What am I, if not human durian?

My girlfriend has a date on Friday and I realised I hadn’t done that in a while, so I made a post in a local poly Facebook group. Here it is:

Hi folks. I have no Friday night plans, so I thought I’d see if someone wanted to go on a date. I haven’t done that in a while.

About me:
I am the least cool individual and I have zero chill. I’m less Vanilla Ice in Cool as Ice and more Arnie in Batman and Robin (but only for the puns).
I have a borderline compulsion to constantly make dumb, meta jokes. However bad you think they’ll be, they’re worse.
Words are my favourite things. When I learn a new one, I needlessly shoehorn it into almost every conversation for the next week.
I believe in facing things that you’re afraid of. I’m still not brave enough to use semicolons regularly.
I think prescriptivism is narrow minded, but also consider the pronunciations “nucular” and “aluminum” morally reprehensible. We all have nuance.
I compensate for a lack of life experience by being obssessed with pop culture.
I made a podcast analysing the Air Bud Cinematic Universe.
I love stand up comedy. My favourite local comics are Mark Little, DeAnne Smith and Mark Forward (I’d also say Amanda Brooke Perrin, but she abandoned us).
Demi Adejuyigbe’s Twitter has a direct connection to my funny bone.
I sometimes write live music/comedy reviews when I don’t want to pay for tickets.
I’m a sucker for sadcoms (You’re the Worst, Catastrophe, Fleabag (ish)) and think Legion is the best show not enough people are watching right now.
I recently discovered the Punch up the Jam podcast and I’m having zero success getting others to listen.
I tend to date women. I’m in no way against dating men, but I haven’t met any that I’m romantically attracted to yet. If you’re a guy and you sincerely think you’re my type, let me know.
I think it’s entirely okay for either person to opt out of a date at any point because they’re not feeling it. Sometimes the chemistry isn’t there and you’re not a bad person for realising that. I’m a weird dude who’s not everyone’s flavour, I get it.

About you:
You’re interested in the above and have no plans Friday night.

I’m thinking maybe drinks/dinner. If we’re feeling goofy and flirty (or even if there’s no chemistry but we both feel like it), dancing at Beam Me Up or something. If that sounds fun, comment below.

 

I figure at worst, if there are no bites, I can stay home and play Magic. That’s a pretty high floor.

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If Trump has his way, the next head of the FBI will just be some dude wearing a Female Body Inspector shirt

I’ve been in a silly mood today, so it’s likely this entry will be punctuated with insipid jokes.

On that note, I was gonna do a rant about Fingerlings, but decided they were small potatoes.

If Gillette ever buys Marvel you can bet your ass there’ll be more Blades.

I bet whenever Lykke Li lies, they’re like “Sounds like a Lykke Li story.”

If you fucked up something about your appearence and someone gave you a compliment on it, would that be a comp-lament?

If you worked as a social influencer in the sheep shearing world would your job be to shear and share a like?

Wheuf, got that out of my system for now. My throat hurts, strangely, so I might have something else in my system. I need soup, STAT. Did you know that “STAT”, as used in hospitals, is short for “statim”? I didn’t, until I just looked it up and thought it’d be curious knowledge to spread. That was it. I looked up nothing else about it. I don’t know what the etymology or anything is. I don’t know how its meaning and usage changed over time. So really, I’ve given you very little to go on and no reason to care.

Thanks me.

I was wondering today, how many FBI: Female Body Inspector shirts Mark Wahlberg has owned in his lifetime. I dunno, he just seems like the kind of garden variety douchebag who’d find that funny. It’s not like I’ve got grounds to stand on either. I used to love douchey slogan shirts. When I was 16 and discovered Hot Topic (they didn’t have it back home, so I only got to go there when I was on holiday in The U.S.A), I immediately snapped up a shirt that said “It’s only funny until someone gets hurt… Then it’s hilarious.” I regret it to this day. What else did I have? Oh, “Death: Our Nation’s No. 1 Killer.” Zing!

I was on track to become one hell of a neckbeard. I don’t know how I avoided buying a ornamental samurai sword, but all the puzzle pieces were there. I somehow failed to put them together. I used to glorify my alcohol consumption like nothing else. I felt disenfranchised by the fact that nobody wanted to sleep with me. If only I knew that nobody wanted to sleep with me because I had literal neckbeard, dumb slogan shirts, and considered it other people’s fault that I was single.

