Gimme shelter already you money grubbing rutters

It’s kinda weird that this is my fifth to last entry and I’m entirely out of pomp.

It’s an exhausting time. I came home from work, had an hour of leisure time, slept, woke, checked out things at the new apartment place with a handy friend, bought paint with my girlfriend, now I’m writing on the train on my way to work. This is my life for the next week. I’m already worn out and we have yet to paint or pack. Sigh. What a weird fucking period for moving house.

Everything feels too up in the air right now to latch on to a single emotion. It’s a tragedy what some people are going through right now. It’s stressful to see so many suffering, and infuriating watching any news from America right now. I know that Canada is not America, but their entire system is giving me grief. Hearing about the senators who took their advanced closed door briefings to dump stocks weeks before the public were told to worry is maddening. So much information has been kept back from citizens, with the Trump administration misleading the public of COVID’s severity until it was unavoidable. Prioritising fiscal interests over the well-being of their society means that exponentially more will die. That’s on them and it’s hard not to feel powerless about it. Seeing the hordes of twentysomethings partying up at Spring Break was mindblowing. I don’t blame them for being ignorant. They haven’t learned yet the importance of empathy, and I don’t think that’s expected of them. I’m sure we were all selfish pricks at that age, and I don’t think their culpability is something they’re yet capable of fathoming. Maybe if their government had sufficiently warned them, it would sink in a little. Once again, not totally these kids’ fault.

I wonder what society will look like in the wake of this pandemic. I have every hope that things will change, that society will realign its needs and demands. That we understand that corporations and profits don’t exist without the workers who enable them. That wealth distribution, universal basic income, access to education, healthcare and affordable housing are rights, not dreams. That homelessness is a systemic issue, not an individual one. That trickle down economics is the conservative fairy tale we all know it is. That putting money into the hands of the needy goes right back into the economy, while providing tax breaks for the rich puts more money into untouched coffers and the back pockets of politicians. The system is broken, and our adherence to capitalism is at the expense of the most vulnerable. The cost is too great to keep going as we have. It’s okay to admit that we were wrong, and recalibrate as necessary.

I’m as hopeful as I am doubtful. Those airlines are getting bailed out, eh? Maybe if we’re giving them free money, there should be strings attached. Maybe the cost of accepting the bailout should be some amount of ownership, so the industry can face widespread regulations. Maybe if we’re gonna give mortgage relief to home owners and landlords, it should be mandated that an equivalent amount of rent relief passes on to tenants. Maybe the free market is a terrible system for renting, and there should be mandatory price ranges depending on the amenities. Like, I dunno, a one bedroom apartment can cost between 600-1200, a two bedroom between 1200-1800 and so on. If it has certain amenities onsite, like laundry and air conditioning it gets closer to the 1800, if not, 1400 max. Just spitballing. Find whatever prices are fair, that allow landlords to pay off their properties, rather than living off the rent because they were lucky enough to buy before home prices sky rocketed.

If there’s anything I’ve discovered over the past seven years, it’s that empathy is a strength, and it’s learned. Kindness is courage.

The House of the Rising Cost

I was watching this show about weird houses today. It felt vindictive.

Don’t get me wrong, the show was fairly harmless and actually interesting. It featured weird houses from around the globe. There was a film special effects dude who designed his own houses based off cartoons and body parts. A vertebrae staircase, railings that flowed like veins. He even had the Batman symbol on his garage door. The guy made 3D models in a CAD program, and got specialists to build it with plastic tubing, wires and rebar, coated in concrete. A German architect had this amazing house that looked like a water tower. The outside was covered in walkways. One wall was pure glass. The amazing thing, is that the house was carbon positive (guessing that’s the right term). It produced more power than it used. A huge solar panel emerged from the roof, and the entire house rotated to catch the sun. Even the railings on the exterior walkways harnessed energy to heat the radiators. Another guy was a famous Russian clown, who’d turned an old mill into a vibrant dreamscape. It looked like a brilliant yellow castle, complete with parapet. The rooms inside were all differently themed, from a children’s playroom, to Jack and the Beanstalk. A “nostalgia” room had the colour scheme of old china plates. A stream passed alongside the estate, with doors to nowhere standing across the property. Yellow chairs hanged from tree branches. It was fantastic, in that it was a fantasy brought to life.

