Didn’t mean to jerk all y’all around here

Hey folks, today I’m gonna talk about masturbation habits. I don’t imagine it’s gonna get particularly lewd, or that I’m gonna talk about anything to do with my body, but here’s your warning up top.

When I was hanging out with friends yesterday, someone mentioned that they’d recently gotten a Hitachi. As they’d put it, it felt like a queer rite of passage. They said it now typically took them around 45 seconds per orgasm. Most of my buddies these days tend to be relatively pervy, and I thought it was interesting hearing people talk about it. It’s not something that people often feel comfortable talking about. At the same time, I assume that for most of us, masturbation plays a relatively common role in our lives. Some friends mentioned that they typically did it most mornings to prep them for a day. It tends to be an evening thing for me, to relax and get ready for bed. I chatted with my girlfriend about it and- without spilling the beans on her personal habits- was fascinated to hear just how differently things play out for her. I tend to be pretty liberal about this kind of thing. My stance on sex/sexual stuff is that I hope everyone is having as much of it as they want, and enjoying themselves to the fullest.

It’s a pretty regular occurrence in my life. It relieves stress, helps me calm down, and straight up feels great. Why wouldn’t I? I probably started around age 12 or so, and obviously was quite into it as a teen. Weren’t we all? Things that I’ve been into have fluctuated over the years, and as I’ve grown I’ve branched out into all kinds of different material. There are so many things I find fascinating. There are a myriad of power dynamics that are interesting in all sorts of different ways. I’ve definitely watched a ton of porn that was more about curiosity and entertainment than any actual pleasure. We’re talking Pterodactyl Porn and Segway Cuckold kind of stuff. I once watched this six part series looking at different dynamics within latex-y stuff, and the final episode was just an interview with the cast/director. Nothing erotic. It was fantastic. She talked about her experiences with the industry, pitfalls and how she got ahead. She started as a performer years back, and had a ton of wisdom to share with her younger cast.

There’s a huge spectrum of stuff I’m into, and particular tastes come in ebbs and flows. Every once in a while I’ll be like oh yeah, that’s something I was into a while back and maybe I still will be. I’ve developed odd habits around privacy/secrecy with this stuff, even though I’m the only one who uses my computer. I always browse in a private browser. I never save anything to my computer. Instead I just hope that I’ll remember where stuff is. I have a ton of favoured videos/pictures/stories from across the years, and I rely on memory to recall where I found them. It’s a mixed bag, honestly. They could be from one of 20 or so tube sites, from a random Tumblr page (that probably doesn’t exist anymore), or even from Bing Video. Oh, that’s a bizarre thing more people should know. While Bing is mostly a much maligned search engine, it excels when it comes to searching for adult videos. Exponentially better than Google Video. Odd, that. Occasionally I’ll spend a ton of time trying to locate something I previously found, and it’ll end up being anticlimactic (or anti-climax-ic?). Other times it’ll be precisely what I’m looking for.

Weirdly (or at least I tend to think so. We’re all freaks here, right?) I tend to be into a lot of non-nude stuff and Instagram has been great. It’s also nice to know that stuff has generally been uploaded by the user themselves (or at least consensually uploaded by their social team). Like anything I sign up for (for the purposes of lewd browsing) I have a particular user name/password combination that I don’t use for anything else. I used to use Tumblr before they cracked down on adult content. Instagram has a pretty far reach, and gives me a ton of flexibility in what I search. Typically I’ll spend a bunch of time searching pictures (having 20-50 pictures loaded up in tabs), then going off to find some tube video. It makes me wonder why I spend so much time looking up pictures in the first place, but maybe that’s what my brain classifies as foreplay. I have a common rolodex (rolo-dicks?) of tube sites that I use for different purposes. Some cater to different kinds of material, or I’ll know that a particular actor has a lot more work stored on one site. I have so many different search terms that I use, and tend to be hyper specific, spending time paring search terms down to find exactly what I’m looking for. The idea of someone getting off in 45 seconds feels so alien to me, considering the amount of time and specificity I take during my “process”. Of course, if I had the potential to be multi-orgasmic, I imagine things would change substantially.

