If it needed to be more explicit: Infinity War spoilers to follow

I intend to spend this entry talking about Infinity War, so here’s a little disclaimer that this will likely be laden with spoilers from the very first sentence.

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I liked it. Turns out going in with low expectations was everything I needed to craft a perfectly enjoyable film experience. I turned off my brain, filled a drink with some godawful sugary concoction (I think it utilised vanilla cream soda, vanilla cherry Mr Pibb and Minute Maid limeade or something) and watched cotton candy superhero fantasies play out on the big screen. There were fight scenes, I laughed a bunch of times and the vfx were as good as a many million dollar picture with thousands of animators could be. I even feel like my list of what didn’t work so well was overshadowed by what did. The Marvel formula was successfully parlayed into something that not only met my expectations, but did one of those cute lil heel things over that bar. Good job Marvel, you ol’ billion dollar corporate entity you.

Let’s start off cold. What did I not like? Realistically most of my narrative issues were an occupational hazard of stuffing 80 characters into a film. There was never gonna be time for actual character development or progression. The framework was sort of banking on the goodwill of you having watched the previous 17 films and taken CliffsNotes. It pretty much spent the whole time racing from action to action and smoothing transitions over with quippy exposition. I think the notion was that the crowd would swoon so hard from seeing Iron Man and Dr. Strange compare metaphorical dick sizes that all would be forgiven. In this way, I guess it was almost exactly like a large scale comic crossover. This was probably more my fault than theirs. To Marvel’s credit I think they chose the right characters to give screen time, leaving the less interesting ones (Cap/Bucky, etc) as dynamic set dressing with a line or two.

One of the hard sells in a story like this, which is basically a soap opera with more punching, is creating affecting character deaths. Let’s be frank, Marvel can’t kill off half of its characters, because their overlords Disney would have something to say about them destroying billions upon billions of future franchise revenue. This makes Thanos’ final act something of an empty event. Sure, it was a nice touch killing all the music and allowing all these characters moments of pathos (a fragile teenage Peter Parker crying to Stark that he didn’t want to die was pretty effective). On the other hand, since there’s no way the characters can be dead for sure, it rings a little hollow. The “actual” deaths of Loki and Gamora are similarly suspect. Loki is a demigod with reality warping powers. Peter Quill is half Celestial and his arc in the last film will likely involve bringing Gamora back from the dead to kill Thanos. Just spit balling here.

Also it can’t just be me. Did they use the trope of “give me the McGuffin or [your loved one] dies” several times? Loki/Thor, Gamora/Nebula, Star-Lord/Gamora (ish), Scarlett Witch/Vision (ish), Thanos/Gamora (ish) and Strange/Stark (ish. Obviously dependent on Strange’s long game plan). It’s a time honoured trope, but kind of loses its efficacy when they use it a bunch in the same film. I dunno. The structure made it kind of hard to feel like there were stakes. It was the first part of a multi-film project, right? There was no way Thanos wouldn’t get/use the gauntlet. Isn’t that baked into Save the Cat? Things have to get bad, then really bad, then catastrophic, then worse before they get better.

As with every other villain (I think of Killmonger in particular). There’s a part of their values that kind of makes sense. Thanos is right, overpopulation is a real issue in many places. Thing is, they’re always sorta half-baked. Do all planets/countries suffer from overpopulation? Wouldn’t the issues creep back up over time? Is this a mass cull every few millennia or so kinda deal? Are there species/organisms that benefit from the overpopulation and would die out without being at that critical mass?

Stray observations: Didn’t Wanda Maximoff have a Russian accent in the previous films? When did Banner change from being an intelligent scientist to the group’s embarrassing dad? The Thor/Rocket eye thing was kind of cute and morbid, but was it explained anywhere that it was a working robot eye or something? Thor just plopped the eye into its socket and it was functional. I guess this is my inability to suspend disbelief over a demigod who shoots lightning giving himself a new eye. Maybe that’s on me. Did Bucky really do anything in the film other than shoot a gun?

