If they ask “which generation?”, they’re a keeper

I’m sure it’s not the first time I’ve done something like this, but there was a thread on fun first date stuff you’d want to do. I put together some ideas.

Oh wow, I love this question.

I’m big into spending hours chatting, eating tasty things, doing activities or some combination of the above. First dates I’ve wanted to do (but haven’t yet):

  • Both of you come prepared with a list of Speed Dating style questions (Which movie could you live in? What pokémon would you start with?) then go back and forth.
  • That 36 Questions thing, trite as it is, does make for great in-depth conversation.
  • Both of you come prepared with Scavenger Hunt style things you want to do (find a green alcoholic drink, shout PENIS in a public place), then work through the list together.
  • If you both have metro/day passes, blind pick a number of stops, then go to those spots, find something to do at each of those spots and take a photo together at those spots. Then make a photo collage of your day spent together to keep as a memento.
  • Have a budget (like $10-$20), go to an op shop and buy each other outfits within that budget, then go out for a meal at some fun divey place.
  • I mean, anything divey is great. Toronto comic Jordan Foisy wrote this excellent article where he went to a shitty bar, ordered a drink and asked someone there what the worst bar in Toronto was, then went to that bar and repeated the process. I’d love to do this as a date.
  • Look, I like cheap drinking. Having a bunch of drinks then going out to a fun dance party (Beam Me Up, Chronologic, etc) sounds like a good night to me.
  • Some kind of dance class neither of us has tried before. I’m physically capable, but very clumsy when it comes to choreo and I love trying new things.
  • I love cooking, and I’ve had this idea of getting a 70s cookbook (Be Bold with Bananas or the like), then trying to make something dire from it. Also we’d both have to at least taste it.
  • Play one of those adventure games where you have to make choices. Telltale Games sorta stuff. Take turns alternating who gets to choose. It either brings up tensions nice and early, or helps you see what kind of decision maker your date is. Or if they want to share their thought process, that’s really awesome and helpful to know.
  • Lots of Fuck/Marry/Kill. It’s fun to come up with people/abstract concepts that you’d either want or hate all of them. The game has legs.
  • Cult Film/Bad Movie showings. Something at The Royal/Carlton/Revue. Especially if there’s a fun theme to work with.
  • I genuinely like pretty active stuff. I’ve done this one before, but I was doing friend dates for a while and we plotted out a route, then jogged to a brewery (chatting all the way) and got beer flights. It was neat.
    Pursuit OCR is pretty far out now, but it’s an amazing place and I’m sure it’d be a great spot for a first date. If the conversation is fun, you could even turn the long transit into a feature by spending the time getting to know one another better. Then once you’re at Pursuit, seeing how someone approaches play is an important thing for me, because I’m often all sorts of goofy.
  • For improv nerds, I’ve thought of going to a Wedding expo together and making up your long term relationship as you go along. Seems like a rad, potentially high-wire act.
  • The Toronto Public Library has some free recording facilities. You could record a date and turn it into a podcast episode.

Will I do even half of these? I have no earthly idea. I went on zero dates in 2018, hopefully I’m in more of a dating space in 2019.

Here’s the scoop

I’m not good at shovelling snow.

It’s not that I can’t shovel snow, but I don’t have solid technique. After a brief skim read of some snow shovelling tutorial, I definitely have terrible technique. It’s like “don’t lift with your lower back” and “resist the urge to twist your back hand. Instead pivot from the waist and depost the snow to the side.” NOPE. I’m all about getting the chore out of the way as quickly as possible, which means I’ve got massive knots on the left side of my back today. I did find a good level up technique, where I can essentially plow areas that have had the bulk lifted off. It doesn’t get everything, but it gets most of it. If, instead of pointing the edge of the shovel right at the ground, I lift it slightly above, I can push with both hands on the handle and amass a bunch at one time. It makes it much easier if you’re clearing a big path.

Yesterday I’ve got no idea how much snow there was. A lot. There was enough snow that I can basically only see the lids of my big outdoor recycling/rubbish bins. I don’t know why I’m talking in past tense, most of the snow is still there. I managed to work from home, which meant I felt responsible for clearing the walkway (so postal workers could get through), and a path in the back (so people living in our building could get through). I don’t have good warm gloves, so once it gets below -20 I can only shovel for so long before I need to go inside and warm them up. Thus the rushed lack of technique. I also got a bit too eager trying to open the shed door to get the shovel out. There was some snow in the way, but my excessive zeal led me to not only open the door, but also tear it off its lower hinges. It still closes, mostly. Whoops. Fortunately we keep nothing of value in there.

