Sounds more Autummy-nal than anything else.

Oy vey, I’ve eaten well today. My girlfriend and I started the day with a solid sweet potato, onion, salami and garlic egg scramble. Yes, I realise that rather than a cohesive meal, that sounds more like multiple single items together. We paired them with my brunch nemesis: grilled to tomatoes. I swear I fuck them up every time. They’ll be burnt, but cold inside. Way more solid than desired. None of that hot warm goodness with slightly crispy exterior that makes them pop. Today I loaded them the fuck up with sea salt and pepper and hoped for the best. They delivered. I defeated my personal dragon and claimed its treasure.

I had one of the $3.50 large banh mi buns for lunch. Loaded up with cold cut meats, paté, salad and chillis. Then caught up with a friend over key lime pie and tea. Later my girlfriend and I are off for homemade pizza and beer with a couple we haven’t seen in ages. As you should be able to tell from the diet, fall is setting in. There’s a reason why this is my favourite time of the year. It’s comfort food day in and day out. Consequently, I feel comfortable.

With each year that passes, I get more and more settled into the vastly different sessions Canada has to offer. Back home in New Zealand the variance wasn’t that huge. Winter was colder, a bit more drizzly, but ultimately not considerably different from Autumn. Here you actually make use of a rotating wardrobe. Certain pieces only make sense for a couple of months each year. Layering comes in stages with incremental temperature shifts. Beer changes and you have seasonal brews. Some months you rarely go out. Life revolves around the weather and it’s logical, because you don’t have much of a choice otherwise.

I think after four years that I’ve reached the point of normalcy. I’m used to the flow of the year. It’s no longer jarring or unnatural working around my environment. Instead it’s become a matter of embracing each season as they come. Learning to love the intricacies and charms of temperature fluctuations and shifting winds.

Or in short, enjoying the food.

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Wet feet, cold feet, I’d take it.

A combination of dairy before bed last night meant weird dreams to follow. How weird? You tell me.

The first dream is a little hazy in my mind. I remember my girlfriend and I going to an Amanda Palmer concert. We were right up the front, right in “mosh central”. I shouted out a song request that got cheers from people around me. Amanda couldn’t quite hear it, so she thrust the mic my way. I got nervous and screwed up the word order. It made very little sense. The rest of the crowd booed. I shouted out “wait, I got nervous and messed that up. I’ll do better this time.” Strangely, Palmer complied and put the mic in front of me once more. I said it again, the way I’d intended. She nodded and the crowd roared in approval. She launched into whatever song it was I’d requested. I felt vindicated and the rest of the concert was great. My girlfriend and I came home and crashed in bed.

Then I woke up in the real world and went to the bathroom. I was floppy from the melatonin, so I stumbled around a little as I remembered how my limbs worked. I did my bathroom thing, then fell back into bed, finding sleep once more.

I found myself on the way to a job interview at some boutique advertising agency. I was dressed in a fancy suit, though in retrospect maybe too fancy for a job interview. It was shiny and gold, like something I’d imagine Elton John wearing in his prime. Oddly though, I’d decided to pair it with open toed sandals. I think I was on my way from the airport. I didn’t know it for sure, but I was in a shuttle van and had luggage with me. I arrived and looked at the agency from the outside. To be honest, it looked kind of like they’d converted an old bungalow into a funeral parlour. Large vases with ornate flower displays stood inside bay windows. A red carpet extended from the porch into the front door. The carpet was a shade of baby blue and the walls were a darker sapphire. I shrugged, grabbed my bags and walked inside.

I was greeted by a woman in her 30s. Hair pulled up into a bun. Bulky square glasses. Flowing floral dress. She was barefoot. The soles of her feet were covered in baby blue paint, her hands with sapphire. Odd, I thought. I shook her hand. Mine came away sapphire. She brought me over to a bar style desk in the centre of the room, where another associate was standing. “Are you ready to begin?” She asked. I nodded. She clicked the play button on a boom box and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” began playing. She and her associate started to dance. Her eyebrow rose. It felt like she was implying I should dance along. I started moving, then noticed that my suit was ripped from my elbow all the way down the side. It must’ve been from the Amanda Palmer concert last night. I thought. I took off my suit jacket and continued dancing. My interviewer nodded and the music ceased. I looked down at her bare feet. Her associate also had bare feet. I kicked off my sandals and stood on the carpet. My feet felt wet. I realised that the carpet and walls were covered in wet paint. Everyone around the office had feet stained baby blue and hands stained sapphire.