If only I’d known that all it would take to no longer be single was grow the fuck up, own my problems, challenge my entitled outlook and take responsibility for enacting change in my life. Also get better at puns. Still, I wonder what it would’ve been like to enter my twenties with confidence. Would I be more successful in life by now? Would I realise all my dreams? Just how many FBI: Female Body Inspector shirts would I own?

Too many, no matter what that number was.

Hirsute Yourself 14: That which should not beard

I saw my chin today.

It’s been a while. In most cases it’s hidden by a lush copse of extended mutton chops. We were going out to a fancy party last night and I very much intended to trim myself into some semblance of debonair flair. Instead my trimmer decided to run out of juice halfway across my face. I couldn’t well go to a superb shindig with half trimmed chin, could I? No. In case you lack style it grace, the correct answer is no. Consequently it all had to go. My manual razor was well past its prime, so the whole process was painstakingly slow and methodical. A blunt razor could still leave me speckled with cuts and abrasions. I dosed my face in shaving cream, then went strip by strip, cutting and washing. Some real Mr. Miyagi “wax on, wax off” shit. I worked through my entire chin, then went back for more cream. Against the grain, then back again. I was going for baby’s bottom smoothness. If I was cleaning up, I was going all out. Clearing the remaining cream, I looked up and a pubescent boy stared back. Who let an infant into our house? We have sharp things there. Maybe not the razors, but it’s still not a child friendly place.

The party also wasn’t a child friendly place. Adorned with an abundance of taxidermy and animal remnants, it was fancy as fuck. Hell, I didn’t even feel like I belonged there. It was basically an open house for an infamous Toronto artistic fixture. The Darling Mansion. They throw lavish sex parties. Eccentric Air BnB guests stay there. Rappers film videos throughout the space. It felt too rich for my blood. I was constantly afraid I’d put a foot wrong or touch something I shouldn’t. It was also Cool As Shit.

The taxidermy alone was a novel experience. Because I’m a regular Joe, I’ve never had the chance to touch a bear, a peacock or a fox. They were all there. You could feel how soft a peacock was. Truly understand the size of a bear and realise just how badly you’d love to have a pet fox. They had hoop and shibari demonstrations in the lobby (with the most efficient/aggressive rope tying I’ve ever seen). The mansion was four floors of opulence, artistic talent run rampant. Every room was different. There were endless trinkets and baubles that’d be tacky if they weren’t so beautifully curated. Rooms with suspended beds or ceiling mounted mirrors. A bathtub filled with coloured balls, or a shower without curtains.

There was a beautiful courtyard leading to the basement workshop. Umbrellas hung suspended from lines of fairy lights. There were statues, curious lightbulbs and a fountain. The workshop was in full operation. The place, apparently, is like an artist’s coven. You work there, you live there and make the place your own. A fashion designer had all manner of interesting apparel for sale. There were mannequins adorned with works in progress. Another fashion designer in residence moonlit as a tarot reader and artist. She was running PWYC tarot sessions or token portraits. My girlfriend and I signed up and had ourselves painted like some of those French girls, but clothed. It was neat. Her and I chatted as she painted my portrait. She was one of those incurably mercurial souls who travelled and worked according to her whims. As we chatted, despite not holding a pose, her portrait all came together. She captured my essence explicitly. My girlfriend’s portrait was also beautifully her. What a wonderful totem to have from a special night.

Plus, now I can easily remember the time I fucked up and didn’t fully charge my trimmer.

Could I be any more of an ideal spokesman?

I rode a bike yesterday!

It was magical. The wind whipping through the phantom locks I had in my experimental hair phases. Engaging my calves pushing uphill. Trying to wrap my head/hands around the odd downward sloping bullhorn style handlebars. An all new familiar experience. Unexpected and thrilling. I used to bike all the time. As a kid, from ages 10-15, I’d bike to school. I buckled my wheel at some stage and kept riding on that wheel for several years. It was so freeing. As a cookie-doughy child, I got to be active and experience the joy of speed. To have that control, to find new hidden routes and side streets. To zip around in charge of my own direction. I’d cover so much ground and see small changes on my day to day route. I tried besting my old times, it was awesome. I never really got the confidence to ride on the road, plus bike lanes virtually didn’t exist yet. So it was always ducking and weaving around pedestrians on the footpath.

