If I had a dollar for someone to edit this shit…

Goddamn I’m having a riot here in Austin. I’m not entirely sure I want to leave. The food is amazing. The people are so unbelievably friendly and the vibe is off the charts. Today is designated for our day drinking experience. Gonna start with a boozy brunch and keep on rollin’, baby. I’m excited.

Today’s entry is gonna be a bit different. When I started this whole thing, the notion was that it’d be a great place to draft up a bunch of writing, works in progress, etc. Basically an open canvass for whatever writing style creativity went through my brain. I had some vain notion that maybe I’d write some jokes and do stand up sets. I gave that up for lent maybe four years ago, but here’s a thing. One of my friends I’m travelling with is a comic. She got excited by the notion of doing an open mic on Monday. I’ve been having an awesome time riffing with these folks in Austin and I woke up this morning thinking maybe I’d join her at the open mic. I don’t have “jokes” jokes, but I’ve got some sorta conversational bits that I think I could massage into something better. So today I’m gonna jot down some stuff, with the proviso that on the page it’ll look very different to how it’d present onstage. Also this’ll be totally unedited. Just getting ideas down on paper in order to cut them down and make them into something cohesive. On stage it’d need to be snappier. Tighter. Look, I’m trying to justify what I’m doing here. In short, be gentle. Baby don’t hurt me.

I’ve been having an amazing time here in Austin. I fucking adore food. I’ve been eating everything in sight and it’s been the best. I constantly wanna eat my way around the world, trying food from everywhere. Thing is, when I eat, it makes me aware of just how much of an asshole I am. A friend will be like “hey man, do you wanna grab some sushi for lunch?” And I’ll be all, “nah, I just had Japanese last week.” The horror, right? Having food from the same continent twice in two weeks? You know who’d have Japanese twice in two days? JAPANESE PEOPLE. Except they just call it dinner.

What’s worse though is how I so casually turn vast Pan Asian cuisines into one homogenous culture. A friend will be all “hey bud, wanna get Chinese takeout?” and I’ll be all “nah man, I just had Korean last week.” Discounting the fact that a) China is an enormous continent with a plethora of regional delicacies and variances, China and Korea are different fucking countries with diverse and vibrant cultures. The food is nothing alike aside from the fact that they both feature rice and noodles. It’s like someone being all “hey bud, want a bagel for breakfast?” and me being like “nah man, I just had a pizza last week. Wouldn’t wanna eat White Food that often. Plus I was planning on having a sandwich next week. Gotta slow my roll, ‘know?

This is also why I’m fucking useless at online dating. Nothing makes me feel more like a total garbage person. I’ll flick through these profiles treating women like menu items. I get so goddamn judgemental so quickly and like, where do I come off like I have the right to be picky? Here’s a thing though, and I wanna be real for a second. It’s 2018. We live in a progressive and technologically advanced society that gives people the freedom to be their authentic selves. Women, you can stop listing that you love to laugh. I never want to be presumptuous, but by virtue of being human I sort of took it as a given. Writing “I love to laugh” sounds like you’re a robot afraid of failing some Voight Kampff test. “I AM A HUMAN WOMAN OF VIABLE MATEABILITY. MY FAVOURITE ACTVITIES ARE CONSUMING OXYGEN AND LOVING TO LAUGHTER. I WOULD BE AN IDEAL CO-WORKER FOR THE TRANSACTION EXCHANGE OF REPRODUCTIVE SAUCES. ALSO I ENJOY BAGELS, PIZZA AND ALL OTHER WHITE CUISINES.” You love to laugh. Is that just shorthand for “I swear I’m not a sociopath.”?

