Screw courage in the sticking place. Next time I’m buying instead

Seriously, can I call myself an adult if I don’t know how to use a hot glue gun?

Hot Glue Gunning is not one of those things you’d expect to be harder than you think. In reality, it probably isn’t. It’s not a fully complicated activity. I, however, posess a certain level of ineptitude that’s as awe inspiring as it is frightening. Making things from scratch requires a certain skill base. I don’t have that skill base, so I didn’t try to make things from scratch. I thought I was finding the easy route, when it turns out I don’t know how to do things easily. Or that easy routes are harder to traverse for the clumsy.

I spoke yesterday about what needed to be done to put this damn loin cloth together, right? Measure my hips. Find pillows that are slightly smaller than that and stuff them in a plastic bag. Stuff those into a pair of cut-off leggings and safety pin them on. Cut up my big patch of fake fur. Glue it on. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right?

Cutting the fur was work enough. I tried holding it up against my hip to vaguely measure. Then measured again on my pillow simulacrum. Then measured again on me. Then got a pen to mark it, since I’d forgotten one of those. I measured again, then marked down to what I thought would work. Measure four times and cut once is the mantra, n’est ce pas? I cut it and fur went fucking everywhere. These little fibres covered the floor, two tables and the rug. I got my brush and shovel to clean it, then carrying it from one table to the other left even more castoffs. The brush and shovel was always within arms reach from that point onwards. I tried tugging all the edges where I’d cut to pull any remaining fur off. That seemed to work. I tried to guess how the other pieces would be arranged, but really had no idea so I winged it. Still, in my mind I was ready to glue.

I didn’t bury the lede, I had no fucking idea how to use a hot glue gun. My girlfriend had two, and some spare glue sticks. I knew the basics. I knew that a hot glue gun gets hot, melts the glue inside and that comes out the nozzle. I messaged my crafty friend with a bunch of questions, but they disappeared. My girlfriend was off at a work meeting. I needed to get this done. I tried asking the internet, but I couldn’t get full answers to questions. What kind of questions? I’m glad I posited you as asking.

  • Do I use the gun on high heat or low heat?
  • How much glue do I put on?
  • What kind of coverage do I need? Do I need to cover the whole thing or just outlines?
  • How long until the glue dries/cools?
  • Do I have time to put down all the glue, then put it on? It’s a large piece, I need to get it all on there.
  • Why does the other gun not have a trigger?

The internet didn’t give me much, so I metaphorically said fuck it and got to work. I tried using my smarts to figure it out. I have at least three smarts, which I hoped would be ample. I practiced on a small fur sample to see how long the glue took to dry, and how much glue I could get out before it did. The answer was Not Much. So I decided to try gluing in small lines, pressing down, lather, rinse, repeat. It worked! For a line or two. The problem was, once the glue got to a certain point in the barrel, the trigger no longer pushed it down. Nothing was coming out. I tried pushing the end of the glue with a skewer to some success. So I was holding the fur with one hand, holding the gun in another and stabbing the end of the skewer into my shoulder to try and get more leverage. After a line or so, the skewer pushed too far and went down the barrel. I pulled it out, disappointed that my smart improvisation wasn’t so smart after all.

I grabbed a chopstick from the drawer, convinced that my idea wasn’t terrible, but it was a surface area issue. This worked for all of a single glue line before suffering the same fate. I asked the internet. Some people suggested getting another glue stick so the trigger could catch it. Genius. Only problem was that it churned through my glue very quick. I got another stick, then another until I was out. The barrel was still 2/3 full of glue, but useless glue. I had all of one line left to do on the big fur patch.

I grabbed the other glue gun.

This one took larger glue sticks, which I still had. Thing was, it had no trigger. So I thought, fuck it. I got a glue stick and jammed it in, pressing down with my thumb. Success! In fact, while it was physically more demanding, it was working. The big fur portion seemed well stuck. Now I just had to figure out the rest. It turned out that I’d placed it sort of crooked, or hadn’t measured well enough (as a surprise to nobody). It was uneven, so I had to do some quick repositioning on the fly. I rotated things, made a cut or two and BAM. Full (ish) coverage. Knowing what I was doing, I made quick work of sticking the smaller patches on. I checked how well it was on by shaking the bag. It was stuck fast! Everything seemed sturdy. Had I emerged from the battle of attrition as a victor?