Last night a bunch of us went out to Kensington Market for drinks. After chatting and chilling, we piled back to our friend’s place for more relaxed hangabouts. It was a no brainer. We could stay in a bar grabbing expensive drinks, or go back to her plounge and tailor our own vibe. Thing was, all the liquor stores were closed. Not even Wine Rack, the last refuge of desperate drunks, was open. She had a couple of bottles, but it felt like a dick move for us all to deplete her stash. When we arrived, I opted to go and grab some bottles from home. I was just down the hill, after all. With a monthly pass, I could even grab a bus there and back if the times synced. She off-handedly offered her bike. I opened my mouth for polite refusal and thought for a secondHow many years had it been since I’d ridden? Too many. It’d be faster and maybe more fun. The five or six drinks I’d had by then nudged me in the direction of yes and I went for it. I grabbed a helmet and climbed aboard.

Maybe the beers helped. It was just like riding a bike. Sure, the handlebars were more narrow than I was used to. My recovering wrist made things a little less secure. Given that it was almost midnight, nobody was around, so I took the footpath. It was great. I reined in my speeds coming down the hill and made it home in sub five minutes. I parked up front, put together a goody bag of liquor and climbed back on. Was it a fixie? Oh, it totally had gears. they were these odd little toggles that were quite estranged from what I’d grown up with, but they worked. Away I went. Even in my drunken state, the hill was a breeze. I didn’t even need to stand. I guess when you grow up in the land of dormant volcanoes, everywhere else is flatland by comparison. I was back at my mate’s place within 15 minutes.

Every year I think about buying a bike. Every year it gets late into summer and I think well, next year will be the year. It isn’t. Every year. Maybe though, and hear me out here, maybe next year will be the year. Not this year, because my wrists need time to heal. Next year though? It’s perfect. I’m sure it’ll happen. I do get bogged down by the artifice of owning a bike though. I’d need all the accessories; helmet, lock, etc. I’d have to consider lugging the vehicle around or where I was gonna store it. It’d make navigating public clunky at times. It’s that stuff that gets in my head ever year and thwarts plans to get one. Really though, I’m sure it’s not as bad as I think. It’s not an all or nothing conundrum. Just because I have a bike, doesn’t mean I need to use it all the time. I can take it when I want to, when the sun is shining just right. When I’d otherwise walk but want a swifter trip. Maybe if I was picking things up and slung my backpack over my shoulders.

2019, you hear me? Twenty biketeen. It’s coming.

More like Charlie’s Mangled, amirite?

I’m not in the mood for me right now.

To put it more accurately, I’m not in the mood for anything right now. I’m clearly in a mood right now, but one that I’m having trouble pinpointing the cause of or solution to. So the mood sticks. Let’s ride it till it dies.

My mobility in my hand has gotten much better over the past few days. Primarily because I’ve been forcing it to. When I’m bored at work, wrist circles, stretching out a rubber band with straight fingers, flexing in all directions. When I’m on the TTC, more flexion. Thank fuck I’ve learned the warm Toronto humanism of not looking anyone in the eyes, otherwise it’d seem I was creepily alternating between come hither and limp wave gestures, all with constant winces thrown in. It still hurts, I think I’m just getting used to it. I might have almost full rotation now. Let’s see if more acupuncture does anything for it.

They’re making a Charlie’s Angels reboot. Another one. Apparently the two early 2000 cheesecake vehicles weren’t enough. Apparently the failed 2011 television series gave them no hints as to the relevancy of a modern day Charlie’s Angels reboot. I feel like these days Hollywood sees any entertainment properties with female leads and sees the dollar signs they can make for doing the bare minimum. Let’s be clear: I think we need more blockbusters starring women, written by women, directed by women, for women. I’m not breaking new ground in saying Hollywood for too long has been dominated by the male gaze. We need fresh stories to break from the monotony of safe Hollywood star vehicles. Hollywood will not change until it sees tangible losses in its studio model. The industry doesn’t need to widen, it needs to invert.

