Let the arbitrary hate flow through you.

Some dude on the subway in front of me us wearing a book with the Facebook logo, except in its place it says “fakebook“. What’s he rebelling against, really? Did he recently undergo a traumatic identity theft case revolving around the use of the popular social media platform? Is this some greater statement on the fleeing insincerity of online communication? Drawing contrasts between the facetious digital contact in lieu of a more personal connection? Or has he just seen The Matrix for the first time and convinced himself we’re all living in a simulation, thus goading one of the world wide web’s most influential sites into proving its worth in a land of make believe? Or maybe, just maybe he’s a gormless milquetoast zygote with a rudimentary sense of humour. You know what? Fuck that guy. He’s a FakeMook.

Work was shitty and frustrating today, so maybe that’s why I’m picking on this bland dweeb. A major shift in protocol right in the middle of my vacation means I need to do a metric fuckton of work before I leave. Otherwise it’d be left to other team members to pick up my slack. I bet that’s what Fakebook Dipshit does all the time. Slack prick. I bet he paid full price to see The Emoji Movie in cinemas. Maybe just to see his cousin, the poo emoji, on the big screen. Actually, that’s kind of sweet. I don’t want to personify him like that. I hate this guy, remember? How’s about this? I bet he was one of those goons bitching about the women only screening of Wonder Woman a while back. Yeah, that seems like his M.O. You know, they’re doing a Clown only screening of It at The Alamo. I wonder if gamer gaters will shit themselves over that too? Probably not. They’re just misogynists. They’ve got no beef with Arlequino and his ilk.

I saw someone on the train that I thought was a local comic I saw the other day. I was just about to tell her how much I enjoyed her “Kid Rock grandma” bit, but couldn’t tell if it was her. So she saw me turn to her, make eye contact and open my mouth. No sound came out, then I blushed, closed my mouth then turned away. She may have thought that I was some form of human/fish hybrid that’d forgotten about my gills. I remembered the comedian had chipped her tooth on the mic, so I wondered if that’d be how I could tell if it was her or not. I darted my eyes back to her periodically before realising I was trying to look inside her mouth and if things weren’t creepy already, they were bound to get into Slenderman territory in T-minus five seconds. I spent the rest of the subway ride trying to burn a hole in the floor with my glare.

At least I can console myself with knowing I’m not wearing a fucking fakebook shirt. That dude is an anus.

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I’m some sorta Cherishire Cat.

Gee willikers. What an ardently enjoyable weekend. After months of training, disengaging from social contact and staunchly monitoring my consumption, letting go has been such a release. Since Friday I’ve spent so much time in the company of others, appreciating delicious food and refusing to stress about most anything. I think my soul needed that.

Yesterday I put a Facebook call out to see if anyone wanted to join me for lunch. I was severely hungover and figured the best cure for what ailed me was a metric fuckton of meat, broth and rice. Pork Bone soup would be my saviour. I often post last minute plans to grab food and virtually never get anyone taking me up on the offer. It’s often a deluge of “wish I’d seen this earlier” or “just ate, sorry”. Yesterday, however, I had three people opt in. Plus it turned out that my girlfriend’s shift (a block away from the restaurant) finished up right as we’d planned to meet. It was a diverse group. One of my Magic buddies and two acquaintances I know through general community. Having this range of people opened the door for fun, varied conversations (with people offering viewpoints others wouldn’t have considered). We ate excessively with a lunch that ran for around two hours. Nobody was in a rush, we all just enjoyed being present and spending the time.

Our plans for the evening involved an Alice in Wonderland themed backyard bash. Costumes were mandatory and nobody disappointed. An array of colours and choices. Some went for specific characters, others took general inspiration from story themes. There were long dresses, corsets and bonnets. Most eschewed pants for leggings. Some opted for creative makeup or little accessories. Most of us ended up strangely flammable, which became all the more pronounced when we realised just how many tea light candles there were. The backyard had been wonderfully dressed, with fairy lights, deco light, little butterflies, streamers and an array of colourful accoutrements. Everyone brought treats of all shapes and sizes: Fruit, candy, chips, cookies, juices and soft drink. Peppermint tea in a big carafe. We came bearing blankets and pillows. The host had crafted a great playlist that lasted the entire night. It was a joy to settle in such a curated space.