I took out the safety pins and let the pillows run free. I handled the loin cloth carefully. It still seemed stable in my hands. The big test: I put it on. It fit. It was snug and comfy and I couldn’t find major structural issues. I looked in the mirror. Aside from one bum cheek kind of hanging out, it was sorted. I’d made a thing. It wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, and likely wouldn’t survive more than one costume party, but I’d made something all by myself.

Think I can paint my shirt tonight without tearing my hair out?

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That’s what we call soFistocation

I have a ton of costume prep to do, a decent amount of time in which to do it and equal amounts of trepidation.

Do you know who Fisto is? Well from the ages of 9-31, I don’t think I did either. I’m sure I was probably a fan as a kid. The Heroic Master of Hand to Hand Combat was a companion of He Man in his ongoing adventures to sell action figures. I thought He Man was tHe Man and as an adult, I get it. The toys were colourful and based around fighting monsters. I played with them all at my mum’s toy store, and only as a tax paying grown up did I realise quite how shit the characters/naming conventions were. There’s no point straining to imagine what Moss Man, Battle Lion, Spikor, Stinkor, Ninjor, Fang Man, Goat Man, King Hiss or Buzz Off did or looked like, because it’s right there in plain English. Consequently, Fisto has a big metal fist. If the show were for adults, I also have no doubt what Fisto’s favourite thing would be. It’s in the name.

If you’ve clicked the link above, you can see what the costume will try and resemble. “Try” being the operative word, because I’m a) not adept which makes this whole concept b) trying. Why am I going as a character I hardly know? Because a group of my friends are donning Masters of the Universe getups and that sounded like a happy funtime to me. As I said, I used to adore the show/toys and when am I not seeking the eternal high of nostalgia? The only issue, is my friends are way more sartorially gifted than I am. I never do costumes that involve work. I don’t have the skills, primarily because I’ve never had to hone them, so they’re still beyond my grasp. My friends, however, know how to sew/stitch/craft pieces that work. Here I am wondering how the fuck do I make a loin cloth?

Luckily my friends are generous people who give freely of their expertise. Unluckily for me, that doesn’t involve them just doing the work for me. Which means I’ve got shit to do. I thought things would be far easier than they have been. Look at this guy. I did and thought right. Hulk hand, loin cloth, belt, boots, shirt thing and shoulder guards. I own blue Doc Martens, which I figure are good enough for the boots. I went to Value Village to look for second hand clothes that’d meet my needs. I found a belt and tank top, but that was it. Somehow they don’t stock loin cloths or hulk hands. For shame. The Hulk Hands I tracked down off BUNZ, which is a Toronto based barter site. Cost me three cans of beer, but that was easy. They were brown for some weird reason. A bottle of cheap acrylic paint solved that. I spent an evening doing quick coats and drying them with a hairdryer. It looks fucking awesome.

The rest hasn’t been so simple. I bought some leggings from Dollarama to make the loin cloth and a friend helped me out with leftover fur she had lying around. I cut them down, then realised I wouldn’t be able to hot glue the fur onto a stretchy fabric so easily. My friend suggested stuffing a pillow or two in a plastic bag, then into the leggings to make them slightly smaller than my body. Then pinning the pillow to the waistband. Apparently making them a little too small would be better than too big. Even after gluing, there’d be some stretch to the leggings. If I went too big, they’d be loose and fall off. I still haven’t done it ’cause I’m afraid I’ll cut/glue it wrong and everything will be fucked forever. I’ll get there.

