Today was the day I became a man. My K Bar Mitzvah, if you will

I’d like to take a minute or 30 to talk about New Zealand snacks.

I caught myself in a rabbit hole last night, getting sucked into the myriad snack foods that defined my childhood. There were so many. NZ snacks are pretty adventurous, especially in comparison to those I find here in Canada. I don’t know, Kiwis really push the boundaries when it comes to flavour and texture. Don’t just take my word for it, read this sublime piece of NZ journalism (please do, it’s a fantastic piece and Madeline Chapman is a talented, hilarious writer) detailing the many many types of chips that line our supermarket shelves.

I feel like it’s important to mention NZ’s corn based snacks. Perhaps not because they’re the most hard baked part of our national moreish consciousness, but because I liked them a lot. Burger Rings. If that name means nothing to you, you’re likely sane. Burger Rings occupied a similar position as Funyuns and/or Bugles. They were tactile, and fancy as shit. As a kid, your fingers could be doused in cheeto-esque dust, as you displayed your abundant wealth for all to see. Looking down on all the playground plebs with their chicken chip bullshit. When they called them “rings”, they did not stutter. They were the perfect size, though presumably as an adult they’d fit as far as my nails. And the taste? Ostensibly “burger”, whatever that means. They had abundant tang with a sumptuous umami flavour. An excellent snack option.

There also were a bunch of corn/cheese options I fucking loved. Biguns. BIGUNS. The same kind of jewellery based shenanigans as Burger Rings, but with added CHONK. Imagine a cheese ball that could envelop your finger. That’s the magnitude of what you were dealing with. Dense but puffy corn resplendent with cheese dust. Packed right through with flavour. I fucking loved Biguns, and Cheezels, their more economical but less outrageous cousins. Oh, not to forget the bacon based Rashuns. Those were some DENSE chips. Goddamn Bluebird monopolised the 90s savoury snack market.

Truthfully, I was never much of a savoury snacker. I’m a sweet boy at heart. When it comes to lollies (the Kiwi word for “candy”), my heart was abundant. I never got much into Snifters, though as an adult I’d probably fall right in love. Snifters. A candy shell, chocolate layer, and chewy mint candy centre. K Bars were hard, chewable candy concoctions. They clung to your teeth, lest you forget that you’d just ingested pure sugar. They’d last for ages, a marvel considering they were dirt cheap. Jafas are the quintessential Kiwi movie candy, as far as I know. Not least because they became slang as nationwide disdain for Aucklanders (Just Another Fucking Aucklander). They had an orange candy shell and dark chocolate centre. Think a bite sized crunchy Terry’s chocolate orange.

I think it’s time we talk about the elephant in the room. Or rather, the fucking menace in the movie theatre. Stay with me. Tangy Fruits. Tangy Fruits were iconic for several reasons. They came in substantial little pottles, which were practically only available at movie theatres. They were dense but chewable, colourful fruit lollies. They were, much like K Bars, pure sugar. Now. I don’t think you can understand from that picture just how many there were in a pottle. There were too many, not just for a child, but straight up an unfathomable quantity of sweetness. Kids would get them for the movies and inevitably eat too many. Sugar crash, sickness, raging energy. Whatever it was, they made films damn near unwatchable. Not only would kids up the back do Tangy Fruit races down the aisles, but in the last third of the film, things would get batshit.

See, there was some combination of the lolly’s density and the big plastic pottle that gave it a loud and specific resonance when shook. Agitated and energetic kids would shake these containers so fucking hard, that it’d get difficult to follow the movie. Just a bunch of little fucking wildlings shaking these damn things around like the thunder of wardrums. Little shits everywhere disturbing the peace, with no regard for narrative structure. To be fair, if you had that much artificial energy coursing through your young veins in an enclosed space, what would you do? It’s a marvel we didn’t tear up the upholstery. I so dearly want some tangy fruits right now, always and forever, but nothing good lasts that long. Much like most great Kiwi candy, they’ve been discontinued and only live on in my deepest fantasies.

R.I.P. My childhood.


Nothing grows here

I need a post Pride holiday.