It felt vindictive not in tone, but because THESE PEOPLE WERE ALL BLOODY RICH AND HOUSE HUNTING SUCKS. God damn I hope we’re through the other side of this soon. I had to go through Equifax to get a credit report. It was Hell as usual. See, years ago someone entered my details incorrectly into the system. It’s caused havoc with my attempts to get a straight answer out of either credit bureau. My girlfriend and I had to travel all the way up to Finch to visit the physical location, which I’m certain is far away to dissuade people from making the trip. These fucking bureaus, they’re total bullshit. They don’t help, they just needlessly complicate proceedings. They obfuscate details and refuse to give you clear information without a cost. They won’t even tell you if something is incorrect in your file, making you buy the documents in order to find errors. Sure, you can get them mailed for free, but they won’t have your credit score, and they’ll take 5 working days to arrive. It’s a goddamn cartel. Turns out it ended up being handy to go along in person, because there were three different files for me, all containing different information. I’m guessing that’s why queries from creditors were returned negative, resulting in deductions from my credit score. Greeeat, so I get punished for someone else’s mistakes. Seems like the norm these days.

Look, unlike those amazing houses, I don’t have lavish dreams for a home. Toronto has taught me not to hope. All I want are two rooms, or at least one and a den. I’d like decent prep space in a kitchen, and enough cupboard room to store all our food, appliances and dishes. A washing machine and dryer on-site, is that too much to ask? For less than $2200 per month, it seems to be.

Though I wouldn’t say no to vertebrae stairs.

I’m sure Maurice is actually really nice in real life

I’ve been taking a week off weed.

It made sense to me. I don’t think weed has been causing serious issues in my life, but since legalisation I’ve definitely noticed my usage creeping up incrementally. Having a vape has made it far too convenient. If I can smoke inside (to avoid the wind chill), and have nothing important to do, it’s been hard to find an excuse not to. Watching a movie is great, but do you know what’s better? Watching a movie high. It’s been nice having a small smoke and going to the gym. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, it’s a swell way to get in touch with my body and figure out where certain exercises have an impact. If I’ve had a smoke I’ll always refrain from lifting heavy, and instead focus on movement standards. Is my form good? Where am I feeling muscle tension? Is that where I should be feeling it? If not, adjust. Stretching feels so much better, and I get less antsy about starting my workout. It makes me actually take the time to stretch properly, and refrain from injury. I love snacking, but it’s even better high. Playing Magic is fun, but drafting nonsense while high is also a ton of fun. Wanting to be social, but not keen on drinking a lot? Weed has definitely helped to cut down my consumption. I can’t remember the last hangover I had, and that gives me no small amount of joy.

So yeah, the above stuff is great, but I figure it’s quite alright taking a break from things you love. In the past I’ve done non-alcohol stretches. A month off here, three months off there. I even did a six month period without booze. I’m no stranger to cold turkey scenarios, and I kind of like testing my mettle to see how I do without certain substances. It means something to me knowing that I have the discipline to cut something out if it potentially could be problematic. So far, no weed has been easy. I did the simple task of taking my vape from the top of my dresser and putting it in a box where I keep my supplies. All of ten centimetres behind the vape’s usual resting spot. It was a tiny, but meaningful change. I look at it in the box and think I put it there for a reason, and the reason was not to. So I don’t. Simple as that. I’ve heard before that weed isn’t physically addictive, and I get it. Scenarios have come up where I’d rather be smoking, but it’s been nada big deal. The vape stays in the box.

Have I seen benefits yet?