My issue with Charlie’s Angels is the same one I had with Oceans 2018. Make something new. We don’t need another Oceans movie, the heist genre is wide open. We don’t need another Charlie’s Angels, make an all new intellectual property about three female spies. I dunno, maybe they’ve all known each other across their lifespan. Perhaps one of them bullied another as kids, one of them was the other woman in the affair. They’re forced to work together for the sake of thwarting terrorist activity and in doing so, unravel the threads of wider significance that lead to their animosity. Or maybe as teenagers one of their friends was murdered, isolating and setting them all down separate paths of justice and vengeance. When clues arise on this long dead cold case they find themselves drawn back into one another’s lives, with a conspiracy that reaches far higher than they’d ever believed possible. Or if they wanted to do something Charlie’s Angels esque, maybe their former employer was actually playing them all for patsies. Years later when they discover the impact of their actions, they’re forced to reckon with these ramifications and do what’s right. Or maybe they’re three university students who uncover clues that their pop idol has been replaced with an identical clone.

It took me ten minutes to come up with these ideas. If you’re trying to modernise Charlie’s Angels with three kickass female leads filled to the brim with vim and feminist ideals, you’re probably gonna want to do away with thinly veiled plots based around getting them into slinky outfits. Then what do you have? Not Charlie’s Angels, that’s for sure. C’mon Hollywood, how many trees worth of solid scripts are hanging around your Black List? Maybe do some digging instead of trying to exhume something which should have been gracefully laid to rest.

Speaking of rest, I could use a beer.

Has anyone marketed a firearm to women calling it an estrogun?

I’m not feeling peachy today.

Some happenings at work that don’t directly affect me have nonetheless left me dispirited. Far from attempting to pull myself of this morass, I’m gonna wallow in it instead. It sucks. I’m not filled to the brim with company loyalty right now. I don’t want to be at work and, fortunately, I soon won’t have to. I’m not being fired, but the end of the day is in my sights. Bang bang.

I read an extensive article about Gwyneth Paltrow today. It didn’t help my mood. I’ve had an axe to grind against all this GOOPy shit for years, and learning even more only ratcheted that up. It’s vile. She’s become the central figure in an industry that manufactures modern day snake oil. If you don’t know what GOOP is, it’s an aspirational lifestyle empire that implores its members to buy special creams to realign their vagina’s chakras, etc etc. It’s selling health as a brand. Self-care as consumerism. The path to enlightenment is to trust in what you can buy for yourself. Find a better you through what you can obtain. How to look and feel your best, by owning the best. Exclusive creams and spa treatments, what to eat and how to shit. It’s what homeopathy would look like if it was created by Louis Vuitton. They sell retreats and seminars on how to transcend the mundane. It’s meticulously curated to make wellness exclusive. Think the Oprah empire, but marketed to rich white women.

Look, I’ve got no issue with rich white women being taken advantage of. If they have more money than sense, fine. Drain their bank accounts in exchange for abstract notions of status. Emperor’s New Clothes them out of house and home. I draw the line when you’re misleading the hurt and frightened. Telling victims of trauma or libido issues that cramming a jade egg into their vagina will solve all their sexual problems? That’s crossing a line. Hawking different venoms and poisons as miracle beauty treatments? Gullible people are one thing. Vulnerable people are quite another. The fact that a beyond privileged white women is being seen as some kind of personal guru/saviour to the downtrodden, gullible and wealthy is Not OK.

Or, I dunno. Fuck ’em. Let them all squander their wealth and buy in. A doctor recently told me that placebos are like 20% effective. Maybe if they incubate it for long enough, the jade egg will hatch and give them the gorgeous green budda baby they always wanted. Congratulations. There are worse things happening in the world.

I had a very active dream last night. Aggressive and violent. For some reason I was a woman in the dream, but I knew it was me. I was walking with a friend from work and noticed a strange blinking in the sky. Some kind of UFO. I pointed it out as it zipped in and out of sight. Then I saw something else odd. A car was hurtling towards the ground in the distance. Another one, a little closer. I told my friend and pulled him with me towards an underground carpark. We took shelter as more cars began impacting the street around us. What was going on?

I heard a commotion around the corner and pulled my friend down. Men walked past in full SWAT style gear. Something about them seemed odd. Nefarious. As we huddled behind our cover, one of the men approached. He noticed us, and before he could call out I grabbed his gun and thrust my palm into the base of his nose. He crumpled and dropped, I picked up his gun. I peeked out and saw that the group of men had rounded up children. I signalled my friend to be silent and one by one, stealthily picked them off. As their leader turned around, I shot him right in the face.

