If Paddington got a girlfriend, would she be called Lady Marmalade?

News flash folks, Paddington was fucking delightful.

I’ve been harping on about this for some time, so it probably serves to give a token amount of backstory. I remember seeing the trailer for Paddington years ago. I thought nothing much of it. I’d watched the show as a kid. I remembered it being enjoyable enough, but that was about it. He had a hat? Liked marmalade? I think he wore Wellington boots? I had no idea of his personality or the artifice that made Paddington anything more than generic kid’s tv. So when I watched the trailer I thought I guess they’re desperately fishing for the dollars of those parents who loved it as kids. The concept of “it’s not for me and that’s fine” came to mind. I remembered something about delays in bringing it to the screen, but that was the last of it. I ignored the franchise and went on with my life.

Then came Paddington 2. It arrived not with a whimper, but with a roar. Upon hearing of it I was all set to immediately dismiss it. So I did. Then the critical reception came and it was mind-blowing. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, B+ or A reviews from actual legitimate film sources (remember kids, Rotten Tomatoes is an aggregate rating of whether or not a film is terrible. 100% on RT could mean that everyone rated it 6/10). What was going on? How had this harmless but insubstantial film become the darling of the cinematic reviewer society?

I immediately assumed something was afoot. Lady Bird I understood getting a 100% rating. Paddington 2, a sequel no less? It was some kind of joke. A bizarre hoax. This was some Berenstein Bears sort of shit. I already knew we were in some insane parallel universe after the one two punch of Brexit and Trump. The rise and rise of Paddington 2, however, was the icing on a peanut butter and rubber cake. What in sweet fucks was going on? There was no way it was that great. I didn’t have any desire to watch the film, but I’m also incurably curious. So I told myself I’d see it, but when the time came I couldn’t pull that trigger. It was never right. I was never bored enough or in the right mood.

Then I fractured my wrist and had time.

My girlfriend and I had just watched Annihilation. We needed a palette cleanser after the outstanding film shat itself in the last third. I’d been jokingly trying to get my girlfriend on the Paddington train (no pun intended, honestly) for a while and I think she flat out didn’t care enough to dissent. She resolved that if it was shit she could sleep or play on her phone. Within the first minute, we were both hooked. The setting was fun and vibrant. The world they’d explored with these technologically competent bears was goofy and neat. By the time the action got to London, we were already in love with the little guy. The cast was fantastically well rounded, featuring Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Peter Capaldi. The Brown family members were all intriguing in their own fashion and Kidman was a gloriously ruthless villain.

The plot made sense and it was a riot getting there. With one of the central tenets being Paddington as some walking disaster, they set up a myriad of Rube Goldberg style scenarios for him to create havoc. The movie was heartfelt without being saccharine. It was genuinely enjoyable to watch without so much as a sagging scene. Some gorgeous large scale set pieces to see, aided by helpful (and not gratuitous) CGI.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m legitimately excited to watch Paddington 2.

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Lunar eek-lipse.

Do you ever marvel at how talented your friends are?

Honestly, I’ve got no hope for the contrary. My life is inundated by clever, creative and industrious folk. I say this en route to my friend’s colossal steel standing swing: The Moon Shot. It’s a marvelous contraption that lets you swing 360° around the bar. Last time I went over backwards. Exceptionally physically demanding, it’s also a process to put together. Dude went down to Salt Lake City to fabricate the steel with one of his mates, and it’s essentially a stack of large bits o’ steel. Heavy as fuck. All brought together by a comprehensive understanding of maths and physics.

Last night my girlfriend and I had the treat of seeing a show our friend directed. Avengerdale: The Age of Archie. An insane crossover between, of course, The Avengers and Riverdale. Oddly enough, it’s not the first Archie/Marvel crossover.. Anyone remember Archie vs The Punisher? Oh it happened. The 90s were a hell of a time.

The show was a fucking riot. The plot somehow made sense, the jokes were great and the cast knocked it out of the fucking park. Some enormous voices in there. Oh, did I mention it was a musical? The theatre group were the Queens Players, a troupe assembled from former Queens University alumni. The show, however, had an open audition. My girlfriend and I both auditioned, didn’t get the parts but loved what we’d read so much we couldn’t wait to see it live. Watching the show, there was no contest. The actors were excellently cast and put together a stellar ensemble performance. All put together with earnest affection for the two IPs. It was all there: Jughead’s overwrought monologues, Bruce Banner wielding a dildo, Stan Goddamn Lee. The best part was the spirit of the show. It was rowdy as fuck. A bunch of calls and responses kept the crowd on the friendly heckle plan. The songs were well chosen and the band kicked ass. There are still three more performances. If you’re in Toronto, look it up and get there. Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya.