So many thoughts, so little time. Which I guess could’ve been the alternate name for the movie. It was a mere two and a half hours after all.

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The future isn’t that far away. How long until physio with lightsabers gets greenlit?

We’ve got precisely 33 minutes before we leave for Avengers: Infinity War. I have low expectations for the 2.5 hour convoluted slugfest which has a cast list the length of The Bible. At worst, I get to say “I told you so”. At best, the movie is more Winter Soldier than Civil War and I walk away from the theatre very happy.

That’d be awfully apt, ’cause after a great weekend I’m riding high. Yesterday was one of those days where I just got to do all of my favourite stuff. I woke up and did almost two hours of physio. Apparently I’ve got a combination of planar faciitis and some bone tucked under the balls of my feet being inflamed. This may explain why doing extreme activities like “walking” have hurt so much recently. To irritate the fuck out of it, my physio brought out the big gun. I got to experience new levels of pain by application of this electro-stim gun thing. First he put this conduit gel on and told me that the first level didn’t hurt too badly. He warned me the second level would be considerably worse. There were mild jolts and I thought oh, I guess this isn’t that bad at all. Lying down in my comfort of hubris, I didn’t bother bracing myself for level two. This was a mistake, because the wiser choice would’ve been to ask for an apparatus to bite down on. The pain was so excruciating that I balled my fists as tight as I could and thought of England. I can’t really begin to describe what incredible pain it was. These very tender and fatigued tendons feeling like they were getting worked over by a lightsaber. What’s more, after he finished the first foot he then moved onto the second. I once again thought of England, or at least back to the large amount of walking we did and all the signals my body gave me telling me to take the tube.

Still, today it doesn’t hurt to walk, so that’s something.

Wait, wasn’t I saying how I got to do all my favourite things? Is this some subtle way I have of telling the audience I’m big time into some kinky S&M shit?

It went up from there. I was still hungover from dancing (well, more the drinking part of that equation) the night before, so my girlfriend and I went out for Korean. I had my favourite gamjatang from my favourite Koreatown restaurant. We ate big, went out for coffee, then came back home for a solid nap. Being an adult is basically being a baby, but with choice.

Going up from there, I had a ticket to Mark Forward’s sold out A Very Mark Forward Time Machine show. Forward is a local Toronto comic whose work falls squarely in the absurdist camp. He’s the kind of guy whose work is so cleverly silly that I find myself sweating the way through his gigs. He does these variety shows with a central theme and acts loosely fit it into their acts. There was some particularly inspired stuff, from a Vancouver comic with a set based on Time Travel films, to the ‘Titanic’s on board comedian’ travelling through time to give a set on the opulent grandeur of the incredibly safe ship. Maybe the most compelling part of the night was an extended bit involving the early bird getting the worm, but full on sympathy for the worm in that equation. Did not the worm get up early too? Any number that ends with a comedian wearing a pantyhose worm costume singing a Les Mis tribute to his deceased son is one that grabs my heart.

If that wasn’t enough of a day, my girlfriend and I made it out to a friend’s annual birthday extravaganza. He’s one of those incredibly creative and productive people who doesn’t take things by half measures. Each year he has a jungle themed party at his place. Decorations everywhere, party lighting turned up to a tee. Costumes widely encouraged. There was a plounge and a massive dancefloor, with different DJs spinning sets all night. Really diverse acts spinning high quality tunes. The host had a bunch of allergies to non-vodka/tequila liquors, so he’d put out an array of bottles he’d accumulated over the years. We all tried a bunch of different combinations (though I stayed pretty conservative with a crème de menthe/cacao and ginger ale cocktail). Things got sweaty quickly and it didn’t take long for everyone to basically be dancing in their underwear. I got to see so many friends I hadn’t caught up with in ages, which was bloody lovely. We were having such a great time that we had to force ourselves to leave before four, elsewise forfeit our entire Sunday.