I wanna take a minute to talk about one of my favourite people in the world. You might not think it to look at me, but I fucking ADORE 50 Cent. Or as we know him in Canada, .67 CAD. This dude is fascinating. I mean, I’m no economist, but watching the peaks and valleys of Fifty makes me understand why people get really into watching the Dow Jones. This guy’s like a cartoon character. As if he grew up watching Ritchie Rich. I’m not shitting on him or anything I have sincere affection for him. My favourite thing is how genuinely gleeful he looks so much of the time. Guy absolutely loves money. A massive part of this guy’s persona is his accumulation of worth. He’s always wearing expensive jewelery or like, lying on a bed of dollar bills. Thing is, despite the moniker, I’m not entirely sure that Fifty knows anything about money. I love the dude, but he doesn’t always seem like the smartest bloke. Here in the US, you guys have paper money. I get the feeling that to Fifty, paper and money are indistinguishable. Like, when he goes into the office at Fifty Cents Incorporated and instead of post it notes you just have these piles of dollar bills with rap lyrics scrawled all over them. But then he’ll go to the printer and see a stack of paper and be all “oh man, selfie time” He’s just like, throwing peace signs while fanning a chunk of printer paper “Hashtag eat your heart out Bill Gates.”

At some stage though, I legit thought the guy was wicked smart. Had that song Motherfucking P I M P. So the chorus goes “I don’t know what you heard about me, but bitch can’t get a dollar out of me.” I heard that and I was like “woah Fiddy, I needed to give you more credit, that’s pretty clever. Of course this “bitch” can’t get a dollar out of you. You’re 50 cent. That’s only half a dollar. 50 cents is not divisible by a dollar. Genius!

Then the penny dropped. Thing is, I realised that isn’t even the egregious part of the song. So he’s all “bitch can’t get a dollar out of me.” Then fiddy says “cause I’m a motherfucking P I M P.” He’s saying he’s a pimp, right? If Fifty IS a motherfucking PIMP he’s a motherfucking terrible one. By the very tenants of pimpdom, it has a transactional nature. Your employees provide a service to patrons and you facilitate these contracts by providing a business model. Then you pay your employees for their work. If bitch can’t get a dollar out of Fifty, then he’s not paying his workers. Fifty, you’re not a motherfucking PIMP, you’re an illegal sex trafficker.

Anyway, I guess his lack of a solid business model was his downfall. Fifty Cent filed for bankruptcy.

/done. Geez, that was a ton of mediocre slop. They can’t all be winners. I guess the real work is making it into something of worth. Oh well, first part is done. Time to get day drunk!


Bye bye Mr American Pie.

It’s easy to forget what it was like to be a teenager. With the wisdom of retrospection, I now openly mock the emotional struggles of teens. Wait, that sounds actively spiteful. What I meant to say is that looking back at some of the instances in which my hormones brought me to my knees, I can see how trivial they were. I was almost an entirely different person, chemicals viciously clashing through my body. My brain was a volatile beaker of testosterone, spunk and sadness. I saw the world with a mixture of curiousity, envy and anger. Why was it all chaotic and where was my part in that madness? The future seemed both distant and immediate. Moreover, I just wanted to get laid.

Perhaps that’s uncharitable. Having sex wasn’t the only thought on my mind. I also spent a bunch of time thinking about anime and Pokémon. Still, sex probably ruled 90% of my thoughts. Why?

Sex was everywhere. It was in the advertising I absorbed every day. It was on the internet (and how). Sex was walking past me every day at school (in short skirts, no less). Sex was in the shows I watched and the movies we’d put on when we hung out. Oh those teen sex comedies. In the tradition of Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the late 90s and early 2000s saw the resurgence of the genre. American Pie was the tentpole property (pun kinda intended), but it was far from the only one. Road Trip, The Girl Next Door, EuroTrip, Van Wilder and in a sterling example that both parodied and exemplified the genre: Not Another Teen Movie. My friends and I all loved them. How could we not? They were comedy and wish fulfilment wrapped into a single package. They also irrevocably shaped our attitudes towards sex and relationships on the path to adulthood.

On a whim, my girlfriend and I watched American Pie last night. In my memory it was just a typical teen movie irrespective of gender. All of my teenage female friends loved it, so I had no reason to think otherwise. It’s hard to see it the same way at 31. The women in the film are mostly without agency and almost exclusively seen as objectives. They’re tools through which the male leads can gain control over their sexual destinies. Prizes to be won. Personalities only as far as they can create obstacles for Jim and Co. It’s just dudes wanting to get laid. I mean, of course it is. I don’t know how the years dulled my notion that the entire plot was predicated upon that. It places sex on such a pedestal that all purpose for these guys pales in comparison to putting their dick in someone. Yes, the film has thinly applied lessons in the end. Oz discovers a different side to himself through his pursuit of pretending to be something he’s not for a girl. Finch’s plot resolution is maybe the most cringeworthy scene committed to celluloid I’ve seen in some time. It’s basically the personification of m’lady mentality and guys who think watching Rick and Morty gives them a genius level intellect.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. There was nostalgia in the rewatch. I didn’t hate it, but it felt great realising I’d grown past it. It’s not a good film by any metric, but there’s still some amusement in giving it a gander. Eugene Levy is a treasure. Plus I’d forgotten good ol’ John Cho gave worldwide public vernacular the word “MILF”.

