Even with eight legs you can’t outrun death.

Yesterday I encountered an event so momentous that it must be celebrated. The environs were innocent enough, with no warning of the epic occasion to follow. Merely my girlfriend and I eating a meal together. A simple meal, too (she’d snacked earlier, so wasn’t into anything grand) of steamed veggies, eggs and cottage cheese. Everything was prepped, we sat down with an assortment of condiments (the most vital part of any meal. I’ll fight you on that. Physically. Has grudge, will travel) when it happened. The words tumbled out of her mouth and I knew right away. I was telling my girlfriend a story she hadn’t heard.

This isn’t an everyday occurrence and I’m not even sure if it’d happen each week. So here goes.

Do you know how to catch common houseflies? I do. You’d think it’d be a matter of speed, slamming an enclosure down upon them before they could react. Nope, fuck right off. Ain’t no way you can react before a fly does. They’re not only quick, but they can detect movement in the air and act accordingly. Speed’s surprisingly the opposite of what you need. Catching a fly is about patience.

The way that we were taught involved a shot glass. You can use anything small, but it’s handy to be able to see right through it. You want the fly on a flat surface like a tabletop or bench. Position the shot glass directly above them. Slowly lower the glass. When I say slowly I mean glacial. Give paint drying a run for its money. One millimetre at a time. Show Heinz who’s boss. The secret? Keep going. You’ll think that the best call is to slam it down when you’re close, but you’d be wrong. Once again, flies are faster than you, but they’re not smarter than you. Well, maybe. I haven’t met all of you. Keep going slowly right to the bottom. That’s it, you have your own pet house fly.

Why do I know this? It’s certainly not because I had pet house flies of my own. That’d be preposterous. No, I had pet house spiders. Kinda. Our flat shared them. Well, a flat I used to live in before moving away. I’d stop back in most weeks when I was in town. Anyway. We noticed a decently sized spider in our kitchen one day and our friend taught us the fly catching trick. She informed us that spiders won’t eat pre-deceased flies, only ones they’ve killed themselves. So to feed them, you’ve gotta catch flies and release them into the web. The spider will notice the fly struggling by reading the vibrations on its web and come out to feast. It’s vicious too. You see its little mandibles chomping away on the squishy, crunchy fly. Gory as all get out. We named our spider Venom, after my favorite childhood comic character.

As we fed Venom it grew and grew until it was twice, three times its initial size. Then Venom had babies. One in particular survived and we named it Baby. Baby was a voracious little fucker and didn’t mess around at dinner time. It grew rapidly and soon was even bigger than Venom. We treasured our little arach-kids and continued to feed them for around eight or nine months, I’d help out whenever I was in town.

Then disaster struck. One of the flatmates, somehow not knowing that we’d been harboring pet spiders for the larger part of a year, freaked out at this so called “infestation”. It was a massacre. These little life forms we’d fed from infancy utterly obliterated. We were devastated and, despite the ludicrous situation, it caused a pretty significant rift for a while. We got over it enough to preserve the friendship, but the memory of our eight legged darlings has never left my heart.

So that sucked, but on the bright side here in Toronto we don’t get enough insects that we’d be able to keep spiders fed in the first place. I’ll miss Venom and Baby, but not as much as I love living in a relatively pest free environment.

Relatively. A cat lives here after all. At least the spiders were quiet.

Advertisements

Alanis, you of all people oughta know what irony is.

In today’s entry, we’re gonna talk things, whatnots and somesuches. Cool? Cool!

Today I tried my first ever Fawaffle cone, a dish after my own heart. It was exactly what it sounded like and as delicious as the portmanteau was adorable. A waffle cone made of falafel. It’s a rad gluten-free option that gets protein into a come shaped format. Ever since the “meats in cones” discussion from There’s Something About Mary, I’ve been longing to sink my teeth into a crunchy waffly exterior to taste umami goodness within. It was like a savoury ice cream. Shredded chicken, cherry tomatoes, mint, avocado and spicy sauce. I’m sure it had way more calories than I was expecting, but boy oh boy did it fill a) my wish for a meaty cone and b) my stomach. I’m going out for tacos tonight. I can only imagine the salsa party in my belly.

There are so many things that I don’t know. 99% of these are not what I consider worth googling. If that’s not an entitled mindset, I don’t know what is. All sorts of stuff. Why do cyclists wear that lycra/spandex get up? Does it cut down on wind resistance? Is it super breathable? Does it dry quickly? Are there compression elements to it? Do people just think it looks cool? Or does it come with an aura of legitimacy? Do you feel like you ride faster if your top and bottom halves look thematically similar?