I remember being a kid and hearing stories of my mum growing up in Montreal. She said sometimes there’d be so much snow they couldn’t open the door. It sounded like she was making up fibs. From little ol’ NZ, snow almost seemed like a fictional concept. Having grown up and moved to Canada, it’s all too real. I also don’t own waterproof pants/gloves, so it’s not like I can go out and play in it either. I’ve had this thing that I’ve kinda wanted to do for some time, whereby I fill balloons with water, then drop food colouring into them and tie them off. Then leave them outside to freeze, and when they unfreeze I’ll hypothetically have a bunch of coloured ice orbs. What would I do with them then? Who knows? I guess you could also fill ten empty coke bottles with coloured water and freeze them to make pins, then bowl. It’d involve cutting off the bottle afterwards, but if you had the tools it shouldn’t be too hard. Who knows? I’m a theory, not a practice kind of fella.

I’m getting ahead of myself. You might as well call me Anne Bowlin’.

It was her, it was me

Well, my therapist broke up with me.

Maybe that’s not the best way to phrase it. We’re going to be seeing other people from now on. I mean, we were already seeing other people, so that probably doesn’t fit either. Our time together has come to an end. I swear it was amicable. There’s nothing wrong with either of us, we just weren’t right for each other.

I’m not making it any clearer, am I?

The long and short of it is, we talked through matters and she wasn’t sure that her expertise and particular skills were useful when it came to my particular thinking patterns. That’s not to say that therapy is out the window (and I still have my previous therapist to fall back on, who is very very good). I’m gonna keep at it, but not with my now ex-therapist. It’s in no way because she’s not a great therapist, but as she said, her methods weren’t really conducive to helping with the issues I’ve been facing.

What we were talking about was very interesting. She was saying that there are, of course, a myriad of treatment options for all manner of mental health needs. Whether it’s Eastern or Western medicine, there’s no one thing that always works. It’s tailored to the individual and the context. Within Western medicine, she said, there are a number of different pillars that are commonly addressed. There’s exercise, mindfulness, sleep, therapy and medicine. We addressed each of the different pillars and what I’d been doing to cope. We talked about exercise and whether or not that’s been useful. It very much has helped. It’s boosted my mental fortitude and reserves. If I don’t exercise for a few days, I notice it. I don’t feel as sharp, and it’s harder to work myself out of sticky mental places. Exercise is great. It’s also not a catch-all. It doesn’t always effectively disperse dark moods, but it does often facilitate the process. So exercise is great.

Mindfulness. Mindfulness is thoroughly difficult for me. I’ve tried meditation, to very little success. It’s so hard to slow my thoughts and just let them pass me by. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthless exercise, but it is profoundly frustrating. Mindfulness is of course not limited to meditation. She suggested that going on holiday like I did in Montreal was in fact a version of mindfulness. It’s a way to put yourself in a different mental state where you’re paying attention to what’s in front of you, rather than obsessing about frustrating life situations. Still, going on holiday all the time isn’t super accessible fiscally or time-wise. It may help to find a way to access mindfulness that works for me. I get mostly enough sleep, and I’ve made real strides in recent years to regulate how much I’m getting. I used to subsist on 5-7 hours a night. I try these days to get at least 7, but closer to 7.5.

Then we get to therapy. I think therapy is something that works well for me. I did a lot of extremely helpful work with my previous therapist. I mentioned to my now ex-therapist that it’d been really useful looking at the root of thoughts, where they came from, etc. “Oh, that’s not something you’ll get from CBT”, she offered. We looked at how I’d been incorporating CBT style methodology to difficult mental/emotional times. Really, I had been trying. Understanding that they were just thoughts and not concrete realities, letting myself feel what I was going through, offering contrary thoughts and options to what I believed in that time, trying to find helpful behaviours that mitigated my experiences and/or helped move towards more productive thoughts. I’d been doing it and it hadn’t been helping. She wasn’t sure that the methods and structures she offered were giving me tools I didn’t have. Which wasn’t to say that I was beyond reproach, but that she didn’t see herself having much of a potential impact. We agreed, with no malice, that it wasn’t really working.

So she suggested that I could consider medication as a viable option. That maybe it’d be worth talking to my GP and seeing what she thought. She said to keep in mind the options she’d mentioned (exercise, mindfulness, sleep, therapy and medicine, remember?), and see if I could incorporate any of them in ways that helped. As for the two of us, she was happy to keep working with me, but wasn’t sure it was a great use of my time.

I wonder what my other therapist will say about all of this…

s’now day like today.

It’s a Snow Day, so I’m getting lazy.