The biggest revelation was how heavily I’d absorbed all the wrong messages it spread. American Pie and its ilk made me thirst for sex all the more. I was desperate for it. What’s worse is that I saw it as something I was owed, that was being kept from me. To teenage Leon, girls were gatekeepers of a treasure that was mine for the taking, but hidden within a locked vault. How do you think this shaped my attitudes towards the women in my life? It’s not like I treated them like trash. Still, underlying so many my interactions was the notion of looking for ways to unlock the opportunity for sex. As if ladies (m’ladies. Oh god, I did own a trilby), were a game to be played for the underlying goal of sex. Typical of someone my age? I’m sure. Still, gross as fuck.

As a teenager it never happened. You know what? Thank fuck. I’m glad I never put anyone through that. By the time I did start having sex I’d at least developed some modicum of emotional maturity. My heart was in the right place to treat women as people, not opportunities. Would getting laid as a teen have changed how I now approach the act? Would I still have learned to respect women in the same way?

Perhaps that’s an alternate reality I’m happy to not think about. At least I never got desperate enough to fuck a pie.

Am my rite?

I have no idea where this is going, but I can only stare at a blank page for so long. It’s funny, but I’ve been doing this for so long now that I make it harder for myself than it needs to be. In thinking about an entry, I set up all these boundaries to keep me moving ahead, but who’s to say that they’re worth anything? Example: Years ago I did an entry where I thought about a theme and applied myself to it. It went well and the end result came together better than my random ramblings. So of course I took that and ran with it. Think of a theme before you touch the keyboard became, if not a mantra, then a guideline. I’m unsure of how many hours I’ve lost through trying to think of a theme. I’m writing every single day, I don’t have the luxury of producing a polished mass of condensed thought. Furthermore, expecting a theme to blossom in order to ensure a quality entry is a wash. Just because I have a general direction, it doesn’t mean I’ll end up following it. Hell, the point of this entire project was to go with the flow, stroll down tangential pathways and embrace meandering mental footsteps. Furthermore, the notion that certain entries were good because I’d thought of a theme doesn’t presuppose that entries with a starting point are the only good ones. I’ve probably had just as many stream of consciousness brain dumps that’ve led to interesting conclusions. Why should order matter?

I also try not to repeat myself if I can. Of course I have. How could I not? When did I start this? Something like the 22nd of March 2013? That’s 58 or so months. If we guess that a month on average has 30 days, we’re looking at 1740 entries. Wait, I can actually confirm this. Gimme a sec (he says when he’s the one who sets all the time boundaries. As if you have any idea)… Looks like this is my 1,771st entry in a row. I don’t think I could have 1,771 conversations without repeating myself, let alone 1,771 bouts of 30 minutes typing. Okay, so that means at the very least I’ve spent 885 hours on my current output. “At least” I say, because most often the half hour I say I’ll spend writing takes around 45 minutes to an hour. I start and stop, pause the timer. Sheesh. I’d start going into all the things I could’ve learned in that time, but I’m certain I did that entry some while ago. I just have this vague nagging feeling. It’s nibbling away at me and while I know that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape, that’s different than realising that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape. Facts and cognition are not identical.

