If your joy level is contingent on listening to me talk about socks, is this ever the entry for you!

Today we’ve got the most flippant of entries. It’s an errand day, which seems as good an excuse as any to just write en route to most everywhere.

I’m leaving for the burn on Thursday, which means I’ve got four days to sort myself. A Sunday is ripe territory for picking up bits and pieces. First up I’m heading to a friend’s place to borrow a chilly bin, or as they say here, a cooler. My perhaps vain hope is that it has wheels and can be used to trundle around everything else I get at the mall. I’m planning on making a big batch of vegan chilli that I can freeze. Without meat it won’t spoil easily, which seems like a safe bet. Hence the chilly bin. The other part of the equation is my friend stopping over with her Instant Pot later. She’s giving it to me in exchange for some home cooked food, which seems like a sweet deal. Once I’ve got the bin, I can grab the ingredients, then cook it all tonight. I love it when a plan comes together.

Of course, I’m ill prepared for everything the elements could throw at me. First up, I need socks. To be clear, I needed new socks a year ago. By this point they’re all riddled with holes. I’m gonna pony up and invest in some solid ones this time around, whatever the cost. If I’m hoping to not have legs full of ticks this time next week, I need something sturdy. It could be cold and rainy the whole weekend for all I know. Let’s see the best that Walmart has to offer.

First step completed. My friend’s chilly bin was sitting out on his deck. It IS the perfect size, plus it has a handy handle for dragging it around. Exactly what I wanted. I’m gonna use it to stock all my supplies while I grumble throughout the mall. It was also great to briefly catch up with my mate. He’s one of those excessively industrious people who does project after project. His big one right now is moving his indoor obstacle course to a much larger facility, then adding a combination indoor paintball escape room game. Also an aquaponic ecosystem. Good to hear he’s doing interesting shit, while I in contrast run silly errands. Next up let’s get some camping supplies. We’re apparently gonna need about 5L of water per day. So I’m buying a collapsible tank from Dollarama to cut down on my moop.

Okay, I’m on the other side. I managed to cram everything I needed into the chilly bin and my backpack. Success! I got my 20L of water, the collapsible water container. I got a mosquito net, emergency blanket, head lamp and extra tent pegs. I got 12 pairs of socks, both extra thick and plain. I got granola and all my chilli ingredients. 700g of almonds for mature snacking. I even got a pack of animal cookies just ’cause they looked cool. It seemed like the adult thing to do. Now to go home and make some chilli!

But first, let’s play some Magic. All work and no play makes for a shitty Sunday.

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Seoul to squeeze.

The fated day arrived. After years of non-committal plans, my friend and I finally followed through on our plans to attend a Kpop dance party.

It was everything we’d hoped for.

Of course, we were never gonna get there without adequate prep. I’d been burning the midnight oil familiarising myself with the top hits of the past few years. Primarily that looked like these playlists on repeat for days. I moved from ironic detachment into fully sincere enjoyment. I started recognising tracks when I went out for Korean food. I tried in vain to find a dance partner for the evening. No dice. Turns out not everyone has gone through my Kpop metamorphosis yet. Soon. Soon.

Next I had to get dressed. You’d think this would be simple, but you’d be disregarding my distaste for half measures. I did a bunch of Google Image searches for Kpop Men’s Fashion, etc. I looked for trends and tried to wrap my head around what appropriate Kpop garb would be. I realised I didn’t really own any, but at worst I could opt for a colourful arrangement of some variety. I mentally catalogued my wardrobe and put together colour swatches online. Like I said, no half measures. For fun I mocked up a ridiculous outfit consisting of a faux leather faux fur vest and rainbow rave style leggings. I opted instead for some bright blue pants, aqua T-shirt and unbuttoned purple shirt on top.

The most important step: Pre-drinking with friends. There was no way we’d get on the right vibe without loads and loads of liquor. Thankfully my friend had been saving a bottle of 11.9% Four Loko he’d brought back from Montreal. Perfect. We split the can, then made a bunch of varied cocktails. As each drink was downed, we succumbed more and more to the Kpop beats in the background. By the time we were dancing along at home, we knew we needed to get there.