Best of all, the social atmosphere was ideal. You know the feeling of walking into a room where the temperature has been perfectly set? It felt like that, but with mood and attitude. We were all there to enjoy one another’s company, to lift up rather than tear down. No aggression or bitchiness, just friendly positivity and joking around. As with the lunch earlier, I had a blast having the platform to just be funny. It’s understated, but being surrounded by people who’d yes, and… was bliss incarnate. Having that wavelength sustained through close friendships meant I could read the room well enough to know how to throw out good lines and bits to hearty group laughter. A night filled with solid pulls, deep cuts and callbacks. It also helped being surrounded by a bunch of clever, funny people who’d dish it back. My heart felt a warm tingle being surrounded by such a great crowd.

The misguided sentiment to pull from this weekend would be oh, I guess I just have more fun when I drink. That’d be missing the deeper message. The greater realisation is that it’s more about not feeling guarded. Back when I was monitoring my intake, I had to be hyper-aware all the time. I was thinking about calorie consumption, the ratio of exercise to downtime, whether I was keeping limber and stretched. Then if I was in a social space, being sober around those who weren’t meant that I’d notice too much. I’d see how people’s behaviour would change after a drink or two. I’d hear the noise level creep up. It’d be too much to take in and make relaxing impossible. What a relief then to let go of that and go with the flow. To not have to be so rigid all the time.

Golly gosh, it does lighten the load.

I was Babashook all night long.

Y’know, after two and a half months of teetotalling, I’d kind of forgotten that hangovers existed. After an amazing night of copious drinking, I was very rudely reminded.

Fake prom! Fake prom was everything I’d been hoping for. A big night out with great friends, dressed to kill (metaphorically. It came with the horror theme). The whole evening was one big adventure. For my Jekyll and Hyde costume I started by shaving half my face. If I was a smart man I would’ve used my hair trimmer to make the beard more manageable for my piece of Schick handheld razor. I’m not a smart man. It was a slow, arduous process. Any kind of precision work was a shit show. It did bring up interesting quandaries like do I shave half my soul patch? Or get rid of it all? I managed to keep half. My girlfriend did a phenomenal job on makeup, using green and black eye shadow to contour and bring out my ghastly side. Makeup being something I never do, I was amazed at the results she got. Plus how quickly she put it all together. After all of 15-20  minutes I was utterly transformed.

A bunch of us got together for pre-drinks. Most of which I spent holding moulded vampire teeth to my canines. I hadn’t realised how long I needed to let them set for, which meant nil by mouth as I stood with my head tilted back, amassing saliva. Then with ten minutes before our ride came, I frantically tried to put in my coloured contacts. I don’t normally wear contacts, so shoving something between my eyelid and eyeball is as nerve racking as it gets. In the end I got my friend to help out (basically insert them in by force) and the result was amazing. I had one half of my face clean shaven and nondescript, hair combed. The other was black and green with spiked hair, a sharp vampire tooth and one menacing red eye. Sinister as fuck.

Then we got into a motherfucking limo. Frankly just not wearing a seat belt made me feel some kind of special. It’s as if you get to a point of wealth where you stop fearing death. We had three bottles of champagne and I’d brought the essential can of Watermelon Four Loko. Why? Because there’s something innately pleasing to me about that kind of severe juxtaposition. An expensive, flashy ride while drinking the lowest of trash juice. It was hard not to feel fancy. As we drove past, people would pull out their phones and take pictures. It was snug (with ten of us in there) but the seats were plush leather. Colour changing lighting strips covered the ceiling. My only regret was the lack of a sun roof to poke my head out of. Guess I’ve still got that on my bucket list. We drove around then stopped at a park for an impromptu photo session with dinosaur statues. Because we’re adults.

