet socks.
  • Encouraged work socialisation.
  • Spending time with co-workers outside of work hours.
  • Being at work.
  • Consciousness.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • The extinction of saber-toothed tigers.
  • Typing with three fingers on each hand.
  • People who use platitudes on a regular basis.
  • Cheering.
  • Being alive.
  • Physical movement.
  • Working with alcohol in my system.
  • People who spell their names in non-conventional manners.
  • Open mouth chewers.
  • Burnt tongues.
  • Having eaten too much.
  • Not eating at every moment.
  • Hating Mondays.
  • Cheap Tuesday movies still being expensive.
  • Hump Day.
  • Thirsty Thursdays.
  • TGIF.
  • Living for the weekend.
  • Easy like Sunday morning, both song and mentality.
  • That Black Eyed Peas song where they list days of the week.
  • Working hard or hardly working.
  • Doing what you love, loving what you do.
  • Hangnails.
  • Being unable to teleport.
  • Non Aloe Vera tissues.
  • Having to pee.
  • Dry lips.
  • Loose flaps of skin from your inner cheek.
  • Still being at work.
  • Not playing Magic right now.

Come back to me in three hours when I’m invariably not bothered by much of this. Big lunches are a work hazard.

A disguise-ting habit.

I’m pretty vacant right now. I’ve just spent the past three hours immersed in a world of imagination, potential and the constant reminder of my own sartorial failings. My first mistake was not having a strong predetermined idea before I went. My second was going on my own. I love Halloween. I love dressing up. I’m terrible on a visually conceptual level, putting errant bits together into a greater whole. I can come up with ideas and have precious little follow up on how to action them. One of my main issues is not knowing whether or not something could come in handy another time, if I can’t see an easy use for it, I put it back. The catch being that I can rarely see an easy use for anything, because I don’t see uses for clothing easily. If I was looking for the ideal place to find my next dress-up, a room of racks-on-racks-on-racks of theatrical costuming elements and accessories wouldn’t be it.

Nonetheless I persevered through overwhelming amounts of fabric. There was a fill-a-bag sale from 8pm to midnight. I got there shortly after 8.30pm and left shortly before closing. Analysis paralysis soon settled in and I couldn’t decide how to focus. The majority of the fun costumes were intended for female identifying persons. This wasn’t a barrier ideologically, but rather of physical logistics. In short, I’ve got hips and a chest that aren’t the normal hips and chest required of female costumes. I had one fall back idea going in which I won’t say yet. I think it’s pretty sorted, just one or two elements left to add. Fingers crossed. At first I scoped around the place looking for random pieces that may aid future endeavours. I nabbed a tailcoat, since it fit pretty well. A big pair of black denim overalls. Who knows when I’ll be some kind of mechanic or assorted tradesman? A brown trench coat, in case I ever yearn for a film noir or exhibitionist get up. Some leather-ish rocker pants, which also have holsters attached to the bottom for no reason I can fathom. I also dug into the typical “sexy” costumes to find something for my girlfriend. Y’know, for emergency dress up situations? It wasn’t a nurse, cop, devil, genie, bumblebee, pirate, gangster or fairy though. I’ll tell you that much.

There was one costume I’d always wanted to put together. I’ve got some elements that suffice for the moment, but I’ll build it up over time. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve adored medieval stuff. Knights, dragons, magic, swordplay. I got into the tales of King Arthur in a big way age eight, which informed my reading habits for maybe the next ten years. With even the hint of dressing as a night, my ears perk up and eyes widen. There were hints everywhere in the store. Tricky thing was that they were scattered. Bits and pieces of armour, but non-matching. I couldn’t find a coherent set and I was gutted. They even had decent metal swords, but for a price. I asked one of the staff for help and he fished out a neat tabard. Okay, it’s a start. We found an ideal belt, grabbed a little plastic sword I could wear at my hip. Excellent. Any armour we found was too bulky and generally unsuitable. I had my heart set on some kind of helmet, but everything was more German military than medieval. Scored a pair of super shoddy “mesh” boots that were falling apart. They’d be good for one use, I was sure. Still, the staff member reasoned, if I wore some kind of black or grey long sleeved shirt underneath, maybe some leggings, I’d look the part. The helmet I could keep on my wish list.

Is this what they call “chasing the dragon”?

I’ll need them more than they’ll need me. Think of how much of my income would be devoted to bubble wrap.

It’s performance review time, so I might as well take this space to work through all the subtle nuances of my position, my aspirations and ambition mixing with the trials and tribulations of the quotidian. You folks are fine with that, right? Let’s go!

Career Aspirations

  • I would like to get MeUndies as a sponsor for the Pawdcast. Primarily because I don’t like paying for anything, let alone underwear. Also because I’ve heard that modal (pron: mow-dahl) is way softer than cotton.

Strengths

  • I’m tenacious in short bursts, after which I combust into a fiery ball of can’t be fucked.
  • I walk very quickly, which means I don’t waste as much time with my copious visits to the toilet.
  • I work at a rapid pace and seek other ways to occupy myself when I’ve finished. They’re all work related. Obviously.
  • I show initiative and rarely wait around for answers. I often contact the concerned party physically, leading many in the building to mistakenly believe I can teleport.
  • I very rarely miss a day because taking time off makes me feel uneasy. This results in large blocks of absence when I’m forced to take all my leave on threat of forfeitting it.

