Welp, it’s not like I can do anything about that

Yesterday I had a vague plan about what I wanted to write. Today I don’t. I hope you’re ready.

I’m not.

I just got my bike back, and winter decided to kick in almost overnight. As if I have something to prove, I’ve been biking to work anyway. Today the wind was strong enough to bend a construction sign back. Pedalling into it was like I was being held back by a taught rubber cord. It kept buffeting me to the side. I pedalled harder. I made the bad decision to seemingly get caught behind every single red light, so a slow trip took even longer. Temperatures have dipped below zero, so I look like a fucking dork in my leggings. Practicality over flashiness always. When it gets that cold, wind whips through jeans.

Wait, screw this. I’m bored of that paragraph. I’m gonna move on. I’m the boss, I can do that.

I did DV on a show today hosted by Jack Osbourne. It was fucking stupid. Called Portals of Doom or something. Another in a long line of ghost hunter shows, it was particularly painful to describe. When it comes to doing my job, I understand that having to work on shows that aren’t made for me is part of the equation. I know how my bread is buttered, and that something I won’t seriously complain over. My mild complaint, when it came to this show, was that it was straight up difficult to DV. Not a lot happened. A ton of the show was speculation. They’d be like “did you see that flash of light” or something, but it didn’t always make it to camera. They’d look back at the spot and be all “holy shit that was so spooky”, but their actions weren’t really different to the ones preceding the apparent paranormal activity. Before the action they’d be shining a flashlight at a spot on the wall. Then after the apparent action, they’d shine the torch on the wall again. We’re supposed to be making things engaging, adding imagery for those who have trouble seeing it. But if nothing much is happening, there’s not a lot to describe. I’ve got no interest in shitting on the enthusiasm of anyone watching these shows. Let them have their entertainment. I’m not gonna make sarcastic comments in the DV. Why ruin their experience? But shows like this don’t always have a lot added with DV, and it’s hard to do a good job for the audience. That’s what gets me.

Ugh, I’m run ragged, and it’s my own fault. I just HAD to go out to Late Good (spiritual sequel show to Late Bad, Mark Little and Laura Cilevitz absurdist Late Night show), and it just HAD to start 45 minutes late. Then I just HAD to stay until the end, because I like it THAT much. I dunno, sometimes you just find something that resonates with you. The show has so many moving parts, from the many many late night style jokes from the writer’s row, to the balloon popping prompts. There’s the onstage musical accompaniment, the Truth or Dare drinking game, and the manifold of character sets. It’s a lot, and typically runs overlong. It’s so self indulgent, and I love it to bits. Last night’s show involved the rare treat of hapless folks off the street seeing a late night show on a Friday night. Coupled with Comedy Bar’s 11th birthday, the place was packed. Nearly half the audience walked out over the course of the show. Whether it was a matter of things running too late, or just a not my tempo style attitude, it was funny seeing where peoples’ breaking points were. I already avidly await the return of the show, though hopefully with an audience who’s deeply invested. That JFL42 run was a force to be reckoned with.

Turns out, the writing’s a lot better with a plan.

It’s what you call a proper-sition

Today I want to talk about propriety.

Propriety was important in my upbringing. Not because my parents were particularly strict, but because I was a loudmouth chatterbox with no filter. I remember how much I loved video games as a kid. Enough that I’d rank it above the company of others. Without hesitation, I can say that some friends I hung out with simply because they had video game consoles. When we left a play date, my parents would often tell me to say thank you. Before being nudged in a different direction, my farewell was often something along the lines of “thanks for the video games”. My parents taught me the phrase “thanks for having me” and it turned into a nifty catch all. I’m better now. Mostly, I have propriety to thank. My parents were big on manners, and being well-behaved. As the youngest kid, I was often thrust into adult situations and/or events. I can’t imagine how much saving face my parents would’ve had to do if not for teaching me those manners. And those manners? They’ve taken me far in life. Being polite has opened many doors, and encouraged me to hold many doors open. I still think manners are great, and I try to use them whenever the situation calls for it.

