It’s not like fire doesn’t cut down on humidity.

I’m a huge fan of garage sales. Even if everyone else here seems to pronounce them “guh-raj sales” instead of the obviously correct “garridge sales”. I love finding affordable (dirt cheap) pre-loved (used) goods that hopefully still work. Hell, free shit is some of my top tier favourite stuff in the multiverse. It doesn’t always pan out (the broken microwave I carried about a kilometre that had a working light, but no heat, comes to mind), but sometimes it pans out entirely literally (the curbside cast iron frying pan for instance. Spent some time scrubbing off the rust and now it’s A+. Not even a nuke could ruin one of those babies). Throwing a few bucks on top of that can come with massive rewards. I had a $2 backpack that I used for about a year, some $4 pants that got a couple of years’ use. I mean, our bedside lamp, blender, large pan and food processor (to back up the blender’s blind spots) collectively cost us under $50. So much value I was in total Rapture.

Yesterday I found a great buy at a local (in direct line of sight from our place) garage sale. I mean, the place was swarming with neat stuff. There was a preserved scorpion paperweight, tons of old cameras and camera technology, clothes and books, etc. Then I saw an item I’d been thinking about for some time: A dehumidifier. We always grew up with one. It was a sturdy machine with a computerised display on the top. My favourite feature hands down of this old dehumidifier was the whale on the computerised display. A goddamn whale. This animated whale was an indicator of the humidity levels of the surroundings. If it was too humid, the whale made a frowny face with “x” eyes. If it was neutral, it had dot eyes and its mouth was pulled into a tight line (like thus: “-“). If the area was at low humidity, the whale would be stoked, mouth pulled into a huge smile with big smiley eyes. PLUS A BIG FUCKEN SPOUT OF WATER ON ITS BACK. I loved this whale possibly more than I loved the dehumidifier itself, even if the logic of it was pretty peculiar. Shouldn’t the whale be stoked with humidity? It lives in the ocean, basically the most humid place there is. I don’t know if this is one of those great white voluntary sand whales I’ve often heard tale of. Whatever it was, it liked its atmosphere like I like my gingerale: dry. Also maybe with whiskey, I’m not sure. It was a two dimensional whale, whatever its liquor preferences were, it was tight lipped.

This garridge sale didn’t have a whaleriffic dehumidifier, but it did have a $10 one. A bargain by any other name wouldn’t smell as cheap. Metaphorically. This thing had no particular odour. Frankly with a dehumidifier I’d take that as a warning sign. I asked the guy holding fat stacks of cash in his hand (I assumed he was one of the people running the sale) if there was anything wrong with it. According to him (and who wouldn’t trust a white male flashing large quantities of dollars?) it worked fine, they just upgraded to a bigger model for the family home. He said he was so sure that it worked that if I took it home and it didn’t work, I could bring it back and he’d swap it for his other one. Sounded completely un-suspicious. I bought it and carried it the 20 metres or so to our front door.

It worked. I plugged it in and it happily (I can only assume. No whale, remember?) did its thing. Within an hour or two, the humidity was down to the requisite level. Soothing. Later that evening I looked up the manual online to see if there was anything I needed to know about the unit. Googling the model number, the first couple of results were the same. PRODUCT RECALL. The model number was one of the many models recalled for potential fire risk. They’d apparently had some cases of the dehumidifier super-heating and exploding. DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD. I wondered to myself, was it worth still running it? I asked my girlfriend, who was fine with taking a chance (humidity being the moral enemy of virtue, of course). I also thought, how much would they pay for a recalled unit? I had no proof of purchase and the recall was a few years ago. Still, could I get more than the $10 I paid for it? Would this be one of my many lucrative get rich quick schemes that didn’t pan out (curbside cast iron pan notwithstanding)? Or was the best option to keep using my cheap dehumidifier and turning it off once nobody was in the house? Thus preventing it from overheating after, I dunno, 24 hour use or something? Would you dice with the devil? Or go for the Faustian recall deal? The devil you know or the one you don’t?

Sounds like what we bought was really… a dehumidifire.

If we did crash, I would have been most useful as kindling.

