You wouldn’t think those were strict criteria…

Y’all ready for a “let’s get this out of the way” post?

I sure am. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in just over an hour, and while I could probably just write in the inevitable half hour waiting room break, I don’t wanna. I’m doing my check in post anti-depressants to gauge how things are going. Oddly enough, my doctor has gone on mat leave and I’m meeting her year long replacement. With something personal like this, I’m starting to understand the mentality of people wanting to see their specific doctors. The decision for me to go on these meds was thoroughly discussed, and would’ve been a rollercoaster if not for the time and patience my doctor had for looking at all of our options together. Ultimately, I know they’re working and have been an outstanding decision, so I’m not worried about talking with some new dude about them. At the same time, it brings me closer to the importance of a personal doctor relationship kind of thing. Usually, I don’t care. I trust that the clinic I visit has qualified professionals. I’ve had only good experiences with the staff there. The receptionists are very hesitant to put me with anyone else unless it’s an emergency. I don’t blame them whatsoever. That’s just policy. Still, if there’s something wrong with me, I will go to most anyone who has more knowledge than I do. Just put me in, coach.

I’ve got a fancy, fancy party tomorrow night and I’m excited. I got so excited that I bought two tickets by accident. See, I can trace back the idiocy of this decision. Let’s back up. I go to this Library fundraiser every year. It’s the one event that’s very costly (over $100 per ticket), and I get all dolled up with friends. We’ve gone for the past few years. Tradition, and all that. There’s early bird pricing, which we generally tend to get. This year, because of my shift work, I wasn’t sure if I’d be free on the night or not. We have a big group chat going about it (and other neat events). I re-read the chat yesterday. Everyone chimed in back in early September about having purchased early bird tickets. Normally with these events, I post something like “got my ticket” or whatnot. I hadn’t. A few weeks ago I was like oh shit, did I get my ticket? I know I missed early bird. I looked in my emails for a sign of a ticket purchase. No confirmation emails. I looked back in my bank account. No sign of an earlier non-early bird ticket purchase. I bit the bullet and bought a billet. Then yesterday, I got an email telling me to activate my ticket. I logged in and saw two tickets. Weird. I looked back in my emails, and realised that I didn’t have a ticket purchase receipt for the second one either. So that was clearly what happened first time around. I’d bought two tickets. Dummy.

I emailed back asking if I could get a refund. Then my mind started spinning. What was my best course of action? These weren’t cheap tickets. I think the fully priced one came to over $130. I could offer it to my girlfriend, but I couldn’t really expect her to pay for it. Also she’s kinda flu-y at the moment. What if she was too sick to go? I started thinking of other friends, but more importantly I thought of the group I’m going with. It’s a tight knit group. Wonderful, witty people. It’s also a very particular vibe. If my girlfriend couldn’t make it, I’d need to find someone else. It’d have to be someone who’d a) fit with the group, b) have fancy things to wear, c) like eating/drinking a lot (on account of the open bar and unlimited delicious foods) and d) be available last minute. I made a shortlist and it had possibly five people who’d fit a-c. Turns out that I can get a refund, however, so I don’t have to worry about last minute rearrangements. I just need to make sure I have a non-creased shirt.

I better get a few ice cubed and toss my shirt in the dryer.

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Hark, the Bone King cometh

What’s in a name? I’m Leon. I’ve always been Leon. Nicknames slough off me like water from a duck. They don’t hold or stick fast. Not sure why.

I’ve always been one to strip bones bare. Sounds like a red flag tinder profile, but really it means that I love BBQ ribs a whole bunch. Last night we had a big communal cook-up. Ribs on the BBQ, grilled mushrooms, corn, hot dogs, peaches, and a simple side salad. We sat around and had our bellies filled by the work we’d all pitched in. Everyone at the table had helped out somehow, and the rewards were bounteous. It turned out I had different standards than everyone for when a rib was considered “finished”. My friends’ bones piled up, and I flayed them one by one. I finished with a stack high to the heavens. Like a throne. A throne of bones. I was the Bone King.

Of course, this happened in my head. Nobody else had picked up on my clever moniker. So it was my duty to bring them onboard. This was a nickname that could stick. I tried incidentally sprinkling it a few times into conversation. Y’know, “hey, mind passing the chips over here to the Bone King?” They were all “wait, who’s the Bone King?” I was like “thats me, I’m the Bone King. Y’know, all those dinner bones?” My friends exchanged uneasy looks. I tried it once or twice more. It didn’t land. After a particularly egregious one my girlfriend gave me a sidebar. “I’m not sure this Bone King thing is landing. Maybe it’s not happening.” I looked in my heart of hearts and stood firm. “I know this can work, I just haven’t found my moment. By the end of the night, I’ll have it.”