It seems far too early to tell. Obviously if I’m not smoking, I’m mentally sharper. No question. That’s not to say that weed puts me into a state of idiocy, but I’d surprise nobody by saying that I’m more alert sober. I think I sleep better when I smoke, and wake up more refreshed. When I don’t, I dream far more intensely. They’re more evocative and narrative. I can remember them better. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, and it’s nice to refresh my memory on what that feels like. Last night, for instance:

I dreamt that I was on Big Brother. I don’t watch Big Brother. There was some contest going, and I totally didn’t get the rules. Contestants were running around rugby fields with foam chunks strapped to them, holding either ducks or little pigs. The handlers were telling me to hurry up and join in, and I kept saying that I didn’t know how the game worked. Could someone explain it to me? They sighed, as if it was really fucking obvious, and showed me this video. It didn’t make sense to me. I had three choices, but I didn’t understand what the objective was. I could choose the duck, the pig or the third option. I was getting frustrated, and tearing up as they started yelling at me. “I don’t watch the show, it’s not my fault” I kept saying. “Just fucking choose one” the handler said. I thought for half a second and decided on the mystery option. Everyone gasped. “Why would you choose that?” The handler asked. “Well” I said “I’ve fed ducks before and they pecked really hard. I don’t want to run with something that might attack me. I’d feel really bad if I dropped a pig, and nobody seems to have chosen option three, so I will.” The handler nodded solemnly and told me to follow. “I guess you’re gonna meet Maurice then.” He said. I followed him into this dank barn. Rotten fruit and vegetables covered the ground. I felt something under my foot, and a lizard scuttled away. Flies were everywhere. Behind a gate was this raging bull, held back by a group of guys. “Uhh, isn’t this really dangerous for someone untrained?” I asked. The handler nodded. “Why do you think nobody ever picks it?” I felt entirely terrified, and suddenly everything cut away. A promo for the episode started playing. It talked all about the wacky hi-jinks of the other players, and a “heart-pounding, nail biting new experience for Leon.” I woke up having no idea what the game was, or how I did, but the worst thing was that I really wanted to watch the episode.

I dunno, I’ve seen a couple of Big Brother episodes for work. I don’t think even being high could make it an entertaining show.

The answer is at least four. Four internet

I’ve been procrastinating over starting this.

Why? Because it’s my day off. Because I’m feeling laconic. Because there’s a lot of stuff out there on The Internet, and it’s kind of hard to be exploring it while I’m writing this. I resolved to finally settle in and write, and you know what I did? I opened a tab to The AV Club to check out what pop-cultural happenings are afoot. That’s how zoned in and on task I am right now. You really want to know how zoned in and on task I am? After writing that, I opened my Facebook tab and clicked around a bunch, accomplishing nothing and learning even less. It’s my day off, get used to it.

So why should you out there be reading what I’m writing here? TL;DR: You shouldn’t. There’s no good reason to be dialled into this slop. Just because I arbitrarily decided over six years ago that I’d write for at least half an hour each day, that doesn’t imply it’ll provide value for others. I kid. Sometimes I write fun stuff, but since I’ve become happy and satisfied in my life, it’s sort of delivered diminishing returns. While I think the tortured artist thing is a harmful myth, I’ve unfortunately been creatively occupied in other areas, and it’s left dwindling scraps for this project. Soz.

The concept of Ikigai crossed my mind yesterday. It’s a Japanese concept relating to finding one’s true purpose, or what activates you. Ikigai takes four poles and overlaps them in a floral Venn diagram. These are: What you’re good at, what the world needs, what you love, and what you can be paid for. There are intersections between the different poles, but the intersection of all four is Ikigai. I’ve talked about it before, but from a sense of longing. It’s such a promising concept, and staring at it from the outside can be a harsh wakeup. Wikipedia explains it well enough, but maybe not as well as this wonderful diagram.

Things lately have changed for me, and looking at Ikigai, I realised I’m in it. I know I’ve been talking often about my job, but it’s a novelty to want to talk about it. I love my job, doing Described Video for television. It’s challenging creatively and mentally. I have to constantly think about audiences, what information they need to know, their capacity for vocabulary, what would make a scene pop for them. I have to write in my head as I go, and fit whatever I think of into restrictive gaps between dialogue. It’s something that the world needs, or at least it helps people. I’m making programming accessible for those who’d otherwise struggle. I do a lot of cartoons, and my brain always goes back to the idea of helping kids get to watch their favourite shows. I know how much I loved cartoons, and how the style of humour totally influenced my world view/creative thought. I could be helping youngsters get the same out of their programming. I’m paid well for what I do, and my shorter shifts allow me to have a real work/life balance. I can tend to my needs both physical and emotional. I don’t get stressed, I’m taking care of myself and having time with the people I love. Lastly, I’m good at it. I’m learning and growing. I care about the work enough to want to improve. I feel personal pride in knowing that these skills I’ve wanted to express for so long are getting used. It’s a bizarre nexus of unconventional skills, and they just so happen to align with ones I’ve been honing for years.

