My ringtone is the Full House theme. At least I think it still is

It’s JFL42 time! If I celebrated Hanukkah, I’m sure this is what it’d feel like.

JFL42 is Toronto’s version of the legendary Montreal comedy festival, Just For Laughs. In French, it’s called Juste Pour Rire, and it almost sounds like someone telling you to pour butts. Putting the ‘ass’ into ‘class’, those Frenchies. JFL42 is a bit different, in good ways. The credit system is innovative and value packed. You get a certain number of credits (two, four, six, 12) and use them to book shows. When you get to your show you get your credit back. You can then use this to book another show, ad infinitum. IT’S A GREAT SYSTEM. I usually use it to see around 25 acts in ten days, for around $100 altogether. It’s fun to strategise and figure out how to see all your desired acts. It’s gotten harder as more people have figured out how to use it. Still, the sheer quantity of quality comedy on display is amazing.

This year, I have a bike. It’s in a conditional condition right now. I took it over to a friend’s place yesterday so he could do some maintenance. A few things got better, but in trying to fix my gears, there were mishaps. My gears are now non-functional, and the one gear I’m stuck on is higher (faster spinning) than the one I’ve grown used to. I actually have to build up a cadence instead of relying on strong pedalling. It’s not ideal, and I’m getting a workout. While this is great on one hand, I’m also getting to shows late. Sub optimal, but still workable.

I also have the house to myself for a few days. My girlfriend has gone away for the weekend, so I get to sleep really deeply. I love having the bed to myself. To this day, I still sleep better alone. Will that ever change? Who knows? I use f.lux, I take magnesium citrate before bed, and wear earplugs. It’s not like I haven’t been training. I’m about to do my first day shifts in the new job. It kind of sucks to have that during one of my busiest, late night periods of the year. Still, at least I can still see the shows at night.

I’m waiting on internet people. They were supposed to call, which is why I’m at home and not seeing daytime JFL42 stuff. They haven’t called. They were supposed to call between 2.30 and 3.30, and it’s past 4pm. They were supposed to call to check that I was home, and if I didn’t take the call, they wouldn’t come. They haven’t called. They’ll probably called, but as of yet, no call. Zero ring. If only they knew my dedication. I turned my phone off silent for the first time since I bought it. I’ve been waiting for this call. This call is my sole raison d’etre at home right now. I just want faster internet. Is that too much to ask?

I have no idea, because they haven’t yet called for me to ask.

Hark, the Bone King cometh

What’s in a name? I’m Leon. I’ve always been Leon. Nicknames slough off me like water from a duck. They don’t hold or stick fast. Not sure why.

I’ve always been one to strip bones bare. Sounds like a red flag tinder profile, but really it means that I love BBQ ribs a whole bunch. Last night we had a big communal cook-up. Ribs on the BBQ, grilled mushrooms, corn, hot dogs, peaches, and a simple side salad. We sat around and had our bellies filled by the work we’d all pitched in. Everyone at the table had helped out somehow, and the rewards were bounteous. It turned out I had different standards than everyone for when a rib was considered “finished”. My friends’ bones piled up, and I flayed them one by one. I finished with a stack high to the heavens. Like a throne. A throne of bones. I was the Bone King.

Of course, this happened in my head. Nobody else had picked up on my clever moniker. So it was my duty to bring them onboard. This was a nickname that could stick. I tried incidentally sprinkling it a few times into conversation. Y’know, “hey, mind passing the chips over here to the Bone King?” They were all “wait, who’s the Bone King?” I was like “thats me, I’m the Bone King. Y’know, all those dinner bones?” My friends exchanged uneasy looks. I tried it once or twice more. It didn’t land. After a particularly egregious one my girlfriend gave me a sidebar. “I’m not sure this Bone King thing is landing. Maybe it’s not happening.” I looked in my heart of hearts and stood firm. “I know this can work, I just haven’t found my moment. By the end of the night, I’ll have it.”

It was evening. There’d been a bunch of pot going around. We were all quite high. We’d all slid into colourful, comfy clothing. I wore my lion onesie, with these dainty rose tinted glasses; gold chain draping from either arm across the back of my neck. People commented on the aesthetics of my attire. I shrugged and said something to the effect of “that’s how the Bone King rolls”. Gentle chuckling ensued. I stepped outside to a spritely bonfine. We played around, making smores. Some tended the fire. I grabbed a bold stick and struck a pose. I referred to myself once or twice as the Bone King. Still not a whole lot of rececption.