Oof. I just got back from Moon Shot and it was a wild ride. I accidentally broke a cinder block with a hammer and had a mild accident on the Moon Shot. I mean, at least I got the loop. I went up twice and was nowhere near as exhausted as last time. It’s technique, physics and all that. I also did my first ever double loop. Unfortunately, it was backwards. On the second loop I had maybe five whole seconds stalled at the top. It was unbelievable. After everyone who wanted to try it out had a go, I took a second shot. My friend had shown me my previous swing and where my technique was lacking. I took it to heart, pushed my hips like I was doing an Olympic lift and I swung with all the fuck I had. I looped. THREE TIMES IN A ROW. It was unbelievable and such a rush. After the third I knew it was time to come down. I relaxed, but too quickly and my wrist straps slipped. In my squat, my ankles swung back. It hurt. A lot. I came down and grabbed the ice right away. Lots of bruising, but nothing feels broken or twisted. My wrist especially is a little messy, but she’ll be right as rain in a few days.

It’s one thing to leave the atmosphere, but jeez re-entry is a bitch.

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.

They said to only bring what was necessary. Of course I packed my View-Master

I’ve been having severe dreams for the past few nights.

They’ve all loosely revolved around a central theme. I’ve had to pack and leave in a hurry. Sometimes I’m a child, sometimes I’m an adult. For whatever reason, there’s been cause to escape from the situation. Maybe we’ve been evicted. Perhaps an invasion of some sort, whether extraterrestrial or military. In any case time has been a factor.

In each dream I’ve had to consider how much I could carry without slowing us down. Clothes, toys, sentimental objects. There’s been caution and danger afoot that’s felt overwhelming and ominous. I’ve rushed through broken streets filled with hastily discarded objects. Ruined sculptures, doors flung open and left. The sound of crying. Always crying. It’s been oddly intense and none have ended with fulfilment, only dread.

It’s especially strange, because outside of these dreams I don’t feel particularly tense right now. Things are quiet. My evenings have been busy, rewarding. I’ve spent time with friends and loved ones. I’ve been out to events and played a bunch of Magic. These dreams have all featured loss, but in reality I’m in a time of abundance. It feels incongruous and mildly disconcerting.

Immediately my mind goes to what could be on the horizon. Are these dreams prophetic? Portent of misfortune on the winds? Will I have to make a difficult decision that could cause my peace to be shattered? Will I find out that Paddington 2‘s bountiful critical reception was part of a larger alt-right conspiracy?

Realistically, it’s balance, or Utu as the Maori would say. I’m likely compensating for my perceived lack of anxiety. My brain needs some tension to run on otherwise I’ll feel alright relaxing. If I slow down, my reflexes will uncoil and I’ll be defenceless. Steeling myself with just enough tension is an obvious protective mechanism and the secret to efficiency. If I blindly accept happiness with open arms, life will see fit to stab me in the back.

I’m being dumb, of course. I probably picked up emotional detritus from something I read. Nothing’s wrong, I’m in a good place. I think my brain just gets bored without some kind of drama in the background. I mean, we have a barbecue at home. What could be better than that?

I was sitting in my lounge the other day and had one of those spacey thoughts. I cast a look around the room and realised just how lucky we were. We have so much more than we could ever need. Our kitchen is stocked, we don’t lack for warmth. We have entertainment and space to entertain friends. If anyone needs to crash, we have a spare bed, unopened toothbrushes and towels. We have so much that we can give back to others. What’s more, it’s all come together over time. We both picked these objects up as the years passed. Each item has memories attached, leaving us surrounded by a comforting cave of recollection. We feel so comforted, particularly because of how we chose to make our house a home. It’s an absurdly fortunate place to be and it’s ours. A classic case of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?

And at worst? If we were to lose it all? We’d probably pick up the pieces and start again. Life is impermanence and anything else would be boring at best.

Personally, my Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy would probably involve an unsafe quantity of cheese

I’m bushed, totally. So this entry is gonna be backlit by my first listen of Kanye’s Ye. Expect writing that’s as scattered and unfocused as this album’s no doubt gonna be. Then again, Kanye’s always had the capacity to surprise, maybe I will do.

