It was the 90s, of course my favourite Street Shark was the one with roller blades grafted to his feet

I have ~ an hour to drink up, get dressed and get out of the house. This is gonna get loooooose (to clarify, I was elongating “loose”, not “lose”. That would be a sub-optimal outcome).

I don’t know what’s up this weekend, but my friends have 1000% got my back. First there was yesterday’s dance party (which was a total blast). Firstly, one of my friends guest listed me so I got in free. Some real 11th hour righteousness. Then en route to the event I stopped off at another friend’s place to get ready. I wasn’t sure that I had the outfits I wanted for the theme, so my friend and her boyfriend (also my friend, but I figure nomenclature is right out the window already) raided their closet in search of some clothes with real “Leon” energy. The selection was outstanding, so my girlfriend and this couple all hung out in their room as I tried on clothes and collectively worked out what worked. I tried stuff all over the gender spectrum. There was a velvet skirt and crop top combo (which seems like hell for dancing). A bunch of dresses, of varying length and weight. There was a jock strap/rainbow fishnet crop top thing going on that got a lot of thumbs up, but took a backseat to our winner: A shimmery disco style jumpsuit complete with massive chest hair neckline. It was a little short on my friend, and was quite snug on me. The fit was ideal, showing off just enough without being too clingy. We had universal applause, and decided to commit. It fit so well, that by the end of the night my friend said just to keep it, that it didn’t work for him. That certainly worked for me.

There was another dance party I’d been interested in for tonight. It’s been running here for a while, lots of dancing, scandalous outfits and a slight kinky bent. I’d been wanting to go for some time, but didn’t feel like I had appropriate attire. Tonight’s theme is Fandom(me), and thanks to the silver harness and fish scale pants I bought recently, I’ve got just enough for a slightly overdressed Prince Namor. I won’t be doing the little wing feet things, and it also turned out too late to find ear extensions. Nobody’s gonna get it, but at least it’ll be on theme and get me through the door. Oh, did I forget to mention? Another friend is volunteering for the event, and offered me their guest list pass to get in for free. This is a $35 event, and I’m gliding through on nothing but goodwill and friendship. I’m a lucky, lucky boy.

Thirdly, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she wanted to try roller skating. I said I’d love to join in, but I didn’t have any skates of my own. I asked if anyone knew where to rent some, and within five minutes another friend offered me his to borrow. We’re about the same body size, and I just assumed we had the same sized feet. Turns out we do. They fit perfectly, so my girlfriend, roller friend and another friend all skated around the local church parking lot for maybe an hour or so. It was wholesome, and very very fun for a Saturday afternoon. The last time I strapped on roller blades I was probably under 10 years old. So it’d been at the very least, 20 years since I’d last tried it. I was never good as a kid. I didn’t have the technique down, so my wheels would angle instead of being vertical. My ankles would get sore extremely quickly, and I’d give up out of pain. I knew I’d be clunky stepping back on them, and I was. I immediately wished I’d found some kind of protective gear. Wrist guards at the very least. Turns out, I didn’t need them. It took me 20 minutes to get back the muscle memory, and my vastly increased body awareness did the rest. We all zoomed around the parking lot and slowly picked up how to do it. Then we all went for ice cream. It was such a neat idea, and felt great to do something active in the afternoon sun. A++, would borrow blades again.

And with that, I’m two drinks in. Time to get ready and get outta here.

Advertisements

To ront o’ not To ront? There’s no question

Hey frands. I’m going camping this weekend and there’s a good chance I’ll be out of service range. I’ll be writing daily entries, but I might not get to post them until Monday evening. I don’t imagine I have many white-knuckle diehards waiting on my every word, but there are also people who’d maybe assume I was dead if I didn’t post for three days. I’m probably not going to die in the next three days. Probably. No promises. Anyway, it’s my sixth Torontoversary today.

I love my Toronto.