It’s incredibly humbling to look at this list and think back to the last time I thought of Ikigai. I was good at what I did, but it didn’t fulfil me. I hated the work, I was underpaid, and it wasn’t helping anyone. I felt empty, and lacked the kind of self-worth that I knew I could obtain. I’ve now achieved a kind of alignment that’ll enable me to seek out more. To do more, help others and share what I can. I feel activated, and it’s an uncannily worthwhile sensation.

Of course, that doesn’t stop me from procrastinating on my days off. Do you REALISE how much internet is out there?

Keep eating gravy and you’ll never work a day in your life?

I have a secret that I don’t want you to share. Please, promise me, internet denizen.

I submitted my first invoice, and it actually doesn’t make sense for me to get paid this much for a something I actively enjoy doing. That’s my secret, don’t tell my bosses. Thing is, my job is cool. If you’re out of the loop, I started working in Described Video. We describe onscreen actions to make television more accessible for low or no vision audiences. I’m sure there’ll come a time where it gets stressful. We’re on the verge of Fall Launch, where the year’s hottest TV shows debut or return. It’s a Big Deal. I’m sure stuff is gonna come down the pipeline with urgency, and we’ll have to focus on quick turnaround. To be honest, I think that’s happening this week. So this weekend I get to focus on honing my skills, getting quicker. Already I’ve noticed how useful it is to read the waveform, to gauge where pauses in dialogue will most likely be. Certain shows have certain kinds of rhythm, and this job is really showing it.

I did an episode of Pawn Stars, and there’s a formula. It’ll return from break, I’ll describe the logo, there’ll be a few quick establishing shots of Las Vegas for me to describe, then it’s into the store. Time lapse shots of customers walking through the store, with a focus on a customer/staff interaction on a certain piece. I’ll decribe that. Then a customer will approach the counter and a scene will begin. I’ll mention what the customer is holding before the dialogue gets too heavy for me to describe, but eventually there’ll be a breakdown of the item. I’ll introduce the customer by name, as the show describes the item. They’ll talk with the staff and provide historical background on the item. All dialogue, no chance for me to describe. There’ll be a break in dialogue, and I’ll get to describe the nature of the interaction. The staff member will call for an expert. I get to describe their entrance. They’ll give background on the item, if I’m lucky there’ll be a chance to describe, then the expert will leave. The staff member will haggle with the customer. I’ll most likely be able to describe their reactions, then the deal will be struck. There’ll be a breakdown with the customer’s reaction, and I’ll describe their body language. Lather, rinse, repeat eight or so times, and you’ve got an episode.

It’s early days, I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I’m sure I’ll only get better at understanding how best to provide for the audience. I hope I get a greater grip on how to work between genres, to improve the experience. Here’s the thing though, for the first time in ages I actively feel like I’m providing a service. I’m helping people get access to media that would otherwise be out of their grasp. Do you know the coolest thing? Sometimes we do cartoons. As a kid I was obsessed with cartoons. I didn’t watch live action shows until maybe age 13 or 14. Cartoons were my everything. Imagine how amazing it feels then, to know that I’m helping kids who would otherwise lose out on the whimsy and wonder animation provides? My work directly aids little kids in watching cartoons. That’s really fucking cool.

Like anything accessibility based, it feels important. Everyone should have a seat at the table, and too many people are held back from activities most of us take for granted. Finally being in a position I enjoy, I’m trying to soak up and retain gratitude. If I spent the past three or four years toiling, I’m hoping I can stay gracious for at least as long. I’m lucky, and I think that’s something to treat with respect. The fact that I get paid to do it is awesome. The fact that I almost feel overpaid to do it is just gravy.