I’m at home with a mug o’ broth turned soup. I’m writing this in a half screen while mostly watching a Magic stream. It’s a snow day, I get to do what I want. Snow day didn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of today. I got to leave work two hours early and went to the gym. Overall I guess it gave me my evening back. I dreamed of snow days as a kid. The idea of wagging school because of lots of cold, fluffy water seemed like a miracle. Rain never got cold enough back home. These days, a snow day means I can’t see Lake Ontario from my work (which sits right next to it). Today was basically a white out.

Soooo I’m being lazy here. I’ve been watching the stream and hardly writing at all. Oh man, buying kimchi the other day was a genius level IQ move. Now I can eat kimchi every time I’m home. Firstly, kimchi is delicious. Secondly, kimchi is very healthy. Thirdly, it doesn’t even need to be cooked. I can get right in there with a fork, spoon, or just my bare fucking hands. It’s a game changer, and I don’t know why I wasn’t this smart earlier. Sometimes you’re not ready, I guess.

I got around to watching the Fyre documentary. Egads it was satisfying. Firstly, it was interesting to see the depths to which that Billy McFarland would sink to make a quick buck. Always a scheme, one after another. At some level, despite how nefarious it all was, it was also impressive. I didn’t follow any of the influencer people, so the first I heard of Fyre Festival was when it all went down in flames. What a colossal clusterfuck. Basically orchestrating a massive exercise in fraud so he could live out a party lifestyle. I just wish we got to see more of young rich kids suffering. When it hit peak Lord of the Flies it was great, but why couldn’t we stay in those glorious moments for longer? Of course nobody really suffered too much, they were cheated and scammed, but nobody died. They just had to endure shitty sandwiches. It was a real shame that the island’s inhabitants bore the real brunt of McFarland’s ruse. I hope they get their justice. The thing that stuck with me, was how the underlying Fyre app wasn’t a bad idea. It looked like they were gonna pivot into a new evolution of it, but perhaps disrupting the system with an app like that could bring down concert costs. Bah, who am I kidding? People will ever want to make a quick buck. Everyone knows that Ticketmaster are scum, but nothing has and will be done. We’re stuck with this system until some revolution comes our way.

Y’know, it’s still a snow day and I’m still feeling lazy. I think it’s time I call this entry done and get back to my night. I’ve got so much kimchi to eat and snow little time.

Don’t think too hard, it actually didn’t make sense. Bye bye.

Do wanna be All By Myself

Yesterday I had no meaningful interactions with a single other human being. It was wonderful.

Lest this reads as a hermit’s manifesto, it happened organically. I had half-arsed plans to do things with other people, and they didn’t come to fruition. I also had some potential errands to run. I needed a costume for a party next week, and I was tempted to go out and find some nice coffee beans to keep around home. Easy errands. After a late night of hard dancing, my legs were shot. Still, I’d only been to the gym twice that week. I figured I had nothing urgent to get to, I could have a smoke and do a basic upper body maintenance workout, then pick up those two things. I made a post gauging interest in having a Make Your Own Pizza night, in case anyone wanted to come over.

The gym went quickly enough. A friend recommended this artist BØRNS, and I gave his albums a listen. Fun bouncy electro stuff. His second album, Blue Madonna, was a real good time. Pretty cheesy/campy, but with a fun slick 80s vibe. Very theatrical, but also supremely goofy. It’s great music to make a workout tick by. I kinda zoned out and got stuff done, but mostly spent an age stretching. I can’t emphasise enough how integral stretching has become after a night out dancing. If I were a smarter gent, I’d stretch before too. Thing is, I normally have to be a drunk enough gent to dance in the first place that stretching is my last thought. Stretching post was time well spent. My legs don’t feel like they’re gonna drop off today. Bonus.

My mind wandered and this scene started playing out; two strangers in public who were listening to the same song simultaneously. That was it. I had no idea what song, where they were, just that. The same song. Maybe the song would make them think back to certain memories. Maybe they’d have entirely different views of the song, read lines with alternative meanings. I thought back to the time when I went to a silent disco. There were three different DJs. The DJ you were listening to was denoted by a coloured light on your headphones. You could look around and notice others on your wavelength, see that they were dancing to the same beat. What if you were in public and noticed that someone was dancing as if to the song in your headphones? What if it was actually the same song. That’d be crazy right? I showered up, still with this idea playing through my head. It looked like pizza was not a go for people that night. I thought about seeing a movie. The Favourite was on at 7pm, friends wanted to see Spider Verse and I was happy to see it again. I asked if 9.15 worked. I had all day and I wanted to take my time. My friends were busy, so no Spider Verse, but I still had stuff to do, right?