Why is it that I care? It’s the height of silliness, but I know deep down that if I ever wrote an entry and someone pointed out that I’d done it previously, one of my horcruxes would go kaput. I mean, what are those previous 1,770 entries but little nuggets of my soul embodied by digital ink? Ugh, now I recalled having used the phrase “digital ink” and that’s making me feel sour. What’d be worse would be repeating a topic, but discovering that I’d done it far more eloquently previously. My inner being would be trapped in some kind of Soul Asylum bolting away from my body like a “Runaway Train”. Holy fuckers, did you know Soul Asylum had 11 albums? That they’d released them as recently as 2016? I kinda thought they released the aforementioned locomotive hit and “Misery” then called it quits. I bet Soul Asylum never repeated themselves like some hack I know…

At the centre of this distaste for repetition has to be a seed of utter narcissism, right? As if anyone out there has read all my entries. Even if they had, as if they’d take the effort to go out of their way and let me know I’d copied something from myself. Perhaps in repeating concepts there’s the chance I’ll get them better the second time. Or what if I found a new angle to explore? In a sense, my predilection for inhibition towards repetition is needless submission. What if there are creative drippings awaiting their time under my fingertips? I mean, real writers edit, right? My wry rite of writing is rightfully frightful, if not trite, what have I to be contrite?

Cut the crap. Just write.

More like High Confide-lity.

It’d hardly be an exaggeration to say that “nostalgia” was one of my six senses. It’s likely on a higher rung than smell. My nose is a fickle friend, but my brain is so laden with memories that touching, seeing, hearing or tasting something is enough to make me tumble back in time. My friend recently started a dating podcast. It’s in its infancy, but both episodes released so far are fantastic. Of course they are, she’s a real life matchmaker. In the most recent episode, she has a conversation with her husband. It’s great. He’s a wonderful dude and he so eloquently and systematically lays out perceptive analysis of himself and his dating experiences. At the same time, so much of what he said resonated intimately with my own experiences. It was like being 20 again, but with the filter only meaningful life experiences can provide.

I was a different person back in my 20s. Naturally some core attributes were still the same. I’ve always loved words and puns, been obsessed with pop-culture. I’ve been fiercely passionate about the things I’ve cared for since I knew how to form an opinion. At the same time, ten years ago I was still very much learning who I was. Hatching from the shelter of an educational system and crawling out into the adult world meant some harsh lessons were incoming. I had to grow and change in order to truly be my own person.

Yeah? I’m sure you’re asking doesn’t everyone? Sure they do. My particular struggles focused around one thing: Confidence. In some areas I strutted by comfortably. I knew I was smart, capable and likeable. Dating though? I had all the experience and wisdom of a child. Years of being overweight had crippled my self-confidence. I questioned why anyone would find me interesting or attractive. I’d say that I crashed and burned, but frankly it was so rare for me to put myself out there that I rarely had the chance. I’d get these deep and debilitating crushes where one conversation was enough to make me obsessively swoon. I’d waste an alarming amount of emotional energy fretting about how to navigate my interest, how unlikely it was that there was reciprocal attraction, etc.

Po, my friend in the podcast episode I linked above, addresses this well. He mentions how outward approval can become your sole motivation in dating. This hit hard. I used to care so much about how the other person thought about me that I’d disregard how I felt about myself. Clearly I didn’t matter, only they did. If I wasn’t the kind of person they wanted, I needed to be. I’d have to change myself to be commensurate with their desires. Po also talks about pedestal-ing, or infatuation causing you to build up the subject of attraction to a level of idolatry. This would happen to me constantly. I’d see myself as some kind of lower life form, which ironically is the least attractive thing a person could do. My response to my own feelings were directly pushing away the people I wanted to get closer to.

Worse, this had a negative impact in any relationships that followed. By seeing the object of my affection as more important than myself, I developed the habit of forcing myself to mould around their desires. While it was great to invest in someone else and care about them, the unfortunate side effect was disregarding my own needs. I’m sure you can see how this would effect long term relationships, right? Of course they all imploded. Unhappiness does that. I’d become gradually more wound up and embittered and that would seep into my view of the relationship. By exclusively catering to them, I also divested them of the opportunity to give back. People who love each other enjoy being able to help their partners and I was stripping them of that recourse.

I’m on the precipice of my 30th year, and certain things are becoming abundantly clear. Time is a gift. I’ve learned that piece by piece with each passing solar cycle. Each rotation only drives the point home. Perspective is everything. It not only helps us understand why the past occurred the way it did, but how better to shape our future. Dwelling with dread doesn’t serve us one iota, but reflection can help us better see the best path forward.

