Rice rice baby 12 rolls, 12 rolls.

A Sunday with almost zero plans. I was all set to be a good boy and get to a gym class, but I was thwarted by uncooperative buses. Bambuszled? The wheels on the bus went ’round and ’round too slowly for my tastes, so I changed it up for a run instead.

It’s great that Toronto seems to have noped out so far on snow, but winter running still ain’t the greatest. Inhaling too sharply sends daggers down your throat. It may just be the ravages of old ages, but joints tend to be less lubricated than usual. Your nose drips uncontrollably, then your snot gets cold against your upper lip (or in the case that you’re mustachioed, it nestles into the foliage and chills away). Knuckles may be the worst part. They get all dry, cracked and sore. Then you’ve gotta work at controlling your body temperature. Too many layers and you’ll drench your way through them all. Insufficient layers mean you won’t even sweat. Until you come back inside, that is, then your pores become waterfalls. I’m sure there are valid solutions to every one of these issues, but I have yet to find them.

I did say I had almost zero plans today. A friend of mine posted the other day looking for people to All You Can Eat Sushi with. Each sunset has brought me closer to that moment and since I’ve risen, I’ve thought of little else. All You Can Eat Sushi is both ascension to the divine and an abomination most foul. It’s the epitome of North American culture, to take a delicate flower and add flamethrowers. In my mind, sushi is an example of grace and craft. Everything is just so. I think of beautiful presentation, finely sliced sashimi, and a balance of flavours. All You Can Eat Sushi asks the question that if a small amount of something is pleasant, wouldn’t having all of it be an orgasm on a plate?

All You Can Eat Sushi charges extra for any unfinished food, which is entirely fair. The other side of this is that people drastically over-order, then struggle to wolf down everything in front of them. There’s no time limit, but you can be assured that most anyone going for All You Can Eat Sushi has mildly starved themselves to get the most “value” out of their meal (I mean, regardless of quantity wouldn’t “value” mean enjoying your food until you’d had enough?). As soon as it starts, people go ballistic and order five of everything. Then when it comes they start eating and order more so they’ll never have to take a break. Then the second lot comes and they realise they might be full. But it’s not like you can go out for All You Can Eat Sushi and not get dessert, right? Stuffed as they are, they shovel more until their stomach bulges like they’re smuggling several kilos of coke. Wait, why am I talking in the third person like this isn’t exactly what I do every time? Because of course it is. I can’t wait.

I’ll have to though, which is life’s most cruel betrayal.

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It’s all kinds of congestion ’round here.

I’m in a bus and quickly realising that it would’ve been quicker walking. I guess that’s what I get for leaving work on time. Do you think the person who created roads was pro or anti traffic? Were they all “wow, people love my creation so much they’re lining up to use it”? Or would they see it as a travesty (travel-sty), subverting the notion of speedy transportation? That’s gotta be a chief bugbear of creation, right? When you bring something into the world for a specific purpose and it gets twisted into a dark perversion of your initial vision. You’re like “I just wanted to improve our crop yield” then your plowshare is beaten into a sword. People are mowed down like wheat and the blood is indirectly on your hands. Did Al Gore cradle his head in his hands after Trump’s presidential win thinking “I enabled this”?

No swift segues today. It’s gonna be clunky and awkward because I’m in that kind of mood. I’ve been eating too much and been doing insufficient exercise this week. My body feels all over the place and it’s affecting my energy levels. Plus the temperature has fluctuated, the sun has basically disappeared as the wind has picked up. Mercury is probably in retrograde, I never have enough sleep and I got a rejection letter from an internal job that I really wanted, without getting so much as an interview. Work at the moment feels like relentless monotony (though that’s not a new development). I’m grumpy and having my own little pity party on this bus. Fittingly, I’m at the one set of seats with less leg room, which makes me feel like a sulky teen. The worst part is that an adult, I’ve got no valid structures to rebel against except myself. My parents stopped being responsible for my actions years ago. You know what’s worse than that? I wholeheartedly understand that I’ve got it better than so many other people, which undermines my ability to justifiably complain about any of it. I’m all “my job sucks”. But I have one. I’ve been eating shitty food, but I’ve had access to food. Being active is my choice, but I have the capacity to do so. What I’m saying is, my odds aren’t insurmountable here and I’m probably more complaining because it’s cathartic. I’ll go to boxing tonight, feel those endorphins and get over it.

