Getting dente-mental

I did it. I actually took a sick day. Are y’all proud of me?

That said, it’s hard. I’ve never been good at relaxing, and it’s not getting easier just ’cause I’m unwell. I managed to get back to sleep after taking meds, emailing my boss and feeding the cat, but it took a while. I miraculously remained in bed until after 10am, which is huge for me. I’m old, I’m decaying, I’m trying my best. I’ve only checked my work emails three times today, which feels like some kind of restraint. I played some magic, did dishes, applied for a job, put washing on and now I’m trying to get writing done so I can… get back to trying to relax? What am I supposed to do? Read a book?

Actually not a terrible idea. I put a reservation on my library app months back for Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It’s finally come in, and I’m realising that my chances of finishing it are pretty damn tiny unless I put effort in. The book is 640 pages. It’s hardly slim pickings. It’s supposed to be a stupendously ambitious fantasy novel by a Man Booker Prize winning novelist. Thing is, I’m a lazy reader. Of books, anyway. I’m mainlining online articles all day. I use reading as an escape on commutes, and I probably get a solid hour of good reading time each day. By the time I started reading, a few days had passed. I’ve been working from home and/or sick this week, so there’s a bunch more potential reading time lost. It expires in two weeks, and since it has a huge waitlist, there’s no chance I’ll get to renew it. Chances are that I’ll get halfway through, then have to wait another 6 months until I can read the other half. Non-ideal. However, if there’s anything an abundance of half-arsed Minion memes have taught me, it’s that the power is within us all to create change in our world. And that lots of old people still find hilarity in “you won’t like me without my morning coffee” jokes.

I’ve been trying with the food too. Been salt gargling, keeping up the kimchi, had some banana and peanut butter toast, licorice tea, and all sorts of comfort foods. I even had Kraft Dinner last night. Okay, I grew up with KD variants, and loved it as a kid. I got older, and my cravings extended to actually making macaroni cheese bakes. I’d do it all homemade from scratch. I’d toss in all kinds of spices and ingredients, then bake that bastard in a big dish covered with breadcrumbs. Crispy top, loaded with cheese and assorted goodness. Ideal comfort meal. I don’t eat much pasta anymore, because I’d only ever cook and eat Too Much Pasta. I don’t know that a substantive serving size is for pasta. It’s usually however much fills you to bursting, and then some. Now that I’m a 32 year old crone, I have to try and take care of myself, or elsewise combust. Toning down on the pasta has helped my body continue to function, instead of my internal gears (oh, did I not mention my cyborg state?) grinding to a halt while trying to process complex carbohydrates and a brick of cheese.

I was sick, wanted comfort food, and KD seemed to fit the bill. I wanted to throw in sundried tomatoes and pickled jalapeños, but I thought I’d be responsible and steer clear of agitative (I looked it up, it’s a word, apparently) foods. This also meant skipping the gratuitous quantity of tomato sauce I used to soak it in. So instead I piled in fresh garlic, kimchi and a little ketchup flavoured popcorn seasoning (which we have on hand because my girlfriend is a popcorn fiend. It’s basically the same stuff as KD flavour sachets). Also, obviously, copious cheddar. It was… fine? I guess. I don’t know what I was expecting. The kimchi somehow wasn’t bold enough to stand out amongst the other big flavours, and the macaroni may even have been a little “over dente”. I had the leftovers today for lunch with a little tuna, which worked much better. I think next time I’ll stick with the grown up stuff and bake my own.

Enough writing, it’s reading time!!!

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Time to film a biopic. Is the name Ray taken?

I think I’m gonna try and be less negative, so in this entry I’m not going to complain about a single thing. If anything questionable comes up, it’s all silver lining for me baby.

I have nothing negative to say about the Sonic trailer today. It looks like a movie some people could enjoy. It’s nice to see Jim Carrey taking on more projects. Using golden rings in lieu of stars in the Paramount promo was a nice touch. Someone on Reddit made a pretty funny calculation about the real world effect of Sonic’s EMP “boom”, and just how many babies it would kill. While I don’t applaud baby killing, I do applaud applying mathematics to figuring out obscure and odd outcomes. It also stands to reason that from the perspective of the public, after the (probably unintentional) EMP attack, it’s actually pretty valid to see Sonic as a villain and Robotnik as a brilliant inventor trying to save the United States.