Which we mostly did, but hey, at least we’re getting out to see Infinity War. Low expectations and all. Fingers crossed.

Wait, how much potato are we talking here?

Do you ever remember a dream several days later?

A friend of mine (I’m not being intentionally vague, I feel like it was some homogeneous mash of people I know and love) and I were being billeted by some Texas family. Guns and trucks style Texans. Every single stereotype you can imagine rolled into one. Details are a little bit foggy, but I remember them living in this colossal house. I also know that we seemed to ideologically clash on virtually everything, to the point where staying with them got a bit tense. The house was riddled with guns. I mean, it was all a dream, so it’s only fitting that it got farcical. Still, wall mounted guns, gun cabinets in the lounge. I remember several guns leaning against the corner of the wall in the bathroom. This is clearly what my subconsciousness thinks of Texans.

They had several large gas guzzlers, but the kids had taken them for the weekend. The only vehicle left was my mum’s minivan she’d lent me for the trip. In reality, my mum doesn’t have a minivan. In this dream however, she had a huge pink van tricked out with all sorts of snazzy contraptions. My host dad was mortified and refused to drive it. Said it was the un-manliest vehicle ever to grace the Earth and he wouldn’t be caught dead being seen in it. Also, we needed (does anyone ever *need*?) to go to Costco for supplies. To assuage his fragile masculinity, the car had a device like that dumb Tomorrow Never Dies BMW Ericsson remote control. So this grown man slunk down in the back seat away from prying eyes and drove a large vehicle through the city streets via remote control. He’d periodically peek out the window to make sure nobody he knew was seeing him. He commanded his wife to do the same. We sat up tall and straight, all too happy to be seated in the lap of gaudiness.

Costco was a trip and a half. It was enormous and felt like a city in itself. The aisles were absurdly wide and the products went far beyond buying 12 packs of peanut butter. You could buy cars and shit. Those Tiny Houses you see in all those niche reno shows. I think I saw someone bringing a pony up to the cash register. I don’t remember much of what we bought, aside from the mum grabbing a 24 pack of pre-made pumpkin pies. We stopped off at the Costco café post shop to grab some grub. Notable was the $68 meal deal for two, which came with a mountain of mashed spuds, gravy, two substantial rib-eyes and a pair of rifles.

I’m not entirely sure how removed from reality this all is. Austin was nothing like this, but then again Austin is a weird liberal jewel in whatever four letter word we want to call Texas. Bigg? It’s funny to me that my brain looks at the state as a pair of truck nuts given geographical land mass. I was talking with someone about how much work this next generation is gonna have to put in to make life work. It’s obvious that even without being a part of the political divide in America, I’ve entirely built up such a strong series of prejudices. With the increasing divide in the world, what needs to happen in order for people to come together in a basic human capacity? Jesus, are we gonna need a Watchmen style universal villain to enter the fray and unite us? Hell, is there anything more 2018 than the Korean war possibly ending and a united Korea to be potentially more cohesive than the United States?

We’re living in a world far beyond the purview of dreams.

When you think about it, what is a phone if not a fidget spinner by another name?

To cap off a week in which I’ve had nothing salient to talk about, I thought I’d talk about things of a non salient nature.

Someone at work came over to my desk to say hi and give me a swag bag today. This has happened a non-zero amount of times and as such, I’ve built up a vast quantity of swag I never wanted or needed. I have three or four different mugs that are basically colour swatch swaps. I have a small wireless speaker. I have So Many Pens. I’ve got a bunch of shirts for our TV shows. I must have about ten pairs of sunglasses by now. To add to that stack, today I got a lanyard, one of those things you stick to the back of your phone so you can turn it into a fidget spinner (I think that’s what it’s for?), some branded earbuds, a reusable plastic cup/straw combo, another pen and another pair of sunglasses. You’d think people would see the stack of swag bags on my desk and stop giving me things, surely? I can only use so many mugs daily. I rarely write by hand, what need have I for more goddamn pens? I feel like my carbon footprint is slowly and surely expanding with a wake of branded sunglasses. Can people stop giving me things now? Is there some polite way to say no to gifts? Do any so called “fans” want free stuff? If anyone out there has a use for the aforementioned products, get at me. I have things you can take off my hands/desk.