I love my Toronto in the Summer. I love the cavalcade of camping, cottages and concerts, getting out of town in a borrowed car. I love seeing parks come alive with aimless relaxing. I love seeing slackliners taking their daredevil balance bollocks to stupid new heights in Christie Pitts. I love clicking “going” to park movie screenings I’ll never attend. I love that I’ll always see someone with a bespoke hula hoop. I love saying “y’know, this is the year I’ll finally get a bike”. I still don’t have a bike. I love the literal one time I get out to Hanlans each year. I love the precious angel woman who sells boozy freezies. I love how strong they are. I love seeing the Toronto skyline in the dusk, while I’m wearing nothing. I love seeing Pride come alive. I love those nights that never end, warm as the day. I love my lunchtime Harbourfront runs. I love seeing a plethora of dogs as I zoom past. I love it when a fellow jogger waves back. I love trying to race the streetcar, and mostly losing, but sometimes not. I love messing around on the Salem Avenue Parkette outdoor gym equipment. I love watching enormous lines at Bang Bang, knowing full well there are other easier places to get the same thing. I love keeping that a secret. I love seeing kids so buzzed to be out in the sun. I love all the burner fundraisers, dancing around crazy art cars. I love Peach Season. I love celebrating my anniversary with my girlfriend.

I love my Toronto in the Fall. I love looking at the weird ornamental gourds in corner stores. I love avoiding the madness of TIFF, but seeing how it lights the city up. I love JFL42. I love seeing upwards of 20+ comics in 10 days. I love planning and plotting for maximum efficiency. I love waiting until the last moment to buy cheap turkey for Thanksgiving. Walking that line until it’s under $1 per pound. I love forgetting to pull out the same cans of cranberry sauce and gravy I bought at Loblaws for 20 cents a few years ago. Does that stuff ever really die? I love the commercial real estate place at Dupont and Christie that just gives out a shit ton of free pumpkins every year. I love Fall fashion, long coats and sweaters. I love drinking beer in the Fall. I love seeing whatever crazy Autumnal concoctions Blood Brothers comes up with. I love pretending that humans hibernate, and eating my bodyweight in hearty fare. I love Fall apples.

I love my Toronto in the Winter. I love seeing Christmas lights coruscate in the snow. I love crunching across the ground in my big boots, feeling invulnerable. I love those clear days before the endless darkness of February. I love watching it all from indoors with a “special” hot chocolate. I love getting weekly Pork Bone Stew in Koreatown, at my secret favourite place. I love the genuine kindness that emerges in people. I love seeing people knit for the homeless, leaving new touques out in public with a caring note. I love New Years house parties, surrounded by the people who make Toronto feel like home. I love cosy movie nights with friends and thai food. I love getting my hermit on, staying in and playing Magic. I love complaining about Lousy Smarch Weather that lasts for months. I love it when Winter ends, every year.

I love my Toronto in the Spring. I love that it only takes single digit temperatures for a starved patio crowd to get back out there. I love seeing the city wake up and emerge. I love seeing people line up for pop up gimmicks. I love getting back out for brunch. I love remembering what air tastes like. I love how excited everyone gets about sports, as I watch from a detached distance.I love going out for drinks and dancing, shaking off memories of ice. I love feeling alive and renewed. I love how full of promise the upcoming year seems. I love thinking about the upcoming cavalcade of camping, cottages and concerts.

Mostly though, I love that I’m here, and that this was a choice. I love that I made the right one.

Working on my reflect-ses.

Got to chatting in an online group about body image. I’m sure this is a mishmash of stuff I’ve posted here before, but in case this would be helpful to anyone else, I’ll post it.

I hear this intimately, ’cause it’s something that’s always been an immensely emotional sticking point for me. I also feel like I’ve rounded a corner in the past six months, maybe just through attrition, but I’m generally feeling better than I had. There’s a lot of talk about body positivity that never really jived with me. It didn’t seem to fit with my more pragmatic paradigm. To be clear, I think it’s amazing that we’re all talking about this and it’s helping people, but it wasn’t working for my subset of issues.

An exercise that really did help was suggested by a friend. It’s very easy when looking in the mirror to make negative statements. “I don’t like the way this looks when I do that”, etc etc. She suggested instead looking in the mirror and making neutral statements whenever I’d have the compulsion to say something negative. “I have eyebrows and a nose” or whatever. Dumb as it sounds, over time this helped push away my innate instinct to find the things that caused me to feel emotional, and replace them with statements that were empirically true.

Gradually I started experimenting by replacing neutral statements with positive ones. “I like the way my nose looks. It’s very proud” or whatever. I want to stress that this wasn’t an immediate impulse, it came over time. As more time passed, I tried doing this more often. “My eyes have really cool colours” etc. Then as even more time passed, I began to focus on these positive things when I looked in the mirror instead of the negative ones. Noticing things that I did like about myself was hugely refreshing. Yet again, this wasn’t a whole-body love thing. I still had lots of bits that felt like tension points in my brain. But it did help me have a more positive association with my reflection.