A friend posted that Tilt, a barcade here in Toronto now serves “beyond” burgers. Firstly, Tilt is an outstanding establishment. It’s cheap entertainment, fun retro throwback to leisure activities of the past. As a kid I would’ve lost my mind getting $5 entry to all I could play arcade games. Honestly, considering that the other barcades I’ve visited don’t have free play, it’s an amazing deal. They have a bunch of neat little bar snacks, and I think it’s wonderful they’re catering to non-meat eaters in a substantial manner. I’m a happy little meat eater, and I also understand that from an environmental standpoint that’s an indefensible position.

At some stage I assume that we’ll all need to migrate to some manner of non-meat subtance for sheer sustainability. Whether that’s insects, vat grown meat or a plant protein compound, we’ll need to find a way forward that’s not just turning the rich into Soylent Green. I would reluctantly give up meat, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t. If the industry creates a viable alternative that tastes mostly the same and is affordable, I’ll probably get on board. Until then, I couldn’t be happier to see local establishments I adore taking on more socially conscious products. Plus it means I can lure more of my veggie oriented mates out to play vintage vidya games. EVERYTHING is coming up Milhouse.

I got to see the recent Game of Thrones episode without any spoilers. In turn, I promise not to post any spoilers. It’s definitely not a spoiler to say that there were some visually compelling moments that really made my heart race. As far as battles on the show have gone, certain angles made this one stick out. It was cinematic in scope, and it’s made me know full well that I’d have no place in a war. I don’t have the mettle for it. I can imagine that if I was to arrive on a battlefield, I’d faint out of terror and perhaps wake up after everything was over. So I guess that’s positive?

While I’m not sure that I’ll manage to finish Chris Gethard’s Lose Well before it’s due back to the library. While this sounds negative and thus in violation of this entry’s M.O. I really want to profess my admiration for the book and how much it’s already given me. Gethard is a fantastic writer, he’s not patronising and he doesn’t blow unneccessary smoke. He’s very down to earth in justifying not only how important hard work is to any kind of success, but taking into account the function of failure. There’s no part of the book that tells you things will just work out, but it has an accessible tone that helps break down overwhelming concepts into more manageable bite sized pieces. It’s consistently funny, and paragraphs are short while staying laser focused on their subject. If you’re a vaguely creative person who feels inadequate or in an unassailable rut, I profusely recommend picking it up. Even if you only get through half, you can always just renew the book, right? RIGHT?

How was that? A break from my ordinary negativity? Maybe I’m turining over a new leaf, to become a constant beam of sunlight and photosynthesize myself into my own motivational engine.

Smile because it’s over?

Things that have made me sad today:

Apparently some woman in a Toronto condo threw a chair off her balcony. Like any good internet commentator, I haven’t seen the video, barely read the headline and I’m already outraged. There are so many ways this kind of thing could go wrong. She could kill a person who just happened to be walking by. It could land on a vehicle and cause an accident. The accident could also cause death. What if she straight up killed a kid? Failing anything, not everyone who wants chairs has chairs. That could’ve been someone’s chair.

The Grammys. Firstly, they’re not about old people. Secondly, they’re a farce. Thirdly, this doesn’t matter, and people like them so I shouldn’t give a shit. And mostly I don’t. But then I think about just how many people give a shit and how I don’t and it makes me want them to matter so I’ll give a shit so I won’t feel so alienated for not giving a shit about something that people like. It just feels kinda lonely, even though it has no real reason to and most days I really don’t care, but for some reason today I did. The fact that any of this went on in my head whatsoever made me feel really fucking stupid.

Today I downloaded a new book from the library after not being able to find anything else to check out. I read a bunch of synopses, and picked a book by the author I’d just read. It took a while. Then after going through all of this I read the first page, decided I wasn’t in the mood and maybe I just didn’t really care about reading it at all, it was just something to fill the void between other things I’d care about. Or maybe I’ll read it and it’ll be good, but my indecision is getting to me more than it should be. ’cause what if I really would like the book, but repeatedly put it down ’cause I’m repeatedly not in the mood? Like how I tried to watch the first episode of Dexter about 5 times before finally getting past the first two minutes. And I ended up enjoying that series a bunch. I even dropped it at exactly the right time, after the Trinity Killer arc.