I still wanted my costume shirt and coffee. I could hit up Black Market, then walk East towards M Street Coffee to pick up some Phil & Sebastian beans. Deal. Black Market is a great place. A bargain basement where most everything is $10, nothing over. I found a couple of shirts, but none of them fit. I’ve also had a side hustle of trying to get a cheap burgundy leather jacket for a few years. I found one that mostly fit. Mostly. The shoulders were a little narrow and poked up when I zipped the jacket. It looked dumb done up, but kind of fine while open. The rack said $5.99. Was $5.99 a fine price for a consolation “close enough” jacket. Seemed that way. I took it up to the counter, and it turned out to be $10. It was a leather jacket, was $10 still a fine price for “close enough”? It was. I tried it on again this morning. I might be KonMari-ing that shit. Unless it’s exclusively for costumes. I tried a couple of other stores for this ugly orange shirt (Nic Cage, Leaving Las Vegas), but their tastes didn’t stray so low. Apparently.

Turned out M Street Coffee was closed, so no deal on the beans. Since I was near Chinatown, I figured I’d drop in at some of the stores. I had ideas of cooking liver and other offal while my girlfriend was Down Under, and the Chinatown shops were filled with the stuff. I got myself a big ol’ pork liver, some fancy apples and a big jar of kimchi. I’ve never kept home kimchi and I’ve got no idea why. I love the stuff and it keeps well. A friend messaged about her storytelling night at 7pm. It was already 5pm and I’d had no time to chill. Was it worth busting my ass to get there? She’s an excellent writer who gives a lot of herself in her work, but also I’d been on my feet for hours. I was even allowed to stay in and not get roped into Saturday night partytime. The stranger song idea was still in my head, and I wanted to get it down on a page. I told her I’d need time to decompress, and if I could make it out of the house, I’d make a beeline for the event.

I didn’t make it out of the house in time. I got back, took ten to catch my breath, then started writing. It wasn’t a fast process. When I do this kind of writing, my normal writing, it flows a lot easier. I don’t have to think about reasonable structure, if I’m reusing words or expressions too much. I don’t have to think about tenses or pronouns, perspectives, etc. I can just write. Fiction is so far out of my wheel house, even for a low stakes story, that it takes eons to get anywhere. I lost hours to yesterday’s writing. I kept writing, deleting, writing, editing. I was maybe 500 words in before I even figured out what song they’d be listening to. A friend had recently written about her and her boyfriend bonding over it. The song had some sweet sentiment, but also it was well known enough for people to catch on. I didn’t even plan for lyrical coincidences, they just happened. Nothing about the idea was well thought out, so I had to think as I wrote. It was sort of exciting.

Then it was somehow almost 9pm and I hadn’t even eaten dinner. While everyone opted out, there was nothing stopping me from having a pizza night. I had a little tub of gravy in the fridge left over from the other day’s pork roast. Had I ever tried gravy as a base instead of tomato? Why not experiment? I pre-heated the oven then went to the supermarket to grab bases. I remembered that people had suggested bacon to cook with liver, so I grabbed some. Back home I spread gravy on the base, and put it on the pizza tray. I thought about caramelised onions with the gravy and roast pork tenderloin. I chopped the bacon up and threw it into the pan with the onions. It was all coming together. Sundried tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, cumin, cayenne and a slathering of cheese. It was magnificent, decadent and exactly what I wanted. My friends had opted out, but there was no reason I couldn’t watch a movie by myself. So at around 11pm I sat in front of my computer with a delicious pizza and watched Roma.

It was fucking perfect, and I was in perfect company.

I guess I must be having fun

I don’t read much these days, so writing fiction is tough. The expressive vocabulary isn’t there to fall back on. Still, I had a scene in my head that needed to go somewhere.

She was on her way downtown, meeting up with an ex she hadn’t seen in ages. They parted on amicable terms, and had been pretty close since. Sorta. When they were both single, it was great. They could share space with someone else that knew them. They’d been intimate. The intimacy was no longer fiery, but the compassion lingered. Then she’d gotten a new partner, and things had still been fine. They kept hanging out, it was nice to have a male friend who wasn’t her boyfriend. She could confide in him, be there as support for his dating endeavours. It felt ideal. Then her ex got a new girlfriend. It was exciting, but weird. Something hung over their ex-ship that hadn’t before. They drifted apart, saw less and less of each other. Tonight was their first time together in almost a year. They were just gonna watch a movie at his. It was an excuse to hang out, movies and snacks. Would it be like old times? So comfortable with each other? Or were they trying to revive a time that’d passed? Had they sailed beyond a point of connection? Was she just using him for easy emotional labour? Or was that why he kept her around? A friendship born on wanting to feel needed? She hadn’t thought twice about him for months, but post breakup, he popped into her head. Ugh, typical. She shook the thoughts from her head and bounded down the subway entrance stairs. A new song kicked in, strumming bass and bouncy synths. She smiled and cast her mind back.

