Technically is all of their meat blade steak?

I’ve got nothing, so let’s get it over with.

Unpopular opinion, I think macaroons are grossly more enjoyable than macarons. The texture has just the right combination of crunch and chewability. The chocolate bottom is a wonderful treat, and the cherry tops it all off. Macarons make me feel guilty for eating them, I feel like I’m engaging in some form of class betrayal, and there’s no way I can eat more than one or two without feeling like I’m somehow committing a social faux pas. Macaroons don’t judge, they’re just delicious and morish. In fact, they’re the kind of food that grandmothers demand you endlessly gorge on, which is even better. Macarons taste like condescension. I’ll still eat a macaron, but the experience is significantly less enjoyable than eating a macaroon.

I can’t believe discourse is still flying around on this “Ok Boomer” catchphrase. Lots of disgruntled tweets from incensed folks claiming it’s discrimination or ageism. Funnily enough, the people that are offended are probably likely offenders. As far as I understand, Ok Boomer isn’t about shitting on people older than you, it’s a response from generations of older folks who dismiss what younger folks say without actually listening to what they’re saying. Catchalls like “you’ll understand when you’re older” or whatnot. It’s weird, because Ok Boomer isn’t rallying against age, it’s rallying against ignorance. It’s about people blaming millennials for thing after thing, instead of taking a look at the legacy of their generations economic decisions and how they flowed down to following generations. It’s about people who hold rigidly to outmoded ideas of how the world once was, instead of actually considering that times have changed. It’s a response to endless comments beginning with “why don’t you just…” followed by unrealistic standards of how things work in 2019. “Pounding the pavement” in search of jobs isn’t a thing anymore outside of service industries, and not always in them either.

Tomorrow I’m going to a Brazilian steakhouse with friends to celebrate a birthday. My friend’s birthday, not mine. I’m pumped. I haven’t been out for a nice meal in a while, and too few of my restaurant meals involve meat on swords. In fact, people approaching me with meat on swords is damn near my ideal. Even if it were to result in me getting stabbed or murdered, if I got killed by something I dearly love, I think that’s a piece of humble pie I could swallow. Just think, a blade pierces your heart, while the scent of beautifully spiced meat wafts up to your nostrils. You slump forward, and your face lands on a tender portion of steak pushed right up to the hilt. Just saying, there’s not a 100% chance this won’t be the outcome of tomorrow’s meal. If that’s the case, I think I’ll go gently into that good night with a smile on my dial.

Someone told me their salad is typically really good too. Weird, but great.

Climate change is scary enough, Halloween needs headroom

I walked out of work and into a warzone.

It was awesome. Wind whipped wildly in a wicked whirl. I zipped up my coat, and was buffeted back. Branches from tall trees lay strewn across the path. Leaves covered the ground. The construction fence had collapsed on one side, exposing a muddy yard. Traffic lights thrashed from side to side. A bushy tree damn near bent sideways. I struggled to keep my feet. The lake was tempestuous, waves dotted by oddly calm ducks. When the lights changed, I bolted across the street, achieving no more than my normal walking speed. It was madness. It was beautiful.

Unfortunately for my sense of wonder, things calmed down once I moved away from the lake. I expected to come home to crushed cars parked streetside. Power outages, chaos. Instead there was just a mild breeze. Things were oddly calm for 1am on Halloween. I saw only two Joker costumes on my way home. Quelle surprise. It was kind of gutting that the weather dumped down so much. Think of all those kids who were so excited to dress up in pursuit of candy. Hell, Montreal postponed Halloween. Can a city do that? Well they did.

Neither my girlfriend nor I were home to hand out treats to kids. Maybe it was some form of mercy. Making small talk with kids is a legit skill, and I don’t have it. I’ve never really learned to talk to kids like kids, and so I’m just at a loss for words. What am I supposed to ask? So what do you do? Been on any cool holidays lately? What’s been lighting you up lately? My usual mingling tactics are useless here. Last year Halloween came a few weeks after weed legalisation. My girlfriend and I were a little stoned, and it all became a minefield. For the first time in years, Halloween was legit spooky. We were both almost afraid to approach the door, unsure of how to handle these innocuous interactions. Small mercy then, that our area doesn’t get much trick or treater traffic.