Oh wow, is going on holiday ever a reminder of how miserable my job makes me? Screw that, let’s pretend even if for only one more day that I’m not getting my soul systematically sucked away in a cubicle.

Our last day in Montreal was basically set to be a wrap up day. Were there any spots we had yet to hit? Was there anywhere we needed to give a second glance? What did we have yet to eat? Could we accomplish all of this before our 4pm departure? First off, we didn’t leave the house until just before midday, so the answer to most of the above was a resounding NOPE. We shouldered our bags, packed up the pork leftovers from Friday night’s Liverpool House experience and hit the road.

My girlfriend had hoped to get back to a certain boutique, so we opted to get back to Le Plateau-Mont-Royal one last time. First up though, we stopped off at a heavily recommended patisserie: Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann. Thing was, a few friends had steered us towards it, but hadn’t mentioned what exactly we were supposed to try. They didn’t offer a ton and their house special (the Kouign Amann for which they’re named) was half an hour from being ready. I’ve never been hugely into buttery pastries, so instead I grabbed a small blueberry cake. It was soft and sweet, with a faint trace of almond paste (like you’d find in an almond croissant) inside. It was… fine I guess? I dunno, I love baked goods, but found myself kind of underwhelmed. Perhaps the place had been built up too much. It was reasonably priced and I’d happily eat something like it again, but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

We wandered the area seeing if anything would newly catch our eyes. A café, Dispatch Coffee had previously stuck out with its stark, minimalist interior. Very European, seating was a bizarre assortment of tiered concrete steps and flat wooden benches. The staff seemed to really know their shit, calmly measuring out each shot and composing each drink in a way that skewed both mechanical and artful. Using a mocha as my common litmus test, it was decent but not spectacular. Perhaps on the fluffier side than I’m used to for a latte style drink, but the coffee itself was nice.

My girlfriend popped into her boutiques and I walked around a little. I circumnavigated the block, making a point of checking out the alleyway behind. As I’d suspected, there was a ton of awesome street art. My girlfriend disappointingly didn’t have a ton of luck in finding anything new. Liking the clothes, but not loving the fit, she resolved to only get something she fell in love with. Marie Kondo would be proud. She salved the sting by getting a delicious and moist balsamic chocolate brownie and a hot chocolate (that ended up being literal melted chocolate. Holy shit the small size was a self-contained heart attack).

The time had come to transit further out of town and meet our rideshare. We hopped on the metro and arrived at the Harveys parking lot right by the Namur station. Realising time was rapidly dwindling, we bathroomed in that same Harveys, then pulled our leftover pork in the parking lot. There we were, scoffing down the leftovers of a $68 pork dish in a parking lot that seagulls used as a toilet. If a trip needs a signal that the holiday is over, that was ours. We awaited our ride home, hoping that our driver wasn’t a murder enthusiast.

As luck would have it, she turned out to be great. She had a roomy SUV and was fine with us eating our leftovers en route. She’d been in town visiting her long distance boyfriend. Oddly enough, our fellow passenger was visiting his long distance partner too. My girlfriend and I felt so left out of the club. She was a Toronto based teacher and our other passenger was a traffic engineer. More than once I wondered how we’d fare if our car crashed in the wilderness and had to survive through a combination of shared skills and teamwork. The drive back was great. Everyone was friendly and open. We had in depth chats about all manner of subjects: Society and privilege, changing generations, concepts of gender and sexuality, global acculturation, plus a ton more. By the time we’d arrived home in Toronto, it almost seemed like we’d made new friends.

So the holiday may be over, but at least we’ll always have memories of snarfing down expensive leftovers in the parking lot of a strip mall. Montreal, it’s what you make it.

A more accurate summation of our time here would be “Porkfest”.

Our third day in Montreal was, well, halved. We didn’t wake up till at least 11:30am. Our plans for the day were to check out this NDG Porchfest near Monkland Village. First though, we had to clear the hurdle of getting out of bed.