Yet again though, please keep it between us. I quite like gravy.

I cracked the code! He’s just saying that to throw us off his trail!

Forgive me while I watch this video of Billy Joel flipping out on repeat for the rest of the day.

It’s so great. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it already. I’m sure everyone already knew about it, but e-fucking-gads it’s hilarious. I got so sweaty laughing that I became relieved I keep a towel at work. It’s not just the juxtaposition of seeing a usually benign artist like Billy Joel losing his shit, there’s so much more going on. Hearing him intersperse furious production demands throughout his lyrics (“When am I gonna take control get a hold of my emotions-STOP LIGHTING THE AUDIENCE. Why does it only seem to hit me in the middle of the night-STOP IT.”) was a good enough gag, but it’s only amplified by the joyous muppet on the keytar in front of him barely breaking his stride. Then if that wasn’t adequate, he fucking FLIPS THE PIANO and runs out front to start wailing on the stage with his mic stand. Perhaps I need to learn more about his ouvre aside from “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and “Uptown Girl”. Wait, maybe he did start the fire.

I had another flying dream last night. They’re not super uncommon, but this one felt quite sustained. What I thought was interesting (and I knooooow that everyone falsely thinks that their dreams are fascinating), was that flying in this particular dream had a profoundly physical element to it. Flying was like a muscle. None of this magical levitation, there was a specific action linked. I just tightened something inside of me. You know when you tighten your core? It was like that, but further internal. The more I tightened it, the faster I’d ascend or move. It felt incredibly visceral. I’m not gonna try to really pin down the narrative (something about being in a small yee-haw Western outpost and having to hide my ability, so as not to appear a witch), but it was so strange actually intellectualising the sensation and how to work it best. Like trying to better understand your gait and how to make it more efficient. Throughout the dream, I noticed my ability increase substantially. Maybe it was just someone mentioning the film Chronicle the other day, but the ties were pretty apparent. Y’know, I’m well overdue for a Spider Man dream come to think of it.

I got bored today and figured I could play a harmless prank. A few weeks back, I talked about the mysterious package that showed up at my desk. This left me with an interdepartmental envelope. Everyone else was out at a stakeholders’ meeting, but since I’m leaving soon, I got to skip it. I took the envelope to my co-worker’s desk (the one who sits right next to me) and jotted down her name/desk number in the appropriate sections. Inside I put a little note on a post it. “TAG! You’re it! No tag backs!” That was it. I sealed the envelope and took it downstairs to the mail room. So far it hasn’t been delivered. Maybe it’ll come tomorrow, who knows? My eternal hope, is that it suffers the same fate that the envelope did on its way to me. That took months to deliver, MONTHS. If this thing kicks around the system for several months, then she ends up with a dumb tag note from someone who used to sit directly next to her, how great would that be? It seems silly, but fun, and I’m sure something like that could lift her day immediately. Do I feel guilty for tying up the mail room with my own dumb jokes? Likely not as guilty as I should. Who knows, this could move all around the company and start a building wide game of tag. Why would that be something to feel guilty about?

If anything, I’m sure perennial firestarter Billy Joel would approve.

Just don’t ask about the Bradley Cooper thing, please

You know how your dreams are never that entertaining, gripping or interesting as you think they are?

I don’t.

Last night I woke up at a party. In this dream, I knew I was within some kind of odd structure. I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but I knew something was up. I was well aware that I wasn’t myself, or rather I had my brain inside of someone else’s body. It was some form of block party, and I had to pick up information piecemeal. A stranger came up to me and asked how the deal was going. From what I could infer, there was something mob or otherwise shifty going on. Maybe I was part of a terrorist cell? No idea, but there was certainly arms dealing afoot.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one at this party. My girlfriend was also around, but hijacking a stranger’s body. She was as confused as I was, and we conspired together. We knew there was a deal going going down, that we were part of it, but not who we worked for and why. We tried to sort of it was just straight up munitions, or something more chemical oriented. I may have been in someone else’s body, but I also was very much myself inside. So I did what I’d do at any party, and went to the snack table. Sure, I had a job to do, but wouldn’t it be suspicious for a partygoer to not eat snacks?