You know who it must suck to be right now? Terry Richardson. Dude has always seemed like a right creep. Lecherous, pushing boundaries and taking advantage of women he’s worked with in a professional capacity. It must feel like a reckoning is coming his way, especially now that every second news story is about some male celebrity abusing their power and status to get what they want. I wonder if the recent culture of sexual abuse victims coming forward will result in a meaningful shake up of Hollywood and celebrity culture. My heart is saying let’s go, but my brain is saying no. It feels like this kind of stuff is only a problem to these studios when it threatens their bottom line. The fact that so many of these situations were well-known secrets highlights just how difficult it is for victims to come forward and be dragged through a gauntlet of negative press and character assassination. I heard some regular Jo say that they thought the whole Harvey Weinstein thing case was a matter of gold digging. It reminded me that while I live in a cosy liberal bubble that believes survivors, that’s not the world we live in. Society still has a long way to go before the industry really feels adequate pressure on its purse strings to bring about a thorough change to the status quo.

Is this what film pioneers envisioned in their hopes for the silver screen? A juggernaut of an industry where publicity and bottom line mentality are more important than the final products? Probably not. I’m sure they just wanted to show the world what their dreams looked like.

They should lob laws against its production.

Well I feel somewhat unwell. I had the best intentions of going to boxing tonight too. Oh well. Guess I’ll get soup and get around to clearing out my Netflix cue. It’s likely some combination of cold weather, mouth-breathing that cold weather rapidly while jogging, then compounding any damage done by shoving endless sweets and baked goods down that same gullet. I did this to myself.

Ever learn that something you’d always took as fact was a filthy lie? I don’t know where I heard it, but I was once informed that raisins were red grapes and sultanas were green grapes. Up to an hour ago, this was my central belief in dried grapey-ism. In fact (according to a couple of internet sources that could all be shameless charlatans) they’re both made from white grapes, but the sultanas come from a seedless variety. That’s it. Also I learned last night at a wholesome Halloween party that many people have pretty unwholesome opinions of raisins and sultanas.

*Shrug*. I’ve always liked ’em. Those little Sun-Maid raisins boxes were good little treats as a kid. Still are. I was fishing through the candy bowl at work for something good and found a one-off box. Jackpot! Much better than bland, waxy Hersheys chocolate or the plastic imitation red licorice known as Twizzlers. I know I’m not a super taster. I don’t have complex and investigative taste buds. Even so, who out there finds any flavour in Twizzlers? Or is a comfort in familiarity thing? They grew up having them as a treat and it’s evolved into an emotional attachment? I’m sure some people would say the same thing about my deep love of NZ Marmite. Delicious salty herbed goodness.

In the event that anyone here fits into the teensy tiny subsection that would ever buy ready made soup from Loblaws, skip their chicken noodle. It’s a tasteless broth. Watery without substance, even the chunks of chicken and vegetable are void of flavour. I can’t imagine there’s any form of nutritional goodness. You probably burn more calories chewing the tough chicken bites than you do from ingesting the soup as a whole. Getting the medium and a bread roll was a waste of $8 and I should feel bad for contributing to the idea that it’s worth Loblaws’ time producing this soup. Even tinned soup would be far superior.

Sorry, souperior.

Some things are stranger than Stranger Things.

I’ve got nothing specific to talk about today, but let’s see where this goes. We finished Stranger Things 2 last night, but it feels a bit early to get into it. So let’s not.

While we’re on the topic of entertaining media, I’ve got a hot tip on a fun audio story. It’s kinda like an old-timey radio play, but streamable. A friend of mine is part of a local theatre group who produce fantastic plays. They’re a mainstay of Toronto Fringe each year. How to Build a Fire is the story of a small town dealing with the aftermath of tragedy and unpacking the mysteries behind it. It’s six episodes long, just under three hours in total. It’s well directed and acted, with clean and clear audio production. It also does a great job of making neat character moments and drip feeding you information at a solid rate. I loved listening along at work, hearing new clues come to light as it progressed. Enjoying how they weaved together various storytelling tropes with relatable character writing, lifting the words off the page. Theatre Brouhaha regularly put together some of my favourite on stage content, so any chance I get to promote what they’re up to is a bonus for me. If they keep on getting attention, I’m sure it’ll lead to them putting together more content. Win win, right?

It’s Halloween, which is rad. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, might I suggest Braindead/Dead Alive? It’s a classic 1992 New Zealand horror comedy from our beloved Sir Peter Jackson. While he’s now better known as a large Hollywood director, back in the 90s his forte was the world of z grade horror films. Campy and over the top, silly as hell and funny as fuck. All set in the picturesque backdrop of small New Zealand cities. Braindead is a great zombie film with a ton of Kiwiana thrown in. Alternatively, Bad Taste revolves around aliens invading Earth to harvest humans for their intergalactic fast food restaurant. If you’re into hyper cartoony gore and insight into why Peter Jackson was such a curious choice to direct the LoTR films, they should answer some questions.