Hours passed. I’d put down my rose tinted glasses, and they’d become absorbed into a silly joke about a toy car wearing them. People were still laughing about Lightning McQueen in his rose tinted glasses. I grabbed the glasses, unaware I was cutting off their joke. Someone started to protest my theft of Lightning McQueen’s apparel, and I realised the only choice was to commit to the bit. I methodically applied the glasses, draping the chain over the back of my neck to the sound of the room’s protests. A friend called out “are you challenging Lightning McQueen?” I pushed the glasses to the bridge of my nose, squared off against Mr. McQueen and exclaimed “Hey Lightning McQueen, you come at the Bone King, you best not miss.” Rapturous applause exploded as I walked out the door for a smoke. Thus began the legend of the Bone King.

And I finally made that goofy nickname stick.

Mel Gibson ain’t a fan. But who needs fans like that?

What’s Ned Flanders’ favourite brand of sunglasses? Okillys!

For no good reason, today I remembered something from high school. There was this girl that we all had a crush on. She was super cool and disaffected. Really pretty, long brown hair and almond shaped eyes. When I say that we¬†all had a crush on her, I mean it. You know that stereotype of teenage girls excitedly tittering about the quarterback? We were those tittering teenage girls about her. ZOMG it’s mufti day, did you see what she’s wearing? That kind of stuff. Anyway, we were doing speeches for English class. She wasn’t in my class, but one of my friends told me he saw hers. She did her speech on Nelson Mandela, which was a neat subject. He was a cool dude. But she did a real half arsed job and didn’t really know how to finish. Instead she played Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” on a boom box and danced a little bit. Weird, and maybe more than borderline inappropriate. Incongruent enough that as soon as my friend told me, my crush on her instantly died. Simple as that. No more tittering.

In writing that out, I didn’t think I’d type “tittering” half as many times as I did.

Ugh, I used to love doing speeches at school. It was by far my favourite assignment. I was big into public speaking, considering that I spent all day talking shit in class anyway. I think I mostly liked making jokes, and it was an ideal opportunity to do so. I don’t fully remember my speeches from primary school. I did one about books that I kind of phoned in. It wasn’t my proudest work. I do remember getting a kick out of writing my barmitzvah speech, and figuring out metaphors with the rabbi. The friends I invited didn’t understand anything about Judaism, but they did enjoy pelting me with candy as I walked the Torah around the room. As is tradition.

I distinctly remember doing a fun speech during my ‘campaign’ for Deputy Head Boy in highschool. We all knew who was gonna win, so I tried my aim for silver strategy. I spent the whole time doing basically a stand up set. I leaned heavily on my best friend’s suprise campaign-

Which went a little like this:
“Hey bud” he said to me as he arrived at my front door to walk to school “I put up the posters”. I blinked. “Posters?” “Yeah” he replied “for your campaign”. Cue me walking into school, people coming up to me saying “oh man, love the posters. I’m voting for you for sure.” I saw one of the posters containing the image of an elderly Hasidic Jew and in bold: I’D VOTE FOR A JEW. WOULDN’T YOU?

-and really talked up my latent Judaism. I harped on about losing the Nazi votes, but hoping I could make it up with people proving they weren’t Nazis by voting for me. I didn’t win. Maybe I should’ve ended that one with Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and a little dance. Who better to claim the title “Survivor” than the Jews?

If I retconned every memory I had of giving a speech to have ended with that song, would that be the Mandela Effect at work?

As always, my survival method is to beer and grin it

Let’s get at it.

Holy hell I drank a lot last night. I’m lucky that I got to the work party several hours late. Had I arrived at 2pm, with an open bar, I’m sure I’d be in worse condition today. Yeesh. Counting it back I had seven strong Belgian beers between the hours of 5-11pm. One beer per hour. That’s far more than I’m use to having on a school night. As it stands, I still felt not great this morning around 5am. I had a headache, and I was mildly dizzy, overheated, etc. Usual hangover symptoms. I took some ibuprofen, drank some water and hoped for the best. Instead I just felt poopy for a few hours, and eventually drifted back to sleep.

Since weed was legalised, I’ve been getting hangovers far less, supplementing the usual large assortment of drinks for a couple of tokes. Maybe this has been a blessing, having heard just how much worse hangovers get in your 30s. I still woke up before my alarm, and rallied to overcome my ailment. More ibuprofen, kimchi, electrolyte water and stocky porridge. It helped. Coffee this morning hammered in the last of my support structure and I’ve been right as rain. Considering the number of co-workers that came in with dark glasses this morning, I think I got off lightly.

Right now I’ve got a can of coke chilling in the freezer several floors up. Much as I’d like to work in a different building, the fact that my new job keeps me in a place I know is actually kind of helpful. Like in this scenario, I know that 90% of the fridges do not have freezers. But I also know that the eastern mini kitchen on the 5th floor does. My timer is set, and in a few minutes I’m gonna run up there to get an ice cold can. There are interesting ins and outs in this building. Pecularities that I’ve stumbled upon, and should make this transition a lot simpler for me than my future co-workers. I know where the meditation rooms are. I know which floors are more likely to have free food hanging around. I know the secret rooftop seating areas and balconies. I know about the bike lockers and showers. Even though it sucks to have to work all the way down the bottom of town, with nothing but condo developments around, at least I’ve got the run of the place in my head. Small mercy.