I was expecting some chips, dip, and maybe pre-cut vegetables. I didn’t expect to run into Bo Burnham. I was torn. I very much wanted to meet him, find out what it was like to hang out with him, become BFFs and leave the dream with this connection still intact, but I also wasn’t fond of the idea of embroiling this talented comedian, writer and director into whatever illegal nonsense I was suppposed to be doing. I still said hi, but it was awkward. I think he could tell that I was a fan, but I didn’t want to let on that I was (’cause who wants to make someone feel on guard?), so I asked general stuff about what he did (he said he was a screenwriter looking to go pro), before saying goodbye with a plate of chips, dip and pre-cut vegetables.

My girlfriend asked what I’d discovered, and I came up with zilch. Then a word, phrase or code flashed into my head. A36. Unsure as to where it came from, I queried her if she had anything floating close to the surface of her brain. I had a theory that maybe our hosts had thoughts we could dig through, or maybe we were stuck in some kind of recursive loop, and if we tried hard enough we might be able to pull from prior loops. She said that the name Jackie rang a bell. Jackie. We went our separate ways. I ran into Bradley Cooper at the staircase and made some kind of dumb pun. His eyes narrowed. “Oh, so we’re all good now then? Just back the fuck off and get out of my face.” So Bradley Cooper hated me? Well I guess some things are just true to life.

I milled about more, and a guy in a black denim jacket called me over. “So, have you figured out where the drop off is happening yet?” I paused for a second. “Uhh” I started “A36?” He looked shocked. “Really? They’re expecting us to walk right in there?” I raised my eyebrows. Recognition hit him. He called over my girlfriend, then looked back at me. “Okay, listen up. This is important. You and Smith are gonna visit our lockbox on Cherry St. There’s a compund in a tobacco tin. You need to make sure to add the tracer liquid before you leave the lockbox, otherwise we’re totally fucked. Also, you’re not gonna like this, but you’ve gotta take Bradley with you. He’s an asshole, but he knows what he’s doing and the deal won’t go through without him.”

There was a shattering sound, and glass cascaded from the ceiling. “Fuck” yelled the knowledgeable denim clad fellow. “GET COOPER AND GO NOW.” I heard a loud boom, and everything shook. I looked for my girlfriend, but everything went black.

I woke up at the party, the previous scene playing through my head. Then I woke up for real.

Did that seem like an exercise in lack of payoff? YOU’RE TELLING ME. I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TOO.

It sure felt weird to say the word “slave” so many times in a night

I went to an interesting party last night.

One of my friends is a pro domme. It’s pretty cool hearing her stories of weird and wild clients, their extremely specific kinks and how she fulfils them. It’s a cool job, and she’s a rad person. Knowing her, I’m sure she’s fucking ace at it too. She’s got a very let’s get down to business attitude, which I’m sure carries over to her work. She was throwing a play party last night as a housewarming celebration. Her and her boyfriend just moved into a new place together, and she wanted to show it off. With good reason. It wasn’t until I arrived in the elevator that I realised their place was a penthouse suite, emphasis on the sweet. What a gorgeous fucking place. Large lofty ceilings, a walk in closet by the entrance, soft close drawers and all the modern conveniences. The lighting was vibrant and atmospheric, plus they had an ENORMOUS balcony. As in, they’d set up a big tent structure and it didn’t even take up half the space. Beautiful view that opened up to central Toronto south of Carlton. The deck snaked around with a thinner strip that was still a reasonable size for someone’s entire deck. I don’t know if you can fathom how large it all was. There were secure fixtures that window cleaners could attach to. Giving the tour, she casually mentioned “oh these are great. I was thinking of chaining one of my subs up to one and leaving them outside overnight.” She sees the world in a different way than most of us do.