I thought the shirt would be easy. My answer was to pretty much just make stripes of duct tape and stick them to the tank top. Turns out a) duct tape doesn’t stick amazingly well to a shirt and b) it’s impossible to keep the shape and remove the garment. So now I’m painting the shirt. My friend once again helpfully chimed in. I could get fabric medium and mix it with the cheap paint I already had to have soft drying paint that wouldn’t crack. I could just draw the lines… which I still have to do. It’s not super simple to get straight lines, so I’m putting card underneath the tank top to keep it taught, then drawing my lines on. I’m just gonna draw on the metal shoulder brace thing, because I can’t be bothered making anything else. My fear is it’s gonna take an age for one side to dry and I’ll run out of days before Saturday night. In fact, the longer I spend writing, the less time I have. Maybe I should be doing that now instead of merely writing about it.

Ugh, do you think I can grow a beard in four days? It’d really help.

A bunch of nonsense, as always

It’s so easy to forget things.

Today I remembered something important that my life has sorely been missing for years. You know what? You can use this one too, no charge. I’m potentially about to improve your life, so pay attention:

You can write on any banana without hurting its feelings.

It’s true. No matter what you write on a banana, they’ll shrug it off. You can be as crude or twisted as you like and they’ll still keep their sweet demeanour. They’re that thick skinned. You can call them “dickface” or “ass clown” or “Bertie McFuckface” and they won’t bat an eye. You can even call them late for dinner and they’ll stay chipper as ever. A banana is fucking smile shaped. Goddamn.

Bananas truly are the gentlemen of fruits.

You can draw anything you want on a banana. Give it a face or genitals. Turn it into a little zombie banana that slowly rots. Bananas could be ersatz jack o’ lanterns all year round. They’re even penis shaped so you could call them “jack off lanterns”. They’re still too thick skinned to care.

If you’re going to the bathroom late at night and scared, you can bring a banana for company. I know it sounds gross to bring food to a place where you shed it, but what could even happen? A banana is bathroom invincible. There’s nothing you could get on it you couldn’t clean off.

Bananas also make good swimming buddies. Did you even realise bananas could float? They’re entirely waterproof. If you’re going out to the local lagoon and you want to bring a back pocket snack, a banana will save your ass.

Here are some other things to know about bananas:

  • They’re the same shape as a boomerang, but they don’t come back, so they’re basically half a boomerang.
  • Bananas release a gaseous plant hormone called Ethylene which helps other fruit ripen. You know that friend you have who always points out when you’ve been talked over or sticks up for you? That’s what bananas are to other fruits.
  • Have you ever seen a banana be racist? Don’t think so.
  • Bananas always give GoFundMe donations as anonymous, ’cause they don’t want the credit.
  • I’ve never slipped on a banana, so I’m pretty sure that myth is just a smear campaign from Big Plantain, bananas’ jealous cousin.

Look, what I’m really saying is to consider the banana for once. We’ve all been negligent once or twice and that’s only human. Really though, knowing what we know now, it’s downright incorrigible to not take care of a fruit that takes so much care of you. For the low, low price of $3.44, three of these could be yours.

Think of someone else for once. Like Jesus. Jesus saves.

But if he lived, he could’a saved bananas too.

From now on, I decree that all baskets be made of cheese

I now own several suits. I guess there was intention behind it, but it really just feels like they turned up one day. It’s gotten to the point where I now have more suits than occasions annually for which I’d need a suit.

Last night was one of those rare occasions. Every year I go to a fancy Toronto Library fundraiser called Hush Hush. Look, I’m not a fancy person. A large majority of the stuff in our place is second hand or scavenged from sidewalks. I seldom throw down a ton of money on new clothes, when I could just go to a thrift store instead. I’m not a fancy person. I just ate cabbage with tinned tuna and cottage cheese. I’m not a fancy person. It’s uncommon for me to go to the bathroom at home with the door closed. I’m not a fancy person. I have an alarmingly high threshold for eating food off the ground. I’m not a fancy person. I spend many minutes watching gifs of children falling over. I’m not a fancy person.