The venue? Well, it was a clubby club. There was a lowered dance floor surrounded by a raised floor and private booths. It looked like someone had actually bought one of the VIP tables, which means those high rollers had busted out $800+ for the privilege. Gross. Completely uninterested in any of that carry on we found a large empty space on the raised section and got down to it. The by-request playlist had a bunch of tracks I knew, but we were drunk and silly enough regardless. We would’ve danced even to The Phantom Thread score by that point. Wait, ESPECIALLY THE PHANTOM THREAD SCORE. My friends and I were audacious dancers to say the least, which didn’t seem to be the M.O. for the event. Filthy casuals. Eventually though we assembled a our own little cadre of folks with bold and dynamic moves.

It was relentless. We danced for three hours straight, breaking only to get water or go to the bathroom. By the time the clock struck 2am, we were done. Energy depleted, bodies wrecked and worn. We Ubered to get some well-deserved Arbys (as an aside, at 2am their burger naming scheme may as well be written in Sanskrit. How the hell do you tell the difference between burgers by familial nomenclature?) and went our separate ways. My body today feels like I had my harshest workout in aeons.

So when are you gonna Kpop your cherry?

So maybe that was a little tongue in cheek.

After all of yesterday’s kvetching over cellphones, I bit the bullet and bought one online. I realised that between all the minutiae that was bothering me (4G capable, RAM, battery capacity, quick charge) the one issue that meant the most was that the phone fit in my hand. I remembered how much I enjoyed my 3rd edition Moto G, so I ordered a Moto G5 (since the G5s wasn’t available in Canada). It was simple, a low rent phone that cost about $250 altogether. It will solve all of my needs and be diminutive while accomplishing them. In the end, I just needed to pull my thumb out of my arse and make a decision.

Buoyed by my Take No Prisoners, dynamic decision making, I bought new shoes. Same deal. I was complaining to my girlfriend about how laborious the shoe buying process was. I have real foot problems that make it a pretty important decision. I get the wrong shoe and try to jog? Shoot pains through my knees. I like jogging, so I need to get it right. Thing is, I think I’ve spent long enough dithering about making the right choice that I haven’t made any. As a result, my last pair have gone to shit and it’s starting to affect their effectiveness. The last jog I went on took more out of me than it had any right to. My knees and toes (surprisingly neither head nor shoulders though) are a bit messy at the moment. I think in no small part this is my shoes’ fault. Or rather, my fault for not replacing my shoes.

The reason this has been difficult is because several years back I chanced into my perfect Cinderella slippers. The Saucony Grid Excursion TR8 GTX (aren’t they pretty?). Unfortunately they’ve been discontinued. I know this, because I’ve tried time and time again to order more pairs. I managed to restock once from a store in Calgary. They’re out of stock now too. I’ve looked on French and Russian sites. No dice. I looked on Ebay. Still nothing. I’m sure there are some sneakerheads who’d know how to track them down. They’re my own personal contraband. I got some Grid Excursion TR11s and they were shite. Poorly made and not the same sweet fit as the TR8 GTXs. In a vain toss of the dice I ordered some TR11 GTXs in the hopes that those extra three initials will make all the difference. I’m prepared for disappointment, but more importantly I’m at least prepared to have adequate footwear. Scar would be proud, and what’s more important to a lion than pride?

I’m loving this new Decisive Action Leon, even if my anxious internal dialogue is screaming out in eternal pain. When dread gets that dense, it’s basically just wallpaper for your brain. Why? Because of SO MANY THINGS. Basically, my brain is afraid that if things are anything less than perfect, everything will go to shit.

Maybe I’ll order the phone and the battery won’t be quite as good as I hope. If the battery isn’t quite as good as I want, then it’ll start to affect my day to day. I’ll have to charge more often, carry portable chargers with me everywhere I go. What if my phone dies and I’m stuck out on a remote road and a local farmer comes to help, but he’s actually a human vivisectionist who dabbles in torture porn to offset the high costs of his excessive remote tracts of land? Then I just have to suffer relentlessly because I failed to pick a phone with a decent battery and wasted all that time watching cube draft videos when I could’ve just listened to a podcast or something?