You know how we all do that thing when we go to the movies or Burger King or whatever and they have one of those post-mix soft drink machines? We’ll put a bunch of flavours together to make new weird combinations? I’m straight up just assuming your agreement here, because I’m assuming you don’t all hate fun. Well I saw someone doing that at the supermarket soup counter today. Just mixing and matching soups, irrespective of flavour or viscosity. Beef and root vegetable, cheddar and broccoli, beef chilli, Thai chicken curry. It was a goddamn atrocity and looked like afterbirth. He’s probably gonna have real bad acid reflux, painful shits, or death. I’m gutted because a) it offended me on such an innate level and b) I don’t know what’s going on in his line to make him act out in such a self-harming capacity, but I hope it justifies this truly shameful behaviour. That’s rock bottom kind of shit. Dude should be on a watchlist.

I didn’t really feel like writing today, so I procrastinated and wrote all this on the subway home from the gym. I didn’t even really want to be at the gym and just had a total half-arsed workout, but figured it was better to do a half-arsed workout than a no-arse workout, because butts are great. But specifically BECAUSE butts are great, I would’ve preferred to have a whole-arsed workout in me because that’s twice as much butt. Also when I tried to type “preferred”, autocorrect changed it to “pegged” and I think that’s kinda funny.

I’m done now.

Liver let die

Blargh. That’s all I’ve got today.

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If I actually committed an entire half hour to typing periods and pressing enter, would that be commendable or madness? Or a little bit of both? For a change, I’m in a weird, grumpy and possibly justified mood. Instead of talking about any of that, I’m going to distract myself by deep diving into my normal nonsense. If such a thing exists.

I finished my book. I really treasured being able to get back into reading. The book (The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas) was compelling, easy to read and even easier to get sucked into. The narrative structure and style were different, interesting and really invited you inside the heads of its many characters. Vignette stuff. Tons of fun. Some really hard stuff to reckon with, especially when you’re thrust into the views of people you’d have trouble identifying with. Everyone was shades of grey. The book refused to give solid moral conviction and the plot extended far beyond the realms of its set up. I’d happily recommend it to others.

Finding a new book is hard, because it’s difficult to gauge what I want to read next. Conventional logic would dictate putting the question out to friends, but that’s a goddamn minefield. People Have A Bunch Of Feelings about books they read, and their manner of attachment is highly personal. If I were to put out a call for book recommendations on Facebook, I have no doubts (for a change) that I’d get at least 30+ titles tossed at me. Maybe from a single person. This would most definitely be a reflection of their tastes, and very unlikely hold a consideration of what I’d really want out of a narrative.

People love recommending stuff and I get it. It’s about sharing something that resonated with you, a desire for others to capture that magical sensation, and in doing so hopefully find more connection with the person they recommended the title to. I do it often. At the same time, I always try to take my audience into consideration. I’m very aware that people may not connect to media for the same reasons I do. For all I know people could be offering the same considerations back to me. It rarely seems that way. I don’t know what I’m straddling here, but while I do have deeply personal connections with what I consume, I don’t take it personally if others don’t find the same points of connection. I feel like the past five sentences have basically been the same few words recycled into different orders.

I’m not here to recommend this page to others. I most definitely would not take it personally if it wasn’t up anyone’s alley.

I’m kinda regretting all those periods up top, but y’know what? NO RAGRETS. Mice these days are usually equipped with a scroll wheel. When you’re visiting IHMD you’re gonna use that thing so much it may as well be called a SWOLE WHEEL. ‘Cause your fingers’ll get PUMPED THE FUCK UP. Why am I talking like I just shelved some truck nuts? All I know is that I’m gonna funnel so much vodka into my anus tonight they may as well call me the Moscow Mule.

Well that went somewhere.

I don’t think I’m planning on butt chugging tonight, but there’s a non zero chance I’ll imbibe enough alcohol that my inner organs forget how to function. Is this a healthy, smart or responsible coping mechanism? Of course it’s not. But my brain can’t stop trying to conceive of some kind of “top shelf” pun about butt chugging expensive liquor. That feels like a constructive use of whatever brain cells I have left.