I had my first training day yesterday and egads, this job is hard. You wouldn’t think it was that difficult to narrate what’s happening onscreen, but it’s a lot. You need to find the right spot so as not to talk over dialogue. It’s all improvised, no scripts. Someone picks up a pillow and jokingly “smothers another character”? Wait for the laughs, then say “the woman grabs a couch cushion and places it on the man’s face”. It sounds simple. In the moment though, there’s a bizarre kind of pressure. It was literally my first time ever doing it yesterday, and I did not do a great job. It’s fine, I didn’t expect to. I imagine that I’ll shit the bed for a while, and probably do a Rocky montage of narrating people’s behaviour for a while to get in fighting trim for my first day. I can’t emphasize how exciting it is to try something new that I’m bad at. I love progress, becoming incrementally more masterful day by day. This is a fresh skill set, it’s different and unfamiliar. I’m thrilled to get a chance to learn it right from the start, then one day look back at how green I was. Until then, I’m gonna have to eat metaphorical dirt.

Speaking of which, it’s time to get to my training.

JFC – Jesus Fucking Clowns

I’ve been pretty lucky lately to have a lot of time with friends.

I mean, we all like spending time with friends, because otherwise they probably wouldn’t be friends. I dunno. At the same time, while it’s great to joke and catch up with my mates, I think one of my favourite aspects is soaking up differing perspectives from my own. Most of my friends have wholly separate experiences from mine. They have a variety of jobs, they see the world from their own unique viewpoint. It’s cool to hear not only what they’re doing, but how they’ve been doing it, complications and excitements. It’s fascinating to discover new stuff I never would’ve sought out on my own, and sometimes come away with other things to pursue. This might be something as simple as a pal turning me onto a new TV show I didn’t realise I’d love, to understanding an aspect of society I previously held no knowledge of. It’s all great. I’m gonna try and think about conversations I’ve had this week, and why they were interesting to me.

We went to The Walton last night. A cosy spot on College St with neat cocktails. One of my friends happens to be very knowledgeable about cocktails. She has a very curated Instagram presence where she participates in all kinds of cool home bar competitions. She makes her own cocktails, and she’s extremely good at it. Trust me, if she wasn’t already a dynamite person to be around, going on holiday with her is extra special, because she ensures your cup runneth over with alluring potions. She just attended a cocktail conference, and she talked about one lecture that blew her mind. It was on the concept of “rounds”. I’d never heard of rounds, but it’s basically the idea of cocktail artists making a bunch of drinks together with the utmost efficiency. They’re taking stock of the ingredients they’re using, how many can go into multiple assorted drinks, and working out a system whereby the least amount of energy is expended. A bottle should only be touched once in a round, she said. She also mentioned that drinks are supposed to be assembled from the cheapest ingredient to the most expensive, to minimise cost if there’s a big mistake and it needs to be tossed. She said the whole session was filled with jargon, but the long and short of it was, these professionals, using rounds, were able to create eight different drinks simultaneously within six minutes. If you’re not impressed, you’re far handier than I. I know I’m not operating within an optimised system, but I think it’d still take me about ten minutes to make two Manhattans, which are not particularly complicated. Eight drinks in six minutes is mind boggling.

Another friend talked about this notion of clowning, and the impetus to find your inner clown. Apparently a big part of being a clown is to understand what your dominant personality aspect is, and play into it big time. Are you playful and mischievous? Snarky and mean? Overly fastidious? How can you reinforce this in your makeup? Your act? How can you lean most into the clown that you are, to bring your most authentic performance? I’m a lot less afraid of clowns than I used to be, and there’s something in this notion that humanises them for me. The idea of so much forethought and intentionality going into their persona is kinda cool. They may be a lot of makeup and incongruence, but if it’s intentional, that changes a bunch. Maybe clowns aren’t so bad after all…

You know what the best part of this whole thing is? My weekend is very not busy. I’ve got a whole lot more time for friends.

Has Fortnite’s popularity impacted the dental profession?

I don’t think we as a society reflect enough on the fact that in New Radicals’ 1997 car commercial anthem “You Get What You Give” they threaten to kick someone’s ass in. Not just kick someone’s ass, but kick it in. That’s so specific, violent and incredibly funny. But given the content of the song and its Kantian ethics, maybe that’s what the singer wanted for himself all along.