My interviewer and her associate told me that they’d been watching me for some time and liked my work. They appreciated my attitude, but that there was a final test I needed to pass. They invited me into a boardroom with a vast table in the centre. An intricate and complicated board game covered the table, pieces lining the side. It looked like the entire company was there. Everyone was high-fiving everyone else. It seemed bizarre and cultish. I felt immediately uncomfortable. We took turns choosing tokens, but I couldn’t escape the notion that everyone was judging me. It was too much, I had to leave. I excused myself and walked out the door.

I realised that I’d left my luggage inside and returned. The interviewer was standing in the doorway. “You had your chance.” She spat venomously. Her face split apart into a sharp toothed grin, a snake’s tongue flicking in and out of her mouth. Lightning surged around her fists. I looked down and fire erupted from my palms, enveloping my hands in a burning aura. I charged at her headfirst…

…and heard the quiet tones of my alarm. I know, I’m as disappointed as you. I wanna know how that ended.

I mean, did I get the job or not?

Worst of all, the Dollarama has finally sold its singular Agent Cody Banks 2 DVD. What monster would buy that?

The past 24 hours have been the most amazing downtime. After putting the pedal to the floor at the work Halloween party, I didn’t have much oomph left in me. I went to the gym, went out for Korean on my own then came back and spent the night oscillating between TV, the internet and the 90s Microprose Magic the Gathering mod. Frankly, it was awesome.

At work yesterday, I had this fear that I’d lost my go-to sweater while I was out drinking. I remembered bringing it to work, but not taking it to the bar or the after-party. But it wasn’t at work either. I started fretting. By the time I’d considered calling the bar to check, I was most of the way home. If it was at the after-party, I was screwed. I didn’t remember the names of the people who’s place it was. I remember the vague location of the apartment, but that was about it. I started thinking to myself maaan, I should’ve put my name on the tag or something. I thought back to those times as a kid when a name on the tag meant getting clothes back from camp. I realised that the last time I lost any clothes was probably 20 or so years ago. For the most part, when I go out I make a point of picking up stuff I brought with me. I don’t want to make my shit someone else’s problem. Losing one of my favourite sweaters was a bummer, and a blow to my (admittedly smug) sense of pride. What do I have to be proud about? I’ve got a mere 4.97 Uber rating.

Anyway, the sweatshirt was hanging up when I got home. Turns out that even tired, I managed to hang it up back on its usual hanger. I guess not much has changed from the days of drunk Leon cooking meals and packing the sealed containers in the fridge.

Today was all about marathoning Stranger Things season two. More accurately, it was about my girlfriend and I doing all of our boring adult chores before spending four hours doing nothing but eating and watching. We had good breakfasts, took in dry cleaning, sorted out our Halloween costumes, went food shopping (braving the nightmarish Galleria Mall. I swear it’s a portal to The Upside Down. The lighting is eerily bright and it’s a cluster of stores where the products seem like macabre perversions of those you can buy elsewhere) and fixing a hearty soup and sandwich lunch.

Then we vegged the fuck out and got stuck into the first four episodes. Without spoiling anything, they’ve done a great job of taking an enjoyable show and taking it to necessary places. Slow reveals without holding too much back. The kitchy 80s period mise en scene walks the line of being neat, while occasionally tipping over into pandering. Most importantly, they’ve strongly considered the events of last season and weaved them into character progression. It’s not a hard reset, characters act as if they’ve gone through something. It’s stuck with them and changed how they interact with people outside of their normal circles. Plus the show still looks fantastic. The budgets must be insane. I wonder how many Stranger Things season two costumes there’ll be this year. Is it actually too soon?

I guess we’ll find out tonight.

So I guess you could say I feel more Holloween than anything.