It was evening. There’d been a bunch of pot going around. We were all quite high. We’d all slid into colourful, comfy clothing. I wore my lion onesie, with these dainty rose tinted glasses; gold chain draping from either arm across the back of my neck. People commented on the aesthetics of my attire. I shrugged and said something to the effect of “that’s how the Bone King rolls”. Gentle chuckling ensued. I stepped outside to a spritely bonfine. We played around, making smores. Some tended the fire. I grabbed a bold stick and struck a pose. I referred to myself once or twice as the Bone King. Still not a whole lot of rececption.

Hours passed. I’d put down my rose tinted glasses, and they’d become absorbed into a silly joke about a toy car wearing them. People were still laughing about Lightning McQueen in his rose tinted glasses. I grabbed the glasses, unaware I was cutting off their joke. Someone started to protest my theft of Lightning McQueen’s apparel, and I realised the only choice was to commit to the bit. I methodically applied the glasses, draping the chain over the back of my neck to the sound of the room’s protests. A friend called out “are you challenging Lightning McQueen?” I pushed the glasses to the bridge of my nose, squared off against Mr. McQueen and exclaimed “Hey Lightning McQueen, you come at the Bone King, you best not miss.” Rapturous applause exploded as I walked out the door for a smoke. Thus began the legend of the Bone King.

And I finally made that goofy nickname stick.

You ain’t seen nothin’ jetty

Greetings from cottage country. I’m splayed out on my belly, lying atop a dock. Or is it a jetty? What’s the difference? Is it a matter of protrusion? It’s certainly a matter of confusion. Who cares? I’m on holiday.

I’ve got a writing partner here with me today. She’s working on some comedy bits while I type. We’re chatting, discussing, thinking about wording and intonation. Well, she’s bouncing ideas off me anyway. It’s beyond idyllic here. This dock/jetty (I looked it up, I think it’s a dock rather than a jetty. I also learned that jetties are used to disperse currents and create a safe harbour for seafaring vessels (or since they need to disperse currents, maybe they’re sea fearing)) is idly rocking, and it’s absurdly pleasant. Our neighbours are whipping out on their stand up paddleboards, having a great time. We can see right across, it’s a gorgeous view.

Okay, cut to an hour and a half later. I didn’t get my writing done, ’cause we chatted a bunch instead. Now we’re back in the house, it’s a hive of activity. People are walking around clothed, in their undies or nothing at all. One of our pals walked in from the bunkie. There’s a great flow. People are chopping potatoes for some kind of hash. Someone else is frying stuff up in a pan. There’s some Big Chill style motown bursting out from a portable speaker. I’m getting repeatedly distracted, but I think that’s part of the process. Who knows? We’re on cottage time now, baby. Today’s writing has been a slog, not because I’m not enjoying it, but I’m having a hard time with stimulation overload.

We had a great night yesterday. We arrived, and the group who got there earlier were already a bunch of drinks in. I played catchup rather adroitly, and played darts at the same time. I won, somehow. The game itself wasn’t the hard part. See, I’m not a competitive person. I love cheerleading my opponent when they make good plays, but my opponent asked me specifically to trash talk her. I was puzzled, because I’m ever aware of the difficult line to walk when it becomes mean. I don’t like being mean. I tried, and I think managed to not destroy her very being. I did destroy her in the game though. This place is super stocked with board games, etc. Someone found a card game that was basically a forum to encourage intimate conversations, so we talked deep into the morning. I was somehow drunk enough for a nice deep sleep, and woke up grinning.

But now? Now it’s time for lunch. Catch y’all on the flipside!

I can’t afford to be here for a long time, I’ve got packing to do. Good times await

I’m a free agent now, baby.

I’ve got six days off and they’re all mine. I logged into my work email (bad call) and removed myself from a bunch of distribution groups (good call). I brought home my work coffee machine and plugged it in. So now we have an actual decent machine instead of just relying on the french press. I’ve been scatterbrained, moving between playing Magic, coordinating plans for the cottage weekend my girlfriend and I are going on with friends, and pulling out stuff to pack. Packing has yet to occur. I’ve had coffee and maybe insufficient food, so my mind is moving at 1609344 kilometres an hour. Need to pack clothes, food, booze, weed. It’s a cottage, so it’s not like we’ll die of exposure if we miss something. It’s gonna be rockin’, rollin’, reeling and Barbara Ann.