Monkland Village itself was quaint but not altogether exciting. We were on the lookout for coffee and options were abundant. There was a Second Cup on the corner across from a Starbucks. Any number of pâtisseries, bakeries, frozen yoghurt/soft serve stores or cafés offering free flowing caffeine. In terms of viable, good options however, there were very few. We found a little Korean dessert place that seemed like they might know how to make an alright latte which turned out fine. They had Propeller beans, the benchmark for reasonable coffee.

We quickly realised that we were a bit far from the real action at Porchfest, so we tried a side street. There were ~20 people standing on the sidewalk, parents with their toddlers, watching a cute three piece indie band playing a couple of tunes. A couple of kids were selling lemonade and there was a garage sale down the road. It was swell and 100% suburbia. A noticeable element (once we logged into the handy Google map) was the distance they’d put between all the acts. It was a rad way to combat noise pollution, increase the spread of the event and get more of the community involved. We followed our ears down to Sherbrooke Rd where there was some neat gypsy style band performing. Lots of audience participation, vocal percussion, clapping, dancing and stomping around. There were little kids going hard and people all around really getting into it. We caught a couple of tracks before their set finished, then wandered the area.

For all our intentions of trying to get around and catch various bands (a vocal pop ensemble, Radiohead tribute band, all kinds of Klezmer groups), we ended up mainly checking out local stores and foraging for vittles, as is our way when on holiday. I’d been pretty tempted to grab a beer from a depanneur and drink while watching a local band. After our experience getting ticketed in New York last year however, I wasn’t too confident. We devised a scheme whereby I’d purchase one of those insulated coffee cups from Dollarama and fill it with delicious craft beer. We stopped off at a little vegan co-op where my girlfriend got an affogato. I found a fruity dark ale I’d had my eyes on earlier. All I needed was some way to open the beer.

Thing was, we were hungry. Beer could wait. As we walked around looking for a BBQ place we’d seen earlier, I noticed the number of people either unsubtly cradling drinks inside plastic bags or even brazenly chugging back cans of Steamwhistle on the street. My high level deception was unnecessary. I decided to drink after lunch. I had a succulent beef brisket sandwich loaded with all the fixings, a side of baked beans. Jeez those beans were sweet and tasty. Loaded with spices, I’d never tried any of their like. My girlfriend had ribs and fries, slathered in Texas barbecue sauce. After such a massive meal, I didn’t really have the stomach for my beer. My girlfriend still had her eyes on ice cream, so we went across the road and she picked up Kahlúa flavoured soft serve with a cherry dip. Being on holiday has no time for trifling moderation.

A mere few hours later (after stubbornly drinking my beer out of the sippy cup at home), we went out for Lebanese with my Aunt. I don’t know if either of us were that hungry, but the food was delicious. A platter of skewers, baba ghanoush, hummus, fatoush salad, fries and rice. There was more than too much to eat, so we did as well as we could. More importantly it was a nice way of saying thanks to my Aunt for hosting us and an excellent way of learning more about her. It’s a change I’ve noticed in recent years, that meeting relatives who were always adults while I was sub ten years old is now interesting. Being an adult (kind of) myself, learning about their upbringing and lifestyle through different decades is fascinating. Hearing first hand ruminations on a world I never experienced allows me to get a better idea of not only how things have changed, but how it felt at the time. I had a top notch time being present with her and, fat and happy after a solid meal, my girlfriend and I had our first early night since we’d been in Montreal.

Last day. I wonder just how much we can eat before 4pm.

They don’t call them cocktails for nothing.

Bounjour tout le monde et bienvenue à Montreal! I apologise to the nation of France and province of Quebec for the atrocities of grammar committed in the preceding sentence. Just be thankful I didn’t say it in my atrocious accent. You know those old Animorphs covers? My French accent is one of those unholy middle transition stages between my New Zealand accent and how French should actually sound. You know the bit on that link when her head starts looking conical? That’s how I sound when I try speaking French. My accent comes straight from the Uncanny Valley region.