She was cute. Cute? Cute seemed reductive. She was handsome. Striking? All sharp tangents and bold lines. She was confident and comfortable and smiling. She looked like she wanted to be there. That was nice. They’d been chatting for hours and it all just fit, y’know? She was funny, and probably out of his league. Out of his league? What did that even mean anymore? Did it ever mean anything? At 28, his thoughts constantly questioned rules and structures. This talk of “leagues” was basically just “stay in your lane” by any other name. The boxes only fit if you let them. She was talking about the suburb where she grew up. Remote. All seaside, quaint shops and fishing piers. As a kid she’d bike down to the stores with her friends. On Friday afternoon her mum would give her ten bucks for them to get ice creams. He could see it in her eyes, animated, eyebrows going like crazy. She was right back there. One time, she said, she told her mum that Lindsay and Karen were coming, but didn’t invite Karen. Her and Lindsay split the tenner and got chocolate thick shakes. There was something mischievous about it, taboo. They’d pulled into the park, sat under the big maple and held hands, giggling. Backs to the world. They’d taken more than their share, but they were sharing it together. It felt like they’d earned it. Like it was okay, sometimes. Then they’d thought about Karen back at home. They’d make it up to her sometime. It was kinda nice to do stuff for people, but sometimes it was nice to have someone to yourself. He smiled. It was great just hearing her talk. He marvelled at how vivid her memory was, how open and free she was being a couple of hours after meeting him. A waiter walked past and his date caught his eye. “I’ll have another one, thanks.” She looked back at her date and quirked her head. He nodded. “Make that two. Cheers.” The waiter walked off. She turned back to her date. “What’s your favourite musical memory?” He’d never thought about it. He wanted to give a good answer, sound cool or deep. She told stories well, he could too. Out of his league. He laughed, and it came to him. He cleared his throat. “My father used to spend a lot of time in his workshop. He’d throw on a record and work on little projects. He wasn’t great at it, but I think he just needed to get out of his head. Maybe it was an excuse to listen to music. Who knows? He’d crank it up loud and dance to himself, but time and time he’d come back to his favourite song. Talking Heads – “This Must Be The Place”.”

She walked onto the platform, and the lyrics kicked in. “Home is where I want to be/Pick me up and turn me around”. Images flashed in her brain. Her ex in the kitchen, uncorked bottle of red on the table. They’d supped deep, and gorgeous smells were wafting into the lounge. Garlic and onions, a rich tomato scent. Counters covered in flour. Pasta night. She was idly singing along, just watching him work. He loved to cook and she let him. Her days were hard enough, and he was nice to come home to. Home. She spent so much time staying over. Would they ever move in together? Did she even want that? She loved her own bed, her space, her things staying where she left them. He was a sweet guy, a little daft sometimes, but kind. Always kind. She was back on the platform, watching times tick along the info board. Her head bobbed along to the music. Four minutes. She could wait four minutes.

He sat, deep in thought. This song, every time it threw him right back to his father and his workshop. His father wasn’t always kind, but he cared. In his own way. In his workshop though, he was lost to the music. “OOOOOoh!” His father would bellow. “You got light in your eeeeeyes”. Back on the platform, his heels rising and falling in time. He smiled, eyes creasing. He looked up to the Westbound platform. A lady stood wearing a long yellow pea coat. Yellow? Sandy? Mustard. Definitely mustard. Why did English have so many words? Her eyes were closed and she was bobbing her head, lost to the music. Her eyes started to open and he averted his gaze, blushing. He was lucky he had someone to go home to. He couldn’t live the single life again. He’d forgotten how to meet new people. What were the steps? The song wormed its way back into his head. “And you’re standing here beside me/I love the passing of time”. He darted his eyes back, just for a split second. Her eyes met his, he darted away again. He closed his eyes and focused on the song. He mouthed the words along with it “Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight.”