The event was fantastic. Palais Royale is a mysterious place. I’d never seen it open before, but it was super ritzy. Right on the Lake Shore, it not only had a big dance floor, but also a gorgeous outdoor deck with water views. They’d hung black streamers, balloons and little ghosts all over. The range of costumes was spectacular. In our group alone we had Buffy and Angel, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain (of the 27 club), Samara (from The Ring) and The Babadook. I saw a great Pennywise, some dude with an Alien Facehugger/Chestburster combo, an Edgar Allan Po and all manner of witches, demons, vampires and corpse brides. Being the kind of hyper drunk that I was, I had a stupendous time dancing. I’m pretty sure I did The Worm no less than four times. Oh, and my Babadook friend got Prom King! Rightfully so, he did sew the costume himself. I somehow got my favourite white shirt covered in fake blood (no idea how. It was so bad that when I took it into the dry cleaners this morning the kindly lady refused and laughed me out the door), lost the clip/button from my pants (good thing my suspenders were keeping them up) and had a lengthy conversation with the Uber driver who honestly sounded like he wanted to keep hanging out.

This morning may have been a rude awakening, but it was a small price to say for such a jubilant night.

My stomach literally couldn’t hold all the joy inside.

Look out world, somebody’s gonna roll ya!

Our mail is being held hostage. We’re on our third warning (though only two have been delivered. Maybe the second one is being held hostage with the rest of our mail) from the post office. Apparently our mail box is inaccessible. I mean, it’s accessible enough for them to deliver warnings to it, but not regular mail. The issue? Our path is COVERED in grass. Yes, it’s slightly overgrown, but it’s not a rampant expanse of forest. When did the mailman become my landlord?

I don’t know why, but I’m irritable. I’ve spent the last few hours traipsing around town on the hunt for various costume accessories for tonight. I didn’t find a single one that I was looking for. I kept getting distracted by other places to look. I stopped off at H&M to see if I could scoop up some sale jeans. I found some, but they had a hard time with my monstrous thighs and calves, even though the waist fit fine. The LCBO and beer store somehow didn’t have quite what I wanted for casual drinking. So I ended up leaving with a can of Watermelon Four Loko (the absurd 11.9% stuff). My new shoes arrived in the mail and they’re okay, though not as great as the previous model. Now after all this fruitless tripping I’ve got less time than I planned this evening. You know what was on my agenda if I had the time? MOWING THE FUCKING LAWN.

Today was supposed to go so well too. I woke up five minutes before my alarm. I felt so rested, turned over to look at the clock with fear in my heart that it was a good hour before I was supposed to wake. Nope, five minutes early. A free five minutes? That feels like being handed the day on a platter. I was out the door a full ten minutes before my normal time. I practically skipped down the road. I can’t help but feel that today’s had it in for me since. Do you know what sucks about being ten minutes early? It doesn’t gain you any time. Ten minutes before I leave the bus to the train station is rammed. The train is sardine-packed, meaning you’re inhaling someone’s armpit. When I got out of the subway and waited for my bus, the line extended around the corner and I still had to wait another ten minutes for it to arrive. With no seats, I stood at a funny angle wrenching my already sore back. Still my morale was up, I was five minutes early. So I got out and had a great coffee at my favourite cafe. They were playing Flashback Friday hits and it was all 90s bubblegum pop. I’d thought I’d turned it around.

Now I’ve got maybe an hour to have a shower, shave half my face, get dressed, have my girlfriend do my makeup and get to my friend’s place for pre-drinks. Then I’ll be in a limo drinking Four Loko. Things are looking up for your dear narrator.

Come to think of it, I don’t know why I’d be anyone’s “dear” anything. I sound like a curmudgeonly grump. What have I done to earn your favour other than gripe and grumble? Maybe the post office are right and we should be mowing our lawns more often than once every three or so weeks. Maybe mothers everywhere are right and we should wash our bed sheets weekly instead of… I don’t think even I want to know how rarely we do it. Maybe that bus driver was right when I tried to hand him a $20 and he told me to organise my life. Maybe I’m not perfect, okay? Maybe I am an incorrigible mess unworthy of your adoration.

Or maybe I should forget all of that and remember that I’m riding in a fucking limo tonight!

