It’s not everyday you get to use the word “expunge”

It’s been a very quiet weekend.

It’s times like this that I miss alcohol. To be clear, I can’t drink because of my meds right now. It’s not the outcome of a lifelong struggle with alcoholism or anything. I should technically be able to drink again by the end of the week. Whether I will or not is another matter. Summer is usually a big time for training. Tough Mudder kicks in mid-September. In order to be ready, I usually prep for months in advance. Perhaps a month out I’ll cut liquor and bread. It means my body doesn’t have to work as hard to break down what it’s eating. Without knowing the scientific specifics, I’ve read that the body treats alcohol like a poison. It’ll always work to expunge liquor from your system before processing the rest of your intake. It’s smart like that. So often when I drink, I’ll eat a bunch of complex and greasy food. If my body is already working hard to offload the better part of a 40oz, all the other delicious things I’ve eaten stick around for longer. My body has to work harder and training gets appropriately more difficult.

This year I’ve been voluntarily on leave from the gym for the past month. It sucks, ’cause I was pretty happy with my progress up to that point. It’s an uphill climb every year and I’m feeling downright Sisyphean right now. I’ve been jogging 3 or so times per week, but coming back from sprained ankles I haven’t been able to really push it. It’s almost as frustrating as the realisation that taking my time is the adult thing to do. Of course I want to run headfirst into everything as soon as I can, but if I hit a wall I’m likely to shatter upon impact. Not worth it. I’ve had to pull back from going dancing with friends. It sucks, but not drinking has been a blessing in disguise. It’s stopped me from overcommitting on the dance floor and doing even more damage. “For the best”, but in a way I’m not happy about.

Of course I want to start drinking as soon as I can. It’s an easy social lubricant. It means going out to social gatherings with the mindset of even if I’m not into it, after a few drinks I probably will be. Drinking equates to relaxing and going with the flow a lot more. It’s not like it’s this is my first time not drinking, but it does wonders to stave off diminutive anxieties. Most things seem easier, fears less monolithic. Sobriety at times can be all kinds of undesirable. Intoxication is escapism that helps me engage. Contrarily I’ve pulled away from a lot of parties lately. I’ve spent more time at home alone playing Magic, watching movies and constructing elaborate Rube Goldberg traps to ward off burglars. It’s been quiet. Different. Slower.

Except for that one home invasion. Thank Christ I have unlimited access to industrial strength tar.

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So I sat on every fence imaginable. Is that a crime?

Last weekend the subject of comfort level with group size came up.

I thought it was interesting, given that it’s such a personal relationship with interpersonal dynamics. Rather than being some prescriptivist introvert v extrovert bullshit, people added depth as to why it was they felt so. I posed the question on Facebook today and it resulted in a wonderful thread. Everyone chimed in at length. Individuals found resonance and kinship with those who felt similarly. Some loved a 1:1 ratio because it was low stress/attention. Others enjoyed being able to passively listen and occasionally chime in with a group of 6-10. A few were just big party people. I gleaned insight into certain friends and how best to accommodate their needs/desires. Altogether an excellent experience/resource.

The one thing I didn’t do was comment with my own favourite dynamic. With reason. The thing is, when it comes to this game I’m a shameless cheater. I love all of them with different caveats.