I wonder what a loot bag looks like here. Back home, it was a bizarre hodgepodge of things. Sometimes people forgot it was Halloween and grabbed random things from their pantry. Otherwise it’d be a cornucopia of off-brand lollies. Over this side of the world, Halloween is much more of an expected quantity, so people buy in bulk. The easiest way to do so is to grab one of these huge boxes from a supermarket. All the big candy companies put out packs with 70 pieces, 100 pieces, 200 pieces. Fun size candy that’s limited in variety. I can’t imagine how many multiples kids will get of the same stuff. Like, 20 mini Kit Kats and some Swedish Fish?

I saw some police PSA on the TV. It gave out helpful hints like “don’t let kids try any candy before you check it first”. Really? Is that where we’re at? I’m definitely not someone who’s all ugh, PC Culture, etc etc. This seems like overreach. What do people think is gonna happen? Are we still on that whole train of people spiking chocolate with drugs and razor blades? In this economy? It’s 2019, people can hardy afford that stuff for themselves, let alone give it out for free. How many kids are hospitalised because of eating something they’ve been given? Especially with these sanitised bulk boxes being circulated so heavily. Most everything is individually wrapped and sealed. It’d be an absurd amount of effort to poison things, and for what payoff? Surely this is a culture of fear talking, that expects people to want to do malicious things to kids. Is there data to back that up? Or just empty rhetoric?

The craziest thing I saw last night was nature. Halloween, keep up.

Can a melon change its stripes?

Okay. Workday over and I have an absurdly heavy watermelon by my side. I’m ready for the night.

Really, this watermelon weighs more than one would expect. That was the point. I stood by the box of melons at the supermarket and pondered. What makes for a sweet one? Aside from the obvious- being Summer, not Autumn- I knew there were indicators. The internet said to look for a melon that weighed a lot for its size. Check. It said to look for a big, creamy yellow splotch on the side. Check check. Lastly, a good watermelon should apparently have a hollow sound when you thump the bottom. Check check one two. All set. I’m having dinner with a friend and she asked me to grab dessert. She doesn’t do dairy, or caffeine, so no chocolate either. It’s not like I had prep time, so I scanned the supermarket. My options seemed to be Halloween candy, entire oven baked pies (which seemed excessive for watermelon) and fruit. I thought a non-processed option might be nice, but more so I wanted to see if it was possible to grab a great Autumn melon. We shall see…

Low key night, because everyone is out at Halloween gigs. See, in Canada Halloween lasts for two weeks. It’s marvellous, but this year I don’t really get much of a Halloween. My shifts don’t really align. It’s not a big deal, I’m kind of tired of spending money on costumes to ticketed events. Still, I had an idea this year. It’s pretty evergreen, so I’ll keep it locked and loaded. Okay, I’ll tell. I wanted to be Paddington Bear. I looked it up, I’d basically just need a big blue duffel coat, a red hat and a pair of gumboots. Maybe even a mail tag saying “please look after this bear.” I’d paint a little dot on my nose. Costume sorted. It’s great, because I clearly love Paddington. It’s less great, because if I stepped into any busy event I’d sweat my way out of the coat in a second, and I’m not sure what I’d wear underneath. As soon as I put on some bear costume below the coat, I’d be doubly screwed. My body isn’t made for that sort of heat. It’s fine, I have a year to think about it, and find some kind of suitable event. I’ll practice my hard stares in the meantime.

At work today I was doing description for a show about Nazi Megastructures. This’ll be the understatement of the century, but it was kind of crazy to hear about some of the Nazi machinations. Did you know that Goebbels basically shut down most written publications? Newspapers, etc. He re-centred media around radio, then controlled the means of broadcast. I don’t know the number of closed publications off the top of my head, but it was immense. They created learning institutions to indoctrinate children, raising them in the Hitler Youth programs. The guy talked about the insane stuff they did to make kids face their fears. Making non-swimmers dive into pools from 3m high boards. Swimmers were made to dive out windows onto blankets. Unreal. I’m a grown ass man and I wouldn’t dare. Is this the kind of stuff I’m missing out on by not being a typical male, reading WW2 books on the toilet? Am I really missing out? That’s heavy.

Though not half as heavy as this melon.

Here’s today’s slice of life

I’m feeling a little loopy, and that’s okay.