A unique experience was meeting her slave. I’ve never met a domme’s slave before. He was an older gentleman, maybe 40 years old or so. Had a maybe something European accent? I checked in with her about how to talk to him, if I could treat him as a normal person. Instinctively, I feel weird about treating people as lower status. I’d usually rather bolster people up, y’know? She said it was totally fine, I didn’t have to be mean to him. I could be, if I wanted, but all that mattered was that he did what she said. We were looking around the kitchen for a cork screw, and came up with nothing. We chanced asking this dude and not only did he find it instantly, he naturally grabbed the bottle and opened it for us. Something dangerous clicked in my head and I thought oh geez, I could get into this. He’d been walking around the house dressed in a corset and panties, and my friend commanded him to go into the bedroom and change. I went in to see what was going on. This guy pulled a myriad of outfits out and lay them on the bed. Maid outfits, chokers, electric collars, harnesses, an assortment of panties and pantyhose. Friends stood around and debated what he should wear for them. He started stripping down, and I asked him if he minded chatting while he prepped. He said it was totally fine. I told him I had a ton of questions, but if anything ever got too personal, that he had no need to answer it.

I asked how long he’d been doing it. He said that it came to him over time. Little acts of service, etc. He found that in relationships he’d really enjoyed doing things for partners, but in the bedroom it started taking on a whole new sensation. It was the role playing aspect that lit something inside of him. The idea of giving himself over to almost a higher power really turned him on. This was his first time as someone’s slave, and it sounded like the whole thing was a holiday for him. He’d specifically come from overseas after meeting my friend on the internet, and was temporarily her live in slave. I asked what it was that moved him, and like anyone with a serious kink he responded that when he did things from a position of lowered status, it stirred something in him. He felt a kind of thrill, a flutter inside that drove pure pleasure. That actual sexual release didn’t have quite the same resonance as being denied. That there was something perverse in it that delighted him. I asked if there was some kind of slave rivalry, like aspirational behaviours or anything. He said that he didn’t know of any tension or competition between slaves, but personally he reached new highs with increased acts of degradation. That each time it passed a new threshold, he felt a kind of pride. I asked what the most challenging or debasing thing he’d done was, and he replied that honestly, coming out as a slave at parties or public spaces was huge. Incredibly challenging, to wholeheartedly embrace the role and perform.

I’ve always thought that people leaping head first into the stuff that thrills them is amazing. That so often we’re afraid of the stuff that bubbles under the surface. Our hidden shame, or what we’re too afraid to ask for. There’s an admirable kind of courage to obtaining what it is you truly desire, and deciding what you’re willing to give up in order to get it. I don’t see myself becoming a live in slave anytime soon, but it was pretty fucking cool getting to meet and chat with one.

My friends, it only got more interesting from there, but I don’t kiss and tell.

Going on a road trip with Morgan Freeman would be on it for sure

I’m on that bullet point life today. Here are some things I’ve never done:

  • Ridden in a hot air balloon.
  • Wrestled a squid.
  • High fived someone while hanging upside down.
  • Surprised a co-worker by jumping out of a box.
  • Cooked a soufflé.
  • Visited Belgium.
  • Transformed into a fire truck.
  • Owned a polaroid camera.
  • Done 1000 skips in a row.
  • Thrown a boomerang and had it come back.
  • Eaten sushi off a naked person.
  • Broken into a school after dark.
  • Said earnestly “this isn’t what it looks like” when a girlfriend has walked in on me in a compromising position with another woman.
  • Rap battle against Mike Tyson.
  • Spent a day without talking.
  • Survived on an island with only my wits to guide me.
  • Raided a boat on the high seas.
  • Stolen a cursed artifact from a museum.
  • That sexy laser beam thing that Catherine Zeta Jones did in Entrapment.
  • Hacked the mainframe.
  • Tripped someone up like Luke does to the AT-ATs on Hoth.
  • Ordered drip coffee from Starbucks.
  • Eaten Taco Bell.
  • Ridden a unicycle.
  • Flown a plane.
  • Gotten into a bar room brawl.
  • Run for political office.
  • Be told “we’re not so different, you and I” by my arch enemy.
  • Stolen that Wu Tang album from Pharmabro with the Wu Tang Clan and/or Bill Murray.
  • Met anyone who went to Fyre Festival.
  • Had a Guinness World Record.
  • Tucked/rolled out of a moving car.
  • Ghost ridden the whip.
  • Dodged a sniper assassination attempt while Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” played in the background.
  • Put my sweatshirt on my legs, pants on my arms and walked on my hands.
  • Tricked anybody with a fake moustache.
  • Swallowed bark just so I could say “my bark is worse than my bite.”
  • Met Peter Dinklage.
  • Shopped for a wedding/engagement ring, found the perfect one, balked at the price and said “what would 50 bucks and a badge that says “Pobody’s Nerfect” get me?”
  • Tried frozen cherimoya.
  • Woken up on a rooftop with no idea how I got there, then had a series of manic misadventures where I retraced the events of the evening while learning valuable lessons about friendship.
  • Drunk cocktails in bed.
  • Made a romantic speech at the airport.
  • Given forensic analysis at a crime scene.
  • Hosted SNL.
  • Participated in a boxing match while wearing Hulk Hands.
  • Become best friends with a bear and roamed the countryside.
  • Been bifurcated into separate physical forms for my left brain and right brain.
  • Died.