I was thinking this morning about how bizarrely entitled my brain is. I have a myriad of locked and loaded references to certain words and phrases. I’m sure most people do. Mine often happen to be pop-culturally based. Subconsciously however, my brain just expects everyone else to have the same ones drilled into their mind as I do. So when I say “It’s toasted” of course I expect everyone to be all hahaha, oh yes something something Don Draper. Sick reference bro. That’s not to say that friends of mine don’t do that occasionally, because of course like calls to like. The issue is that when the tables are turned and someone else throws out some kind of reference that I don’t know, my brain questions why they think I’d possibly know what they were talking about. But it’s not one of the meticulously catalogued call and responses I’ve spent years curating. How does it even exist? I’m not the most sensible of fellows.

I’ve been ill for over two weeks now and I’m sick of it. I’m tired of this ‘being tired’ bullshit. I want for once to not go through 30+ tissues a day. I would like for my nose to be clear of sticky yellow mucus. If my voice could politely slip back to its usual register instead of an artificially deepened mess that would be grand. The head/tooth aches brought on by excessive congestion? Maybe take a knee. Also my knees? Maybe ease up the tension and let those muscles relax. While you’re at it, tell my metatarsils and tibs to give up their rebellion. Thumbs up to that. Oh, while you’re there, the tendons in my thumb have been inexplicably tight for the past while. I’m sure the solution is to settle down, do all the prescribed stretches and let the physio handle it, but if you could magically fix yourself, that’d be a big help. It’s really swell when my body works fine. I’d love to head back to that glorious status of A-OK.

Or would that make my week a little too salient?

Just call me the Retrievian Man

This whole project is nothing (could I have stopped the sentence there?) if not a nostalgia factory. It’s such a driving force in my life that I often find myself navel gazing back at my past in the hopes of forgetting what a dismal state of affairs adult life is. Other times I get nostalgic about times in my adult life, blowing my hypothesis of its dismal state out of the water. Did any of this preamble matter? Was I typing just to kill time? Isn’t that really what this whole project is about? In any case, I went back and listened to a bunch of The Air Bud Pawdcast.

You know what? It’s pretty good. At the very least, it gets pretty good. The first few episodes were understandably “ruff” as we were trying to find our footing. Two nobodies with zero experience making a podcast. As the episodes went on, we found our rhythm, added new segments and began to understand how we could create a better listening experience for anyone who dialled in. We started developing chemistry, creating multi-episode in jokes and o’erleapt previous technical difficulties.

As an entirely “impartial” listener (as if), I’ve actually really enjoyed going back through them. It’s funny, and the one-note joke of “isn’t it crazy that us adults are watching a kids’ film?” has way more elasticity than I’d expected. The kind of ridiculous and meticulous details we pull from the movies are both worth hearing and eerily observant. Neither of us get too high on our own supply (it’s hard to be justifiably uppity from a low status position) and tease one another from a place of love.

Once we brought guests on, the show catapulted. Not in popularity, it was ever an indie darling (is that what we’re calling it?). In quality. Bringing a new subject into the bizarre world of animal based children’s cinema was a treat every single time. Each guest took it slightly differently, some with aplomb and others with a reasonable distaste. They all had varied perspectives and points of interest. The sheer fact that we were no longer in an echo chamber allowed us to really branch out. We built up rapport, sometimes instantly, other times over the course of the episode. Listen to Episode 7 with Degrassi alum Raymond Ablack, for instance. Ray was a real sweet dude and immediately jumped on board.