What a brilliant weekend of sunny, vibrant revelry. I danced, drank, dressed and dallied to my heart’s content. I did very little sleeping, and very lots of socialising. VERY. LOTS. I crashed a bunch of pre-parties, which were perfect occasions to meet friends of friends. I spent a ton of time moving with groups between venues, ordering Ubers and being the logistics fella who kept loose plans on track. I also spent way more time outside than I usually do, and I think that’s tuckered me out more than anything else. Today I have no time or capacity to give fucks. Like Van Morrison when he made that absurd contractual obligation album. I want to go home and zone out with food, however it’s taking all day for work to finish. Y’know, the work day and all…

I don’t know how many plain crackers I’ve eaten today, but the answer would astound you if I knew it. I’m reverting to primal urges. It’s only a matter of time until I throw a stick into the air and it morphs into a satellite. If this keeps up, I’ll probably end up making roast pork for dinner, then tearing it apart with my bare hands. I’m not even suggesting this would be a negative outcome. It sounds fun as hell. Hand held foods are the best type of foods, hands down.

My brain feels so flat today. I walked into the office in a fugue, and I’ve barely talked to anyone in my waking hours. Except, of course to tell them about Van Morrison’s contractual obligation album. It took a litre of coffee for me to regain some semblance of composure, if of course composure can be measured in how readily you rant about the improvised album Morrison recorded in a single day. I’m well-composed, by that margin.

Did you know that Van Morrison had a contractual obligation album? I didn’t know if I’d mentioned it. The thing is bonkers. The first few tracks are mostly identical, but swapping verbs readily. I’m sure there’s an elegant difference between “Twist and Shake”, “Shake and Roll”, “Stomp and Scream”, “Scream and Holler”, and “Jump and Thump”, that I’m just not discerning enough to notice. In this clusterfuck of a recording session, he does a song about ringworm. He does a song about going to the bakery. He talks shit about the label and their demands. It’s the epitome of sowing salt, and I’ve seen few moves so inherently salty.

Did you know that salt has no calories?

All this talk of salt is making me hungry. Maybe it’s time to put aside the plain crackers in favour of something a little bit flashier. Saltines, here I come!

Is this emotional ska-ring?

I’ve had The Mighty Mighty Bosstones “The Impression That I Get” stuck in my head for two days straight.

Knock on wood it takes its leave soon.

If it wasn’t for Sublime, I’d say I skipped right past ska. No Reel Big Fish, The Specials or aforementioned Bosstones. It was back when everything had to be adversarial for me. I loved rock/metal, I couldn’t be a punk/ska guy. I remember my friend telling me that ska was “punk with horns”. In my head that translated to metal (which had horns already) with only three chords. So I never listened. Now I wonder if the jauntiness would’ve drawn me in had I tried. I guess you could say ska and I had a chequered past (if you’re picking up picking up what I’m putting down). These days I don’t overly care about genre stuff. Country is still a hard sell for the most part (I’ve tried Kasey Musgraves, it just ain’t sticking. Maybe it’s a lack of cultural relevance that’s the issue?), but if music is compelling or clever, its genre is of the least importance. Of course, sometimes songs are just undeniably catchy, which is probably why this dang song has inundated my brain.

I was thinking of words I used to mispronounce today. First and foremost, I used to pronounce “pronunciation” as “pronounce-iation”. Easy enough mistake to make. Usually mispronunciations are a result of not having heard a word out loud. Which is why I called the central Harry Potter character “Her-me-own” before the film releases. I made the mistake of saying “om-knee-us” (instead of “ominous” out loud once in a circle of friends, which prompted deserved derision. I’d been misreading the word for years. Diablo 2 taught me the word “ethereal”, which I said as it’s spelled “ether-real” instead of the more proper “eth-ear-ee-al”. In short, English is a confusing and garbled language and I love it to bits because (not in spite) of this.

I’ve had too many carbs today. This isn’t some kind of ill-advised oh I’ve been NAUGHTY moral compass bullshit. This is more an unadvisable illness inducing amount of flavoured popcorn, slices and cakes. We have a treat desk at work, and part of our team has meetings where they get courted by clients. We often share in the riches. Today’s riches contained six different types of flavoured popcorn (all of which I had to try) from the Toronto Popcorn company. There was confetti (candy popcorn), BBQ steak, cheese and dill, Buffalo kick, parmesan and chives, and something else not worth remembering. They were all delicious, and I would like not to know how much I consumed. Then came the brownies, cookies and sugar tarts from the catering tray. They were all subpar, which means “sugary and tasty enough, but unremarkable”. Consequently, I’ll stop remarking on them further.

In fact, it’s time to get going. So I’ll stop remarking on anything further. Night night.