Or am I blatantly trying to justify watching High Fidelity for the 80th time?

They’re pretending to be something they’re not. Doesn’t that make Autobots as deceptive as Decepticons?

Do you know what’s cute? Looking back at stories you wrote as a child. That’s cute. I’ll always remember one of my most salient pieces of kid fiction: “Optimus Prime met Megatron. The Decepticons shot the Autobots with their lasers. The Autobots died.” There’s a clear arc. The stage is set, characters established. We see the characters take action and overcome adversity. Then there’s a satisfying conclusion. I couldn’t write better these days if I tried. Do you know what’s not cute? Looking back at any writing after the age of ten.

Teenage stuff? Oh geez it’s dreadful. I remember, as an adult, finding my diary from age 15. It was firmly couched in the exact time and age to be classified as “emo”. Lots of “I like all the girls, but they don’t like me. Something something System of a Down. Why do adults treat teenagers like kids? We’re way more mature than they give us credit for. Man, getting drunk is so cool.” That wasn’t verbatim, but not far off. Of course there’s no value in criticising our past selves, but fuck it’s fun to rip them new orifices. It’s so easy to shred the versions of us who bled hormones, who felt like adults undergoing constant body dysmorphia. When we could understand more of the world around us, without realising how much wider the world was than our viewpoint captured. There’s a question I oft see floated “would you restart your life with the knowledge and experience you have now?” Each time it’s those teenage years that give me pause. Could all the intelligence in the world counteract the ever-present fear of cumming in your pants at any moment?

A different experience is reading your writing from later. As a 25 year old, you’re technically considered an adult. I’m barely considering myself an adult going on 31. I still don’t consider whoever I was at 25 the kind of bloke who would’ve paid taxes (I mean, I did. No need to come at me, IRD). At 25 I flew to the U.S. with a bunch of mates, rented an RV and drove across The States. Today I stumbled across our old travel blog and read it again. It was about what you’d expect. Some parts were bafflingly hard to digest, either in message or perspective. Certain references are too insular, based around group dynamics or New Zealand memes. Others have fallen by the pop-cultural wayside. A 2012 Twilight reference seems a lot less inspired in 2018. Some viewpoints still needed a few years to slow cook before becoming fit for human consumption. In a few parts it was just poorly written or made scant sense. It’s nice to know some things haven’t changed.

At other moments I was surprised to find passages that read well. Vocabulary I’ve since forgotten or cycled out. There was a creativity and excitement about the world I found refreshing. Occasional lucid moments that still resonate. Most pieces were basically journal entries (what’s changed?), but I found workarounds to lighten them up. One of them I did time based mental snapshots, using certain moments to create a larger picture of the day. Our New Orleans adventure was structured as a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. It was silly and gratuitous, but remains a neat read.

I can’t deny that any of it happened, it’s all there for the decades to lay bare. On the other hand, why would I care? None of us would be who we are without the steps we took. If they didn’t leave an imprint, what would be the point?

I, for one, plan on dancing myself clean of 2017 tonight.

New Year’s Eve. Not that all new years are created even. My 2017 was a trying time. It was a year where things felt stagnant. I’ve never experienced such a strong sense of inertia. I had a lot of dismay around my career and the lack of progress. For the first time in quite a while I actively worried about where I was going with my life. There was a general sensation of “fine but unexciting” which I’m guessing is what adulthood is all about. Towards the end some wheels began turning, which makes me think that 2018 could be a year of meaningful recalibration. A personal state of the nation and mission statement towards living the life I want. 2017: Not a total trash fire, but a necessary pit stop.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Here are some neat things I did in 2017:

  • I turned 30. To celebrate, I visited my friends and family back in New Zealand.
  • I ticked Los Campesinos off my bucket list.
  • I visited Montreal. Twice.
  • Trained for Tough Mudder on my own and saw massive results.
  • Had a Portland vacation/culinary awakening.
  • Saw my most JFL42 shows ever. 33 gigs over ten days.
  • Made a bunch of new friendships and greatly deepened a few existing ones.
  • Conducted my first ever business pitch meeting, despite being terrified to do so.