  • Aside from hanging out alone, one of my favourite hidden dynamics is listening to a group of friends riffing on a podcast. It’s a one way medium where I feel like I’m part of a bunch of in-jokes. It’s weird how inclusive it can seem. It’s why I tend to listen to conversational podcasts rather than storytelling or informative ones. It’s like being in good company while on my own.
  • I love one to one hangouts. I love dates, heart to hearts with good friends or non-stop banter with buddies who’re on my wavelength. A good one to one session makes my heart feel full, which is a gift I then pay forward to everyone who crosses my path. Plus it very often involves eating, and anything gets better with food. Prove me wrong.
  • With the caveat that there needs to be a strong emotional or comedic resonance, I adore spending time with a couple. Usually it’ll be a matter of a longtime friend finding a partner who suits them impeccably. In this scenario I can often interplay with each partner. If there are any sticking points I get to mediate (and it’s rare I’m on anyone’s side in particular). Best of all, it allows me to sit there and soak in the affection they have for one another. A++.
  • “Double dates” are tons of fun. They don’t even need to be romantically based, but if there are interlinked relationships of any variety it’s neat to swim in those waters.
  • Groups of 6-10 are awesome for dinner parties or low key hangs. It’s uncommon for conversation to not be readily flowing. I’m naturally attention seeking, which means I get validation whenever I tell a poignant story. It also means that sometimes I can sit back and chime in with an incisive pun or joke, then bask in the reception it gets. These are the kinds of groups where someone will tell a killer joke and you all get to slowly come down from the shared peals of laughter. Alternatively, someone might be incredibly emotionally vulnerable and warmed by the support channelled back to them.
  • Gatherings of 10+ are usually when you’re getting into party terrain. If it’s among close friends, it’s wicked to end the night having had 6+ decent conversations with people I haven’t seen in ages. This is all kinds of gratifying. The types of evenings where I get to come home glowing, thinking about the wonderful people in my life.
  • Once you get over 20, I’d consider that a bonafide free for all party. To be honest, this is also one of my favourite dynamics. ESPECIALLY when I get to meet new people. Interacting with strangers is a big upper for me. I get to tell road-tested anecdotes, create new connections and be generally spontaneous. I flit in and out like some MPDG, or just hang out in the kitchen. I’m a total ham and setting a circle alight with laughter is genuinely my favourite sensation bar none. A bunch of my favourite friends were people I met at parties and decided to escalate into one on one hangouts. This one (like all of them, to be honest) is totally my jam.

Was that a cop out? Maybe I just like people, okay? Get off my back, Jack.

Or hang out with me one on one so we can eat pork bone soup and humanise each other.

I’m a husk of my garden variety self

“Mambo No.5” describes my T-shirt drawer at age 8.

I ate too much candy corn from a cone this afternoon, so I’m feeling more than mildly ill. No regrets. I had a craving for something sweet and there it was, a transparent cone of multicoloured candy corn. Had I known it was probably laced with SARS… well I would’ve likely still eaten it anyway. My gluttony is a stronger force driving me than my sense of self-preservation. My way to a heart attack will certainly be through my stomach. It’s fine, I’ll go out doing what I loved. I mean, hopefully this isn’t what kills me. If I’m eating myself to death, I at least want the final blow to come via barbecued ribs. I’m adamant about that. Get it, Adam-ant? I’m sure you can’t Eve-n right now.

Remember back in the 90s when they used to make Loonie Tunes basketball shirts with aggressive statements? Stuff like Taz wearing a backwards baseball cap with the words “Bad Attitude”. Or Daffy skateboarding saying “You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry”? I thought of the audacity of those fucking things today and couldn’t stop laughing. I was cracking up at my desk, cradling my face in my hands. My coworkers were a little disturbed. It was unsettling to say the least. Has anyone on the net updated those for a modern framework? Like, Lola Bunny in Crocs and a denim vest saying “This Bitch Bites”? The face that launched a thousand furries giving voice to disenfranchised mall goths everywhere? Hot Topic could launch it as its new Summer line.

I dunno, I’m feeling very creatively bankrupt at the moment. I even feel like a pun run would be a tall order right now. Oh, speaking of running, I went for a jog today and got to half hang out with the cutest fucking puppy. It was teensy as shit, trotting around in a basket mounted on the rear of its owner’s bike. The cyclist went slightly faster than I did, but for maybe two kilometres it’d pull ahead, then I’d catch up when they stopped at a light. It was basically sentient fluff with eyes and what I presume was a diminutive bark. I was listening to music and it wasn’t loud enough to be heard above it. I was tempted to pat it, but given that the owner was facing the opposite direction, that seemed a little creepy and impolite. So I started it down, patting it with my gaze. I’m not sure that was any less creepy. I mean, it barked, so I’m not certain it was on board.