My sleep patterns have been a bit iffy lately, and it’s translated into a strange and addled state of mind. Yesterday I had a nap around 4pm. Later, I got a little high and cut some cheese. I looked down at the knife, and started singing an improvised song about a “cheese knife”. I’ve never been great at riffing lyrics on the fly, but for some reason I kept going as I prepped to head out for the evening. For maybe ten minutes straight, I kept up with this ditty, going through all sorts of stanzas and iterations. At some point it became a funeral dirge, the same weird little tune, but slower. The lyrics were inane, something like:

Cheeeeese kniife
No matter what, we stood together
Cheeeeese kniife
Through thick and thin, through stormy weather
You’ve been so present in my life
Taken my hand in all this strife
You’ve
Been
My
Cheeeeese kniife…

And so on. It was fun. There was something to be said for disregarding a fear of failure. Not worrying about the outcome, but relaxing into it and keeping up momentum. It reminded me of teaching kids to do back tucks in gymnastics. The thing about a back tuck that will get in your way is hesitation. There’s a point at which you just have to push it, elsewise you’ll get stuck in the wrong position. If you hesitate, you’ll hurt yourself. If you push hard, you’ll land the right way up. Riffing this dumb cheese knife song was similar, in that I just had to go with it and have faith that I’d stick the landing. I stumbled a bunch of times, but I was surprised at how often I managed to come up with a legit rhyme. At times if I thought far enough ahead, I’d get a word into my brain that would be great for the following line, and try to come up with a rhyming word for the line I was currently saying. It made my mind reel at the mental gymnastics that prolific freestyle rappers must do on a regular basis. There’s so much to consider, but someone like Black Thought makes it seem effortless. I can only wonder what he’d rap about a cheese knife.

I realised today that there are a couple of things I’ve had wrong for a while. For instance, I thought that the saying went “Fear is in the eye of the beholder”. Apparently that’s quite not it. I only found out, because I made a pun that I thought was decent about it. It would’ve been, if that was the saying. I also thought that the line in Nirvana’s “In Bloom” was “But he don’t know what it means/Don’t know what it means to matter”. In my head it made sense. Nirvana was all about connecting with the disaffected youth. Big time Gen X energy. Saying that the dude likes to sing along, likes to shoot his gun, but lacks purpose, it all seems on the mark. I kinda want to retcon the lyrics and change them to mine. I’m sure Kurt would be up for it, if he were still around.

I know the sentiment of what would Cobain have become if he lived? isn’t new, but I was thinking about it today. Not in a musical sense, but socially. Nirvana were kind of a beacon for the weird and unwanted. Queer culture wasn’t as mainstream as it is these days. I wonder if Kurt would’ve been a good ally or not. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I feel like he’d be supportive of LGBTQ+ peeps. I know he idolised Bowie, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him follow in Bowie’s footsteps. As far as I know, Bowie was normally on the right side of history (like calling out 90s MTV for not playing enough black artists). Would Cobain have gone down a similar route? Of course we have no idea. I’m not gonna break any ground here. It also doesn’t serve any of us to imagine would could have been, when it easily could not have happened that way at all. Kurt was frequently unwell, and fame sorta fucked with him a bunch. If he didn’t take his life, would something else have done it for him? Sad. It’s been a while since I listened to Nirvana. Maybe I should go do that now.

Maybe I’ll cut some cheese, and have a listening party.

You wouldn’t think those were strict criteria…

Y’all ready for a “let’s get this out of the way” post?

I sure am. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in just over an hour, and while I could probably just write in the inevitable half hour waiting room break, I don’t wanna. I’m doing my check in post anti-depressants to gauge how things are going. Oddly enough, my doctor has gone on mat leave and I’m meeting her year long replacement. With something personal like this, I’m starting to understand the mentality of people wanting to see their specific doctors. The decision for me to go on these meds was thoroughly discussed, and would’ve been a rollercoaster if not for the time and patience my doctor had for looking at all of our options together. Ultimately, I know they’re working and have been an outstanding decision, so I’m not worried about talking with some new dude about them. At the same time, it brings me closer to the importance of a personal doctor relationship kind of thing. Usually, I don’t care. I trust that the clinic I visit has qualified professionals. I’ve had only good experiences with the staff there. The receptionists are very hesitant to put me with anyone else unless it’s an emergency. I don’t blame them whatsoever. That’s just policy. Still, if there’s something wrong with me, I will go to most anyone who has more knowledge than I do. Just put me in, coach.