I don’t know that there was a message in all this. Masturbation is an entirely healthy practice that I hope people feel great about doing. I love that we’re all different, that we’re into a variety of stuff and I’m always happy to hear about how others take care of themselves.

Your boogie is a wonderland

Egads. I’m still waking up and it’s 9.30pm.

Long night out. It seemed like everything was happening last night in Toronto. German Sparkle Party has become a rave mainstay over the past few years. Having sprung from a weird viral video, people get dressed up in the sparkliest attire they can find, and dance their booties off. We didn’t go there. There was Krampus Ball, a rave with live performances, based around the half-goat/half-demon. It’s flashy and creepy, with some top tier costuming all around. We didn’t go there. There was a (pretty affordable) fetish party, and I’m sure at least two other big events that we didn’t go to. We went to the Everybody party, and had the best fucking time.

Last night was the first anniversary of their parties. Over the past year, they’ve become some of my favourite spaces. Endlessly welcoming and supportive. Good vibes incarnate. Most attendees are pretty chill, and in the rare case that people are being shitty, there are safety people who’ll de-escalate or get rid of anyone who’s being a menace. My girlfriend and I wore matching sparkly outfits. A tall friend gave me a disco style jumpsuit that was too short for them. It fits me perfectly. It’s also polyester, and thus mostly composed of sweat. I drank absurd quantities of water, and had to get near nude most any time I wanted to go to the bathroom. Everywhere I looked, I saw another friend. It was an easy sign that we were in the right place. Without exaggeration, there were probably 20 or so friends I got to hang out and/or dance with last night.

Post party, we all went back to our friends’ place to relax. They’d been looking forward to hosting, so we had blankets, pillows, snacks and soft toys galore. They have a projector set up in their lounge. We watched youtube clips, listened to music and threw on a few movies. It was the best. We all went on dumb riffs and bits. Friends shared stories of vulnerability and growth. We mostly lay around and got comfy. A friend had a bunch of chocolate chip cookie edibles and they coasted us through. It was gratifying to be able to spend so long hanging out with people without tiring of them whatsoever. We hung out for HOURS. Enough that my girlfriend and I finally dragged ourselves out of the house just before 1pm. Today has mostly been a throwaway day, and I’m absolutely fine with that. I had nothing to accomplish, and I’ve EXCELLED at that. This writing was literally the only task I needed to do, and now that’s in the can.

Like I was, every ten minutes after drinking twice my body weight in water.

After a while, the Stone Cold Stunner lost its efficacy

What did you do on Y2K?

We had our work Christmas party yesterday, 1999 was the theme. It became a fun and easy conversation starter to ask people the question above. What was Y2K for them? How was their evening? What did they do? I got a whole host of answers back. Some of my old co-workers were literal toddlers, so they had no stories to tell, just stories to make me feel old. Others went to house parties. Someone invited a bunch of friends over to drink and listen to REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” on repeat for the evening. Another wandered into his old high school with mates and drank a mickey. For most it was a massive disappointment. For some, it felt like the dawning of a new age. For me?

I was 12. I had this weird, voracious skin condition. I don’t know what it was, but it grew like a weed and spread like wildfire. I had to rub this lotion all over myself a few times per day. I think it was itchy too, so that was frustrating. It wasn’t infectious, thank Christ, so I could have a friend over. I think my parents took pity on me and let us rent an N64 from the video store (egads, that sentence is a time capsule). My friend and I played Super Smash Bros until late in the evening. I got to drink a can of energy drink, and we went down to the Auckland Viaduct to watch fireworks. They got rained out, and it all felt anticlimactic.