I’m sorry, but this is all I have today. It’s raining heavily in the middle of a heatwave. It’s humid enough that we might as well be 20,000 leagues under the sea. My mind decided to stop working. Believe me, it’s been over half an hour. I’ve just forgotten how to think.

Or the slow acting poison from the candy corn has finally reached my brain.

Would the BBQ make it my om nom nomenclature?

Did you know that today was National Leon Day?

It’s news to me, but any personal ego stoking is assuredly welcome. I’m willing to forgo the fact that this came from an American website and as such, leaves me S.O.L in both NZ/Canada. I also understand that this has nothing to do with me, but nonetheless like any millennial I’m gonna make it entirely about me. The conceit as far as I can tell is that Leon is Noel backwards, so that’s as little an excuse as any good American Christian needs to celebrate Christmas twice per annually. Way to ruin Pierce Brosnan’s lukewarm lewd Christmas joke from The World is Not Enough (also check this baleful image).

To be honest, I’ve got zero real beef with double Xmas action. Back home we used to celebrate Midwinter Christmas from time to time. In the Southern Hemisphere it was a way of taking part in what was considered the traditional silly season. Having a Midsummer Christmas here in Canada would be a pretty chill taste of home. Beers and BBQ, just like Momma used to make. We could make ornaments out of FIMO, listen to novelty Christmas tunes and, I dunno, eat a three course dinner in reverse order. Let’s be real, it’d probably still involve Manischewitz somehow.

My girlfriend and I happen to have leftover FIMO in the fridge from the time we essentially made voodoo dolls of one another. It was goofy and maybe more creepy than romantic. So basically our entire relationship. Guess who’s celebrating Leon Day tonight?

So far I’ve celebrated this fantabulous day by paying $1.50 for an apple from Loblaws. Apparently that’s how much apples cost these days? Can you imagine grabbing groceries for the family, balking at the end tally then getting home to discover you paid almost $8 for five apples? At the end of the day I paid the cost. For reasons. I didn’t have an apple and I wanted one. It seemed exorbitant, but then I thought about all the times I paid like $2 for a candy bar. I wanted an apple more than I wanted a candy bar in that moment.

It was a pretty high risk situation too. We all know what certain candy bars taste like. There’s little enough deviation in a standard Kit Kat. If we get a Kit Kat Chunky, it’s because we know what we’re in for. Aside from some countries using that evil/delicious palm oil in their chocolate, they’re mostly the same. Apples, on the other hand, vary greatly. Some are sweet, tart, or a combination of the two. They have different densities, crispness and mottling/colouring. Depending on the country of origin, certain breeds also vary. I’m very particular about the types of apples I enjoy. Paying $1.50 for a single piece of fruit that could totally shit the bed. That’s a gamble for the ages. Adam and Eve, take note.

In any case, we’ve resolved to crank up the BBQ tonight and try celebrating this noble holiday. I feel like it should be up my alley.

Swing at The King? Swinging was what got me into this mess

My life right now is structured around healing, but it struck me yesterday how much of my everyday is focused on maintenance.

It brought me back to one of those thought experiment questions that was going around. “If you could continue to have either the mind or body of a 30 year old as you aged, what would you choose and why?” I immediately jumped on the mind train. Having that kind of mental alacrity on hand, without the hurdles of gradual degeneration would be amazing. The quickness of wit, the curiosity and openness. Sign me up. My friend on the other hand saw it differently. She said you’d feel like your body was a prison. If your body stayed in good health, you wouldn’t notice the effects of ageing as much. It’d ease the passing years and allow you to continue to explore the world. Plus you’d have a bangin’ bod. Case closed. Come to think of it, If LeBron pays $1.5 million a year to have the body of a 20 year old, maybe she’s onto something.