I’ve got a fancy, fancy party tomorrow night and I’m excited. I got so excited that I bought two tickets by accident. See, I can trace back the idiocy of this decision. Let’s back up. I go to this Library fundraiser every year. It’s the one event that’s very costly (over $100 per ticket), and I get all dolled up with friends. We’ve gone for the past few years. Tradition, and all that. There’s early bird pricing, which we generally tend to get. This year, because of my shift work, I wasn’t sure if I’d be free on the night or not. We have a big group chat going about it (and other neat events). I re-read the chat yesterday. Everyone chimed in back in early September about having purchased early bird tickets. Normally with these events, I post something like “got my ticket” or whatnot. I hadn’t. A few weeks ago I was like oh shit, did I get my ticket? I know I missed early bird. I looked in my emails for a sign of a ticket purchase. No confirmation emails. I looked back in my bank account. No sign of an earlier non-early bird ticket purchase. I bit the bullet and bought a billet. Then yesterday, I got an email telling me to activate my ticket. I logged in and saw two tickets. Weird. I looked back in my emails, and realised that I didn’t have a ticket purchase receipt for the second one either. So that was clearly what happened first time around. I’d bought two tickets. Dummy.

I emailed back asking if I could get a refund. Then my mind started spinning. What was my best course of action? These weren’t cheap tickets. I think the fully priced one came to over $130. I could offer it to my girlfriend, but I couldn’t really expect her to pay for it. Also she’s kinda flu-y at the moment. What if she was too sick to go? I started thinking of other friends, but more importantly I thought of the group I’m going with. It’s a tight knit group. Wonderful, witty people. It’s also a very particular vibe. If my girlfriend couldn’t make it, I’d need to find someone else. It’d have to be someone who’d a) fit with the group, b) have fancy things to wear, c) like eating/drinking a lot (on account of the open bar and unlimited delicious foods) and d) be available last minute. I made a shortlist and it had possibly five people who’d fit a-c. Turns out that I can get a refund, however, so I don’t have to worry about last minute rearrangements. I just need to make sure I have a non-creased shirt.

I better get a few ice cubed and toss my shirt in the dryer.

A spoon full of sugar lacks caffeine

What weird things do you eat?

I ask this, having just cut off a slab of cheese and slathering Marmite all over it. NZ Marmite, the strong, sticky, tangy stuff. The best stuff. I do love bold flavours, and this informs my oft peculiar eating habits. It’s well known by this point that I love kimchi, and will eat it at most any juncture (writing this reminded me to stand up and get some from the fridge. Good zing in this batch. I’ve got this habit of keeping the liquid from one batch and tipping it into the next one. Like a sourdough starter. It’s paying off). I’ll have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, afternoon tea, pre or post dessert, pre or post drinking, pre or post workout, probably even pre or post nuptial agreement. I’m not saying there’ll be a kimchi cake at my wedding, but I’m also not not saying that.

I had a bunch of odd eating habits as a kid. I’ve mentioned peanut butter and cheese before, but I don’t think it’s possible to mention it enough. Texturally, it was this bizarre gummy and gooey delight. Savoury, salty flavours enmeshing in a strange almost taffy-like concoction. Peanut butter just goes with things. I used to have peanut butter on celery, which I later learned was almost Ants on a Log. When I got hungry around dinner, mum would often give me a salted, peeled carrot. I haven’t tried peanut butter and carrot, and I don’t know that I will any time soon. However, if someone happened to tell me it works (peanut butter and pickle anyone?) and ate it themselves, I’d maybe have a taste. Life’s too short not to try new things.

For a long time, I was very successful at keeping only trace amounts of snack food in the house. These days, I’m less successful. We have chips, chocolates, cookies and popcorn hanging around the house. I try. Oh my god do I try. I get real cravings for sweet stuff, and it’s a challenge not to give in. As an avoidance technique, peanut butter and jam on a rice cake has become my go-to non-kimchi late night snack. I know how bad it’s gotten when I’ve been desperate. Digging into jars of dulce de leche with spoons and shit. Eating fistfuls of chocolate chips. I think I’ve even dug into old, old cereal.

For a while, after purchasing a jar of crappy instant coffee and discovering that my plan of nutella based mochas wouldn’t work, I tried a different tack. I’d just cover a spoon in nutella, then dip it in the instant coffee. That was a punch to the brain. Sugar, caffeine and desperation make one hell of a combo.

Speaking of which, I think it’s time I visited the bathroom. I’ve got a lot swirling around in there.

I just wanna stop, and thank your baby

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada.