Y2K is seen as a joke now. It’s obvious to see why. We all thought that everything would end because computers wouldn’t know how to count the new year. Or was it some type of virus? The Y2K bug? The banks were gonna crumble and the world would fall into disrepair. Chaos would reign, people would loot, and we’d end up in some post-apocalyptic debacle. I was 12. I didn’t know any better, so I sort of assumed this was all within the realm of possibility. I don’t know that we did much in the way of prep. I think my parents bought a couple of large water jugs or something, but that was it. I got the feeling that for adults, it was mostly laughable. The notion that everything would end because of computers. They’d lived for decades, I’m sure it wasn’t their first foray into widespread nonsense.

I think that’s why, when December 21st 2012 rolled around, we all had a laugh. I made an End of the World playlist with most any apocalyptic song I could find. I think I even threw inĀ “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” since it was in the Armageddon soundtrack. Friends came over to my parents’ place and we looked out over the harbour, drinking. If we were gonna see things end, we had the perfect view.

It’s weird that growing up, we had this background notion that Armageddon was coming. I wonder if that’s why there’s been so much post-apocalyptic material over the past decade. This stuff has a way of worming into your subconscious. I mean, of course a bunch of tent pole movies and shows catapulted the idea into the public consciousness. The Walking Dead, Fury Road, 28 Days Later. They all captured this zeitgeist of catastrophe. Arguably now, the world is in worse shape than it was ten years ago. Climate change and incredible wealth inequalities are on the tips of our tongues. Brash demagogues have soared into positions of influence and power. We’ve all lost count of how many mass shootings America has had in the past year.

Holy shit. I just went down a wiki rabbit hole. There have been 370 mass shootings in America in 2019 (as of today). That’s 1.22 mass shootings per day. It’s gotten to the point where we just tune them out. I looked at this number and thought oh well, that’s really sad. But that’s how things have always been there. I checked 2018, 321 mass shootings. Yep. I guess it’s always been that way in the USA. IT HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. In 2009 there were six. In 2008 there were five. In 2007 there were five. In 2006 there were four. In 2005 there were three. In 2004 there were three. In 2003 there were three. In 2002 there were three. In 2001 there were two. In 2000 there were three. Three hundred and seventy mass shootings is NOT NORMAL. How have we gotten to a point where we’ve normalised this figure in our heads? I can’t be the only one.

That is stone cold sobering. E fucking Gads.

I’m a cell out like everyone else

I accidentally left my phone at home yesterday. It was great.

It also made me take stock of just how addicted I am to my phone. Grabbing my phone has become an automatic response for damn near everything I do. It’s unrelenting. In countless situations I had a physical reaction of reaching into my pocket, only to find empty air (and old tissues). I realised after I’d gotten on the bus and reached the station. Maybe a ten minute walk from my house. I couldn’t be bothered going back, when my only worry was that people might want to contact me and couldn’t. But I was gonna be at work until 12.30am. It’s not like I had anything urgent to get to or talk about. What was I gonna miss? A bunch of robocalls telling me I’d won a cruise? I didn’t turn back.

I also realised I had a topic for today’s writing. I could simply list all the times I thought about using my phone. So without further ado I’m gonna turn to my favourite crutch, Bullet Point Time:

  • Once I realised I wanted to write about this, I reached for my phone to write it down in a notepad app. None was forthcoming. I crossed my fingers and hoped I remembered on my own.
  • On the TTC I saw a photo for some pantomime, Little Red Robin Hood. Every year the same company does pantomimes for kids, usually revolving around some fairytale. The same guy seems to be in each poster. A jovial looking older dude with bright red hair. He usually seems to play some kind of uncle type character, and he has this infectious smile. I saw the poster and wanted to take a close up photo of the dude to post on Facebook. Something like “this guy is my favourite part of the Christmas season. Hands down.” Obviously, I didn’t.
  • I usually listen to a podcast on the way to and from work. It’s a great way to unwind after a shift. Instead, I listened to St Vincent. I’ve been delving into her back catalogue over the past few days in order to figure out my preference order of her albums. Currently I’m at Strange Mercy>Actor>Marry Me>St Vincent>MASSEDUCTION. In saying that, I think every song on MASSEDUCTION is great, which should speak to how much I love her stuff.
  • On my break at work I usually catch up on social media. Last night I had nothing to do, so I kind of just ate and went back to my work. You’d think that working in TV, having access to years worth of programming for 40+ channels I’d just watch something. Nope, I just ate mashed potato and meat with a large plastic serving spoon because I couldn’t find a single piece of workable cutlery.
  • I had to DV an episode of Charmed. At numerous times I wanted to post something about how stupid it was. Seriously, this new series is fucking terrible. The writing is clunky and obvious. You know how characters will fare based on how good looking they are. They’re playing in a world of almost endless possibilities (as a character in this episode said, with the right spell, anything is possible) and still they choose the dumbest narrative options to pursue. Overall, the episode still hasn’t aired, so I’m glad I didn’t post spoilers.
  • I’ve been talking about that song Low Rider for the past few days, and how it used to be ubiquitous in soundtracks everywhere. Whether it was TV shows, trailers, or ads, its funky rhythm made it perfect for endless applications. For some reason I don’t feel like I’ve heard it much over the past few years, which weirds me out a little. I realised that I had no idea which band made the track, and had no way to look it up on the go. Then I forgot until now. Turns out it’s a band called War.
  • I’ve gotten really used to posting whenever something crosses my brain. It distracts me from my work all the time. Turns out when I have no phone around, I’m more productive. Last night at countless times I turned around to check my phone, only to find a space absent of solid matter.
  • The only thing I was even remotely worried about was using my phone to check bus times post shift. Without the Rocketman app, I had no idea. So I had to walk back to Union Station in the snow. No big deal, but also not ideal.

Today I have both my phone, and my work party. So no doubt it’ll be stowed in a pocket somewhere and largely forgotten. Keeping the dream alive.

Get fucked, Jack Astors. That was my main point

I read this article today.

If you’re too lazy to click, it details how an immigrant family moved to Toronto 50 years ago with $48 in their pockets. They just made the single biggest donation to Scarborough Health Networks in their history. I technically saved you the click, but the first paragraph spells all that out in a more concise and orderly fashion. Weirdly, my first thought went to anti-immigrant sentiment. Very little makes my blood boil like anti-immigrant rhetoric. Most of us immigrated at some stage along our family’s history. At what point does “I got mine” and refusing new entrants become acceptable? In my mind, it doesn’t. Look, I openly admit that I know nothing about managing immigration on a national scale, but I will go to my grave convinced that inviting a myriad of cultures into the fold always does more good than harm.

Sure, I have Canadian citizenship, but for all intents and purposes, I may as well be an immigrant. I came from another country never having lived here before. I’ve gone through my share of culture shock. There have been things I’ve acclimated to, and others I’ve shunned in favour of preferred practices I came with. I’ve shared elements of my country’s culture with others. Mostly, like Marmite and Pineapple Lumps, they’ve been middling successes. Still, I love inviting others to enjoy the things I adored about my upbringing. I’ve been working, and contributing to the economy. I’m now in a position where I feel like I’m providing a service that helps people, and that makes me happy. There are a ton of misgivings I do have about Canada. It’s very conservative and stuffy in a lot of ways. There seem to be layers of needless bureaucracy in many areas. Banking lags considerably behind the systems back home. It’s insane that we’re still in a First Past the Post system in 2019, and the political system seems shambolic, ripe for the populist style of right wing government that’s been plaguing the world in recent years. There’s a weird reverence that people seem to have for big box US stores and chains, which is kind of worrying. Toronto’s gentrification is accelerating at a rapid rate, with the youth and artists being pushed out of the city. Things are becoming homogeneous, safe and boring.

At the same time, imagine how this place would be without immigration. One of the best things about Toronto is that it’s rife with wonderful cultural neighbourhoods. If I want to get Ethiopian (and when do I not?), there are 3-5 places within a 15 minute walk of me. There are Greek, Italian, Portugese, Indian, Korean and Chinese clusters of places, which all have their own delights. People care about their culture, and it’s awesome to see/explore. If not for immigration over the years, I imagine Toronto would be all glass towers, Jack Astors and Second Cups. It would be the soulless mire that Tory/Ford seem so intent on fostering.