Releasing an album seems like a massive labour of love. Hundreds of hours of songwriting, practicing, performing, recording, mixing and all sorts of other stuff I’m sure I haven’t considered. I was listening to Basia Bulat’s most recent album, Good Advice. Her previous album, Tall Tall Shadow was fantastic. Emotionally stirring ballads, good danceable pop and an engaging through-line. I don’t feel the same way about Good Advice. Most critics didn’t feel the same way about Good Advice. My question is that when an album is to be released, how much disconnect is there between an artist and public perception? In this situation, how often does the artist genuinely believe that they’re putting out their best possible material? Do they phone it in just to get the album finished in time? Is there pressure from the record company to push it out and start selling? Could it be a matter of incorrectly gauging what it was about their previous music that people loved? Or pinning it down to certain elements and myopically assuming they needed to double or triple down on that kind of thing? At the end of the day, it could 100% be that it didn’t appeal to me, but everyone else loved it? I’m (thankfully) very far from the only person out there. I don’t really know if there is an easy answer to this. I certainly don’t think I could google it. I’m sure NPR probably has a podcast on your very subject.

This one’s embarrassing. I actually don’t know how bees make honey. I know they collect pollen on their little hairy legs and bring it back to the beehive. Is this a tribute for the queen? Does the queen squirt honey out like soft-serve? Do bees then organise this honey into neat little honeycombs? Then apiarists in faux hazmat suits steal their delicious output and take all the credit? Where does Seinfeld come in?

The ironic part is I was a B science student at best.

There were, too, people doing parkour. Seemed apt.

I’ve never been great at relaxing. Something about the idea of sitting and doing nothing stresses me out. If I’m not thinking, why am I awake? I have a constant need to be engaged in an activity, even if that activity is merely hanging out and chatting with others. Given this borderline anxiety over relaxation, the beginning of my weekend was going pretty damn well. Friday I was home sick, learning the intricacies of Watch the Skies‘ ruleset as best I could. Saturday I was constantly on my feet, putting the ruleset into motion for paying customers. By the time the game had wrapped up I wasn’t far from falling into bed. If I was at all afraid of getting appropriate amounts of sleep however, our cat has been going apeshit for the past week or so. As such, it’s been a while since I slept well.

Whatever my feelings on relaxation, both my brain and body needed a break.

Cue the perfect summer day, but in spring. Temperatures going up to the high 20s. A cloudless sky and light breeze blowing through. After a morning spent lugging a microwave around Koreatown, my girlfriend and I decided a park day was not only desirable, but necessary. We put the call out, but didn’t get much back in the way of responses. A few hours later the temperature had dipped to an ideal mid-20s. Some friends posted about hang outs in Trinity Bellwoods. Deal. We strapped on shoes and hit the road.

First stop was Bakerbots. I’m always loathe to mention Bakerbots too much, but figure my readership is small enough that this won’t spread the secret too far. Bakerbots is a boutique bakery that partners with the outrageously popular Bang Bang Icecream. In a one-two punch operation, Bakerbots make the cookies and Bang Bang cream the ice. Bang Bang routinely has a 30+ minute wait time in the summer. Bakerbots takes five minutes at a stretch. Same ice cream, but a slightly smaller range of flavours. I had a cone of burnt toffee and double chocolate, while my girlfriend grabbed burnt toffee and Sam James espresso. Holding the napkin-less cone and feeling drops of delicious dairy melting onto my hands brought me back to childhood beach trips. We’d hang out in the sand and sea for a few hours, then nana and papa would take us to grab massive ice creams. Hokey Pokey and Goody Goody Gumdrops, always. On a sunny Sunday in Toronto, a cone was no less of a treat.

We wandered down to Bellwoods, noticing just how many people were out and about. Over the winter months, Toronto can seem like a ghost town at times. Strange, for a city. Spring typically has more hours of rain than sun, as locals chomp at the bit for patios to open. As soon as they do, the floodgates open and if the patios are full, everyone under 40 goes to one of the many, many parks (seen here in green). Bellwoods is a great spot for dog watching, slack lining, capoeira, calisthenics, frisbee, a few local beers on the down low and assorted musical jams.