I don’t even know if that evolution was a necessary level. The neutral paradigm far and away helped so much with self-image on its own. Being able to just look in a mirror and look away without feeling down was massive, and really helped me to navigate the world with my head held a little higher.

Another aspect that helped me to become more courteous towards my body, was starting to create tacit connections between what it could do and how that made me feel. I began mentally acknowledging when my body did something that I appreciated, and keeping this in mind. If I had more endurance than I’d expected, I’d note how thankful I was. If my strength or fine motor control came in handy, I’d reflect on how this made me feel.

I’ve always come from a baseline of just assuming I hate my body and how I look. Ever since childhood, this is the way I taught myself to navigate the world. As I’ve grown up, the importance of my own physical competence has really reared its head. If I can accomplish a task, that does make me feel really great about myself. If I can accomplish a task well, I almost hum with satisfaction. These little notes and personal reminders have helped a ton, because they allow me to feel connected to my body in ways that don’t revolve around weird body image notions that cemented in my brain at age 12.

Feeling connected to my body has been a more recent experience. Coupled with the ability to see positive things in the mirror, it’s very much allowed me to give positive connotations to parts of my body that maybe I wouldn’t like the look of otherwise. Sure, I may not find them aesthetically pleasing, but I do understand how functionally helpful they are. Over time, it’s becoming harder and harder to cognitively tell the difference between something aesthetically pleasing, and something I’m functionally thankful for. In my brain, I think they present the same way. I’m sure the dopamine spike people get when they look good in the mirror is what I get from looking at my very functional body parts. They make me feel good about myself, and I’m pretty I’ve discovered positive body image by any other name.

I shall not fall for your siren song

Do you ever drink enough coffee that your absent minded thoughts get super arrogant?

I legitimately had the thought today “I need a new hobby. Maybe I should become a volunteer firefighter.” Easy as that. Just become a volunteer firefighter. No doubt, just should I? And ok! But then I thought again, once I realised the audacity of what just trailed through my head. I could probably pass the fitness test. I’ve got enough logical aptitude to do okay at the other tests. I’m not saying I couldn’t get the position (I’m also not saying that I definitely could either). I’m saying that in that kind of crisis position, unless I had extensive training, I’d just be dumb. Maybe I’d misunderstand the physics of a set of charred stairs and tumble through. Perhaps indecision would have me stupidly standing around in a domestic inferno scratching my helmet and waiting for instructions. Would I take off my gloves because I was sweaty? I’m not sure of anything, except that I’d find some way to screw it up.

Honestly though, it’s not the first time I’ve absentmindedly considered joining an organisation just so I could take a fitness test. They sound fun. As long as it’s not the Beep Test, I like the idea of doing drills to see where I’m at. I’ve actually thought about both the military and police force, just for said tests. I haven’t followed through on either because a) I think war is bullshit macho bollocks and b) All Cops Are Bastards. Still, their boot camps sound like fun. I sincerely would like to know if I’m fit enough to do immoral things for the inscrutable purposes of the asshole men running these organisations. Sure, they’re bad guys, but gym memberships are expensive.

I’ve never wanted to be a firefighter before. Or a cop, or army recruit for that matter. When it all boils down to it, I just want to know that I could if I wanted to, which clearly is not on my agenda. It’s not that I dislike the idea of helping others, but more my innate disincentive to put my life on the line to do so. And hey, it’s not even that I don’t want to die. I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that’s on my agenda. I just want to go out doing something I love, which is more along the lines of being crushed by rubble while singing that Quad City DJs – “Space Jam”, or eating too much cheese. I don’t know that any of the above institutions condone eating cheese on the job, y’know? I need to stick to my guns, which involves not wielding guns whatsoever.