It’s Friday night and I feel subpar. I was super smart last night and had a late evening of drinking on a school night. I could’ve called it quits hours before I did, but that would’ve required exceedingly more forethought than I was ready to put in. Why was I even out drinking with work the next morning?

It was the work Halloween party. Not a huge deal. I mean hey, it’s pretty neat that our company puts on a Halloween party at all. It’s not like every company out there does. It’s strange though, that they put it on during work hours. 2pm-4pm means that we need to scoot back to our desks for an hour once it’s done. Couldn’t they shift it by an hour? We’d be able to continue partying straight away instead of playing into the ridiculous notion that people would actually work afterwards. They gave us two drink tickets each (though it wasn’t difficult to find more), played music and scattered a bunch of chippy packets/fun sized bars around the atrium.

Some people put a shit ton of work into their costumes. A few towed the corporate line and came as something work/company related. Brown nosers. Those who went all in however, really went all in. There was a neat Inspector Gadget costume. The guy had made his own hat and created a propeller/handles that weaved into it. Someone else came as a trash lobster (?). No idea if that’s meant to be from something, but it looked tremendously good. It even got surreal as someone dressed as the claw machine from Toy Story. There were group costumes (my team did Mario Kart) and a bunch who put in either minimal effort or didn’t even bother with a costume. I had a Devil of Hell’s Kitchen costume from a couple of years back. Reusing a past Halloween getup was the least amount of work I could put in to still come dressed decently. Plus most of the items were normal clothes I could wear to work anyway. Bonus. And, working at a television company, nobody mistook me for Dread Pirate Roberts this time. BIGGER BONUS. The costume came with cons. My vision was piss weak, it was hard to make out little details on other people. The gloves I wore were just winter gloves, which meant I had no strong tactile fingertip grip. I couldn’t open a chip packet or fun sized bar. So I didn’t eat. I juuuust drank.

I also got to do more voicing at work. I used to do a little back when I worked in radio, but frankly there were better voices around. Here in Canada, my accent is a neat little commodity so I get more opportunity to read. Yesterday I got to do my first movie trailer. It was fucking fantastic. The engineer is new to the company, but he’s been doing voice/talent coaching for years. He was endlessly patient, so we kept going at it from different angles (plus the clients were known to be notoriously picky, so we wanted a bunch of options). We tried the faux LaFontaine thing (both in a NZ and North American accent), we tried a more natural read (both accents). We then tried to punch up specific lines, pronunciations, moods, etc. It was fucking great to work with someone who wasn’t afraid to take their time and who gave thoughtful advice/feedback. I think we spent around 40 minutes working on the 30 second script, but hopefully they bite. After I got warmed up, even I was surprised at how good it was sounding. It’d be awesome to do a ton more voicing. I’m finding work to be pretty damn tedious at the moment. Any chance to leave the desk and do something I actually like is worth taking.

At the moment however, it feels like the only thing worth taking is a nap. Night night!

Have a nice strip. See you next fall.

So yeah, looks like medicating with alcohol helped. Oh boy, I’m sure that’s healthy. More accurately, blowing off steam while hanging out with friends helped. Without plans, I put a plea out to the internet and the internet pulled me in with both hands. Friends invited me out to an Amateur Strip Show Judged by Drag Queens event. It was a blast.

Amateur also seemed like more of a misnomer than I was led to believe. For the most part these were polished acts with some props and definite intent. Someone’s scene involved “flaying” themselves, cutting “skin” from their forearms and nipple, with bloody “flesh” underneath. Another lady began in a thin slip that was soon shed to reveal a nude body beneath (started from the bottom? -Ed). Her scene cleverly turned the concept on its head and, starting with a little rope self-bondage, had her fully dressed by the time the song finished. There was a phenomenal “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” piece complete with glitzy period clothing. It was something else. Thing is, watching all of these people perform had me itching to do something.