We laid our blanket down with friends and watched the world go by. Everything mentioned above and then some. There was a good nature in the air (and obviously all around, trees softly swaying in the breeze). One of our friends had a Hang, which he proceeded to play for us. I’d never seen or heard a Hang before. It looks like an inverted Steel Drum, but could also pass for a large viking shield. It’s gentle and melodious, a sound akin to wind chimes or the motion of a waterfall. Gentle, soothing and tough to play well. Lying back in the evening warmth, listening to the symphony of life going on all around, relaxing started to make more than a little sense.

I’d call mine Gilbert Goattfried if it’s any consolation.

Great day. Intense day. It’s no longer day and I’m scrambling to get this entry out so I can finally go to sleep. 1am on a “school night” seems an appropriate time as any to start, n’est-ce pas?

So.

Work got busy right at the end. I was feeling mildly unwell (with the portent of future ailment tomorrow) so I tried to cram a bunch of work in today. You know, ease the strain on the rest of the department in case I do call in sick tomorrow. There was a bunch of stuff I needed in order to finish my work and my manager was not forthcoming with it. Then my manager delivered. Being the grand ol’ chap that he is, he also delivered the news that one of our shows had been pulled and subsequently any sign of it needed to vanish across the network. Prime 4pm news, right? I’d been trying to organise a bunch of people on the side for tonight’s dinner/comedy shows. When the work rolled in I forgot about those plans and took care of business. Subsequently my phone died. When 5.30pm rolled around I checked it for a heartbeat. None. Murdered. Shit. I’d made 6pm dinner plans that were 50 minutes away via public transit.

Time to call an Uber.

Or not, because I’m an idiot and my phone was dead. I flagged down a taxi and asked for a fare estimate to The Royal Cinema. $15-20 he said. I jumped in and we hit the road. I asked if I could borrow his charger for my cellular corpse, but try as I might it’d been slapped with a DNR order. It was my turn to die a little on the inside. Rush hour traffic was predictably grim and during my journey I spent $3 cold hard cash moving 100m. I should’ve walked part way. I made it no more than five minutes late, a small wonder, in the hopes that everyone had gotten the messages I’d sent before my phone kicked the bucket. I waited for another five or so minutes and my friend walked in. I’ve rarely known relief to be such a tactile sensation. My girlfriend arrived, we had an awesome dinner and lined up for Chris Gethard’s live Beautiful/Anonymous podcast taping.

The show was fun, but also a transcendent trash fire that made me question everything I knew about probability. A quick rundown of the show: Comedian Chris Gethard talks to an anonymous caller for an hour. He has a talent for asking the right questions and whittling away the artifice to find the true story beneath the call. Tonight? Tonight was a weird night. Tonight’s hashtag for audience members with questions was #lowrystrong, which would’ve been great if I had a phone that didn’t hate living. We were warned that it could get weird. Like the manic caller the night before. The only thing Chris had been able to glean in an hour was that he owned two goats, one of which was adorably named OKGoat. I’m ’bout it.

The caller wasn’t weird, so much as avoidant. Obviously a fan of the show, it sounded more like he wanted to chat with Gethard, but not about anything in particular. Was he in love with his ex-girlfriend/best friend? Why did he feel so listless? What was his issue with revealing his age? Try as Chris might to delve into this dude’s deal, it felt a little flat. The connection was spotty and whenever Chris really seemed on the mark with a great point, the call would cut out and our caller wouldn’t hear it. With 25 minutes left on the clock, we had a Beautiful/Anonymous first: We took another call. This caller got straight into it and called her ex-boss a cunt right off the bat. The crowed roared, baying for blood. She was a sympathetic character and we all latched onto her. The more details that emerged, however, something seemed off. Were we really getting the whole story? Why had her boss and close personal friend made steps to remove our caller from her family? With seven minutes remaining on the clock, the call dropped. Fuck. Chris took another call, who turned out to be… THE FIRST FUCKING CALLER. 7700 CALLS AND HE GOT THROUGH? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT? UN FUCKING REAL. Things were intense. Chris took him to task and laid straight into him, stringing everything we’d heard into deduction, outlining this guy but good. AND THE CALL DROPPED. FUCK. He took ANOTHER call, which wasn’t the second caller back with some answers.

IT WAS THE FUCKING GOAT GUY FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE. WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE PROBABILITY IF IT’S NOT GONNA DO ITS JOB?

Oh, and my phone rose from the grave, in case you were worried.

How did I write this whole thing without one dick joke?

Do you ever look around and feel inquisitive about the size of things? In parallel universai (sticking with it), what size might they be? How would this affect the world around them? Could our existence improve from resizing them? What sized objects/living things do we take for granted? I’m not sure how often I ponder this, but I’m sure as fuck going to now.