If I’m wasting them already on this planet, it may as well be on something fun.

Wait, how did I not realise “phone it in” was a pun?

Ready for me to phone it in again?

I feel like shit and I’m coming home from work. So this is gonna be written in the time between work and collapsing my bones once I walk through the door. What’s my damage? My brain’s been foggy all day. I just thought it was insufficient sleep, but it’s been harder than normal to concentrate. Even post coffee. I’m achy all over. This could usually be explained by onset muscle soreness from the gym. Thing is, the left of my face is weirdly sore and I don’t know why. There’s a dull ache to the left of my eye and nose. The back of my skull on the left is gently throbbing. I’ve got a mild headache. Could it just be excessive nasal congestion wreaking havoc in my head? My stomach has been volatile all day. My dearest hope is that I’m not coming down with whatever has plagued my girlfriend for nigh on the past week. Sure, it’s great to not be in the office. But I wanted to go out to the movies tonight, goddammit. The Favourite is still in theatres and I wanna catch it while it’s on the big screen.

Speaking of screens, I was just wondering what to do when I get home, and if there’s anything that doesn’t involve a screen. I’m not sure if there is any more. All of my leisure activities are screen based. The Internet is obviously screen based. Playing Magic is now screen based. Watching anything clearly relies on a screen. I could read, but the only thing I’m reading right now is, you guessed it, from a screen. Good fucking luck doing anything but lying idly with my thoughts.

It is nice to read again though, really. It’s horrifying how rarely I do these days. Maybe one to two books per year? I used to be a voracious reader. I’d devour a couple books a month, or at least be reading 1000+ page fantasy epics. I just don’t find the time anymore. I find it hard to push myself away from those dang screens and into a narrative that plays out in my brain. I think it’s important, to challenge your imagination. I don’t know how many times I’ve read something and had to update my mental pictures with new information. Maybe I viewed a character in a certain way because of unspecified features, then the author was like “oh by the way, her freckles were her most recognisable feature. Did I not mention that?” They probably did. I was likely just skim reading. As someone who loves expanding their vocabulary at any change, not reading feels like a massive personal disservice. Getting the Overdrive app has been amazing. I can link it up with the Toronto Public Library and virtually visit from the palm of my hand. Once I’ve downloaded the book it stays on my phone for three weeks. I don’t need internet access to read it, the app automatically saves my place. It gives me something to do in transit again.

Well, aside from hastily phoning in my writing, that is. And with that, I’m home.

Un-bully-viable

Since McDonalds skins its fish, shouldn’t the burger be called “Flay Yo Fish”?

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Last night I bid adieu to my girlfriend for the next two weeks. She’s working TIFF, so we’re doing the whole ships in the night thing until the 17th. Then with JFL42 starting on the 20th, we’ll enjoy a swell Tuesday and Wednesday before I descend into the madness of 3-4 shows per night each night. Oh, and Tough Mudder’s thrown in there too. September, as usual, is chaos in our household.

I was just thinking about childhood bullying. I got bullied, it sucked. Bigger kids took advantage of the size/strength differential and went to town. It was demoralising, severely dented my self-confidence and made me realise that some people had no compunction over taking their frustrations out on others. It made me realise just how satisfying it would be as an adult to just beat the shit out of a child bully. One punch, that’s all I’d need. Right to the noggin. I know it wouldn’t be productive. I know it’d come under the grounds of child abuse and, as such, likely be illegal. Still, watching movies on oil rigs is illegal and I have no doubt people have done that and gotten away with it. Just think of anyone who made your life hell as a kid. Now imagine that you grew while they didn’t. Imagine one solid right hook, then the sound of them hitting the ground. Imagine the restorative thrill of getting revenge. I think if X-Men Danger Room style technology becomes available, that’s gonna be one of my first requests. Knocking simulacrums of my childhood terrors the fuck out.

Yes, I understand that teaching children self-awareness and consequence would have more longetivity to it. Still, when has humanity ever truly had foresight?