I’ve had this idea for a strip/burlesque scene for years. Set back in the 40s or 50s, with a husband coming back home after the six o’clock swill. Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” starts playing. He’s feeling flirty, but also sloppy drunk. So the entire scene involves him trying to do a sexy strip tease for his wife, but he’s literally falling all over the place. In reality, acting drunk would involve a lot of control, especially if pratfalls are gonna be a big part of it. I haven’t really worked out the beats, but let’s have a little go at it:

He walks in the door, pulls off his hat and throws it at the coat rack. It obviously misses by a wide margin. He pulls his coat seductively off one shoulder, then goes to shunt it off the other arm in one go, but it gets tangled on his hand. He waves it back and forth, but ends up with a bigger tangle. He puts it between his legs to try and wrench it off. Then he looks up and raises his eyebrows suggestively, pulling his hand out of the mess and stumbling forward. He undoes his tie and starts pulling each side back and forth across the back of his neck. Then it slips out of one side and he doesn’t notice, so he’s just pulling at empty air with one hand before realising it. He drops the tie and focuses on his suspenders, slowly pulling them down a little, then putting them back into place. Back and forth, up and down, left and right at different times. Then with a flourish he pushes them down at once. Except he’s missed the left one and sheepishly pulls it down. He untucks his shirt, stumbling backwards a little. He goes button by button, sashaying as he does. He goes to pull the shirt off, but he forgot to unbutton the top button. So his hands are stuck in the sleeves, he wriggles around and falls to the floor. He wriggles some more and wrests his hands from the sleeves, ending up flat on his face/stomach. He unbuttons the top button finally and, exhausted, pulls off the shirt while in a heap. Then he realises he can wriggle his bum. So he wriggles his bum a little bit, then pokes it up into the air to wriggle it a little more. He tries to unbutton his pants, but it’s pretty tough to do with his face flat on the ground. He rolls over and battles with the belt, pulling it free, but the momentum turns him on his side away from the audience. He wriggles his bum again as he goes for the button. He rolls back onto his bum and pokes his hips into the air, then pulls his pants down slightly. He turns to look at her and raises his eyebrows again, arching his hips up and down a few times.

I need to start getting ready for my fancy party tonight, but that seems like the start of an idea. Maybe I’ll do one for my girlfriend when I come home tonight. There is an open bar…

I wish I had some kind of jean genie.

Welp, I did it. I cashed in any anti-consumerist cache I’d amassed over the years of rants and brand dodging. All of it down on credit at Lululemon.

I remember this slang term from my childhood. Being a “label basher”. A label basher was someone who prided themselves on being a head to toe brand ambassador. Maybe the term rose from the 90s anti-corporate cultural climate. People rallying against those buying into snug franchise affiliation. Maybe it was a mentality erected to oppose the Valley Girl movement. Whatever it was, it eventually all became meaningless as the style and fashions of the contrarian backlash were commodified and sold back to a willing consumer base. Pre-ripped jeans, big stompy Doc Martens and intentional safety pins. Hell, Hot Topic Mall Goth became a thing. Nirvana’s legacy of band tees probably outlived their music. Check and mate.

For years I’ve extolled how unnecessary branded fitness attire is. Wear whatever’s comfortable, but there’s no need to add a hefty price tag to something you’re gonna ruin with sweat. Get things that’ll be useful and ease the struggle of grueling workouts. Then my parents sent money over with my Big Sis for me to get some decent cold weather jogging legwear, since my shorts won’t cut it once the weather reaches five degrees or so. I’m not gonna say how much they sent, but it was more than I considered these things should cost. I’m sure the smart move would’ve been to buy something cheap and pocket the rest, but that didn’t feel like it inhabited the spirit of the arrangement. They’d sent me a generous amount, so why not get high quality clothes that would last. My mind went to Lululemon. They’re a premium brand, but they’re also certainly high quality. The only Lululemon clothes I’d previously owned were hand me downs. My dad had a pair of long pants that got a bit beaten up with time. He had them taken up and tailored into shorts. He used them for a bit, then offered them to me after a while. I used them consistently for around three years until finally they gave up. They were great. Sturdy construction with zippered pockets. Harder to find on pants than you’d think, but perfect for an iPod that bounced back and forth. In the hopes of something that’d last a similar amount of time, I decided to give Lululemon a shot.