  • Corn. If an ear of corn was the size of your arm, would we still be able to eat them in the same way? How tall would fields of maize have to be in order to cater to the larger crop? I’d wager that we’d see a lot more individual kernels used than ears. How big would that make each kernel? The same as a thumb joint? Or maybe similar to a single popcorn piece. On that note, would each piece of popcorn be like an apple? That sounds like a world I’d like to live in. Though a solid RIP to typewriter style consumption.
  • I would have a dog sized giraffe as a pet. No qualms about it. How fucking adorable would that be? LOOK HOW CUTE A NEWBORN GIRAFFE IS. Imagine that even more compact. Plus with a little leash for walkies. Their necks would be double plus huggable. Plus they’d be so good at frisbee. If I ever learn to travel universes, I’m bringing back a giraffe dog.
  • Insects are considered nightmarish to most people already. I admit I’d freak out interacting with any larger than my hand. At the same time I think they’re really fucking cool. What is it about insects that freak us out so much? Is it their bulbous/kaleidoscopic eyes? Their overabundance of legs? The venomous barbs/stingers/mandibles? Dense hairs covering their body? Is it even that we’re comparatively such simply laid out creatures and insects are nigh universally complex? Oh fuck, imagine a mosquito wielding a proboscis the size of your head. Now try sleeping ever again.
  • If bananas were the size of prawns, would they be worth the effort? I’d ask the alternative, but Morton Bay Bugs are already a thing.
  • If dandelions were larger, would there be fewer of them? Part of their ability to disperse is how they float in the air and that feels like a feature of their lightness. If they were larger their spread would likely be stymied by obstacles and hopefully that’d cut down on their proliferation.
  • Shark sized tartigrades and jellyfish would rule the oceans/world. Tartigrades are basically indestructible and jellyfish can revert to the polyp stage at any time, meaning they don’t die from old age. Imagine seas full of large translucent blobs. You’d think they were wave crests, but then your entire body would be enveloped in their all consuming sting. I can imagine urolagnia rapidly gaining in popularity.
  • How large would rabbits need to be before they’d become farmed en masse? Goose sized? Pig sized? I mean, they fuck like… well… them. If they weren’t harvested for meat, they’d no doubt be slaughtered as pests.
  • I wonder how larger coconuts would’ve influenced island society. Let’s say a metre in diameter. They’d be really durable for some building materials (roofing perhaps?) and are pretty buoyant. Could they have made some kind of coconut pontoon crafts?
  • One last thought: Apple. Sized. Blueberries.

I’m not sure how this world came to pass, but it tends to fit together pretty damn well. Three cheers to the architect, elsewise we’d all have perished from horse sized rats long ago.

Foie grasshole.

I’ve never claimed to be a good person and anyone assuming the best of me would be left poorly shortchanged. Today I’ve been in a shifty mood, no idea why. In honour of this, I’m devoting today’s entry to the many petty moments I’ve had since rising.