This article was a fun read. I don’t know if they pulled the trailer card and printed all the best bits. If not, the book should be a good popcorn novel. I’m sure the Washington Post is using their exclusive access to print as much eye catching stuff as possible. Still, if Woodward is involved, I’d think it pretty fair that the stories have a certain amount of veracity to them. Woodward has seen some shit, y’know. He pretty much co-created the “gate” suffix. What’s this one? Trumpgate? The claims that’ve been raised are quite something and paint a picture of the White House as the kind of satire too unbelievable for television. The notion that his subordinates are simply removing documents from his desk so he doesn’t sign them. That’s quite something. It also speaks to his cohorts more than I expected. That despite how much I disagree with them politically, at least they’re shielding the world from the worst of Trump’s incompetence. He sounds like he’s about as unfit for the position as we expected, but perhaps more.

Here’s the tricky thing. My response, as well as everyone else’s, speaks to exactly why he’s still around. He gets so much goddamn attention that it’s impossible to look away. Instead of truly condemning the trash fire he is, media outlets give him way too much lenience. If they can get ratings from his antics, why would they say no? It’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians, but with something actually at stake. Gormless following of insubstantial people because of endless fascination. It’s reality TV at its worst, because the fallout directly impacts so many lives. Will this book have any impact? Or will his supporters deny to their death (because admitting you’re wrong is apparently beyond possibility)? Will he ever get ousted? Or will one of his aides fail to stop him from committing all the carnage he intends to sow?

What the fuck will history think looking back at this mess?

Success or phalanx?

I have exactly nothing to talk about today. So let’s see how this plays out.

My left thumb is sore, because I’m a dumbass who doesn’t know how to properly wrap his hands before boxing. You’d think this’d make typing insufferable, but I don’t type using a structured Mavis Beacon style touch typing approach. So while my left thumb rests right by the spacebar, it never really sets print on the keyboard. “Sets print”? I wasn’t sure either. My thumb’s hardly gonna set foot, but I’m not entirely sure what that part of my thumb is called. The pad perhaps? What does Google say? Obviously I was indicating the second phalanx (duh. it’s not like we’re talking about metacarpals like some AMATEUR FUCKING MORONS AMIRITE?), but the fleshy part rather than the nail. “Print” will have to do for now. Anyway, it’s sore. Not prohibitively so, but just enough to justify complaining. Since this is my space and I can do what I want, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

Waah, my thumb hurts. I wish it felt pain free as per the norm, but it doesn’t.

Done.

Clearly you’re all here for these breaking stories. Hope you’re getting all you wanted. Frankly, I’m not sure why most if any of you are reading this. It’s been some time since anything interesting went on around these parts. I apologise for my lack of compelling life changes. I guess going to Portland was fun. Remember when I metaphorically took you on a trip with me? That was exciting. People were smiling in the streets. I drank a lot of beer. I had coffee in a reclaimed bus. Marijuana was legal to purchase. It was like being in another world. Maybe my life is feeling worn in right now because I’m not trying many new things. Perhaps I need more hobbies, or some kind of way of sampling novel experiences on a regular basis. Anything can get boring if it becomes overly repetitive. That’s how relationships find slumps. Perhaps I need to spice up my relationship with myself.

What could I do?

I could force myself to go somewhere new every week. It could be a new bar or restaurant. It could be exploring a new neighbourhood just to look at things. Or perhaps jog in a new environment (though to be honest, when I’m jogging I’m paying more attention to the music in my ears than my surroundings). Maybe I need to find books to read that challenge me in some way. Frankly, I barely read at all any more, so simply adhering to flipping pages in my leisure time would be challenge enough. What if I went to a library and got a book out on some new skill, then worked on that skill? I don’t know if I’ve made something out of wood since I was sub ten years old. What if I messed around with audio editing again? I’m a mic away from recording things. They’re easy enough to find.

I guess the unspoken truth here is that there are infinite things I could do to work out of this rut. The difference is whether or not I do them. I’m so used to reacting to change, having it forced upon me and adapting. Enacting change from within requires discipline, motivation and the endurance to carry on past obstacles. Where does that come from? What drives me and how can I harness that in order to regain momentum? It makes sense that the hardest time to see the road ahead is when you’re down a hole. At the same time, it’s the most crucial juncture in which to launch yourself back to that path. If I’m struggling at harnessing that will, is it time yet to ask for help?

It’s a pity my thumb is sore, I could’ve used it to hitchhike somewhere new.