Maintenance. It’s what keeps me going back to the gym and running. Strength and a healthy heart make the rest of life more bearable. It’s why I (begrudgingly) sleep each night, because my body (once again, begrudgingly) needs it. It’s why I watch what I eat and try to ensure I have enough protein/fibre in my diet. Need the protein to build muscle and the fibre to make sure the excess stocky protein doesn’t get lodged in my digestive tract. Food is how I keep my body running and if I’m ever super drained my first question is food or water?

I also take other substances to help me tackle the world. To keep my body running as smoothly as possible. I’m not sure if all of it totally works as advertised, but I’m certainly not gonna regret it if it does. Plus placebos have a 30% success rate or something, right? It’s all come from a variety of sources. Nutritionists, doctors, friends, probably my mum. So here’s the list of what I take every day (plus of course the stuff I’m taking for my wrist).

  • First up, allergy meds. I have a nasal spray called Mometasome. It’s a corticosteroid that cuts down on inflammation in my nose. I’ve had environmental allergies my whole life. This one lets me breathe through my nose, a luxury I didn’t know for my first 26 or so years on this planet.
  • Next allergy med is Cetrizine. It’s an antihistamine by any other name, but a little bit higher dosage. No runny nose, itchy eyes or any somesuch for me. It’s certainly made the outdoors a lot more habitable.
  • Post shower I’ll have a drop or two of Vitamin D. For my boooooones. I don’t get a ton of sun, despite the aforementioned antihistamine, so taking a few drops helps. Supposed to be good for the heart too.
  • Omega 3 capsules. Two per diem. I’m still not 100% on what Omega 3 are meant to do. I know they’re apparently great for heart function and the body doesn’t produce them on their own. I’ve heard they support healthy brain activity, which is something I too support.
  • At the moment for my wrist I’m taking two Naproxen/Esomeprazole a day. The doctor said it’s great for inflammation and the combination makes it far easier on your stomach than ibuprofen.
  • At the advice of my EMT friend, I’m also dabbling in homeopathy (something I usually try to shy away from). At this point I’ll do anything that could help me heal faster. I’m taking Arnica (to reduce swelling) and Symphytum (bone healing? Seems dubious but if there’s a chance it works, I’m on board). For each of them she suggested 30CH strength, five or six tablets each day, 1-2 at a time for the first week. After that, maybe one per day. Fingers crossed.
  • Lastly, before bed, I’ll take two Calcium & Magnesium Citrate capsules. (I’ve heard that) Calcium is great for bones and helps muscle function. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium. Seems like a no-brainer, if it’ll keep things running at their peak.

Who knows how all this junk is interacting? For all I know, vitamin in-fighting is turning my innards to mush. Or maybe it’ll give me super powers. If it’ll even just help me age gracefully, I’ll take that too.

Watch the throne LeBron, I’m comin’ for ya.

Life’s a lich and then you die. Better pack a phylactery

Apparently I could have a fractured wrist.

It’s convoluted, but I went to a walk in on Sunday. Got an x-ray yesterday. Today the results were faxed to my GP. My GP is on holiday, so another doctor called back with my results. Supposedly it’s fractured and I’ve made an appointment tonight to have it checked out. Pray for Mojo.

With my feeble limbs-a-flappin’, I’ve had idle time for idle thoughts. While trying to sculpt a dumb lich pun yesterday (as you do), I wondered about being a lich. Would that be an enjoyable (un)lifestyle? It could be all sorts of snazzy to have mind control, immortality (tied to my handy phylactery of course) and the ability to summon skeleton friends. Thing in, liches are undead. I don’t think they need to eat, sleep or have sex. I’m not sure where the boundaries lie, but do they have internal organs? Muscles and tendons? A heart? You can have all the power in the world, but from the perspective of a human, what good is power without the pleasure it can provide? I’m not a rich person, but I imagine people do it so they can enjoy the finer things in life. To some people I guess this would be respect and admiration, or the ability to abuse your station in order to manifest your desires. I don’t know that this particularly appeals to me. I’d love to have access to all the best things, but not enough that I’d give up my connections or desire to struggle. Without conflict, these things have precious little meaning. I’d want to feel creatively actualised, following pursuits or passions. More than that, I’d want love around me. Do liches love? What warms the cockles of the icy space where their heart once was?