I went to the gym yesterday and noticed a peculiar occurrence. A woman walked into the free weights area (no, that’s not weird), talking on her phone. I assume. She was wearing headphones and talking, so she was probably on a call? She strolled up to a bench, put her towel down and kept chatting. I know she hadn’t just arrived, because she was on the exercise bike next to me during my warm up. I was free weights area adjacent for maybe the next half hour. She stayed on her phone the entire time. She wasn’t picking anything up, but neither did she move her towel. All of the benches were in use, but she didn’t budge. Nobody approached her, because they probably also assumed she was about to make use of the bench she’d dibsed. I didn’t understand it. Had she intended to work out, but got caught up in a call? What kind of call takes that long? Who has such confidence that they’ll take a personal call for over half an hour in a public place? Or was she just there to perv on people? No stress, but if that was her plan why would she monopolise equipment that other people could use? Was she crafting some kind of alibi to excuse her perving?

Or am I entirely wrong and was she just an oblivious dick without consideration for other people? Because the pieces fit.

I wish I had some kind of jean genie.

Welp, I did it. I cashed in any anti-consumerist cache I’d amassed over the years of rants and brand dodging. All of it down on credit at Lululemon.

I remember this slang term from my childhood. Being a “label basher”. A label basher was someone who prided themselves on being a head to toe brand ambassador. Maybe the term rose from the 90s anti-corporate cultural climate. People rallying against those buying into snug franchise affiliation. Maybe it was a mentality erected to oppose the Valley Girl movement. Whatever it was, it eventually all became meaningless as the style and fashions of the contrarian backlash were commodified and sold back to a willing consumer base. Pre-ripped jeans, big stompy Doc Martens and intentional safety pins. Hell, Hot Topic Mall Goth became a thing. Nirvana’s legacy of band tees probably outlived their music. Check and mate.

For years I’ve extolled how unnecessary branded fitness attire is. Wear whatever’s comfortable, but there’s no need to add a hefty price tag to something you’re gonna ruin with sweat. Get things that’ll be useful and ease the struggle of grueling workouts. Then my parents sent money over with my Big Sis for me to get some decent cold weather jogging legwear, since my shorts won’t cut it once the weather reaches five degrees or so. I’m not gonna say how much they sent, but it was more than I considered these things should cost. I’m sure the smart move would’ve been to buy something cheap and pocket the rest, but that didn’t feel like it inhabited the spirit of the arrangement. They’d sent me a generous amount, so why not get high quality clothes that would last. My mind went to Lululemon. They’re a premium brand, but they’re also certainly high quality. The only Lululemon clothes I’d previously owned were hand me downs. My dad had a pair of long pants that got a bit beaten up with time. He had them taken up and tailored into shorts. He used them for a bit, then offered them to me after a while. I used them consistently for around three years until finally they gave up. They were great. Sturdy construction with zippered pockets. Harder to find on pants than you’d think, but perfect for an iPod that bounced back and forth. In the hopes of something that’d last a similar amount of time, I decided to give Lululemon a shot.

A salesperson spotted me as soon as I walked in the door. I told her what I was looking for and she grabbed me a couple of styles, telling me the pros and cons for each. I found a decently priced pair of workout shorts on the sales rack and grabbed them to try on too. To be honest, the pants were really comfy, with a pleasant amount of compression. They stretched to allow for depth of moment, with a good weight. I don’t like it when pants are too light and hang loose. Then I tried the tights and discovered surprisingly they were even better. Solid compression with a pocket that would hold my iPod tight while I ran. Thick enough to keep me warm in the chilly lake air, but also protect against the all too real threat of camel tail that comes with male tights. Unexpectedly I walked out with the tights, paying far more than I ever would’ve expected. Plus the shorts, because they were somewhat reasonably priced. It’ll nice to have two pairs of workout shorts I can rotate.

In terms of my anti-consumerist bent, whatever. We all selectively decide when rules do and don’t apply to us, right? The concept of “selling out” is outmoded, especially as it pertains to fashion. I’m not remotely saying that protesting unfair sweatshop working conditions and the companies that employ them is a bad way to go. I’m also not gonna suddenly start outfitting my wardrobe with only the finest things. I’ve been looking for new jeans for a while. After I finished at Lululemon, I walked across the street to H&M and balked at the idea of paying $20 for a brand new pair of jeans.

So don’t worry, I’ll be fine.

Success or phalanx?

I have exactly nothing to talk about today. So let’s see how this plays out.

My left thumb is sore, because I’m a dumbass who doesn’t know how to properly wrap his hands before boxing. You’d think this’d make typing insufferable, but I don’t type using a structured Mavis Beacon style touch typing approach. So while my left thumb rests right by the spacebar, it never really sets print on the keyboard. “Sets print”? I wasn’t sure either. My thumb’s hardly gonna set foot, but I’m not entirely sure what that part of my thumb is called. The pad perhaps? What does Google say? Obviously I was indicating the second phalanx (duh. it’s not like we’re talking about metacarpals like some AMATEUR FUCKING MORONS AMIRITE?), but the fleshy part rather than the nail. “Print” will have to do for now. Anyway, it’s sore. Not prohibitively so, but just enough to justify complaining. Since this is my space and I can do what I want, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

Waah, my thumb hurts. I wish it felt pain free as per the norm, but it doesn’t.