But as I said, I like the idea of helping people, I just don’t know how to do it. Years ago I had some naive idea that for my 20s and 30s I’d be selfish and pursue a lucrative media career, before transitioning into something more compassionate like counselling or psychiatry. Now that I’ve been in media for a while, I know how lucrative a field it isn’t. I may love it deep down, but it hasn’t really done much for me career-wise. The jobs have been consistently low paying, and I’ve spent maybe 2-3 years in total since graduation working a media job I actually enjoyed. It paid $30K a year. Despite my above sentiments, money has never been hugely motivating as long as my basic needs are being met. I don’t think any part of this post is a sudden epiphany that I’m following the wrong path. But maybe it wouldn’t be a silly idea to consider other stuff I could do.

But let’s save that for another entry, shall we?

Do or do not, the nomenclature is “goal”, not “try”

Bass kit bowl.

Toronto’s going crazy for it, so I’m gonna talk about it today. Our resident sporty dinos are tearing it up on the NBA scene, and we’re all proud. I think. Look, I’m not a basketball person, but it makes me happy when people get excited about something that doesn’t hurt or put down other people. It’s bringing a lot of folks together, and I’m chuffed at all the celebration. Good for them. So here’s some stuff about basketball and me.

  • When I had a kid I was very into the idea of being into basketball, but it rarely flowed into actually enjoying watching the game. It was the 90s, the Chicago Bulls were everywhere. I thought Jordan was the fucking coolest, even before Space Jam hit the screens.
  • I asked my parents to buy me one of those Michael Jordan mesh jersey things when they were in America. I was so excited to get it, then once I tried it on, I realised I didn’t like wearing it at all and gave it to my best friend. He wore it tons and loved it.
  • When the Raptors emerged as a new franchise, I was sold. It was around Jurassic Park times and dinosaurs were still my everything. I had a basketball and a hat. I felt very cool and wore tha hat constantly.
  • We had a basketball hoop with backboard on our driveway. Dad would rarely play with us, but when he did, he had this recurring bit. He’d come out, shoot once and sink it. Every time. Then he’d be all “well I guess I got a 100% shot rate, that’s good enough for me.” He’d then go inside, or just watch as I played and practiced, passing me the ball if it went too far for me to catch up. To this day, I don’t know if my dad was actually good at shooting, or if, as an adult, the hoop was just incredibly low and easy to sink.
  • I played miniball as one of my childhood sports. If it wasn’t apparent, it’s basketball for kids, with lower hoops and a smaller ball. I dunno, it’s sorta in the name. I loved playing miniball, I had a couple of friends in my team and while we never did well, we had fun. It was co-ed and low stakes. I could only ever dribble with my right hand and I think I scored a total of six points in the entirety of my miniball career. Once we got old enough for bigger hoops/balls I noped the fuck out of there and never looked back.
  • At one of my flats, we had a PS3 and NBA Jam. We all played a bunch, and it got really aggressive. Lots of swearing, yelling and taunting. No serious personal insults, but boy oh boy it was fun to rile each other up. My friend’s mum came to the door while we were playing once. She was very mild mannered, and upon hearing our loud shit talking, got quite a fright. After that day, she never visited our flat again.
  • I know nothing about basketball, and for years I had a solid 3 minutes of talking points just to make conversation with people. Thing is, they all came from my experiences in NBA Jam, and occasional statements my friends let slip while we played. On more than one occasion, I was stuck not knowing how to connect to people at parties, bars, work events, etc. I used the same rote talking points to make new single dose friends. Very handy.
  • There’s a band called Sledding With Tigers, and they have a fantastic EP based around the film Space Jam. I highly recommend that you listen to it, or even buy their entire discography for $12.50USD.

Good luck for tonight, and I hope our team sinks all the putts!

Notice that Mike Tyson didn’t appear on either list?

I feel like being punchy today. It’s Bullet(point) Time.

Here are some things I don’t care about (which, trust me, is harder to think about than you’d expect):

  • Tailgating laws.
  • Taylor Swift’s career.
  • The price of fish (unless it’s tinned tuna, in which case I care a lot).
  • Reading Ulysses.
  • Who people choose to love.
  • Bratz Dolls.
  • The Superbowl.
  • Creationists.
  • BPA in my plastic bottles.
  • Phones without headphone jacks.
  • The DCU.
  • The SWEU.
  • Getting the last word (the best word is more important).
  • Oxford Comma arguments.
  • Acai bowls.
  • Being able to buy alcohol at 9am.
  • The Globes/Emmys/MTV Awards.
  • Tea (sorry tea oriented pals).
  • Dota.
  • Macklemore.
  • Ben 10.
  • Casinos.
  • 3D Films.