Look, what I’m trying to say is that this annual party is kinda special. It’s nice to get all fancied up on occasion. This year my girlfriend came too, which was a treat. She had a new dress that made her look like a goddamn princess and I… well, I had one of my several suits. The gendered fashion disparity was no more evident than at a shindig like Hush Hush. The women were garbed in all manner of interesting and provocative dresses. The dudes almost uniformly wore suits with shirts. Some guy had a bold red suit and another had fluorescent green socks, but they were the outliers. Hey, I looked fine, I’m not dumping on that, and we certainly looked a pair together. She just looked a little more extravagant than I did and that was fine. I was there to eat, drink and play games.

The food was great. I don’t know how to say that food options had been more interesting and varied in previous years without dumping on what was there. It still tasted great, it just wasn’t as exploratory. That said, there was this very tasty thinly sliced strip loin atop smoked carrots and some kind of spinach puree, topped with crunchy potato shavings. Of course there were sliders, because what do rich people love more than smaller versions of something that already exists? Sliders were great. Little truffle mac and cheese baskets came around and I grabbed them most every time they did. If I wasn’t explicit enough, they were tiny baskets made of crispy cheese, filled with truffle mac and cheese. Someone we chatted to earlier in the night told us to stay away from the vegan Philly cheesesteak, and look out for the tiny chicken Wellingtons. She was on the money. The Wellingtons were hard to track down. My girlfriend found one over the course of the evening, though I swear I saw sliders 5+ times. The vegan Philly cheesesteak? The “steak” didn’t have the taste or consistency of steak, and the “cheese” sauce tasted similarly uncheesy. I get that it was from a vegan cookbook that was being featured and they wanted to be flashy, but it just wasn’t a comparison. I think the A&W burger is the only vegetarian/vegan substitute I’ve had that tasted anything like the original. Why make so many substitutes and not just entirely different dishes? Beats me.

The booze was free flowing and all included in the ticket price. I mean, aside from the food that’s kinda the point of the event. For the most part it was great. They had three different bars set up, so you could always check out a different side of the room to see if it had shorter lines. A local distillery supplied their boutique black strap rum, moonshine and gin. There were speciality cocktails just for the event, though by the time I found out they had them, they’d already run out of the central ingredient. Wouldn’t you be pumped to try some kind of black strap rum, peach and habanero concoction? Alas, me too. The only bummer was getting stuck in a drink line for half an hour (of a four hour event. It was a while) ’cause multiple lines converged into one and everyone was ordering 5+ drinks for friends. Still, moonshine and ginger kept me buzzed all night and the wait for spirits didn’t do enough to damper mine.

Being a fundraiser for the library’s digital collection, they had a bunch of cool gizmos to play with. One selfie station made animated gifs that could be emailed to you. Another had a ring of cameras to take pseudo 3D photos. One more had a built in ring light for super defined shots. They had photographers walking around too. There were 3D printers making keychains for guests to take home. They had three VR games set up for partygoers to try. There was a big TV hooked up to a SNES/N64 emulator, so Mario was going all night. There was also a neat little arduino based light game that was simple to learn and neat to play.

So I ate a ton, drank a ton and played a couple of games. If this is what being fancy is like, maybe I need more suits.

All aboard the Magic School cannaBus

It’s a really interesting time in Toronto, what with the municipal elections, the province being run by bigots and the re-emergence of regressive, hateful attitudes that are just “telling it like it is”.

It’s quite the time for plant based escapism to have become legalised.
I don’t know a whole lot about weed. It’s something that I never smoked a ton of as a teenager or through my twenties. I’ve kind of picked it up lately, since seeing what a legal framework looked like in Portland. It was all above board and pot shop employees were super knowledgeable in helping me find the right type of experience I was looking for.
So, the basics that I understand (which are probably quite wrong):

As far as I know there are sort of two main strains: Indica and Sativa.

A friend once gave me the helpful mnemonic of Indica as “In Da Couch”. It’s your typical “lazy stoner” kind of high. You feel kind of relaxed and dopey. Good for winding down. It makes basic activities a little more interesting. I know methodical stuff like folding washing gets a little more pleasant for me. I don’t often do a ton of complex cooking/knifework after smoking Indica. Maybe I’d make a simple, low upkeep meal like a soup after smoking Indica. Toss on some music and have a quiet night doing something basic. Then once the soup was ready, tuck in with a crusty bread and a low mental impact TV show/movie. Or get some deep fried bones from my local mediocre fast food place. I’m honestly not that big on Indica, it’s not really my kind of high.