Immigrants bring innovation. They have new, refreshing ideas. Everyone has different ways of doing things, and that’s a help, not a hindrance. Learning more about other cultures only strengthens us all. It’s not just about trying delicious food (though personally, that’s huge for me), we’re far better off with diversity. Sometimes immigrants feel lonely, and seek to maintain their own culture. It makes them feel safe and secure. I’ve heard a lot of bullshit when in Rome rhetoric from people saying they should just acclimate to the Canadian way of life. Are the people saying this making an effort to welcome these newcomers? Make them feel like they belong? Are they trying to explore these new cultures? Or are they entrenched in the misguided idea of their own cultural superiority, and refusing to look outside it?

We all have so much to learn from one another, and hate cannot survive empathy. Diversity has only ever enriched my life, and I implore everyone to seek it out where they can.

Does Ned Flanders pop a diddly squat?

When did my body become a flesh filled garbage bag?

I dunno, I’ve just felt junky lately. My muscles are deteriorating from lack of use, and I’ve become lethargy incarnate. It’s probably just a combination of seasonal changes in weather, the fact that I had a consistent cold for a week or so, snow getting in the way of my ability to bike, and feeling too lazy to gym half as often. I’m 32 going on 40 right now. I’d finally cleared out most of the knots in my back, then I returned to the gym. I realised that my lack of workouts was probably weakening my back muscles, and my desk set up at work was doing numbers on my posture. I’m doing constant personal posture reminders: Walk like you’re wearing a cape. Shoulders back and down, tilt pelvis forward, tighten core. It’s work, especially since it’s so tempting to let my shoulders slump forward. Slumping is the utmost in comfort, and it’s too tempting to just do it all the time. But if the choice is between temporary comfort and an eventual sore back, it’s a boring and adult choice to make.

Having not been to the gym in quite some time, yesterday’s experience was sorta neat. My mp3 player had nearly run out of batteries, and as I stretched on a bar, I noticed a charger plugged into the wall. It was the right USB for my player. I asked some dude if it was his. It wasn’t being used, and I had a mighty need. He said to go ahead, he was finishing up. He said he’d go shower and pick it up after he’d finished. The extra juice gave me enough charge for my workout and the rest of the day. It was a really nice gesture from some stranger, and put me in a great mood.

Then some personal trainer came over to chat. He asked where my friend was, and I told him he’d gotten me mixed up with someone else, but that was fine. I mentioned that I loved this weird little club with its labyrinthine hallways and weird layout. He told me about the history of the club, how it used to be a platinum club with all kinds of member benefits. Then they relented and took away its platinum status, but kept the benefits. Which explains why there are always ample cotton swabs lying around. It was very clear that he was just chatting, not trying to sell me on anything. It was nice to have someone to chat with while I stretched and waited for my player to charge.

He said he hadn’t seen me around in a while, and I told him about my muscle troubles lately. The borderline tennis elbow on my left, and the brachioradialis stuff on the right. I asked him for advice. Was I was messing things up by working out? Should I relent on the trigger point work I’d been doing with my home equipment? He said that it was fine and good to keep doing the stuff I was doing. Work out until it starts hurting, then back off and move to something else. He said the big thing that would help would be introducing ice into my routine. The problem, he said, is that these muscles get worked and inflamed, but ice is a fantastic anti-inflammatory. He suggested doing the trigger point work, then putting an ice pack on the area for the next 20 minutes. He said it’d take a long time to clear out, because they were muscles that were in use all day, but ice would really help.