Weaknesses

  • I can’t teleport.
  • An overabundance of coffee can lead to temporary bouts of creative insanity. Thus the creation of the Air Bud Pawdcast.
  • I often stare into the space between the physical and spiritual realms, thinking of the Air Bud Pawdcast.
  • I don’t own a single pair of MeUndies underwear. Due to their lack of sponsorship of the Air Bud Pawdcast.
  • I sometimes create elaborate conversations as an excuse to shoehorn in a mention of the Air Bud Pawdcast.

2017 Individual Business Objectives

  1. To not be doing this same job by this time next year.
  2. To set a new speed record for the work slide.
  3. To have a balanced, respectful, informed debate with that eerily quiet guy on the team who’s been in this same job for the past eight years.

Measures of Success 

  1. I’ll have a desk dehumidifier by that point, which will measure the amount of moisture my eyes produce with the daily realisation that my life is going nowhere.
  2. Empirical evidence. Coworkers at the top and bottom holding stopwatches. No comment on weather or not I dress in full body spandex and line the interior with lead weights.
  3. Hard to tell. Anderson Cooper will be the judge of that.

General Areas of Improvement

  1. To remember the names of everyone in the building.
  2. Stop getting a static shock whenever I touch anything from the months of October through February.
  3. Increase team motivation.

How you will work on these

  1. Anyone I don’t remember, I will attach a name tag to the bridge of their nose by push pin.
  2. Cover the entire building in bubble wrap.
  3. I didn’t purchase this cheerleader outfit for nothing.

Well if that isn’t a glowing portrait of an exemplary employee, I don’t know what is.

In a world where the Pawdcast was my job, I’d find some way to hate it too.

Wow. Today’s been up and down and up and down and up and down like an elevator riding a rollercoaster on a moonhopper. First up, Pawdcast emergency! Our prepared guest was sick in bed with food poisoning. She’s a great comic and it’s more than a little gutting to have lost her appearance on the Pawd. Things have been going great since adding guests (even with the absence of my fake trailers). While my co-host and I have built up fantastic chemistry, having someone else in there too add unpredictable angles and elements really lifts each episode. If they’ve never before seen an Air Bud Entertainment film they really have no idea what they’re in for. Good or abysmal, or anywhere thereabouts in-between, there’s no way the film doesn’t leave a significant impression.

The last few have been beyond ghastly. I’ve had more than enough Christmas for one year and it’s still two months away. This one though, was Halloween themed. Halloween is my favourite holiday and this film was the perfect experience to put me in good (you know it) spirits. I’m seriously considering the possibility of low level Stockholm syndrome at play. Having been so repeatedly conditioned into mind numbing celluloid trash by this franchise that we’ve fallen for our captors. That the past few films were so terrible, we’ve lost all critical objectivity and anything beyond a streaming pile of shit seems like gold.

Things came back on the upswing when my friend offered to step in at the last minute to record with us tonight. He could spare the time today to watch the film and chat with us and it’s gonna be an outstanding episode. He’s a renown Toronto playwright, clever, quick witted dude. I’d intended to try get him for a later episode, but he’s gonna knock this one out of the park. I’m back up, right?

But work. Work happened, as it does five days a week. Work today was a shitshow with a morning that got blown out, leaving me playing catch-up all afternoon. I’m trying to get way ahead of schedule so as not to leave my co-workers with a massive clean up job after me. A holiday that can’t come fast enough. I’m burned up, I’m significantly past sick of my job and it’s making each day a struggle. Back when we were up on Bloor it was easy enough to ignore. Transit was half the time. There was cheap, healthy food easily accessible. I could use my lunch breaks to go to the gym, leaving my evenings free. I can’t do these things any more and it’s taking an extra two hours every day. It’s draining, enough that I find I actually need to leave the building a few times per day to cool down. If I was doing a job I enjoyed, that challenged or interested me, that wouldn’t be so bad. But being in a mind-numbing entry level position almost two years later makes me feel like I somehow failed. I’ve applied to other jobs, but no dice. I’m at that limbo point with no idea of direction. I’ve been bouncing about doing job shadowing within the company, but that’s not a new job. It’s no indication of anything at all. Where previously things were fine, now I can feel how much they’re taking from me. No bueno. Very no bueno.

But on the other hand, I’m seeing someone again. Like, seeing a person I was seeing before. Again. Time constants had me worried I couldn’t give enough for a proper relationship, but we agreed to give it another shot without being worried about quantity of time spent. She has a partner, she’s not looking to be completed, only complemented. We got a lot from each other’s company and I’m sure that’s not gonna change. Plus, we’re gonna work together on completing one of my childhood dreams: Clocking Gunstar Heroes. She’s an excellent person. I’m happy. For today, that’s enough.

Oh, plus the MOTHERFUCKING EXCELLENT PAWDCAST WE’RE RECORDING TONIGHT. RAWK OUT!

Ahem. It’s nice to have things to be excited about, I guess.