I got to clean out my desk yesterday and hoo boy, I’d hoarded a bunch of shit for a rainy day. I had a ton of disposable cutlery, etc. Straws, coffee stir sticks, knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks. I had varietals of sugar, white, brown, coconut, splenda. I had coconut oil and oatmeal packets. There were random bits of makeup I’d lifted from the old building after everyone else had left. Dental supplies from hygienist freebie bags. A Tommy Wiseau bobble head (that I gifted to a greatful co-worker). Paper towels, ziplock and plastic bags, gift wrapping. There was some prime stationary, a solid swingline stapler, tape dispenser, calculator, a bunch of promo pens and white out. Paperclips, bulldog clips, pushpins. Notepads and post-its. Manilla folders and notebooks. Also cardboard cutouts of Emily Deschanel/David Boreanaz & Tea Leoni. In short, lots of useful junk that has no place in my new job. Dumping it on the table for people to take was all kinds of cathartic.

Maybe in six days I’ll have enough time to digest the new Tool album. Is there ever truly enough time?

In terms of “enough time”, I’m hoping to finish this, get packing, maybe go to the gym, pick up vitamins and whatnot from the health store, and get a new bag of coffee for the trip. All in the next three hours. It’s not gonna happen, is it?

I’m gonna have limited internet connection over the next few days, but hopefully should be able to at least post updates. We’re going to a cottage, not an empty field.

You know what? I’m finished with this. I need the time. Catch y’all tomorrow.

I guess Talk Like A Pirate Day is only three weeks away

It’d been a long time since I last helped host a party.

My girlfriend’s birthday is tomorrow, and she wanted to have a weekend get together in lieu of a big shindig. An “open house” was her idea. Welcoming a big group of people to stop by any time between 11am and 11pm for as long as they liked. A quick drop in hi? Perfect. A lengthy, leisurely hello? Also perfect. Time spent with friends, food and drink. Firing up the barbecue whenever people wanted to eat. Grilled meats and veggies, tons of chips. Mixers and spirits to share. Non-compulsory potluck style, people could bring whatever they wanted to share if they so wished. A neat idea.

It was fantastic in execution too. Nobody showed up until the afternoon, and numbers never got overwhelming. There was a natural flow, with people coming and going as they desired. When it started getting a bit loud inside, we shuffled everyone out to the backyard. We got the grill going and tossed on some sausages. Music played from her computer to a portable speaker. We plugged in a lamp once things got dark. We improvised as we went, and it all worked out. There was tons of food for everyone, and an abundance of leftover chips. A few friends brought booze and happily offered it to others. When things got cold we grabbed them our clothes/blankets/onesies to borrow.

I was in my element. My fervent hope was that my girlfriend could stand back from hosting duties and spend time with her friends while I took the reins. I wanted to take care of our guests and make sure they had everything they needed. I got to have a bunch of drinks and cater it up. If people needed drinks, I made sure they knew all their options. I tried to keep food flowing, putting new sausages on the grill once others came out. We had a butterflied jerk chicken that cooked up beautifully. I somehow walked the fine line of considerate intoxication. It was fun having a ton of tasks. Moving between the grill and the kitchen, checking our glassware supply, keeping a steady stream of clean dishes. Dropping in for a drive by pun or joke, keeping conversation flowing. I got to do all the hosting I wanted, while still enjoying the hell out the get together.

I wonder what excuses I can come up with to have another party…

As always, my survival method is to beer and grin it

Let’s get at it.

Holy hell I drank a lot last night. I’m lucky that I got to the work party several hours late. Had I arrived at 2pm, with an open bar, I’m sure I’d be in worse condition today. Yeesh. Counting it back I had seven strong Belgian beers between the hours of 5-11pm. One beer per hour. That’s far more than I’m use to having on a school night. As it stands, I still felt not great this morning around 5am. I had a headache, and I was mildly dizzy, overheated, etc. Usual hangover symptoms. I took some ibuprofen, drank some water and hoped for the best. Instead I just felt poopy for a few hours, and eventually drifted back to sleep.

Since weed was legalised, I’ve been getting hangovers far less, supplementing the usual large assortment of drinks for a couple of tokes. Maybe this has been a blessing, having heard just how much worse hangovers get in your 30s. I still woke up before my alarm, and rallied to overcome my ailment. More ibuprofen, kimchi, electrolyte water and stocky porridge. It helped. Coffee this morning hammered in the last of my support structure and I’ve been right as rain. Considering the number of co-workers that came in with dark glasses this morning, I think I got off lightly.