But then I did the worst exercise- front squats- and everything hurts. Front squats fucking suck. First you’ve got the fact that you have to hold your arms in rack position. I’ve always found this flexibility frustratingly difficult. Years ago when I got into crossfit (before the endless injuries, etc), I really worked on it. I could get all my fingers wrapped around the bar. These days I can only really get two fingers on each side, with the others splayed out uselessly. Secondly, that bar crunches right down onto the collar bones. I don’t even put much weight on, and it still grinds right in there. I know that it’s a good exercise, but it activates all these back muscles that otherwise get a free ride. That’s precisely why I did it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt a bunch in the short term. Double plus unfun. It’s all work to get good posture back, but we all know slouching would be way more pleasant in the short term.

It’s gonna be a long winter. Best get started.

Your regularly scheduled reminder that polar bears are black with clear fur. Definitely not green

It’s been over six years since I’ve been to the zoo.

I know this, because the last time I went to the zoo it was for a specific event. My friend’s birthday to be exact. It wasn’t long before I left New Zealand for good, and I figured it’d be nice to take the day off to spend it with her. Flashback to two weeks earlier, when I found $70 lying on the ground outside a masonic temple. I then decided to use the money to make pot baking, and take it to the zoo for my friend’s birthday. Flash forward to the day before. Someone who won’t be named helped me buy it (I’ve never in my life bought pot from a dealer. As a 32 year old, I still wouldn’t know how and it’s my secret shame), and someone else who won’t be named helped me make a delicious infused chocolate caramel slice. We took a whole clip container full of the slices, brought a picnic lunch and had a marvellous day getting buzzed watching animals’ natural splendour in artificial habitats. It was an A+ experience, would do again.

I used to love the Auckland Zoo. I went there a ton of times. We’d go on class field trips maybe once every few years. My grandparents would take my best friend and I there each summer. I once helped out a crew for the 48 hour film competition, and we got special permission to film a bunch of scenes there for free. I’ve been here in Toronto for over six years now, and I still haven’t visited. Let’s see, what do I remember about the Auckland Zoo? Bullet Point Time:

  • I went there once for an intermediate school trip. I bought a cookie from the cafe. It cost $3, which at the time seemed OUTRAGEOUS for a cookie. It was marbled, chocolate and vanilla. The cookie had a similar consistency to short bread. You know the kind where you take a gentle bite and a piece crumbles off into your mouth? I really loved the cookie, despite its high price, and vowed to get one the next time I visited as a special treat. Unfortunately, enough time had passed between visits that the cafe no longer sold said cookie.
  • The playground had this really cool Chinese dragon. It got a bunch of facelifts and new coats of paint over the years, but it was always hugely popular. I remember being surprised at just how spiky its back was. Like, that thing was solid concrete. It’s probably why it’s lasted so many decades, but I’m sure it led to a bunch of bumps and scrapes.
  • The polar bears. I used to love seeing the polar bears, but their history is kind of sad. The zoo could never really get the enclosure right, and the bears suffered. One drowned, another got shot trying to escape years back. A ton of them developed skin lesions and died. I remember being surprised to see green polar bears, but that was apparently part of their affliction. They phased them out in 1995, after realising they couldn’t give them a humane home.
  • The aviary was amazing. It was this big enclosure with mesh fencing stretching in an arc above. The birds were free to fly in the space, and there were pathways that took visitors around. It wasn’t uncommon for a bird to land in a tree not far from you, so you could get a good look at them. They all had (comparatively, if we’re talking about cages as the alternative) a lot of room to fly, and it was neat to see them interact.
  • Eventually they made an ape enclosure that was relatively similar. The various monkeys all had a ton of space to move, swing and interact. There were water features and cool stuff to do for them. They had a ton of facts about the different species, and it was awesome to be able to see the size/scale first hand.
  • I always thought it was cool to see the lions being fed. They’d toss the lions these absolutely massive steaks. I definitely had my eye on those steaks. I wonder if I could actually eat one as an adult. I doubt it, but I wouldn’t say no if someone offered me one.

The Toronto Zoo is technically accessible, it’s just really far away. Once the weather warms up, I might take myself there on a day off. I’ve heard they have polar bears and everything.