Being in Montreal means I get to torment my girlfriend with one of my favourite bits. Intentional mis-translation and fake facts. It’s a wonder I didn’t awake to find myself hanging from the ceiling by my open entrails. Fortunately she doesn’t seem to wear long socks, otherwise she’d have my guts for garters. It’s the best (worst/blurst) bit. We’ll arrive at Bonaventure station and I’ll proclaim “ah, that means ‘good adventure’.” Major side-eye follows. “Oh, we’ve arrived at Vendôme station. Named after the famed action hero Jean Claude VenDome.” I become relieved she’s not holding any sharp objects. “Plamondon station? It’s so huge, much like its namesake, the ancient French dinosaur: The Plamondon.” I think the only reason she hasn’t left me for some handsome Québécois is that I hold the only house key.

Before we left we took recommendations from friends on places to eat/drink. Why else would we be on holiday but to eat or drink as many delicious things as possible? Last night we began making good on those recommendations. Turns out people know what they’re talking about. Our first stop was Bar Le Mal Nécessaire: a Chinatown tiki bar. Sold to us as ‘a place where you can get flaming pineapple cocktails’. What part of that doesn’t sound amazing? Turns out the place was a rock solid call. A super loungey basement vibe with big cushy seating lining the sides of the room. Pineapple (this shit was ananas) imagery everywhere. There were literal pineapples hanging in cradles from the ceiling, pictures of pineapples about the place and ceramic pineapples (one in a cage) above the seating area. We were seated and handed thick tomes containing a ton of cocktails with an ingredients list, pricing and a picture of the style of glasses in which they’d be served. The set up behind the bar was rad. There were platforms suspended from the ceiling containing all the bottles, with garnishes and syrups on the bar. The bartenders seamlessly moved between the upper and lower levels to create these amazing cocktails, often with three or four drinks on the go simultaneously. It was rad to watch.

Me: Look at these guys shaking all these cocktails. You’d get super jacked doing that all the time.
GF: Oh yeah. Like a shakeweight. I bet you’d get really efficient at jacking off.
Me: I’m not sure about that. I feel like the range of motion they’re using wouldn’t help for personal use.
GF: I guess that’s true.
Me: But they’d for sure be able to jerk off like three or four dudes at once. Skills for sure.

I got their signature cocktail, Le Mal Nécessaire, while my girlfriend had… geez, something else. They were heaps boozy and halfway through our first drink we both realised they were hitting pretty hard. The music was great and the vibe was awesome. It made me rue (it means “road” in French) the fact that I’d never a) lived in Montreal for a period and b) that my parents didn’t have a sleazy 70s basement with shag carpet. We paid up and headed off for our 9.30pm dinner reservation at Liverpool House.

Liverpool House seems to be the sister restaurant of an ultra decadent French restaurant named (believe it or not) Joe Beef. Joe Beef is the kind of place where you need to grab reservations months in advance. Liverpool House we booked hours beforehand. It was sold to us as a cute, romantic little place with excellent food. It made bank on every one of those attributes. I can say hands down that it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. Everything that came out from the kitchen smelled amazing and had immaculate presentation. Their lobster spaghetti seemed to be a signature dish, but we saw plenty of oyster plates, deep fried clams and steaks making the rounds. Upon heavy recommendation from our server, we ordered one of their specials, a shareable pork plate for two. It was gargantuan. We were hungry after cocktails and the repeated delectable scents wafting around the restaurant. We still only finished maybe half of it. We decided it could’ve easily been a three person meal and possibly even four. Unbelievably succulent. The tender flesh melded perfectly with the soft marbled fat. Served in a shallow pool of rich jus and draped in a flavourful parsley and olive medley. The polenta on the side was admittedly a bit dry and gritty for our tastes, but drastically improved with a healthy dose of jus. Our server recommended a lovely wine on the side that tied it all together. She seemed genuinely pleased with how much we were enjoying our meal. As she said, it was an amazing dish made from the restaurant’s personal farm stock. They were grain fed to be extra fatty and, for some reason, people rarely ever ordered it.