You are what you eat, and I’m definitely an acquired taste

I have several ingrown hairs on my right elbow. Usually I’d sic’ my girlfriend on ’em, but she’s been off working festival stuff. So I’ve been forced to take it into my own hand (singular, not plural. It’s hard to reach my right elbow with my right hand). It’s involved moving that squishy skin from side to side and pick. Thing is, it’s quite the precarious angle. So that’s been taking up most of my day. I feel like I might get to see her tomorrow, so hopefully she can take care of it then. Fingers (plural) crossed.

I feel weird about all these Keanu memes, friends. Keanu seems like a pure and good soul, who’s suffered too much for one lifetime. Recently he’s been out there a lot, saying thoughtful things and generally inhabiting the space Andrew W.K. once did, but with a less party oriented attitude. I think Keanu is spiffy. He’s also been enacting in wonderful behaviour for long enough that I don’t feel like this is attention seeking behaviour for marketing purposes. He has a history of benevolent acts, whether it’s been getting more money for the behind the scenes staff on The Matrix, giving up part of his salary for Gene Hackman on The Replacements, or generally being the most fucking stoked person in the universe when he got to meet Sonny Chiba. Watch it. It’s the sweetest thing in this goddamn world. Keanu is a great great fellow.

Still, this all has me afeared. What if people ruin Keanu by running this memery into the ground? What if Keanu sees it all and feels tokenised? What if it affects his desire to do this stuff, because it’s cheapened somewhat by its viral significance? What he starts to feel that it’s all a stunt, and its effect is lessened? I’m not even imagining that Keanu will stop being the treasure he is, but I do believe that marketing has the ability to ruin pure and good things all too quickly.

Oh, it turns out I don’t like hard, salty liquorice. It’s news to me too. I absolutely LOVE soft British black liquorice. I’ll practically inhale the stuff. We had an international snack day at work today, which was neat. If there’s one thing I love more than trying food, it’s trying more food, and new food. Apparently though, that doesn’t apply to hard, salty liquorice. It’s too intense, and that’s saying something. To keep this in mind, I eat 5-6 cans of olive oil tuna a week. I literally drink the olive oil. Still, hard salty liquorice is too intense for me. I eat a kilo of kimchi with a fork weekly. Still, hard salty liquorice is too intense for me. I eat New Zealand Marmite with a fucking spoon, and this shit is too intense for me.

A tiny, tiny part of me thinks that maybe I didn’t try hard enough to like it. Fortunately nobody else was taking any, so they gave me a big ol’ plate full. Let’s see if this is a taste I can acquire.

Does Game of Thrones exist in a diechotomy?

This page sat blank for at least half an hour. Can I count it as my daily writing?

Frankly I feel a little blank. There’s a pall hanging over the office in stark contrast to the brilliant Spring day out the window. Everyone’s quiet, plodding. Movement has ground to a halt while people recover from a long weekend away. Even the flood of emails into my inbox has slowed to a trickle. Everyone’s exhausted, but remarkably nobody’s grumpy. It’s a comfortable haze, like yawning as a party winds down. Happy Birthday Victoria.

I skipped out on most physical activity for several days. My body is feeling it. I don’t know what it is about becoming regularly more up and atom, but an absense of movement really takes its toll. Like your body craves those sweet, sweet endorphins and without them, assumes you’re dying and withdraws accordingly. My limbs are slow and ungainly. My digestive tract has been a good little soldier, bravely scoffing down everything I passed its way (including but not limited to ice cream for breakfast, lunchtime steak and whatever leftovers ended up in that dinner pan), and now the rest of my system has forgotten how to extract the right nutrients. Or, y’know, I forgot how to give it the right nutrients. A bad workman blames his stools after all.

Egads it’s hard to motivate myself to write right now. My brain is swirling the drain, meekly calling out don’t talk about work. Don’t talk about Game of Thrones. Don’t talk about your holiday weekend. You’ve done it all to death. Some days it’s just not forthcoming. It happens. I’ve been mustering all my energy to simply stay awake. To keep my eyes open and meander through my day. I’ve even been keeping a normal walking speed in the hallways instead of racewalking. I have no idea how I’ll lift so much as a towel at the gym tonight. Why can’t they have one of those stupid vibrating platform things that’re touted as effortless muscle sculpting machines? Sure, they’re probably more likely to give you indigestion than work your body, but I could pretend I was doing a bunch while listening to a podcast. I could trick myself into sweet, sweet endorphins and feel like I’d made a real effort, when in fact I’ve failed to produce a modicum of effort to do a single thing today.