The album’s starting off with an odd spoken word thing. Mine, on the other hand, began with an odd draft on Magic: Arena. Some BGu pile anchored around Tatyova, 2x Whisper, Torgaar, Josu and Rona. I had Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering and The Mirari Conjecture to keep things interesting, backed by a bunch of ramp. It did not go fantastically, ending at 2-3. Still, there were a stack of fun plays. I got to kick Josu for the win. I beat down with a Thorny Boi and drew a shit ton of cards off Tatyova. Kanye’s opening track eventually unfolded into a song that, in my distracted state, seemed all kinds of listenable. I don’t know how comfortable I am with this Kanye comparison. He did just deliver the line “I love your titties ’cause they prove I can focus on two things at once.” Kanye, like me, could use a better editor. Shit. Am I Kanye?

My girlfriend and I hadn’t had a day to ourselves in some time, so we resolved to take our time and smell the metaphorical flowers. Namely, have Caesars with breakfast. I cooked up a big sweet potato, onion, garlic, egg and cabbage hash. I threw in cinnamon, cayenne, chicken stock, a dash of red wine, sea salt and a fuckton of olive oil. It was such a joy to toss on some music and methodically bring a meal together. It was fucking delicious and, despite our lack of proper ingredients, the Caesars come together. I feel like a good Caesar is 30% vodka, 60% clamato and 10% inspiration. I asked myself, What Would Kanye Do? He’s into sampling. Or I may just be trying to justify pouring in the brine from pickled jalapenos.

After breakfast we headed down to Dufferin Grove Park. An acquaintance was hosting free low-key massage tuition. She practices primarily shiatsu. I’ve learned a thing or two from her before and in the past it’s been fresh, unintuitive stuff. We were barely there for five minutes when my girlfriend lay down on her stomach. I lay back, resting my head on her back. “Oh” our instructor chimed in “the skull is actually fantastic for massaging, as it’s rounded and free from sharp points.” I gave it a try and the results were much appreciated. “So one thing I try to focus on” she started “is that once my client is getting the sensation they’re looking for, I try to see if I can leverage it into self-care.” She suggested testing the position my body was in to see if I could stretch any of my own muscles. If I could simultaneously work them while not detracting from her massage, it was a win/win arrangement. We tried using knees, our own sit bones, forearms and a double thumb pinch. The idea was to use our own body weight rather than forcing it with strength. It was an awesome lesson, with neat takeaways that’ll lead to more varied massages in the future.

Kanye’s now rapping about how much dudes are gonna want to fuck his daughters someday. Is this album taking more than it’s giving?

After all that time in the sun, we were all kinds of exhausted. We meandered back through the beer store (who no longer sells Four Loko. It’s been discontinued. The dream is dead), the LCBO and finally, Bakerbots. We walked home gorging on decadent ice cream sandwiches, came home and collapsed. Maybe tonight’s gonna be about relaxing and watching Paddington.

The album’s finished, as maybe Kanye’s time in the limelight should be. He’s a talented producer. Maybe he should take time and watch Paddington too.

Also Paddington 2, I’ve heard it’s great.

It’s also National Homeownership Month, in case any middle class baby boomers were feeling left out

Pride Month started today. I did a small post on Facebook for friends and I thought I’d expand on it here. You know, for extra credit?

“Hey friends. It’s Pride Month. This isn’t a coming out post as such, because for me specifically it seems redundant. I’m still figuring a bunch of that stuff out (and certain scenarios have indicated that there’s definitely stuff to figure out).

What I’d rather mention is how proud and privileged I am to have such a wealth of supportive community around me. The fact of the matter is, I’m not worried about rushing into labels because I’m unbelievably fortunate for it not to matter. I have all the time in the world to test the waters and see what it is that I’m drawn to across romantic and sexual spectrums.

I know that I have all the time in the world entirely because I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people with a myriad of sexual and gender identities. If I did decide to start identifying in any new way, I know that I’d be greeted by nothing but love. I feel like that’s really something to celebrate. Not everyone has access to the same freedoms and support networks, which is heartbreaking. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I’ll do my damnedest to try and make space for anyone I can to do so.

Happy Pride Month everyone. I sincerely hope that wherever you are, you feel pride in whoever you are, even if you’re still figuring that out.”

I’ve never really been one to care for labels or identity. My sexual identity is no different. Frankly, playing Magic takes up more of my mental and emotional energy than thinking about whatever genders I’m attracted to. It just hasn’t been an important factor in my life. As far as I figure, putting a name to it only seeks to neatly put myself in a box for the sake of others. This isn’t about them, so why should it matter? That’s not to say that identity isn’t an important thing full stop. I’m not knocking it. A lot of people find comfort in how they see themselves. Identity politics can help them gather like-minded individuals and seek out community. I think that’s wonderful. I just don’t think it’s super relevant for me.