She hadn’t needed to think about guys in so long. She was comfortable alone, independent. But for some reason she felt like she had to be in a relationship. It wasn’t even her thought, one of those shoulds that society threw her way. She liked being alone. She could stay up late, sleep in. On her own time. Before the breakup, her boyfriend had been so needy. He was going through a hard time, but when hadn’t he been? She’d helped. She’d tried, anyway. You can only help for so long with someone who won’t accept it. A guy going East looked her way for just a second. He looked nervous. Probably needy too. ShouldsFuck “should“, she thought. “Home, is where I want to be”. Byrne’s vocals spoke her mind. Did she even want to see her ex? Was this just another should? A sudden rumble. There was a train coming. Had it been four minutes already?

A rumbling dispersed his thoughts. His train pulled into the station. “I guess that this must be the place” The song’s eponymous line, lining up impeccably. It was almost cinematic. Life imitates art kind of thing. The train came to a halt and the doors opened. He stepped in, still mouthing along. “I find you or you find me.” He had this strange compulsion to look back to the woman in the mustard pea coat. The motion of her lips caught his eye. They were moving in time with his own. “If someone asks, this is where I’ll be, where I’ll be oh!” His eyes widened.

She stared, transfixed, as her mouth kept moving. “Oh! Sing into my mouth”. Nervous man looked shocked, but she couldn’t blame him. What were the odds? This was uncanny. He was standing straight up looking right back, lips mirroring her own. “You got a face with a view.”

Astonished, he hardly noticed the chimes as the doors closed. He simply continued staring, mouthing along. How many songs existed in the world? How many songs were people listening to right at this moment? Hell, Talking Heads had a huge discography on their own. The lyrics poured into his ears as he imagined the possibilities. The train began to move, while he couldn’t. Stone still, but for his lips. “I’m just an animal looking for a home”.

For the songs not only to be the same, but to start at exactly the same time. Was that statistically impossible? The train rolled away, but the guy hadn’t even taken a seat. The moment held him fast to his feet. The words went straight from his lips to her brain. “Share the same space for a minute or two”. He moved out of sight, but not out of mind. Dumbfounded, her lips stopped while her cognisance reeled. Almost dizzy, a flurry of thoughts: Where was she going? Why was she going? Where did she want to be? Did she want to be there? Was there any reason that she didn’t? She liked her ex, right? Did there have to be a big reason? Their history was good. Familiarity was comfort, wasn’t that enough? What was she even worried about? He had a good heart and a big laugh. Maybe she’d pick up a bottle of red on her way over.

He came back to himself and found a seat, still caught by the moment. The outro plugged along merrily. What did his dad always say? “I’m home, and I’ll drink to that.” Home. His wife was back home. She’d been working all day. Tons of commissions lately, but when it rained, it poured. She’d welcome a break for the night. Maybe they could go out to the park with a blanket, sit under the big maple. They’d grab chocolate thick shakes and a mickey of Kahlúa. They could reminisce about warm memories and think about the future. Together. Sometimes it was nice to have someone for yourself. Real connection wasn’t easy to find. You had to take it when it came, right?

Be careful, this suddenly got SUPER political

Is gravy just hot, thick, meat fat?

I already regret my use of “just”, as it could be misconstrued that I don’t hold the marvel of gravy with the utmost reverence. That would be a shame. There’s nothing “mere” about gravy. Gravy is a wondrous substance that goes with anything. Meat? Of course. Cheese? Definitely. Bread? 100%. Ice cream? Chocolate? Some types, perhaps. Candy? It’d sure as hell improve the taste of Red Vines/Twizzlers. See? My logic is impeccable. Gravy goes with everything. Indisputable.

For the past week or so I’ve been feeling this irritating sensation. The kind of irritating sensation I usually get from water lodged in my ear. I’ve got weirdly shaped ears, I’m used to it. Water gets and trying to remove it is like bot fly extraction (warning, that link is both totally fascinating and utter nightmare fuel). I tried a bunch of cotton buds and got all the earwax out, but nevertheless the sensation persisted. I wondered if there was anything wrong with me. Then today after poking around with my finger a bunch, I realised that I’m now so old that I get ear hairs. So that’s great, something new that I have to upkeep about my body, as it steadily falls apart. Much like gravy, my body is basically now just hot, thick, meat fat.

Which I guess means it’s in good company.