A salesperson spotted me as soon as I walked in the door. I told her what I was looking for and she grabbed me a couple of styles, telling me the pros and cons for each. I found a decently priced pair of workout shorts on the sales rack and grabbed them to try on too. To be honest, the pants were really comfy, with a pleasant amount of compression. They stretched to allow for depth of moment, with a good weight. I don’t like it when pants are too light and hang loose. Then I tried the tights and discovered surprisingly they were even better. Solid compression with a pocket that would hold my iPod tight while I ran. Thick enough to keep me warm in the chilly lake air, but also protect against the all too real threat of camel tail that comes with male tights. Unexpectedly I walked out with the tights, paying far more than I ever would’ve expected. Plus the shorts, because they were somewhat reasonably priced. It’ll nice to have two pairs of workout shorts I can rotate.

In terms of my anti-consumerist bent, whatever. We all selectively decide when rules do and don’t apply to us, right? The concept of “selling out” is outmoded, especially as it pertains to fashion. I’m not remotely saying that protesting unfair sweatshop working conditions and the companies that employ them is a bad way to go. I’m also not gonna suddenly start outfitting my wardrobe with only the finest things. I’ve been looking for new jeans for a while. After I finished at Lululemon, I walked across the street to H&M and balked at the idea of paying $20 for a brand new pair of jeans.

So don’t worry, I’ll be fine.

My shameful secret? I don’t even own marbles.

Because everyone loves continuity in their stories, work was shit again today. You happy? Now, let’s talk about other things that I scramble to think of.

I still haven’t thought of what to dress as for Halloween. I feel like in recent years I tried to be topical and it backfired every time. There was the time I did Abradolf Linkler before Rick and Morty really took off. My Netflix Daredevil costume garnered more Dread Pirate Roberts comments than anything else. I don’t know how well I do at guessing what people will know. I’d hoped to save my unruly hair and beard in order to pull off Logan this Halloween, but the accumulation of several classy events meant keeping a scraggly beard was unreasonable. No beard? No Logan. So maybe this year I go for something evergreen. Fuck clever or pun based (though I had considered getting shitty plastic armor and a Conquistador hat to add to my donkey onesie. Donkey-xote!). I like the idea of something super benign like a lion or dinosaur. My only qualm is that if I end up in a full body kit, I may overheat and melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. Mr problem is I want to put in the minimal amount of effort and be complimented on the work I so obviously didn’t put in. Whatever I do, I just want to avoid my usual M.O. of putting in effort to have nobody knows what I am. It’s a bad scene. It’s times like these I need an all purpose banana suit.

I keep losing spoons at work. Or else someone’s taking them. Or a mixture. I’m not sure. To be honest, I’m more likely losing my marbles. It’s more of a predicament than you’d think. Cutlery doesn’t last long around work. People steal any loose forks or spoons in the kitchen, so your best bet is to bring your own. I had a great one, sturdy neck with an ample bowl. I left it on my desk as I went home, just like I normally do. I’m assuming there was no ill will. That it was more likely one of the cleaners trying to be conscientious and putting it in the dishwasher. Nobody would be cruel enough to straight up swipe it from my desk, right? I don’t work with monsters, do I? Surely there’s no foul play afoot? Some bizarre black market utensil ring going on right under my nose?

That’s what I thought. Maybe I said it in past tense? I’m not certain yet? Why? The mystery deepens. After having my wonderful spoon removed from my care, I “lifted” one from the kitchen in what was perhaps an act of vengeance. Not as good as the old one, but an entirely fine spoon nonetheless. 6/10. I’ve been using it for the past few days. This afternoon however, I left to go talk to someone in a different department. When I returned, my new spoon was nowhere to be found. What the fuck? I’d been eating cereal from it a mere hour or two earlier. Collusion? Or something more sinister? Realistically for this to have happened twice I must be either blacking out or having regular senior moments. I probably misplaced the spoon and started blaming it on others. UNLESS THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT ME TO THINK. Maybe it was The Russians. Or the Five Eyes Network. Or Secret Squirrel. Perhaps it was just Annie’s Boobs. We’ll never know.

Tableware beware.