With no time to dawdle, I traded his silenced gun for mine and tossed my old one to my friend. I told him to stay with the kids. I began exploring the towering building room by room. Classrooms, teachers held hostage. I went through the rooms, taking out the guard posted in each. As I neared the top, an officious looking dude with blonde hair and blue eyes caught sight of me. He was armed. As he turned to shout I rushed him and thrust the back of my arm against his windpipe. My other hand grasped his gun and pushed it towards the ground. He didn’t look like he was with the rest. I whispered quietly that things weren’t looking good, that whatever was happening was bigger than us. We needed to stick together. I told him that I’d trust him, that I’d slowly release him in the hopes that he’d cooperate. As I slowly withdrew my arm from his throat, my alarm went off. I wish I had a better ending for y’all. I wish I knew what the hell was going on, but that’s not how dreams roll.

Speaking of rolling, work is done. I’m gonna transform and roll out.

Partyficial Intelligence

Oh hey, I just discovered my very own waking nightmare.

I went to a party last night. A Tuesday party, just standard practice for a cool kid like me. That’s me, ol’ rant ‘n’ rage Leon. I’m basically a wild child wrapped in the body of a Maurice Sendak style “Wild Thing”. My bedroom is a rumpus room. Also I exclusively eat rumpus steak. If I was an Italian explorer, navigator and colonist, I’d be Christopher Corumpus. If I were an Austro-Bavarian folklore character, I’d be Krumpus. My biological category would be that of a “party animal”. What? That doesn’t sound scientific enough to you? It’s cause I flunked all my science classes as a side effect of all my partying.

So there I was, standing in the kitchen (I told you, I’m an experienced partier. Everyone knows that the kitchen is where it’s at. You’re close to a source of water so you won’t dehydrate. Glasswear and drinks are easily within arm’s reach. There are counters to lean on. It’s a gas!) and a friend was telling me about a recent experience he’d had. To stretch out the suspense a little bit more, we’d talked about this experience before he left for it. His expectations, worries, etc. I hope that added as much for you as it did for me. Paragraph break!

Silent retreat. He went on a silent retreat for ten days. Did your brain just recoil into its own arsehole? Does your brain even have an asshole? If you’d majored in partying like I did, yours likely would too. It’s part and parcel of the whole deal. Or rather, Party and asshole of the whole deal. His didn’t, but it was an intimidating and challenging experience to say the least. Well, while he was on the retreat he said the least, that’s for sure. Ten days in which you weren’t allowed to communicate with anyone. Communication wasn’t limited to speaking. No eye contact or gesturing. They weren’t allowed to read or write. No internet/email, no exercise. Did your brain’s asshole just develop a twisted colon and regurgitate what was left of the brain fragments it subsumed?

Gross. Partying kills, kids.

He didn’t evangelise for the place, which was a wonder considering it was a free service. He said it was one of the more difficult things he’s done in his life. They’d be doing long meditation sessions. Maybe an hour or two at times. They also had group sessions where they’d gather together, close their eyes and meditate in silence for an hour. Can you imagine how slow that’d feel? Your brain would disengage from time, with no indication between ten and thirty minutes. Some people probably slept. He said sitting for long periods of time was surprisingly painful. The instructors said to consider the pain and how it made them feel, whether it was sustainable or not. Pain, they said, could be a conduit for other feelings. Questioning how they experienced pain could help them understand how their body processed other sensations.

The outcome? He said that it wasn’t a grand evolution. No game changer for his life. What it did do, he said, was give him tools in order to process certain ideas. To understand a little better how he dealt with issues, trauma and see them as less holistically destructive. Like he was looking at them with a magnifying glass before, but now he has a microscope. He said the big change was in handling urges. Where previously he’d chase pleasurable sensations with a kind of unshackled need, he was better at appreciating them for what they were. There was less need to have more of something if he was satisfied. Pushing away desires became easier than it had been. It wasn’t like he’d transcended, but equally it wasn’t nothing.

No, I’m not gonna do one. Imagine, giving up writing this for a week? Keeping my mouth shut and disengaging from chasing stimulation? That’s the direct antithesis of my party manifesto. Not gonna happen.

Not even in my dreams.