You know, I started this about two hours ago. I’ve been getting distracted, procrastinating as much as possible and generally avoiding getting words down on this page. I don’t want to write every single day. At the same time, specifically because I don’t want to write every day, I need to write every day. I know myself well enough that if I let myself off the hook for a single day, then I’ll let myself off the hook for other single days. Then they’ll be less single days and more a cluster of days. Then I’ll find excuses not to write maybe for a week, or more. Soon enough I’ll write when I feel like writing. The thing is, I barely ever feel like writing. Occasionally, yes, I get gripped by creativity and it all bursts out of me. Then other days I’ll have this tabbed while I’m reading articles about the cessation of the US governmental shutdown, or 15 non-Oscar nominated films that deserved to be (and you know my boy Paddington was right in there). Maybe I’ll walk to the kitchen and grab ingredients for cheese and crackers, contemplate assembling them there, and instead decide I can do it on the fly. Then perhaps I’ll discover that they’re cumbersome enough to make that doing them one by one whenever my whims drive me, is just plain inefficient. In this entirely hypothetical situation it could be that the bacon marmalade (one more shout out to my boy Paddington) I’m using is too clumpy to easily spread with a knife, and a spoon would’ve been smarter, but I’ll press on anyway to my own detriment. Then possibly I’ll make five or six crackers before getting frustrated by my own ineptitude that I’d eat them all and take the ingredients back to the kitchen without having written a single word.

Hah, like that would ever happen.

But in any case, there’s no good to come of me bashing my head against a wall here.

I bet that’s how Trump felt.

Surprise/Sir Prize/Serp Rise

Surprise, it’s me!

Did I catch anyone out with my cunning ruse? You thought it was someone else maybe, but then WHAM! BAM! It was ME AGAIN! Which is somewhat nebulous because I, your humble (really? -Ed) narrator, haven’t announced who I am yet. Trust me though, it is me, even if that sounds like something that someone else might say. You know in your heart though, that I’m the real Shady in a world of imataties.

Okay, so I looked up the lyrics for “Real Slim Shady” and it turns out that this entire time I harboured the incorrect but adorable assumption that he said “imitaties” instead of “imitating”. Look, I knew that “imitaties” wasn’t a real word, but all words are made up. I thought Slim made up another one to help his rhyme scheme (which is kinda weird, ’cause “imitating” has assonance, but I’m not sure it truly rhymes). Though isn’t my charming flub more innocence that it’s clearly me, the writer of these here words, and not some Slimpostor?

Yeah, fuck you Slim. I just made up a word and it was great. “Imitaties” was a cool word and I would’ve let you use it just fine. Is this where I go full on Stan? Which’d be a strange turn of events, considering I was never a fan of Mathers anyway. If I really resented the dude I’d probably call him some offensive portmanteau like a Slimball, but I don’t have any strong opinions on M.N.M, so I won’t. I have a few thoughts on M.L.M. But they’re primarily restricted to “it’s pretty shitty” or “pyramid schemes are way less cool if they don’t involve building a real ass pyramid”. Mostly I just want more pyramids in the world.

When you think about it though, pyramids aren’t awfully efficient. They have massive horizontal spread and limited vertical applications. Anyone on a side would feel like they were in a loft style room with an unreasonably sloped wall. I guess if you wanted to make the most of a pyramid it’d be primarily rectangular boxes, with some worthless space on the sides. Then again, if you filled all that with insulation, you could make yourself a very, very warm building. Or a heat deathtrap, depending how sunny it was outside the pyramid. Weren’t pyramids primarily tombs? That seems appropriate. You could also make neat little secret compartments in the sloped sections. Or large but oddly angled walk in wardrobes. At some point you’d have to affect a gangster lean to fit in geometrically, but maybe that’s something you enjoy?

Pyramids: They’re not for everyone.

However, if you did cover them in solar panels they’d have a much better spread than a conventional tall building. That’s what I think. You know, me being me and all.

You surprised?

You get what you pay for ’round here

I’m in a rush, so this is gonna be disconnected and weird. Quick dispatches and snippets.

I finished season one of Sex Education on Netflix. It was swell. For something that involves an amount of full frontal, it was quite sweet. I liked that it didn’t put sex on a pedestal, but really is just a thing we do. Maybe that’s the kind of magic you get from a predominantly female writer’s room. The casting was quite well done. Gillian Anderson was, of course, fantastic. The leads all inhabit their roles pretty well. One of the central characters has a very touching storyline that doesn’t let him off easily. Like anything Netflix it was mostly good, but also nothing spectacular. It’s fun, harmless and enjoyable enough.

My fave, James Blake, just dropped a new album. Of course, being Blake, it’s lush and gorgeous. Of course, being Blake, I already have tickets to go see him. I haven’t listened enough to form a super solid opinion, but it has a ton of very pretty ballads. A lot less in the way of challenging electronic material. Maybe because he’s happy in LA dating (one of my other faves (Jameela Jamil). If you’re at all interested in his older material, Vulture today did a terrific guide. His new album is streaming everywhere, and I figure it’s worth your time.