  • This morning when I was readying to board the bus, there was a dude walking slowly with a cane. There was a line, but he was at the front just to the side of the queue. I saw him approaching as the bus was pulling up and decided to wait, to let him get on before anyone else. I noticed a woman in a yellow sweater approaching quickly from behind. She was walking around the line and barging anyone whose shoulders were too close. So I deliberately stepped out to the side and in her way, giving the man time to board. I could tell she was antsy but I was wearing headphones and pretending to be oblivious. I could sense her fuming from behind me. I felt immensely satisfied.
  • The entry to our bathrooms at work involve a double door system. There’s a door that leads into an intermediary room with a bin and hand sanitiser. This room has a door that leads you into the bathroom. Because the air gets pressurised in the little mid-room, you can hear when someone’s coming out from the bathroom. People are either oblivious to this air pressure thing, or don’t care. The result is usually walking into the mid room and both people getting spooked. So instead when I heard someone opening the door to the mid-room this morning, I stood stock still at the entrance to the mid-room without opening the door. When I say standing at the entrance, I was practically perpendicular to the door frame. The guy walked out and almost shot into the air Hanna-Barbera style. I refused to acknowledge his surprise and walked past him into the bathroom without saying a word. I smiled inwardly to myself.
  • My girlfriend and I are going to Montreal this weekend and we’ve been scouting for recommendations. A friend told us about a place with great brunches. When I was chatting to her later about unrelated stuff, she mentioned how excellent their menu was, making particular note of the foie gras. I’ve never had foie gras. It’s not because of anything ethical, I just haven’t had a ton of high end French cuisine. I thought about foie gras a little. I thought of how lucky I was to not have any dietary restrictions. Then my mind drifted to the notion that not only would it involve something dying for my meal, but suffering too. Then I was filled with this intense feeling of relief and satisfaction from having been born pretty high up on the food chain. If that has you riled up, keep in mind that if there’s an afterlife, I won’t feel so smug then.
  • I was first to the donut box at work today and had my pick. I quickly nabbed the only sour cream glazed donuts. I don’t particularly like donuts, primarily because of their soft, airy texture. The sour cream glazed variety are one of the few dense donuts that Tim Hortons stocks. I took a certain glee in thinking only of myself.
  • Two and a half weeks ago, an acquaintance had asked if she could leave two pieces of furniture at our place overnight. They were moving and needed to store it somewhere that it wouldn’t get rained out. I said that was fine. A few days later it hadn’t been picked up, so I sent her a message to remind her. She didn’t respond. Another few days passed. I sent another message. She said she had plans to get it picked up and that she’d sort it. A few days later, I messaged again to check the status of it being picked up. This was a far cry from an overnight thing, which felt like I was being saddled with something because it wasn’t a priority to her. She didn’t respond. I messaged her again a day later. No response. I messaged her a day later and said that if she didn’t want it I was happy to put it curbside. She messaged back saying that her plans had fallen through and she had plans to pick it up. Finally today I messaged and asked her when it was getting sorted. She said she’d pick it up tonight. I said great and offered to help carry the stuff if she needed it. She arrived earlier than she’d said, which coincided with my dinner being plated. I took certain delight in sitting down for my meal, not coming out to help or even saying hello. I simply sat there enjoying my meal, satisfied that I didn’t have to lift a finger. It’s the little things, y’know?

And now that this entry is done with, I can go back to idly not giving a shit. Some days are better than others.

Too bad there were no Good VibraSHUNS.

NEVER FORGET. Unless you never knew. In which case, LEARN AND REMEMBER.

I think it’s pretty important that people don’t forget what a piece of shit Mark Wahlberg is. At the age of 15, little Marky Mark followed a group of black schoolgirls on a field trip and threw rocks at them, shouting racial epithets. At the age of 16 he perpetrated two Vietnamese men on the same night. Total strangers. He bashed the first over the head with a large wooden stick and punched the second in the eye. Marky Mark served all of 45 days of a two year prison sentence and was let out. In 2015 he sought a pardon for this 1988 attack, to have it stricken from his record. Marky Mark is a garbage person and it’s fucking crazy that he has a career. In all honesty it’s probably because he’s white, good looking and successful.

It’s criminally unfair what a raw deal a black person would’ve faced under the same charges. Who do you think the world hates more? Mark Wahlberg or Kanye West? I’ve no doubt in saying Kanye. Kanye possesses a bizarrely entitled grandeur, which would seem almost performance art if it wasn’t so consistent (and I say this as a fan). He’s no doubt arrogant, self-obsessed and an asshole. He runs his mouth off a bunch (which, isn’t always a bad thing) and is more than a tad eccentric. Kanye also has never to my knowledge been arrested for aggravated racial violence. I mean, as far as backgrounds are concerned, Kanye’s a nice college boy. In the court of public opinion though, he’s basically literally hitler. Wahlberg seems to have come off pretty unscathed. Seems at least a little unfair, don’cha think?

Something I learned on the other hand, is that the 1981 movie Roar exists. Melanie Griffith (the most recognisable name) co-starred with her real life parents Noel Marshall (who directed) and Tippi Hedren. That’s not the odd part. The odd part is that this movie was filmed over 11 years. The story of a family being attacked by large numbers of predatory jungle animals. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound batshit insane yet? THEY WERE REAL FUCKING ANIMALS AND PEOPLE GOT LEGIT MAULED. At least 70 members of the cast and crew were injured, with many sustaining LIFE THREATENING INJURIES. Take a second to appreciate this excerpt from Wikipedia:

Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film. Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film.

People got fucked up. Melanie Griffith had 50 stitches in her face and somehow managed to avoid being physically scarred. Noel Marshall got attacked by the lions so often that he developed gangrene. A bunch of the injuries actually made it into the final film. I hope the cast (and cats) had a union. Worst of all, the film went on to be a total critical failure and was never released in the US. I’m still not sure whether or not I want to see the film, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be boring at least. How would that have ever been a good idea?

If only Mark Wahlberg had starred in the film instead. I’m sure “it wouldn’t have went down like it did.”