Maybe I’m just getting listless because it feels like I haven’t made anything substantive in some time. Dumb as it was, the Pawdcast gave me some sense of purpose. I was flexing old muscles with audio work, using skills of analysis to find the oddities in each new Air Bud outing, getting to freely riff with a bunch of funny people. The best part of the whole thing? It’s still there for me to listen back and enjoy.

Even if MeUndies never gave us that sponsorship we kept clamouring for.

When aliens find the remnants of our inevitably doomed civilisation, I hope they at least read the Duffman wiki

Not for the first time, I need to start writing in order to make some kind of non-writing deadline, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Does Duffman have the right to beer arms? I know very little about Duffman, but after this wiki I learned that one of the actors playing him (in show) was bisexual. In that case if he were hairier, would he have the right to bear arms?

After much kvetching, I got my ticket to Janelle Monáe. Believe me, the kvetching was strong with this one. I was all prepped at work. I had my battle station at the ready. I didn’t know the presale code, but everything else was sorted. I had tabs all open: The Facebook event page in case anyone there knew the code. A reddit post where people were looking for the code. The artist’s Facebook and Twitter pages in case she posted the code. Gmail open in case I had an email for the fan mailing list with the code. One of my Facebook posts where I’d asked friends to post the code in case anyone was looking for it. I had the ticket page at the ready to go as soon as they went on sale. Thing is, I didn’t have the code. I tried a bunch of her song names, no dice. I even tried ROSEBUD, but my usual methods yielded nothing. Five minutes after tickets went on sale, none of my friends seemed to have the code. We were metaphorically running around like metaphorical chickens with their metaphorical heads cut off (I’m certainly glad none of those were parables).

A friend of mine came through and messaged me with the code and I spread it like wildfire (it was DJANGO, not ROSEBUD like I’d hoped).I clicked on three GA tickets and waited. It was still verifying my ticket choice. I tried opening another Chrome browser in incognito mode in case there was some issue with that. Still waiting and verifying. I even resorted to Internet Explorer, which was unsurprisingly no help whatsoever. I loaded it up on my phone. Still nothing. I got my friend who I was chatting with at the time to try and she was waiting. She tried her computer, her phone. We were fretting a little while trying not to lose our cool (which was silly, because we were looking for GA tickets and it’s not like they’d all sell out in a presale. There were still another two or three presales to come on Monday) until finally her tickets went through. Success. It sounds like all of my friends who wanted tickets got them and everyone came away happy.

I also discovered today that my work benefits don’t cover Athletic Therapy like I thought they did. It’s my fault for not reading the fine print, but it still sucks. It means I’ve at least put myself out over a few hundred bucks in the past two or so years. Bummertown, population me. It especially sucks because I won’t be able to see my new favourite Athletic Therapist any more. I can still go to physio, but her category of treatment won’t be covered. Yes, I’m still very fortunate to be getting cover at all (though I’ll sorely (literally) miss the days of company sponsored unlimited physio. My aged appendages never felt better), I’ll just have to plan further ahead next time. Physios tend to be more in demand than ATs for some reason. Maybe the aforementioned reason that a bunch of plans don’t cover ATs? The proof is in the pudding.

A photo of my friends and I got used in the event page for a local dance party. They didn’t ask and I don’t mind or anything. It’s a nice photo. I guess I’m struggling to find remarkable things to write about today. So I’m resorting to re-market-able things instead? Funnily enough the ad reminded me about the party (on this Friday) and now I want to go back. The only problem is my metatarsals and other garbage in my foot are all flared up. I would’ve had an Athletic Therapy session tonight to massage a bunch of the crap out, but as it so happens that’s not covered, right? Goddammit, why don’t I have a bevy of self-solving problems? Or a bevvy of self-solving problems.

Then again, I’m not Duffman.