Done.

Clearly you’re all here for these breaking stories. Hope you’re getting all you wanted. Frankly, I’m not sure why most if any of you are reading this. It’s been some time since anything interesting went on around these parts. I apologise for my lack of compelling life changes. I guess going to Portland was fun. Remember when I metaphorically took you on a trip with me? That was exciting. People were smiling in the streets. I drank a lot of beer. I had coffee in a reclaimed bus. Marijuana was legal to purchase. It was like being in another world. Maybe my life is feeling worn in right now because I’m not trying many new things. Perhaps I need more hobbies, or some kind of way of sampling novel experiences on a regular basis. Anything can get boring if it becomes overly repetitive. That’s how relationships find slumps. Perhaps I need to spice up my relationship with myself.

What could I do?

I could force myself to go somewhere new every week. It could be a new bar or restaurant. It could be exploring a new neighbourhood just to look at things. Or perhaps jog in a new environment (though to be honest, when I’m jogging I’m paying more attention to the music in my ears than my surroundings). Maybe I need to find books to read that challenge me in some way. Frankly, I barely read at all any more, so simply adhering to flipping pages in my leisure time would be challenge enough. What if I went to a library and got a book out on some new skill, then worked on that skill? I don’t know if I’ve made something out of wood since I was sub ten years old. What if I messed around with audio editing again? I’m a mic away from recording things. They’re easy enough to find.

I guess the unspoken truth here is that there are infinite things I could do to work out of this rut. The difference is whether or not I do them. I’m so used to reacting to change, having it forced upon me and adapting. Enacting change from within requires discipline, motivation and the endurance to carry on past obstacles. Where does that come from? What drives me and how can I harness that in order to regain momentum? It makes sense that the hardest time to see the road ahead is when you’re down a hole. At the same time, it’s the most crucial juncture in which to launch yourself back to that path. If I’m struggling at harnessing that will, is it time yet to ask for help?

It’s a pity my thumb is sore, I could’ve used it to hitchhike somewhere new.

Before you ask, I would happily board a literal gravy train. I’ve dreamed of little else in my life.

WELL THAT WEEK IS OVER.

In a week I’ll get to write some silly Barenaked Ladies “One Week” cover. For now I’m focusing on moving forwards. Slowly though. My body has become wracked with pain post boxing. I woke up last night with a tightness in my core. It’s been tricky to straighten up my body. I guess that’s what I deserve for skipping abs over the past few years. Eight or so ab exercises in a row will do that to you. All these muscles in my back have activated. You know when you find old coins and stuff between couch cushions? I don’t, because I use debit cards like a goddamn human being, but a lifetime diet of TV has taught me that this is an issue some people face. Well my back is like that. I’d forgotten that holding up gloves and jabbing use certain muscles that’re rarely worked otherwise. My groin is super tight (did I mistake the class for dick-in-a-boxing?) and my calves too for good measure. It was silly of me to go back to the gym last night, but I’d just joined back up and needed to work off steam. I’d forgotten about the day after the day after pains. Well, I’m paying for it now.

It’s Friday night and to be honest, I’m big on the stay in plan. Unfortunately for me, I live a privileged life and sometimes opportunities get thrown at me. What I want to do is stay in and watch the Magic the Gathering World Championship stream. What I’m going to do instead is go out and watch Future Islands perform at Massey Hall. Yeah, it’s a band I’ve been looking to see since 2011. Yeah, Massey Hall is my favourite venue in the city. Plus it’s a seated gig, so any qualms I have over a stiff body fall flat. Still, I’m lazy both physically and intellectually today. But people would pay for this kind of experience and I’d be a dick to pass it up. Story is, I applied to review this gig last month at four in the morning while quite drunk. After not getting an email confirmation of my gigs for this month, I checked in with my editor. He said if I didn’t get an email, I didn’t have any gigs this month. Fine with me. After such an intense succession of JFL42 gigs last week, I’m quite alright staying in for a while. Then today I got a confirmation email on this gig and handily (or maybe not, in this case) didn’t have any alternate plans. It’s hard to argue with free (well, writing a review is a pretty small cost). I’m sure Future Islands will be amazing. We all saw that Letterman performance, right?

The rest of this weekend is fancy free fun. I’m gonna play some Magic the Gathering tomorrow, maybe head along to a Cthulhu/undersea themed rave tomorrow night. Sunday we’re going to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. Then on Monday, we’re hosting our own Orphan’s Thanksgiving with friends who don’t have family close. I’ll take any excuse to gorge myself on gravy. Why not two days in a row?

Cause it’s been…