GET SHREKED, WORLD!

Was Dr Jekyll just drinking Four Loko?

Just my luck. I’m always complaining about how early in the year stores stock their shelves for any upcoming holiday. I’m not an idiot, I know that holidays are primarily a commercial exercise. It gets those consumer juices flowing, knowing that they could buy the same shit but with an added on-theme colour. Why yes, I would enjoy a red and green yuletide shewee. I’m no Scrooge. Still, who in their right fucking mind would be putting up Christmas decorations at the start of November? IT’S OKAY TO WAIT FOR THINGS. Patience is next to cleanliness and godliness and Linus van Pelt.

Yet when I want to rummage amongst Halloween accessories, in late August, they’re nowhere to be found.

Yeah, I know it was absurd of me to expect Halloween stuff to be up over two months in advance. That’s pushing the boundaries of even North American dollar stores. As I saw from my visit to Dollarama, they’re clearly at least another day or two away.

They had an assortment of Halloween candy available, but no decorations or costume accessories. For purely selfish reasons, this was not on. I’ve got a Halloween adjacent party coming up on Friday and cheap accoutrements would’ve been handy. There’s a Fake Prom going on, with a classic horror theme. I’m hoping to do a baseline acceptable Jekyll and Hyde costume. It was my girlfriend’s excellent idea. I’ve got an old brown suit and suspenders. I’ll shave half my face and do makeup for the other half. I was looking for bestial fake nails/talons for one hand. One of those big vampire chompers would be cool too, to give one half of my face a sinister sneer. A ton of the makeup I’ve seen online involves over the top green ghoulishness. I’m looking for something more haggard, slightly beastly.

The party is pretty open concept, but I like the idea of a) going as a classic literary horror character and b) dressing in a way that could be somehow prom appropriate. Apprompriate? It’s fun to get all dressed up. A big group of us are renting a limo and getting classy trashed beforehand. I’ve never been in a limo and divided by ten people it only comes out to around $30 per person. It’s no small change as a mode of transit, but the limo is an experience in itself. My girlfriend is working that night, so instead one of my other buddies will be my date. I think he’s coming as Dorian Gray, which is one hell of a creative idea.

So now I need to work out what my costume looks like. My girlfriend suggested buying a shirt from the thrift store and roughing up one side. Fake blood stains, dirt, rips and torn patches. I have some unopened red contact lenses. I could pop one into my Hyde side. If I could find a cheap costume-y monocle, top hat or cane to class up the Jekyll side that’d be choice. Though whether or not I want to be dancing with a ton of accessories is up for debate. Honestly, I just want to wear suspenders. Beyond that, I’m easy.

I mean, given the fact that I haven’t had a heavy drink in months, I think booze will be the serum necessary to bring out my Hyde tendencies. I can’t wait to go out and cause a ruckus, casting unspeakable horrors upon the dance floor. Moreover, I know so many creative people going that’re bound to put together amazing costumes. It feels like ages since I’ve really let loose, and on Friday I’m gonna let Louis… Stephenson, that is.

Shit, it looks like my dark side is coming out early.

I for one am looking forward to talking about something else. Like, did you know they’re doing a live action Jetsons? Why?

Like every other year, the last week before Tough Mudder absorbs all other thought. I’ve become a broken record. Talking about much else would be disingenuous, because I’m not thinking about an array of topics. I’ve got tunnel vision that’s concentrated on how I’m gonna get up those hills.

I’m thinking about what to eat and when to eat what. While common knowledge says that carbo loading is the way to go, I’m borderline petrified of getting constipated and having to navigate the course with a food baby as the monkey on my back. It’s a trap for sure. If your body isn’t used to certain types of food, why vary things up before the race in the hopes of getting a slight boost? I know that I’ll have shit all chances of sleeping the night before, so adding any kind of indigestion is a fool’s errand. Keep it simple, proteins, fibre and small amounts of complex carbs. Then fill in the gaps before the race with excessive pre-workout. I’ll practically fly up St Louis Moonstone.