Speaking of which, it’s time to call this entry (that should’ve been pronounced dead on arrival). They can’t all be winners.

Imagination, life is your creation

Oh, I am well off my rocker today.

I woke up too early, started working from home, took my meds, ate not a lot, drank lots of coffee, and now my brain is being pulled in at least 11 directions at once. So let’s go with that. We’re leaving for the cottage in roughly 150 minutes, and neither my girlfriend nor I have packed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve intermittently walked around the house ranting about irreverent things, and every once in a while I’ve dropped clothing onto a pile on my bed. It’s kind of packing. But also I’ve been working at the same time. And planning logistics with my girlfriend. And digging into old Ricky Gervais 80s popstar clips. And contemplating what I need to pack to go to a farm, when we’re probably gonna be stymied by shitty weather, spending most of it inside. Also it’s a working farm with animals. I’ll get to meet my first alpaca. So I possibly need to consider packing extra undies lest I shit my pants out of excitement.

It’s gonna be a full on weekend.

We’re driving down in my friend’s adorable pink VW convertible. It’s the epitome of a Barbie car, and it’s awesome. There’s also limited space, so that’s a concern. I might not be able to fit my 1kg tub of kimchi, which is where most of the concern kicks in. What happens when I get a craving that only fermented cabbage can satisfy? At this point in my life, I’m eating irresponsible quantities of it daily. Perhaps a weekend intervention is wise. If the weather is nice and we get to roll down the roof of the Barbie car, maybe that’ll make up for it. If nothing else, the rush of wind through my hair, communing with nature at its most spirited, will remind me that there’s life beyond impeccably spiced vinegary deliciousness. Mostly. I’ll still want kimchi, obviously. I have a problem and I’m not convinced I can stop any time.

The cottage has WiFi, so while I’m not gonna be spending a ton of time on the internet, rest assured that my entries will be coming hot and fast off the press with their usual lackadaisical timeliness. Expect very little from them, because I’m likely to be hungover, immensely tired or having my arteries filled to the brim with complex carbohydrates. I might even let loose, eat granola for breakfast, y’know? Get a little crazy. I don’t think we’ll approach Montreal levels of bread toxicity, but it’s not outside the realms of possibility.

More than anything, I’m tremendously excited for a weekend of unplugging from routine and spending intimate time with friends. There’s an element of headroom, where without having to think about scheduling, transit needs and all those other tethers keeping me locked down, I get a bit of my brain back. It sounds lofty, I know, but I always notice it when I’m on holiday or unencumbered by timelines. I feel more free to be myself (which says something, coming from my usual manic personality), and generally inhabit my mind more consciously. Three whole days of it. I can’t wait.

And I won’t have to for long, because I’ve been fucking around a bunch while writing this. Crunch time, see y’all.

Just a garden variety dope

Since I’m never not trying to figure out bits, I may as well use this space to get them on a page before tuning them. Guess what I’m doing today?

I’m not cool enough for legal weed to exist.

I’m so uncool, that if weed wasn’t legal, I would have no idea how to get any.

As an individual, I have no chill. When I invite gals over for Netflix, we watch the damn movie. And we probably watch Paddington, because it’s cute and I’m likely stoned.

When I smoke weed I do boring shit like go to the gym, cook a nice meal or spend THREE HOURS IN THE SUPERMARKET.

I was told a good rule of thumb is never to shop hungry. I have a new rule. It’s Don’t Buy Weed High. When I’m high, money doesn’t make sense.

You know when you first started flatting, and you got ambitious about how many veggies you could cook and eat in a week? A mature adult knows you cannot eat two cabbages in seven days. A student discovers graft vs host on day five.

The problem with buying weed when you’re innately boring, is it all sounds very exciting. Oh, you mean I could get creative and euphoric? Sure, I’ll take two. Social and talkative? Two of that one too. Chilled and focused? HERE’S MY WALLET. JUST TAKE IT. Anything to feel cool for once.

“Cool” is knowing what you want. If I was cool (and not an awkward quantity of stoned) I would’ve walked out with two grams. I left with seven, because I’m a sucker and the sales rep upsold me.

Seven grams is maybe six months worth of weed for me if I go hard and smoke heavy. WHY DID I BUY SO MUCH?

It gets worse, I already had a couple of grams at home. The new stuff is gonna go stale before I even have a chance to smoke it. It’s like buying two cabbages all over again. But you know what? I’m a boring adult, so I did what any boring adult would do. I bought a god damn vape.

Turns out online shopping is even dumber high.