Or I’ll get these shoes and they won’t fit quite right but the thought of going through the effort to return them, then make more decisions about the correct pair will be too much emotional labour so instead I’ll just wear and tolerate the shoes. Then they’ll fuck up my joints and I’ll have to spend a ton of time going to physio. It’ll affect the frequency of my workouts, I’ll be incapable of staying active and I’ll bloat like a balloon. My self-confidence will flounder, it’ll affect my relationship with my girlfriend and she’ll leave, then I’ll just be a sad blimp with ill-fitting shoes and a drained battery.

Or, y’know, things could be one iota less than perfect and I adapt. Then they become part of the day to day and I don’t even notice much. Turns out we’re all more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

I’ve found my viridian meridian.

I now own a green suit. For what inscrutable purposes, you may ask? None other than the purpose of trying to turn something unconventional desirable. What’s more, I’ve been searching for a suit such as this for some time. I’d elaborate, but I feel like any further exploration of this topic could do with a new paragraph.

I like the colour green. Have for a while. For much of my teens, lime green was my shade. I didn’t wear it (though frankly I didn’t wear anything that wasn’t black), but I liked how it looked. As time went by, my tastes shifted. I started to enjoy more subtle variations of the same basic colour. My preferences expanded to earthy tones. Kelly green has always been a bit too synonymous with St Paddy’s Day, but Forest greens or even darker began to catch my eyes. Why? Well it’s in there, my eyes. My eye colour at birth was hazel. As I aged, they lightened. The brown receded a bunch and the green came forward. I noticed that when I wore green my eye colour would be more pronounced. Browns worked too, but to a lesser extent. I liked the effect and so sought it out.

A year or two ago I bought myself a suit. A Yale/Egyptian blue one. Spent about $250 after alterations. It was nice, having some fancy duds for hoighty-toity soirees. It was so nice, in fact, that I contemplated getting another one. As I said, I was fond of the colour green and envisioned myself parading around swankily in such a refined garment. I liked the mental image. Of course, it’s so easy for a green suit to appear garish, so I knew I needed a nice one. I thought about getting a really nice one. Custom made, perhaps. As if it was some reward for a yet undefined task I’d accomplished. After a friend showed off his custom burgundy Indochino suit, I thought that could be a good avenue of bringing this to reality. I didn’t follow through. The concept of tossing down $600 or so for occasional threads was daunting. I put it on the backburner. I figured my green suit would come to me if the stars aligned.

I trust you read the opening line, so this isn’t a spoiler: They did. I was at a warehouse sale around the corner from my house. I noticed some dark green blazers on the rack for $50. I own green pants (and happened to be wearing them at the time) so I checked the colour balance with the blazer. No bueno. Plus my pants were closer to chinos, when the blazer was more woollen. Disappointment abounded. I looked at the tables to see if I could find a match in colour/fabric. I found what I thought was a good match of fabric. Unfortunately the colour was way too light. Foiled again. I frankly don’t know why I’m teasing this out. You already know that I bought the suit. In short, I found pants that were a match. For a grand sum of $70 I had my own off the rack svelte green suit. Success.

Now I need to figure out how to dress in a green suit. According to my rigorous skim reading of a few articles I googled, I can accentuate with white or light blue shirts. A black or pale yellow tie could work. Gold is supposedly a good match, so it’s time to load up on my Mr. T style bling. If I wanted to really get out there I’m sure I could find a salmon coloured shirt. Or go for broke with earth tones and couple it with a loamy brown. Maybe this is more fertile territory than I thought at first blush.

I give it a green thumb’s up.

When you think of it, swap meets couldn’t be more accurately named.

It’s late and I have to be up tomorrow to play Magic. Let’s go for some straight up stream of consciousness stuff.