Sativa, on the other hand, is a strain I tend to like. I’ve heard the comparison between the two as Indica being below the neck and Sativa being above it. Personally, Sativa makes my synapses fire off in all sorts of directions. My brain goes to interesting, creative places. I notice odd little details that would never cross my mind sober. Maybe I’d see the absurdity of unnecessary social posturing or get a better grip of what people are saying between the lines. When I smoke Sativa and play Magic, for instance, it makes me slow down and gauge what’s going on better. I see vectors and long term outcomes a little clearer. I’m not faster at doing the math, per se, but it helps me consider the math a little more carefully. I wouldn’t say I play better high, but it does make the game a lot more fascinating. When I watch TV shows, I’m paying more attention to overarching character motivations and the representation of certain themes. In short, it helps me consider background details I’d usually ignore. I don’t mentally process quite so quickly as I do sober, because I’m noticing a lot more stimuli.

There are also hybrid strains that fuse aspects of the two together. For me, this is still a wild (Wild) west scenario. I don’t know what I’m getting into or how to adroitly choose the kind of hybrid experience I’m looking for. Like oysters, I feel like I just haven’t met the right one yet, but one day I will and they’ll be my favourite new thing.

All of the above, I think, tend to be rather THC based. THC tends to be the active ingredient that gets you high. I don’t know if Indica vs Sativa have different THC quantities, or if there are variations within types of THC. I just don’t. I know that with edibles, THC content is measured in milligrams. The standard that I’ve stuck to is that 10-20mg of THC in an edible is a pretty entry level amount. If you don’t smoke much, this should be enough to get you high without being overstimulated.

In contrast to THC, there’s CBD, another “cannaboid”? CBD has a lot of medicinal effects and I don’t think really makes you high. People use it for mental clarity/focus. It’s common for anxiety sufferers to take CBD based strains. I think it has healing properties too. When I was in Portland and suffering from a lot of joint pain, some dude at a cafe gave me a couple of drops of pure CBD oil and it really helped ease my pain without making me mentally foggy. People have talked about CBD use with physical workouts and I’m curious to see how that goes.

I don’t know if this helped anyone. I’d love to learn more, because I think legalisation has much more potential than “let’s just get fucked up all the time”. The more we know, the better we can help people who’d benefit from its use.

Also selfishly, I just want to know what I’m doing.

How negative do you have to be before it comes out positive?

Today I bought 75 cans of tuna.

If anyone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them exactly that. Today I bought 75 cans of tuna. I figure it’s the perfect response. It’s a neutral statement that belies my constant state of dread. I don’t need to specify that walking into the office instills me with a sense of listlessness and helplessness, because they likely assume I bought almost eighty cans in the hopes of committing ritual seppuku via mercury poisoning. I should be so lucky.

You know, I reference mercury poisoning often enough, but I don’t really know what the symptoms are. Let’s review, shall we?

  • mood swings, nervousness, irritability, and other emotional changes,
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • abnormal sensations,
  • muscle twitching,
  • tremors
  • weakness,
  • muscle atrophy, and
  • decreased cognitive functions.
  • peripheral vision impairment,
  • stinging or needle-like sensations in the extremities and mouth,
  • loss of coordination,
  • muscle weakness, and
  • other impairments of speech and hearing

So it’s like being permanently hungover. Seems like a rough way to go. Still, nothing like saying “fuck it” and ingesting too much deep sea fish out of sunken cost fallacy. That, if anything, seems On Brand for me.