There was this nice moment towards the end of the meal when my girlfriend and I recognised that it was okay to have nice things sometimes. Both of us make a point of trying to live within our means, enjoying experiences for what they are, knowing that we’re pretty fucking lucky to have each other and the lives that we lead. We don’t have room or tastes for a ton of extravagance in our lives, which means that when we do something nice, it’s wholly appreciated. Liverpool House was one of those experiences that will stay with us for a while. The staff were warm and welcoming. The food was phenomenal. The atmosphere was upbeat and enveloping. Plus we may not have a literal ton of leftovers, but we may have a pound.

Au revoir.

The knight time is the right time.

I guess the big question is, how was Medieval Times?

I almost wish it was terrible so I could’ve called it a knightmare, but that would’ve been a massive disservice to an absurdly fun and wholesome experience. My usual M.O. is to pump the gas on cynicism, but I figured with something like Medieval Times there was no point. I was actively looking to have a great time at nobody’s expense. I headed there with such an expectation of excitement that if it’d somehow literally rained on us in the venue, our parade would continue unabated.

Speaking of expectations, let’s lay out what I expected.

I thought there’d maybe be 50-100 people sort of thing. A couple of knights doing choreographed battles and there’d be some kind of goofy storyline. Maybe some flagons of ale, a couple of chicken wings/drumsticks and some dinky little merch. This probably would’ve been enough to leave me pretty stoked.

I vastly underestimated the scale.

My girlfriend and I had taken the chance to dress up. She had a flowing purple skirt and a corset/bustier type thing. I had some stage squire costume I’d bought from a theatre store (because why wouldn’t you need that lying around?). We walked into the entrance hall and were assigned a table/colour. Our knight was the blue knight and we received blue cardboard crowns. We took a photo with the falconer (!) and walked into a large hall. Holy sensory overload, Batman. People everywhere. Hundreds of them. There was a deis with a throne where some form of lord was making announcements and bringing up people for paid photo ops. There was a large bar in the centre of the room and several smaller alcohol kiosks spread throughout the room. Wall to wall merch, whether kid’s toys, cups and jugs, replica swords, those creepy fairy/dragon/crystal ball statues. There were horse stables and a holding area for the falcons. It was all bright, colourful and fancy lookin’. I’m sure there’s a minimum number of beers one has to drink before walking home with a huge replica Game of Thrones sword. We’d gotten a little buzz on beforehand, but it wasn’t the purchasing a 1.5m letter opener level of buzz. The VIP customers with lanyards around their necks got to be seated first and the rest of us peasants followed behind once we were invited.

The arena was like a casino. Tiered seating organised by bright fluorescent colourful lights. We were led to our section, right at the back, with a view straight toward the king’s throne. Once everyone was seated (they packed everyone in pretty damn efficiently), the show began. Some waffly preamble about the mystical link between horse and rider. The writing could’ve used some punch up, but there was a FUCKING HORSE DANCING. I’ll let it slide. They did a bunch of tricks (as waiters began serving tomato bisque and drinks) and left the arena. Then we were introduced to our champions: The knights.

One piece of advice I’d been given going in was to raise hell for our team and shit all over our opponents. There were two factions, with three colours in each. The Western team: Red, Black/White and Yellow, vs the Eastern team: Green, Yellow/Red and Blue. Children were everywhere, so I couldn’t be as abusive as I’d intended. In short, I needed to be creative with my insults. The blue knight had our undying love and affection and we whooped for him as loudly as possible. At one point I swear he tried to throw me a rose, but it landed in the row before me. We let the little girl who caught it think it was meant for her, but really I knew I was the prettiest lord in all the land.

The knights played a bunch of games in order to get more roses. Spearing hanging rings on their lances, trying not to drop staves hurled between riders, relay races. The better they did on their rounds, the more roses they had to throw to the crowd. At some stage a falcon flew all around the arena, it was awesome. Servers dropped off half a chicken, some corn, garlic bread and potatoes. We got to eat them all with our bare hands. Then came the duels. The choreography, though obviously staged, was great. Literal sparks flew when swords clashed. A variety of weapons surfaced, from swords and axes to halberds and flails. There was jousting and acrobatics, and we got to yell shit at people dressed in armour. What’s not to love?