I just came back from a clothing swap. Since the first time I heard about them, I’ve thought they were the best idea. Our culture is so wasteful. We buy endless things we don’t need and they end up lingering for no good reason. I say this peeping at the broken dehumidifier in the hallway. It has no power cord, it can’t be used. Yet it’s been sticking around for maybe half a year just taking up space? Pointless. Clothing swaps, however, are such a clever way of repurposing previously loved goods in solid condition. It’s like having a thrift store in your friend’s lounge. Each one I’ve been to has had piles of clothes, music and snacks. People goof around and try stuff on. You usually come away with some swell pieces while clearing out the shit you never wear. Win win. This time I had a heap of things I bought for costumes, or sweaters I thought looked rad in the store, but after wearing them once or twice saw nothing but faults. Usually it’s a jarring cut or just not hanging right on my frame. Whatever it was, I’m glad to have rid myself of seeing them sadly draped over hangers, ever hopeful to be worn. There weren’t many other guys at this swap, but I walked away with some fur lined faux leather vest. Seems like righteous festival wear.

One thing I noticed clearing out my closet was how each piece had a story to it. I don’t have an expansive wardrobe, and what’s there has always been intentionally chosen. I’ve needed certain items for a specific purpose. Because of this, I found that for most everything I pulled out, I remembered where or why I got it. The gaudy Hawaiian shirt was for an Ace Ventura costume (the hair was the hardest part). A red sweater came into my life during the JFL42 comedy festival. I’d bought it to save myself from freezing, then realised it really didn’t suit me. There was the blue and white striped shirt my flatmate had given me. She’d ordered a couple (?) for a sailor costume and had one spare. I figured it’d perhaps come in handy for a costume some day. It didn’t, but some guy at the swap grabbed it and the fit was perfect. Guess it was destined for him. I realised that as I was rifling through shirts, jackets and sweaters that I was flicking back through years of memories.

It’s not the first time I’ve thought this, but it’s crazy to look around your home and think of the stories items hold. Stuff doesn’t just accumulate. There’s a how and why to each piece, even if that story was merely “I wanted it, so I got it.” Why did you want it? How did you get? Where did you get it from? Did you have any unusual encounters there. Was it for a party or costume? Did you inherit furniture? Who did that come from? Does it have any stories from its past life? How old are the things around us and what path did they take to get into our grasp?

Is that also why it’s hard to let go sometimes?

How did I make it through that entire entry without using the portmanteau “Leongerie”?

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, I’ve got solid New Year’s plans. A big fancy do at a friend’s house. It’s gonna be a super classy affair, suits and dresses, champagne at midnight, people trying to pronounce hors d’oeuvres. All sorts of swank. That’s not the entirety of the party, however. There’ll be different levels (in multiple senses). The main floor will be all about dressing up and the basement plounge/private rooms will be for dressing down. Our finest intimate apparel (and possibly less). This sparked a thought that I haven’t been able to quash. Is there a male equivalent for lingerie?

Sure, there’s such a thing as nice underwear for guys. I’ve been systematically trying to cull my boring old cotton boxers for the past year or two. I’ve bought soft spandex blends, micro-modale and compression fabrics. All in the service of greater comfort. Sure, they look nicer, they usually have some kind of segmentation that I’ll guessing helps accentuates my assets, but the primary motivation has been comfort. They feel great. I’m sure good lingerie is comfortable, but I’m not sure that’s the greatest motivation for wearing it. Lingerie looks fancy, expensive, intricate. It’s supposed to be sexy apparel and I’m not sure that nice undies really stack up in the same fashion.

I asked a friend for his opinion. He said perhaps some form of chest harness could be roughly equivalent. We thought about it some more and realised that wasn’t really the same. A harness is certainly intimate apparel and has sexual connotations, but it’s a more specific stream of sexual interest. Lingerie, while of course being greatly varied within the category, does have a catch all of sexy implication. Lacy, embroidered, shiny, what have you, it’s not quite the same as the specificity of bondage gear. Darn (though perhaps not. I can’t imagine woollen knickers inducing much in the way of lust).