Right now I’ve got a can of coke chilling in the freezer several floors up. Much as I’d like to work in a different building, the fact that my new job keeps me in a place I know is actually kind of helpful. Like in this scenario, I know that 90% of the fridges do not have freezers. But I also know that the eastern mini kitchen on the 5th floor does. My timer is set, and in a few minutes I’m gonna run up there to get an ice cold can. There are interesting ins and outs in this building. Pecularities that I’ve stumbled upon, and should make this transition a lot simpler for me than my future co-workers. I know where the meditation rooms are. I know which floors are more likely to have free food hanging around. I know the secret rooftop seating areas and balconies. I know about the bike lockers and showers. Even though it sucks to have to work all the way down the bottom of town, with nothing but condo developments around, at least I’ve got the run of the place in my head. Small mercy.

I had my first training day yesterday and egads, this job is hard. You wouldn’t think it was that difficult to narrate what’s happening onscreen, but it’s a lot. You need to find the right spot so as not to talk over dialogue. It’s all improvised, no scripts. Someone picks up a pillow and jokingly “smothers another character”? Wait for the laughs, then say “the woman grabs a couch cushion and places it on the man’s face”. It sounds simple. In the moment though, there’s a bizarre kind of pressure. It was literally my first time ever doing it yesterday, and I did not do a great job. It’s fine, I didn’t expect to. I imagine that I’ll shit the bed for a while, and probably do a Rocky montage of narrating people’s behaviour for a while to get in fighting trim for my first day. I can’t emphasize how exciting it is to try something new that I’m bad at. I love progress, becoming incrementally more masterful day by day. This is a fresh skill set, it’s different and unfamiliar. I’m thrilled to get a chance to learn it right from the start, then one day look back at how green I was. Until then, I’m gonna have to eat metaphorical dirt.

Speaking of which, it’s time to get to my training.

JFC – Jesus Fucking Clowns

I’ve been pretty lucky lately to have a lot of time with friends.

I mean, we all like spending time with friends, because otherwise they probably wouldn’t be friends. I dunno. At the same time, while it’s great to joke and catch up with my mates, I think one of my favourite aspects is soaking up differing perspectives from my own. Most of my friends have wholly separate experiences from mine. They have a variety of jobs, they see the world from their own unique viewpoint. It’s cool to hear not only what they’re doing, but how they’ve been doing it, complications and excitements. It’s fascinating to discover new stuff I never would’ve sought out on my own, and sometimes come away with other things to pursue. This might be something as simple as a pal turning me onto a new TV show I didn’t realise I’d love, to understanding an aspect of society I previously held no knowledge of. It’s all great. I’m gonna try and think about conversations I’ve had this week, and why they were interesting to me.

We went to The Walton last night. A cosy spot on College St with neat cocktails. One of my friends happens to be very knowledgeable about cocktails. She has a very curated Instagram presence where she participates in all kinds of cool home bar competitions. She makes her own cocktails, and she’s extremely good at it. Trust me, if she wasn’t already a dynamite person to be around, going on holiday with her is extra special, because she ensures your cup runneth over with alluring potions. She just attended a cocktail conference, and she talked about one lecture that blew her mind. It was on the concept of “rounds”. I’d never heard of rounds, but it’s basically the idea of cocktail artists making a bunch of drinks together with the utmost efficiency. They’re taking stock of the ingredients they’re using, how many can go into multiple assorted drinks, and working out a system whereby the least amount of energy is expended. A bottle should only be touched once in a round, she said. She also mentioned that drinks are supposed to be assembled from the cheapest ingredient to the most expensive, to minimise cost if there’s a big mistake and it needs to be tossed. She said the whole session was filled with jargon, but the long and short of it was, these professionals, using rounds, were able to create eight different drinks simultaneously within six minutes. If you’re not impressed, you’re far handier than I. I know I’m not operating within an optimised system, but I think it’d still take me about ten minutes to make two Manhattans, which are not particularly complicated. Eight drinks in six minutes is mind boggling.

Another friend talked about this notion of clowning, and the impetus to find your inner clown. Apparently a big part of being a clown is to understand what your dominant personality aspect is, and play into it big time. Are you playful and mischievous? Snarky and mean? Overly fastidious? How can you reinforce this in your makeup? Your act? How can you lean most into the clown that you are, to bring your most authentic performance? I’m a lot less afraid of clowns than I used to be, and there’s something in this notion that humanises them for me. The idea of so much forethought and intentionality going into their persona is kinda cool. They may be a lot of makeup and incongruence, but if it’s intentional, that changes a bunch. Maybe clowns aren’t so bad after all…

You know what the best part of this whole thing is? My weekend is very not busy. I’ve got a whole lot more time for friends.