I’m going to the dentist today. More accurately, I’m getting a cleaning. I just ate tuna, so I’m definitely gonna have to brush and floss before the dentist. It’s not fair to put her through the strife of my tuna stank breath. Her and I are chums. Maybe a little too chummy at times. She’s a little handsy, and not in a way that offends me enough to say anything. One time while we were chatting she had her hand on my leg, which I thought was a little familiar, but no sweat. A few weeks back I totally forgot my dental appointment, and came in 40 minutes late. I felt like a dingus. We rescheduled, and she put her hand up as if to high five. I reciprocated, and she pressed her hands to mine which I figure was fine, but then her fingers curled around mine to intertwine. I followed suit, but it felt kind of odd. So we were just standing there with hands clasped. Strange moment. She does a great job on my teeth though. If I smelled like fish, would it dissuade this kind of behaviour? Who knows?

I have an event I’m going to tonight. I was originally planning to pick up cheap tickets from a friend’s friend, but that fell through. I looked on the event page, but ticket sales had ceased, with only expensive door tickets left. I posted on the event seeing if anyone had spare (cheaper) tickets left that they could no longer use. No dice. I very quickly got an offer from a friend who runs the event, who said she could guestlist me instead. So I’m getting in entirely free. I don’t know why I’m being rewarded for being lazy and slow, but here we are. This is what falling upwards feels like. Maybe it’s just my week or something.

I had this moment earlier where I complimented a team member, but it was weird. I saw her walking towards me and I opened my mouth to comment. Then paused, closed it, and commented that her outfit was really working today. She said thanks and went to her seat. Maybe she didn’t think it was as peculiar as I did. I had to take a sec to work out the beats, then come back to her with an explanation. So I told her that when I saw her walking, the blue of her pants really stood out to me. I have bright blue pants myself, so this made me happy and I wanted to let her know that I was cheerleading her all the way.

Then I realised that she wasn’t wearing particularly bright blue pants, just average blue jeans. It was her top that was doing it. She had this sorta dark mustard polka dot top that created a big sense of contrast. The top made her garden variety blue jeans pop, and I thought this was remarkable. So much so, that it deserved a remark to clarify. She took my compliment on her sense of composition as it was intended, and we both learned a little bit about how my brain processes information.

In any case, I need to leave to get to the dentist. Which means I’ve got some flossing and brushing to do.

It had to happen eventually. My Bar Mitzvah was a looong time ago

This week has been a total gift.

I came back from my camping trip with a renewed sense of self. I felt confident and assured in my own abilities. I was at peace with my place in the world, knowing I genuinely liked myself and what I brought to others’ lives. Having had so much unencumbered social time recharged my batteries in a big way. There was a resonant positivity that framed my vision, and even coming back to the office that supplies the bulk of my stress wasn’t a big deal. I guess this is what happens when you take a holiday. I feel like I’ve brought that enthusiasm along to every interaction I’ve had in the past few days.

You know what? This week has been downright unusual. A bunch of stuff has been going on, despite the short workweek. Yesterday I powered through a bunch of extra stuff. I’ve been applying for jobs and taking on extra curricular duties. I’ve also been maxing out my time spent relating to others. Moving on quickly from conversations in order to prioritise work efficiency and get the fuck home hasn’t been my central goal. I’ve brought with me the lackadaisical but easy types of connections I formed over the weekend.

I chatted with some woman in the kitchen about her kids’ development around water. I prompted a chat with others waiting for the elevator on weird and specific elevator behaviours. I talked with a former team member who hasn’t been out of reach, but gave me a new perspective on our old departmental arrangements. I’ve complimented people on their outfits and stylistic choices. I just got off a bus where I noticed the person sitting next to me had a weird anime sneeze, and it was a real amicable chat with a single serving stranger. I talked with the RPM instructor post class, and she told me I’d be a good fit to run classes, that I should look into it. Maybe I will. Some cash on the side and getting paid to keep fit. It sort of feels like I smiled at The Universe, and it nodded back.

I’ve realised how many people I’ve lost touch with. Not out of a lack of love, but timing issues and low batteries. Spending hours grabbing tea with someone I really like made me realise it’s something I need to prioritise. My list of people I’ve made plans with in the past few months, then one of us cancelled, is hovering somewhere above 20 individuals. All of which I could easily spend a good eight hours with one on one. I got home last night, exhausted and with a strong desire to play Magic and retreat into the internet. Instead I found myself sitting on the couch with my girlfriend just shooting the shit and checking out Natal Charts. Goofing off. I realised pretty quickly that it was time better spent than on a video game, no matter how much I love it. I’ve been retreating a lot lately, but I’m not sure why. I think moving away from that is within my best interests. Who is it that I want to be, and how can I most embody that? If I’m gonna thrive, I think the answer is through finding connection.

Folks, I think I’m finally growing up.