This is a thought experiment, so we can go further. What attributes would I love to have? The ability of flight? To be able to swim the depths of the ocean? Endless stamina? Telekinesis? Cool light-up body parts? A chitinous exoskeleton? An incurably curious mind? Mental alacrity? Super speed? What would I give up of my humanity for them? What would I not want? When I start putting words to what I have to lose, I’m coming up short. Like the original thesis, it’s all the stuff I feared losing to lichdom. My brittle bones? Tactile sensation? Taste buds? Soft skin? Tenderness? My capacity for heartbreak? Memories? Emotional resonance? It reads like a list of what it is to feel. To be human.

Could I give up humanity?

Maybe I lack conviction. Perhaps it’s having been encultured with a human perspective. It’s possible that I don’t possess the ambition to think on a large enough scale. I’m not sure I could give it up. I love my humanity. The knowledge that I’m fallible is what keeps me trying. None of this is worth anything if you don’t have to sweat, bleed or cry for it.

I suppose that’s worth an injured limb or three.

Well after all that cake I certainly wasn’t gonna be Slim

Honestly, today’s been a good day.

I figure that’s not how most of these start, so I’m happy for the exception. It’s noteable. I woke up a couple of minutes before my alarm, which put my mood right. I got to work five minutes early without rushing. Everything just flowed. A friend updated his photos from Hyperborea there were tons of excellent shots from “the magic hour” (around dusk o’clock) that had perfect lighting. They brought back what a special experience it all was. Maybe the real memories were the friends we made along the way. It may sound like I’m getting needlessly gushy and trite, but you weren’t there maaaaaan.

Today was also the day I remembered that the BBC Essential Mix existed. From BBC Radio 1, the Essential Mix is a series of long form mixes from high profile DJs around the world. Big names like Chemical Brothers, Diplo, Justice, etc. All hosted by none other than Pete Tong. They’re very high quality and superb for putting a rocket behind your motivation to Get Shit Done. If you’ve got an issue with your output, I can’t recommend them enough for workplace listening. I found a Fatboy Slim Bestival set from 2016 and set to work. Holeeee shit. I was bopping in my seat all day long, plugging away at each task at hand. I felt the urge to get up out of my seat and go rave, but instead channelled that energy into furious productiveness. Very quickly I found myself having finished most of the day’s work.

I’d done so much so soon that I decided to head off to the gym for my lunch break. The mix was so “fire” I downloaded it and worked out to it. Turns out Fatboy Slim is still absurdly at the top of his game after all these years. It was also stellar for lifting incentive. I sweat and danced and, I dunno, pumped? What do gym people say? I did those things, got my endorphin rush and headed back to the office.

Occasionally (often) at work, certain departments get food delivered for client meetings. Uneaten leftovers go to the kitchen where they’re fair game. I have no idea who met with which clients, but there was a goddamn feast up for grabs in my post workout state. Sandwiches galore! Salads and Chinese dishes. Pad Thai, garlic bread, rice and pasta. Also some mammoth dessert made in the visage of chicken and waffles. The “waffles” were a big dense cake soaked in maple syrup. The lattice part was firm fondant style icing. Atop this fat stack was a rice crispy treat coated in corn flakes. It even had a little pretzel “bone” in the middle. Creative, but also rich and delicious. You best believe I sampled most everything at the table.

The afternoon was quiet. I plugged away at my remaining work, basking in the replete warmth of my overstuffed stomach. Problems emerged and I quashed them without a second thought. Everything was easy and nothing hurt.. Except my decrepit, withering body, but that’s only to be expected. But BEST OF ALL I found out my loud carrot stick chewing co-worker is leaving. I’ve griped about him before, but he’s an incredibly loud open mouth chewer which drives my misophonia up the fucking wall. It sounds silly, but hearing him eat a gratuitous amount of crunchy stuff is a serious point of stress in my life. In a few weeks, no longer! Today really was a good day.

Didn’t even need to shoot an AK.