Is it time to make a bucket list?

More like Suds Patrick’s Day

I remember when I used to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Back in university it was a Big Fucking Deal. The city came alive in a way I’d rarely seen. Queen Street, the Auckland CBD’s iconic centrepiece, was thrumming with bustle. Less on the hustle side, and more blatant revelry. Businesses seemed to knock off early, and pen pushers flooded the footpaths. It was a mass of humanity walking from bar to bar. Cheesy green beer flowed freely, and everyone was Irish for the day. A bunch of us had early classes, so by midday we were free to run wild. Weirdly, for a day filled with so much liquor, it’s all still pretty vivid. I had a characteristically oversized bag, and it became a conversational lodestone. Of course we were all looking to meet women, and we’d take anything we could get. One of our friends happened to be pretty fucking “studly”, and a ton of women talked to us almost exclusively because of it. We hardly complained. Frankly, it was just nice to meet people who were in a good mood.

I remember this bar that’d paid a little person to dress as a leprechaun and descend from the roof. It was a spectacle, to be sure, but we all felt a little uneasy about it. We talked to the dude to see what he thought. He was over the moon. Got paid around $300 to do it once or twice over the course of the day. Otherwise he was free to mill about and hang with others. He was a pretty sociable bloke, so we bought him a couple of beers and spent time learning more about him. He was a student just like us, was going to veterinary school. Sarcastic guy, a real charmer. He also gave me shit about my gratuitously sized bag. We left the bar buzzing, and joined the throngs of wandering souls looking for adventure down Queen St. We eventually made our way down to the Viaduct looking for hookups, but ended up chatting with a bunch of businessmen who bought us pints of Kilkenny and told us stories of their glory days. It was better than it sounded. St Patrick’s Day became one of my favourite holidays. Why not? To us it was just an excuse to drink. A lot.

This was over ten years ago. Still teenagers. The day has become less and less noticeable/desirable each year. There’s something about it that just seems hollow. I don’t have Irish culture. I don’t really even know Irish people. Why would I mindlessly jump into a day headfirst that has no real resonance for me? I know it’s not a big deal, but I do feel like a killjoy. I feel that with subsequent years, I lose something of myself. Whether naivety or a willingness to go with the flow. It used to be so easy to let loose, my hackles weren’t up about everything. I was still learning about the world, and it seemed rife with opportunity.

I don’t know that it’s all changed as substantively as it seems. Much as we’re on a 24 hour doom and gloom news cycle, the world probably has as much suffering as it ever did. As much joy and meaning as it did too. I don’t know when I stopped believing that the future was something to look forward to, that utopia was within the grasp of our lifetime. I did though. I thought that as the world grew, we’d grow together. United by purpose, to elevate humanity because we all saw a brighter tomorrow. I was raised as an idealist. To look for the good, the potential in everything. I still want to believe, to look past what we are, and think of what we could be. Because we could, and deep down I know it. We have more than we ever did, and we’re doing a lot less with it. But we don’t have to.

I’d raise a glass to that.