There was more, of course. It’s impossible to sum up the ebb and flow of an entire year in a bunch of bullet points and still capture its nuance. I mean, I took a bunch of great poops too, but I somehow they didn’t make the list. Speaking of shit, I thought it’d be neat to look back at some of my New Year’s celebrations that weren’t so happy.

The year 2000 had been riddled with hype. The banks were gonna reset, the world would implode and we’d all ride a wave of mutilation into Armageddon. Instead, I developed a rampant and highly contagious skin rash. I had to be doused in anti-bacterial cream and, being 12 years old, had no grand plans in any case. One of my friends and I rented an N64 from the video store. We played Super Smash Bros all day and night until the Willenium approached. We loaded up on V (a popular guarana based NZ energy drink) and went down to the wharf to watch the New Years fireworks. They were all kinds of uninspiring and I was quite dismayed that the world didn’t end.

Somewhere between 2008-2010 we had a house party. I was surrounded by friends and I was in my early 20s. We’d all planned to be… not sober? Unfortunately we spent $60 on duds and spent the entire night anxiously waiting for them to kick in. The evening shat the bed big time and we drank while mourning the times we could’ve had. Oh to be young again.

In 2011 I was in New York with a group of friends. I finally found somewhere that had Four Loko and I grabbed two cans. I drank one and a half cans (or approximately Six Loko), which kicked in quickly. My friend’s teetotaller boyfriend kept plying me with alcohol and I got way too drunk and emotional. I’d broken up with my longtime girlfriend a few months before leaving for the vacation and hadn’t really processed it. I started loudly weeping, but fortunately my friends just laughed at my misfortune and I didn’t harsh their buzz. Then we went to The Katz’ Deli and I almost got kicked out for significantly failing to understand their ticket based order system.

Last year my girlfriend and I were travelling to New Zealand on the 31st of December. We kissed in Los Angeles at Toronto midnight while eating sub-par, overpriced airport sushi. Then I failed to sleep on planes for the next 20 or so hours.

Let’s raise a toast to everyone’s New Year’s plans being better than any of the ones I just mentioned.

See you next year.

Admit it, you were Let Down by those Thom Yorke jokes.

Today’s gonna be one of them mad dash to get this finished pieces. Don’t expect insight, salient views or scrumptious mental titillation. I wouldn’t ever expect that, but today will be devoid of any valid content. Bullet point time.

  • First up, Crabcore. Crabcore isn’t something that springs to mind often, but every once in a while I remember it and giggle a bunch. Then I’ll watch “Stick Stickly” a few times. If you’ve never seen Crabcore before, it’ll become apparent pretty quickly in the video. My favourite move is the Crabhammer. I might try a couple of crab moves, but invariably my pants are too tight.
  • It’s rare that I don’t flirt with memories of Crabcore without going back to check in with Crunkcore. It also was a thing. The music is twice as terrible and the imagery is silly as hell. I’m not gonna lie though, I’m kind of a fan of saturated colours. Maybe I have residual goodwill because one of the guys reminds me of Kevin Nealon, but much shorter.
  • When I think of saturated colours, I can’t help (falling in love) thinking of Hobo with a Shotgun. Brutal cartoon violence and a deeply uncomfortable colour palette. It was not a great movie, but with a couple of friends and a few drinks, it was pretty damn enjoyable.
  • A film that was great? Turbo Kid was great. I’ve raved about it here before. Set in the post apocalyptic future of 1997, it’s a glorious mishmash of Mad Max imagery with the spirit of BMX Bandits. Like Hobo with a Shotgun there was gratuitous cartoon violence, but it was a considerably more light-hearted affair. Great 80s throwback soundtrack and iconography. A joint Canadian/NZ film production, it’s one I need to see again.
  • Would Thom Yorke be considered idiosyncrateque?
  • Would Thom Yorke date on OKCompupid?
  • Is Thom Yorke’s first child named Kid A?
  • Was “Honey” Thom Yorke’s nickname for Pablo Escobar?
  • Does Thom Yorke remember Amnesiac?
  • Does Thom Yorke poo out moon shapes?
  • Does Thom Yorke call yoga “The Bends”?
  • Does Thom Yorke consider Lamb Shank the King of L(i/a)mbs?

I’ve done enough damage here. I’m out.