The “why” seems incredibly obvious. Lingerie, as it was designed, fit into the male gaze at large. Women then (and frustratingly still in a widespread manner) were perceived as objects or commodities. Lingerie, then, was a way of making your “assets” more appealing (commodititties, as it were). It was for women to sex themselves up and snag a man, which in those days (when women were largely forbidden from the workforce) was one of few revenue streams available to them. Say it with me: We live in a patriarchal society. I’m in no way trying to imply that women these days are without agency, but we’re still influenced by societal foundations that teach women that their value is supplicant to men’s. It’s bullshit, and trying to unravel the dichotomy of lingerie as sexual empowerment or a tool of the male gaze is a minefield for a more thoughtful essay than this. Of course men can exist as sexual entities, but that’s more often tied to physicality, status and power. Skimpy undergarments are an afterthought.

In lieu of building a better body by Sunday, I think the answer is that sheer confidence would fit the atmosphere better than sheer garments. If I choose to visit an area of more intimate dress, to take comfort in myself rather than worrying about my lack of embroidered underwear. Male lingerie could be mere years away from the mainstream. With the societal loosening of strict gender conformity, who knows? Until then, I’ll hedge my bets and leave the grey cotton undies at home.

If you look at this board game without the slightest trace of irony…

Woowee, I feel shattered. Last night was a big one (as things tend to be when you start drinking at 3pm). Today has been far more restrained. I’m chilling out, maxing and relaxing at home in a cosy bubble of lethargy. If I get anything accomplished before bed, I’ll have ascended my personal Mt Olympus. I had goals today and succeeded in basically none of them. However, I managed to complete missions I didn’t even know that I had. I guess we can chalk that down as a success.

One of my big goals today was to get some new pants. I’ve been going through pants like crazy over this past year. I don’t know what it is. I’ve been wearing them down/out enough and scrambling to replace them. Then yesterday at the work party I dropped a little too low while dancing and tore a small, unnoticeable hole in my mustard yellow jeans. Bummer. Well, more inside leg than bum, but regardless, I was non-stoked. I once had these perfect dark green pants. They lasted for years, but they developed a hole in the pocket that wasn’t close to the seam. Game over man, game over. So I’ve been trying to find some evocatively lush/verdant/flourishing trousers to replace them. I didn’t realise I was such a fucking stickler, but it hasn’t happened. Failure all around. They’ve been too expensive, too big or small. Some real Goldilocks shit. The day I find some that are just right is the day I’m devoured by bears. You heard it here first.

I will not be eaten by bears today. I went to a thrift shop and value village, but found nothing. I looked at a shirtload of pants, tried a couple on, but no dice. I did however, find an old cheesy smoking jacket adorned with blue roses. I had this sweet one that I grew to quickly love until I fucked up and put it in the wash. It got torn to shreds. This new one will do nicely. I spent quite some time in Value Village searching the racks for slacks but there was a lack. They’d be taxed anyway. I had time to kill so I looked for a good dress up suit. There was a slick purple number, but just to break my heart it was a large. Boo-urns. As I wandered I found two onesies to try on. A zebra and giraffe. The zebra was way too small and the giraffe was only mildly too small. For $5, I could live with that. Still no pants.

I looked at the kitchen supplies for a cheap frying pan in good nick. I found nothing but disappointment. When I turned the corner to see the framed pictures, I was hit by a bolt of inspiration. The work Secret Santa was coming up and there was a $15 limit. This place was perfect. My heart soared seeing a sublime picture of two cats. It was glorious, ghastly and colossal. It’s hard to see the scale from that image, but this thing was roughly the size of a coffee table. We’re playing the game version with gift stealing. Can you imagine how hard people would work to get rid of that? Brilliant. Unfortunately, there was a tear in the plastic seal covering it. I’d feel bad giving something damaged as a Secret Santa gift, no matter how amazing it was. I looked around for any other pictures even half as tragic, but came up with zilch.

I tried looking around for weird appliances, but came up similarly short. I found a Jeff Foxworthy You Might Be a Redneck If… board game, but figured my co-workers might be a bit young to get the irony. Not worth letting a joke fall flat. I looked at the soft toys, hoping to find something both ugly and outrageously sized. Then I noticed a Care Bear roughly the size of a toddler. It was $5. Better yet, I noticed another one. Then another. Perfect. I’m hoping they straddle the line between desirable and not. Will people fight over them? Or try to dump them on someone who really doesn’t want them? Both, I hope. We’ll find out on Friday.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss my accomplishments after all. Today was a good day.