Maybe I’ll get there one day. In as far as my sexuality goes, I find myself occasionally attracted to other men. It’s not often though, that this translates into sexual interest or desire. I’ve had a handful of intimate encounters with male identifying people. So far they’ve all been mediocre or bust. Nothing’s particularly grabbed me and encouraged me to seek more out en masse. Then again, I didn’t like oysters for the longest time. I’ve had good oysters once or twice, so who knows? Maybe I’ll meet a good one and they’ll grow on me. Whether it takes further hold or not, I don’t really see the sense in denying myself any burgeoning desires. I know for certain that emotional intimacy with other men holds great importance to me. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of close, supportive friendships with other guys. Tender hugs have become pretty standard. Occasionally we’ll kiss hello or goodbye. It’s stopped holding any kind of weirdness for me. It’s just an expression of compassion.

It’s not like these feelings have come out of nowhere. They’ve been growing slowly over years, discarding outdated societal norms because they no longer make sense in my life. It’s at the point where, irrespective of gender, if I can’t be honest and vulnerable with a friend I start to question the point of that friendship. It’s precisely because of these vulnerable and honest friendships that I feel entirely comfortable taking my time to work it out. I have an overwhelming amount of love in my life. If I did suddenly discover a queer identity that fit me to a T, I know I’d be able to adopt it without fear of persecution or ridicule. I’m pretty fucking lucky. I have a supportive and loving community, a wonderful family that I assume (Mum? Dad? It hasn’t come up, but I kind of figured you wouldn’t care. You’ve always just wanted me to be happy) has my back no matter what. If I came out at work, I doubt anyone would care. Society (and in particular, Toronto) has reached a place where sexual identity isn’t cause for concern. I sweat privilege, and it’s because of the sacrifices and principles of years worth of brave individuals that I don’t have to put a label on anything. It’s evolved to a point where I don’t have to care about it. If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

But I’m certainly proud that we’re getting there.

I guess a perfect Sunday would’ve had even more cheese

Let’s begin. I think I was drunk earlier today and I’m hoping I’ve sobered up enough to put coherent word to digital paper.

I’m not sure how much I’ve spend on food/drink/entertainment this weekend. My guess is close to $200. That might be an extravagant guess, but I’m mildly concerned it isn’t. My belly is very happy. I’ll be even happier once the food has moved its way out of my body. This morning my girlfriend and I went off for brunch with our Toronto family. It was amazing. I don’t wanna use that word lightly, but I feel like it fits here. We brought Prosecco and made mimosas. They were the least decadent thing on the table. There was cheese and crackers. They’d set out both bagels and challah loaf for all of our bread-y needs. There was a wonderful salmon and cheese bake, vegan hashbrown casserole thing, coleslaw with apple and cranberries and a pseudo caprese salad thing. If we’d gone to a restaurant, we’d have been astounded by the meal. This was much better, since we got to share conversation with beloved family we hadn’t seen in maybe six months or so. It’s Toronto, “busy” is everyone’s neutral state.

Next up was the live Doug Loves Movies show. Remember yesterday when I talked about the cool The Leon Demon name tag I made? Well it didn’t get chosen by any of the guests. Poop. I was so psyched too. I spent ages spitballing with my girlfriend over who my “shithead” should be. I joked that Hitler would be a fun choice on a meta level. Like, isn’t he the poster child for shitheads? Isn’t it an answer so obvious that nobody would ever pick it, thus making it kind of funny and unexpected? I wasn’t sure, so I went for Jordan Peterson. I’d say he could go fuck himself, but I don’t want him having any pleasure, self-directed or otherwise.

The show was a fucking sweaty riot. Mark Forward, Kayla Lorette and [some random knowledgeable audience member]. It was a fun mishmash with endless riffing. The audience member was getting a little ranty and Forward was reciprocally antagonistic. It was a fun dynamic. At one point Kayla turned to the audience member and asked “how does it feel becoming the villain in your home city?” The mood was less aggressive than I made it sound. The audience member did a great job on the games, but Kayla came out ahead. Mark mostly cracked wise the whole time. There was a ton of great creativity with audience name tags (and a fair number of candy based bribes) and the two hours went past in a breeze. Everyone also sweat their balls off on a day Toronto turned the heat up to 11. Wait, that’s not particularly high in Celsius. Maybe 30 degrees is more accurate. I had maybe three beers, which weren’t helping with the sweat-age.

After the show, I got a burrito with friends then we headed off to the park to meet up with some others. We spun hula hoop (and at the age of 31, I finally learned how. I was just putting too much force into it), poi and staff. We did some handstands, cartwheels and round offs. We basically just goofed around a bunch in good company.

Honestly, I don’t think I have the imagination to conceive of a more ideal Sunday.