Wait, this IS much harder than I expected it would be. I have to actively think about things I rarely do, so they’re not topics that are usually top of mind. Let’s invert that and figure out stuff I care about:

  • The rights of the vulnerable.
  • Paddington Bear.
  • Funding for education and healthcare.
  • Fish and Chips.
  • Pineapple Lumps.
  • Owning a good pair of jandals.
  • Pushing back against bigotry.
  • Dichotomous online discourse.
  • Casey Wilson’s “Ask A Swole Woman” column.
  • Clickhole.
  • Banh Mi.
  • The Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz cardboard cut out that stares back at me from my work desk.
  • Coffee.
  • Waving at fluffy dogs.
  • Bong Joon-Ho films.
  • Keeping active.
  • People having access to clean water.
  • Following Demi Adejuyigbe on Twitter.
  • Finding ways to work “just don’t call me late to dinner” into dumb jokes.
  • Stand up comedy.
  • Good puns.
  • Magic the Gathering.
  • Pork bone stew.
  • Sunday brunch.
  • People putting their fiscal desires over the needs of others.
  • Anything Phoebe Waller Bridge writes.

Welp, apparently that’s all I have in me today. So much for punchy, I’m punching out.

So I guess you could say it was all hearsay?

Time to die another day.

As in, it’s another day where I can roll a die or two. I’m doing my mate’s live play RPG podcast again. It’s been hard enough to find a tabletop group that it seems the only times I play are on said podcast. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. He runs a fun and loose campaign, while managing to direct plot flow seemingly effortlessly. I always get a kick out of the collaboration that comes into moving a narrative forward together. Push and pull, yes, and… ing. It’s legit improv, but with more stabbing and spellcasting. The last time we played this campaign, things got wild. We spent hours being chased by mosquitos. One of our party went full murder hobo. We triggered off a chain of apocalyptic events in a castle, found the mythical sword, unleashed hordes of undead and I lulled them into pacification playing my fiddle, while my party and I escaped on my donkey Flops. It was a pretty happening time. We’re doing a soft reboot for this campaign, and I can’t wait to see which aspects of our previous game that the GM brings into this one.

I was thinking about my massage yesterday. There was something that seemed a little off. Not untoward, like the dude acting with impropriety, just this… thing? I hope this doesn’t come off as a slight towards the massage industry in general, because I really do feel strongly about the positive effects of myofascial release. This guy wasn’t my usual guy. I tend to prefer athletic therapy massages to straight up RMT kind of stuff, ’cause I’m less into relaxing and more into getting rid of body tensions through attrition. This masseur also dabbled in acupuncture, which is fine. I think that’s legit. He started testing trigger points, etc, to see where my tensions were stemming from. Again, fine. I went in with a sore neck, among other problems. He got me to stand up, and he tested how far I could move my neck in multiple directions. He got me to lower my shoulders, then try put my ear to them. Couldn’t do it. He then did this weird almost magician flourish and was all “oh but you see, by the end of our session you will be able to touch your ear to your shoulder. Neat, I guess, it wasn’t explicitly what I came in for, but who doesn’t love a party trick?

So we do the massage, and he gets heavy into the neck stuff. There’s a point where he’s pulling tight from one side of the neck, while I press into his hand with my head on the other side. He’s incrementally dropping it down with each movement, so I’m getting closer and closer to my shoulder. Then it touches. He releases my head and tells me to test if I can touch my ear to my shoulder without his help. I can, voila, it’s a miracle, right? He seems pretty chuffed and self-satisfied. And why not? He made magic happen. I forgot about it, finished up, went home, etc. Then later I thought about it, lowered my shoulders and tried again. My neck flexibility was basically the same as it was when I started the massage. Then I thought back to the massage and realised, when he was helping me get my ear to my shoulder, my shoulders were slanted, and definitely raised on the side we were trying to touch. But he never successfully got me to do it from a lowered shoulder position, like he tested at the start. What was all that bullshit about then? Just some charlatan trying to convince me of progress, when being able to touch my ear to my shoulder has never been one of my indicators of good health. Like, I guess it’s neat. Aside from that, the massage was great. He really did do an excellent job getting the many many kinks out of my back and neck. Just, the ear thing was weird.

But I’m about to be up to my neck in goblins, so maybe it was all for the best.