Turns out our blue knight was kind of chumply, but we loved him all the same. The green knight (the one I’d hoped to be rallied behind) was a certifiable badass and emerged victorious, defeating the invading barbarian and everything. The plot was flimsy, but a shitton of fun to play along with. Little kids were having the time of their lives, swinging around coloured flags and flashing light up wands. The food was tasty and abundant. All the staff played into their roles, ren faire style. The rare moments not spent in utter bliss had me wishing I’d gotten a job at Medieval Times when I first came to the city. How cool would that be? I could’ve maybe been a squire, learning how to ride a horse, swinging weapons around, that kind of thing. Instead I taught children gymnastics. If I could turn back time…

Well, if I could turn back time, maybe I would’ve just gone back to actual medieval times. Failing that, shelling out $40 to watch other people do it was pretty damn sweet.

If they were cassava chips, I’d risk it.

Sometimes you have dreams that you swear are trying to tell you something. Other times you get weirded out by your brain trying to sell you something.

Without further ado, my dream from last night, punched up just a smidge:

 

The shot opens on two hands clasped together. They’re swinging, attached to two bodies walking side by side. The lighting is sunny, with upbeat pop music in the background. Humming vocals, etc. There’s a moving zoom as the shot widens to show a couple walking through a mall. A heap of rapid static shots:

  • The woman runs over to a sunglasses stand.
  • A few quick shots of her wearing different pairs, smiling, goofing around. She gives him a suggestive eyebrow.
  • He runs to her, grabs her by the waist and swings her around, both smiling and laughing.
  • He tries on a selection of goofy outrageously coloured suits. All get a shake of the head from her.
  • She tries on a frilly pink bathing suit (guy shakes no), a bright yellow suit (guy gives the “so-so” hand gesture), an alien mascot costume (big thumbs up from him)
  • He tries on the frilly pink bathing suit she’d tried previously (big smile and nod from her).
  • They’re zooming around the mall in ride on scooters (still dressed in their outfits) racing with some old folks all having a grand time.

The static shots stop and we have motion again. They’re dressed back in their “civvies”, laughing. They up to a small convenience store which has a “Cascade Chips” display out front. The woman points towards it emphatically. Camera zooms in. Vocals in the music cut out, just the beat remains. Cuts back to the guy who’s nodding enthusiastically. Big thumbs up all around. Vocals kick back in. We see her hand reach out to grab a packet. They walk in the store, arms around each other’s shoulders, a bag in each person’s hand. Cutaway to a security camera, red light blinking, zooming in.

They sit down at a table in the food court. It’s a nice food court, greenery and a water fountain in the backdrop, lit by a rooftop window. They’re smiling, the vocals in the track hit their zenith. We can hear the faint pitter-patter of a rotor blade in the background. The guy pops open a bag and reaches in to grab a chip. The Cascade logo is clearly visible. The pitter-patter intensifies. He tosses it in his mouth and crunches down gleefully.

At that exact moment we hear glass shatter and see black garbed SAS agents rappelling through the ceiling. Music instantly cuts. Heavy on the SFX. Glass cascades (intentional) down around them as the agents land on the ground around them. Brutally efficient. Guns pointed at the woman, an agent behind the guy grabs his head and slams it down onto the table. The bag flies out of his hand and lands on the table pointing away from him. The woman is hysterical, screaming at the top of her lungs (as you would if something unexpected and horrible like this happened). The agent holds the guy’s head down on the table firmly. The guy is repeatedly saying “it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault”, almost feverishly. The agent yanks the guy’s arm behind his back sharply. The guy screams out in pain and continues his previous statement. A close up of his face, tears streaming down. The woman behind him is loudly weeping.

The camera cuts to a mid shot of the agent from front on. Arm still holding down the guy. He speaks. “You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?” (guy still muttering in the background). Out of the corner of the shot we see a feminine hand reaching across the table towards the open bag. A hand holding a combat knife instantly appears from off camera and nails the hand into the table. We hear a brief blood curdling scream before there’s a quick cutaway to a static shot of the Cascade Chips logo. The pleasant upbeat pop from earlier plays in the background.

VO: “Cascade Chips. A taste so good, it should be illegal.”