Calling it a day, because what else would you call it?

I slept more than zero hours but probably fewer than four last night. My body is still in the throes of the cold that I’ve had for the past week and a half. On top of all that, I’m in A Mood. So once again, in lieu of quality content, I’m going to drop utter nonsense in bullet point form in the hopes that it fulfils my daily obligation of 30 minutes writing. Today, that’s about all I have in me.

  • I woke up with McDonald’s’ “Double Cheeseburger” ad in my head. The thing that’s pissing me off the most isn’t that it’s lodged firmly in there, but that I can’t find an example of the exact ad I’m talking about. I was all prepped this morning to do a Facebook post of “Sure there have been some bangers in the last 20 years, but let’s not pretend McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger song doesn’t exist.” Laughs would’ve been had by all, right? Thing is, it was a campaign that ran years ago and resurfaced basically every decade in a different iteration. Not only this, but there were national variations across the world. There are multiple US versions, multiple Australian versions and a whole host of assorted dubs. You know it for sure, the “double double cheese cheese burger burger please” one. In 90s New Zealand we had our own and I know this for sure because the price on ours was “Only two dollars and fifty cents”. That’s burned into my memory in places where basic motor skills were meant to go. I found a New Zealand version, but it’s clearly too old because it mentions $1.99 or something. I can’t be bothered going down a Google wormhole for the sake of this, so instead I’ll sit here and stew in my own fallibility. Anyway, here’s the old Aussie one ’cause it’s cheesy as shit. Doubly so.
  • Infinity War has too many characters. I’m doubtful it will be a good movie. I’m happy to be proven wrong.
  • The new Venom trailer is out and it looks similarly trash. I don’t think I’m gonna be proven wrong, but I’m very happy that it’s spawned this content.
  • Since we’re on the topic of ads and selling out, I’m happy to be a corporate shill too. I did my taxes today using Simple Tax, like I do every year. It took all of ten minutes (since it links up with your past return details and the CRA). If you’re in Canada and plan on doing your taxes in the next week, give them a shot.
  • Our bus was evacuated this morning because two homeless people got on and started arguing. The bystander effect was strongly in place and nobody really knew what to do. We just heard yelling and conflict (though nothing physical) between these two men who clearly had history. I’m assuming most everyone assumed mental illness was a factor and didn’t want to either dehumanise anyone or intervene in an unpredictable situation. Instead everyone just got off and walked to the bus stopped in front. The driver sat behind his plasticised screen and waited for things to subside, then went out of service. He probably had some kind of report to file. I walked the rest of the way to work in a daze.
  • Toronto in general is pretty conflict avoidant. I guess it has a lot to do with everyone possessing the illusion of being busy at all times. Even in the video of yesterday’s van based terrorism, people in the background are sort of just going about their day. There’s this police and suspect stand off in the middle of the street and passers by mostly seemed to ignore it or not give it a second look. Weird.
  • Speaking of the van attack, it seems to have been a terrorist attack rooted in toxic masculinity. The guy was some kind of incel and, I don’t know, wanted to go out in a blaze of “glory” or something. It was pretty fucked up. The cop who dealt with the situation acted like a total professional. All of the guy’s actions made it seem like he was angling towards suicide by cop. He was acting like he had a gun in his pocket, but the cop called his bluff. If we needed a better illustration of how our rigid forms of masculinity are harming young men, yesterday’s attack was it. This guy, like Elliot Rodger before him, decided that he was entitled to women’s bodies. That their lack of attraction to him demanded violent reprisal. There are ten Torontonians who will never wake up again because this lonely child acted from a place of anger and misguided indignance. How many families are today in mourning because of what we’re teaching men in our society? When are we going to reframe our long held beliefs to teach compassion and understanding instead of harmful stoicism? The Marlboro Man died of cancer. Toxic masculinity is a similar blight. When are we gonna cut it out?

I’m done.