I was wondering today what I’d do if I had a kid that nobody liked. If for some reason they were a social martyr who only served as a playground punchline. I think back to being a kid. There was a girl who nobody liked. She was weird, which is really just another way of saying socially awkward, but children aren’t great with polysyllabic words. I had this theory that it was as simple as her wearing glasses. Kids teased her for wearing them, and consequently stayed away from her. I distinctly remember children being all “hey, don’t talk to Agatha (not her real name), you’ll get Agatha Disease”. So she never really learned how to connect to others. It made her even more alienated. A bunch of people got press ganged into spending time with her, but it never lasted long. Kids aren’t exactly known for being emotionally graceful. Imagine having a kid like that. What do you do?

How do you teach kids to be cool or liked by other kids? I’m sure as hell not up with what Kids These Days are into. How could I, in good conscience, spout off shit like “just be yourself and your true goodness will shine through. Being herself was what got her into that mess, unless my glasses theory holds weight. If my kid was just fundamentally unlikable by their peers, that seems like a nightmare scenario. I can’t imagine how gutted you’d feel for them, knowing how it would stunt their social development and how straight up unhappy it’d make them. Brutal. I definitely used to stow a finger in my previous page in Choose Your Own Adventure books, but it’s hard to get a mulligan on a kid, y’know. Especially ’cause it’s probably your fault in some way, whether genes, values or learned behaviour.

With my girlfriend half a world away for a few months, I think I want to start experimenting a little. There’s some stuff she’s just not comfortable doing, and I’ve never wanted to pressure her into it. Boundaries are important, but mine happen to be vastly wider than hers and it’s time for me to start exploring to find what I’m really into. If I wasn’t explicitly clear, I’m talking about cooking and eating offal. I think back to our trip to London. I had liver and onions and loved it. A while ago my Brazilian friend prepared barbecued chicken hearts. They were delicious. My foie gras experience reminded me of the whole liver thing and reignited my desire to dive deep into all new tastes and textures. Also it shits me on some level that there are so many animal parts that get tossed or go to waste. Why not use as many parts as possible? Liver in particular is known to be very healthy, with all kinds of great benefits. When I say “known”, I clearly mean that I’ve heard people parrot that, but I couldn’t name a single one. It’s probably true.

And that’s all s(he) wrote. I’m done. Come back tomorrow or something. Or don’t. I won’t know the difference, since y’all are anonymous. Byeeeeee.

Talking about burying the load

Back to life, back to reality.

Like the denizen of any decent narrative, I’ve grown and changed. No longer am I the cherubim innocent, the Sweet Summer Child unversed in the ways of winter. Montreal sprouted hair on my chest, calloused my hands and hardened my heart. No longer do Winter winds howl at my sanity, reducing resolve to rubble. I arrived at Union Station last night with jacket open, gloveless and without the safety of a touque to shield my ears. To be clear, I had these things, they just seemed unnecessary. Montreal was cold, put lightly. One of those nebulous records held Sunday as the most snow and coldest day Montreal had seen since 1920. Two years shy of a century. Cars were buried in snow, large white lumps lining the sidewalk. Toronto has a little slush. C’est tout. No match for my brand new Winter boots and je ne sais quoi.

Tonight I’m going to eat some vegetables. I know this doesn’t sound like anything of consequence, but it is. I devoured my way around Montreal, but in a city of bread I ate virtually nothing green. Oh, I forgot to mention. The foie gras was unreal. Imagine if liver, instead of being a weird, squishy, almost faux meat mess, was delicious. Lightly pan fried and crispy, with a soft, buttery interior. The umami was through the roof, while the texture melded perfectly with its accoutrements. It sat atop gorgeously fluffy brioche, soaked in a creamy foie gras sauce, sherry and all. Caramelised onions flanked gooey poached eggs, tied together with delectably salty pancetta chips. The meal was so damn sensual that I swear I’m still erect several days later. It’s made being back in the office quite awkward.

Oh, I had pastries, jerk pork, poutine and French onion soup. What I did not have, was fibre. I tried coffee from local cafes and even bought my own beans. I ate naught in the way of legumes. We had cheese and surveilled the vibrant French-Canadian culture. I’m not sure that my stomach absorbed any probiotics. My girlfriend baked me some homemade Ginger Crunch, my favourite slice from back in New Zealand. It’s fantastic, but the nominal amount of ginger in the dish doesn’t count for real roughage. I haven’t spent much time ridding myself of the abundant riches I devoured eagerly on holiday. I’m not on holiday anymore. I’ve left Montreal and its steamies behind. For the next week, any steamies I’m having are steamed vegetables. I’ll eat my damn vegetables tonight.

I need to poop sometime, people.