As someone who technically immigrated (I was already a citizen, does that count?), Thanksgiving doesn’t have a lot of cultural resonance for me. I’m largely unaware of the historical context of the holiday. I’ve heard that it mostly revolves around Colonial settlers taking land from the natives, which in turn has been whitewashed for a more positive narrative. Seems not worth celebrating, but okay. Aside from the concept of eating- a concept I’m intimately (don’t ask how intimately) familiar with- parts of it still feel foreign to me. Turkey: Turkey isn’t a common meat of choice back in NZ. I’d say that lamb probably occupies its space in the cultural holiday consciousness. A big leg of lamb with gravy and mint sauce. Choice as, bro. Cranberry sauce doesn’t really appear much back home. Neither does pumpkin anything outside soup. I’m not used to sweet pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is still a so-so dessert in my eyes and heart. Pumpkin beer is weird. Pumpkin Spice Lattes have never appealed much to me. Not because I have any fundamental issue with sweet caffeinated drinks. I love quirky sweet things. I’ve just rarely enjoyed anything I’ve gotten from Starbucks.

As an aside [should’ve been an alternate name for this writing project -Ed], I had the first PSL that I’ve ever enjoyed, yesterday. It was from an independent cafe in Simcoe County. I saw their sign for PSLs, and I asked them if it was the usual syrup. “Oh no, we make all our syrups in house. We use pureed pumpkin and a bunch of spices for this one.” I was sold. If I was gonna have a good one, this seemed like my best shot. Turns out it was yum. Very sweet, so I have no earthly idea if the underlying coffee was any good. Still, new experience!

So aside from eating, I’m a Thanksgiving newbie. The past few years, we’ve had an off and on again tradition of Orphan’s Thanksgiving. It’s an excellent excuse (as if we need one) for the aforementioned eating. It’s a better excuse (as if we need one) to have friends around, and a questionable excuse (do I need to repeat myself again?) to drink a lot. We’ve usually had this running game going at our Thanksgivings, that at any point someone can make a toast, and everyone has to join them. The toaster will say “I’m happy for ________”, everyone cheers, raises their glasses and has a drink. It gets silly and abstract, and that’s part of it. This year I’m working. I opted to take a shift so a co-worker could spend the evening with his family and young children. I’m pretty much missing out on big Thanksgiving events. Boo hoo.

That said, I’m not without thanks. This year has been huge for me. Massively transformative, and I think it’s worth holding gratitude for that. This year marked the lowest I’ve yet sunk into depression. My brain was abuzz with thoughts that, while not entirely incorrect, spiralled out of proportion and took over my conscious mind. Ordinary operation function became difficult to maintain, and my mental health dipped into dangerous territory. Seeking help and taking anti-depressants turned things around in such a huge way. I regained a lot of what made me, me. The meds enabled me to take control, instead of losing myself. They helped me get more in touch with what I wanted, and finding ways to head towards those things. I hold enormous amounts of gratitude for my friends and girlfriend who destigmatised their use, and allowed me to not feel shame in accepting help. I’m so thankful to have a doctor who actually listened to my concerns, trusted me, counselled me, while ultimately putting the choice in my hands. I’m thankful for my boss at the time. While the job itself caused me no end of existential stress, she really came through with compassion and lenience, allowing me to take the space and time I needed when I needed it. If I needed to work from home, leave early for a consult, if I felt mentally foggy and couldn’t finish the day, she trusted me to know what I could do, and to speak up when I wasn’t able to work. I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for finally finding something professionally that lights me up. I really do love my job, and even when I’m not doing my favourite kind of programming, I’m still tremendously happy for the floor to be so high. I’m so grateful to be providing a service that actively helps people, that furthers accessibility, especially for children with low vision. I’m thankful for my bosses, who trust me as a professional and provide me with the resources I need. I’m thankful for my co-workers, who are all lovely guys, only too happy to share tips or knowledge. Although it’s wholly new territory for me, I haven’t faced one iota of condescension since beginning this role, and it makes me feel so much better about the job I’m doing.

I’m so thankful, as ever, for the community I’ve found here. I’m surrounded by warm, creative and explorative people. It’s rare that I’m ever truly bored, lonely, or unstimulated, and most of that comes with the support my friends give so freely. It constantly makes me want to give back as much as I can.

Mostly though, I’m thankful to have so much gratitude in my life. I want to hold onto that for as long as I can.