Other things that are On Brand for me: Unnecessarily convoluted puns. Having serious opinions about pooping technique. Caring too much about irreverent observations and too little about making good decisions. Listening to Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” eerily often. Starting sentences with “So”, “And” or “But”. LCD Soundsystem’s “Christmas Will Break Your Heart”. Mixing Four Loko with anything. Consuming odd flavour combos less because I can’t afford better and more because I crave new experiences/hate waste. The bold plain colour t-shirt/pants combo. Cute animal based graphic tees. Air Bud over everything. Capitalising For Emphasis. Knowing a bunch about films I’ve never seen. Not watching any classic cinema. Crying frequently during Wreck-It Ralph. Spending more time reading Magic the Gathering articles than playing Magic the Gathering. Balking at people who haven’t watched Community. Climbing things while drunk. Confusing nostalgia and regret. Listening to a ten hour loop of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You”. Commas.

In case you were wondering, I’d happily sell out and turn Being Me into a financial transaction. If anyone wants to pay me for On Brand content, I’m game. How else am I going to Do What I Love/Love What I Do and practice self care simultaneously? There must be some kind of way, right? Become a lifestyle guru for those with questionable standards? Sell jade vagina eggs to take advantage of desperate women? Become a lobbyist for Big Tuna? Get a book deal that involves repackaging exceprts from this writing project? Start a cooking channel for pescetarian bachelors? Get sponsored by Four Loko and write about it for Vice? Start a blog about listening to 10 hours of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You” in different public locations?

And here I was thinking I wasn’t marketable enough.

Come at me, hot dogs

Sorry folks, I’ve got nothing today. My coworkers are all sick, so work was ballistic. I think my eyes actually hurt from staring at the screen. So here I am staring at a smaller screen, hoping that I can get words out for the next half hour before my mind implodes.

Let’s begin.

I’ve been listening to Mitski’s Be The Cowboy on repeat for the past few days. I slept on it for an absurd amount of time and now it’s all I want in my ears. The way she so thoroughly navigates the warring emotions of love is so compelling. She’s a brilliant songwriter and the album comes alive in ways both heartwarming and unsettling. She has this great talent for finding niche idiosyncrasies that are also somehow alarmingly relatable. Whether it’s blurring the lines of fiction and longing, or how desire manifests in the strangest of moments. It’s a total treasure and an album worth absorbing sooner rather than later. I did a quick delve into her discography and her other stuff is similarly terrific in different ways. Did that sentence make sense? Is that part of the criteria for today’s entry? I dearly hope not.

Whoops, looks like my mind finally imploded. I’m all out of anything to say. I’m not gonna claim that I have trenchant thoughts on the regular, but now I’m several rungs below what would be acceptable. My brain pretty much resembles that soft serve chicken nugget sludge. I know that’s one of the images touted around to put people off mechanically separated chicken, but honestly if you filled a cone or taco with it and nuked all the salmonella out, I’d eat the shit out of that nightmarish feast. Think of it, it’s basically an ice cream shaped hot dog. We all eat hot dogs and by now we should all know they’re nutritional voids. You’re eating wonderbread topped with flatland’s impression of flesh. I swear you’d be better served hooking tomato sauce and mustard to an IV and mainlining it hard. Keep the cheese and onions, get some real bread and make a great cheese toastie.

I swear this is the longest I’ve spent writing. I keep getting distracted and have nothing coming to mind to write about. Still, it’s been maybe almost two hours since I opened this page to jot down thoughts. Surely there’s something going on? I wrote about the pot legalisation yesterday, so I’ll let that die down for a while. I’m collecting bits for my Halloween costume, but I’m gonna be sorting that out in dribs and drabs over the next week. Yet again, not enough to delve into. My girlfriend and I are going to a fancy party on Saturday, but there’s no point talking about anything until after the fact. Oh BTW I’m going to wear a suit and shirt in two days. Scintillating, eh? I ate soup for dinner. Big whoop. My evening is folding washing and playing Magic. Still nothing exciting that’s cause to scribe. Am I done here?

Okay, something dumb that was sloshing around in my brain yesterday. You know how when you have a baby, people are always like “oh, it has your nose”? What if that’s actually what’s going on? Like, part of the pact of parenthood is giving of yourself to your offspring? So this kid is actually stealing your nose (which is maybe a blessing in disguise considering how odious children smell)? Is that why parents always play the “I’ve got your nose” game? They’re just taking back what was rightfully theirs from these born thieves?

I told you it was dumb.