I’ve kind of divided life into PM and AM (Pre Mudder and After Mudder respectively) and for the most part I’ve pushed everything after the race out of my head. One nagging issue though is footwear. There’s no way my shoes will be operable post race. My beloved Saucony Excursion TR8 GTXs. I bought a pair a few years back and found them to be the most comfortable running shoes I’d ever owned. So of course I got another pair once they were done. It took work and Google-Fu. I searched across the world and found a pair close to home in Edmonton. Paid way too much, but it was worth it not to mess with what my feet were used to. I’m no stranger to foot pain, which has a habit of becoming knee pain all too easily. So the path of least resistance was best paved with becoming a creature of habit. This year, the shoes are nowhere to be found. I’ve looked. I’ll have to figure out what about them worked and seek the next best thing. That’s a job for my Sunday hangover.

Tonight is all about stretching and foam rolling. In other words, a torture session. It’ll hurt like fuck now, but anything I do beforehand will only ease pressure on the day. Why is it that myofascial release is so goddamn painful? Somehow pressing dense foam into my muscles feels like a stabbing. The foam roller will deal with my IT bands, thighs, calves, groin, glutes and rotator cuffs, while a lacrosse ball can get into those hard to reach spots on the upper body. Is this boring you? Good, it’s gonna be even worse for me. I have no idea how real athletes deal with this stuff on a regular basis. Those fucking Supple Leopards. Staying limber seems to be a full-time commitment. I can’t imagine how much time you’d have to devote to keeping the machine running well if your body was the tool of your trade. Last year it was so easy. I had benefits that covered regular athletic therapy. I just offset the work and knowledge onto those who knew best. Maybe I can convince myself that doing it on my own makes it worth more or something. Am I that gullible?

Two sleeps, then it’s here. I’ll be able to remember what my life was like when it had nuance. Maybe I’ll learn from walking a mile in some different shoes.

A top notch sunny disposition.

Today was a scorcher (I use past tense because somehow the cloudless sky has grown dark and foreboding. The horizon threatens encroaching thunderstorms). I’d resolved to go for a lunchtime jog in an effort to keep active. I’m lucky enough to have access to both the Toronto waterfront and showers at work. I have very few excuses beyond but I don’t wanna. Looking out at the blazing sun I had misgivings, but stepped out the door and started stretching anyway. I took my place on the bike lane and settled into a steady pace, heat beating down from above. I noticed a figure in front of me jogging away. A shirtless cuddly looking dude. The thought popped into my head man, I wish I had the confidence to do that. I took a second and thought again I could, y’know.

Immediately I had misgivings. I’m so close to work, what if someone from work sees me without my shirt? Doesn’t that cross some kind of unprofessional line? Then again, if I’m outside the office without any visible sign of where I work, do I really treat this as being on the clock? I do it all the time in friend groups. Yeah, but those are communities where I feel safe and comfortable. This is out in public. What if I feel awkward? On the contrary, what if I don’t? What’s really stopping me here, truthfully? Some sense of self-consciousness? When I think about it, the only thing preventing me from doing it is, well, doing it.

I did it.

It felt instantly freeing, as if my shirt had more weight to it than the sweat stained cotton should’ve. A gentle breeze rolled across my body as the sun shone down. Parts of my frame that rarely saw the light felt the kiss of fresh air. My back and shoulders, the patch of skin around my armpits, my chest, my belly, all exposed to the elements. I felt a smile spread across my face as I took it all in, the long forgotten sounds of Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape pounding in my ears. My tired, aching body should’ve told me to give up, but there was something almost euphoric in that moment. The smile stuck.

At times it feels hard to be comfortable and confident in your own skin. Within a society that constantly tells you that you should be better, loving your own body is a choice. A pretty hard choice to make at that. Running in public with my skin exposed came with a certain lightness. My heavy footfalls felt like stones skipping across a pond. Deep breaths felt slight, belying the effort they took. The world took on a magic of its own. I held an appreciation for my body that spread throughout. For the muscle and sinew, bones, blood and skin. For its perseverance in everything I put it through. For the way it bounces back, showing me more love than it often gets in return. For its ability to propel me through the world day by day without fail.

Thanks, man.