Luckily we didn’t break the mould. We did do midsection surgery with floss though.

Despite writing up a big post for Valentines Day, my girlfriend/valentine and I didn’t get to celebrate much on the day. That wouldn’t do. Never one to shy away from a good ol’ celebration, I still wanted to do have some fun, even a day removed. I thought about what we could get up to. The weather was typical February fare. Leaving the house merely to go to a restaurant didn’t seem that enticing. There were no places we’d been especially chomping at the bit to try. Leaving the house at all didn’t seem overly great. What kind of activity was possible at home then? It was a school night, so hookers and blow would’ve been sub-optimal. Creating memories had always been the best kind of celebration, but what if we could make memories that resulted in tacit reminders? Arts and crafts were always fun. How about a totem to remind us of spending time together? What about some type of sculpting or moulding? I had it. We could get a bunch of modelling clay and make one another. Then we’d have dinky little statues. Sure we’d be smote by God for creating false idols, but who needs heaven when you basically have your own action figures?

It was really fucking rad. I hadn’t used clay since I was ten or so and had to make an emperor penguin out of Fimo for school. I’d hardly been an inspired artist as a kid and the penguin was no exception. Its back was all warped and it had human eyes, but all things considered it more composed than Beast Jesus. My girlfriend picked up a stack of different colours and a heap of tan clay. We opened the packs, rolled it flat and started moulding. I had no idea where to begin, but her suggestion of the torso was a good call. I got to work on this lump, trying to figure out proportions. I thought of what my girlfriend looked like naked and tried to emulate her curves as best I could. It was remarkable how the clay shifted underneath my fingers. I’ve got warm hands and they smoothed over any blemishes easily. I concentrated on certain aspects, the gentle shape of her hips, those cute little bones that frame her belly button. It was pretty handy having her right next to me. The breasts were something I wanted to get right. Tired of how so many guys tend to create art with these unrealistic basketball boobs, I aimed to represent as best I could. Not too big, but as perfectly proportioned as her own. I wasn’t putting together some monument to cheesecake, but a sweet little totem of the woman I love. I can’t tell you how handy it was having her next to me. A simple “hey love, mind lifting your shirt? I want to make sure I get your tits the right size”. I got an excellent reference, plus the chance to sneak a peek. The perfect crime…

Proportions were tough, but I tried using my mind’s eye as much as possible. It was fascinating. How far did her arms reach when they were hanging at her side? To the edge of her bum? What about legs? What kind of musculature do legs have? Could I create definition between the thighs, knees and shins? Did I have the right texture to her belly? What about her back? Was there enough flesh there? How big was a head, exactly? Could I shape the cheeks? Nose? Leave space for eyes without getting all uncanny valley (“my lips aren’t a third the size of my head, darling”)? Feeling the clay shift between my fingers, I briefly wondered if this was how FSM felt when he sculpted us with his noodly appendage. I looked over. Her version of me was flatter, with Earthworm Jim legs. She’d done an excellent job of creating textures though. The pubic hair, little penis with its urethra. She’d done some rad facial features too, it was all kinds of neat. I couldn’t get her to free-stand, despite all my efforts. While I’d initially sculpted legs I was chuffed with, I’d bulked them up in order to try and establish some literal balance to the piece. I didn’t want it to fall flat on its carefully sculpted cheeks. Either set.

How do they look? Well her legs are chunky, there’s no getting around that. Proportion-wise I think I did a decent job. Her face doesn’t look nightmarish, even if I forgot to give her eyebrows. I’d put such effort in sculpting a representative nose, but it was flattened in the process. I’m bummed that I missed her armpit hair, ’cause that’s something she’s proud of IRL. I’m stoked with how her hair came out. I decided last minute to try texturing her long locks and while I did it hastily, it looks alright. Her version of me is a behemoth. I’m maybe two heads taller than she is, with neat little flat “mannaries” and nipples. All the facial features are choice and the hair came out superbly. My little peen looks great, if I do say so myself.

All in all it was a really fun night and a hell of a way to spend Valentines Day. Plus now if I’m ever feeling small, I can remember that she thinks of me as a giant.