I don’t tend to see manners and propriety as synonymous. They can be closely interlinked. I’m also not entirely sure if people treat propriety as I do.

I get the feeling that propriety, in its essence, is basically meant to be read the room. It’s acting in a manner that’s contextual. The right way to act in a given situation. I have zero issue with the concept of reading the room, and I think it’s a great way to live your life. Propriety on the other hand, tends to translate to stiff and inflexible guidelines. I think of etiquette and propriety in the same general area. They’re nice in concept, but in practice they don’t always make sense. There’s an air of aristocracy that follows propriety around like a foul stench. Being polite is great, treating others with respect is great, adhering to strict social guidelines regardless of the context feels like a fast track to a headache.

These days, I think about propriety a bunch. I don’t always follow it, but I do think about it. I think about what role propriety plays in my life, and whether it’s doing anything for me. I’m generally a kind, polite individual, but I throw propriety out the window. My girlfriend and I are ostensibly adults, but we’re choosing what that means. We have onesies at home that get used almost daily. We put up Christmas lights inside just because they look nice. We hang up pictures our friends have drawn. They cover a wall of our kitchen/lounge. We’ll buy toys or goofy costume pieces if they fit what we want our lives to be. We also pay taxes, have regular jobs, keep the lawns mowed, cook and clean. I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing to justify adulthood, but I don’t think some of our more childish proclivities recuse us from it.

I think about this when I’m out and about. If I’m dressed in weird colours or an odd costume, I check myself. Are my actions hurting anyone? Am I infringing on others’ comfort in a meaningful or unfair way? Does others’ sense of what’s normal impact my ability to navigate the world? At work we had this water filter that would sometimes take upwards of three minutes to fill a bottle. During those times I’d often use the break to stretch. This was a public kitchen. A lot more than once I’d notice someone giving me a weird look, but be resolute in my stretching. Sure, it was unconventional of me to stretch in public, but were my actions really affecting others? ‘Cause loosening tight muscles was doing a ton for me. A quick math equation in my head helped me stay the course.

Many people have a sense of right and wrong, but it’s rare for their moral poles to be universal absolutes. I feel like it’s a worthwhile thought experiment for all of us to think of things we’d prefer to do on the daily, but refrain because we’re afraid of looking a little weird. Chances are, you’d probably be fine, and unclenching those tight social constraints would probably feel all too freeing. Is propriety always good? Are the people who preach propriety always good people?

Proper-bly not.

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.

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.

Best of all, I don’t even need to toss any wrapping paper

Is there any more splendid feeling than giving yourself a gift?

This morning I had cereal for breakfast. On my days off, I’ve been becoming lazy about eating breakfast. My usual porridge seems too much of an ordeal, and I have cereal instead. I have a favourite small spoon. It’s halfway between a tea spoon and dessert spoon. It’s very sturdy, and ideal for porridge, which is often too hot to eat a lot of at once. When I have cereal, however, I like having a dessert spoon. It’s more in line with my ideal cereal per bite (CPB. An unnecessary acronym I’ll probably never use again). Today I reached into the cutlery drawer before emptying the dish rack. I found a dessert spoon with a large bowl, of a solid density. I realised that months ago I bought myself this spoon, then forgot it existed. It’d been buried under our more commonly used spoons. What a gift I gave myself. My cereal was at least 20% more enjoyable than it would’ve been otherwise.

Today I made a gift for my future self. I finished up at the gym, and looked at the scale. It’d been six months or more since I’d last looked. I’ve always had a pretty shitty relationship with the scale. I know that numbers are just that, and lack the nuance of proper health indicators, etc. I’m fit, flexible and fibrous. I don’t have any major ailments or conditions. I have an excellent quality of life, and I’m happy. Still, I’ve been raised on years worth of RPGs, and it’s hard not to look at those numbers like an XP meter. At times when I’ve worked hard, then seen lower numbers on the scale, it’s reinforced a positive relationship between that hard work and results. In times when I’ve felt shitty about my body, those numbers have made me feel substantially worse. A while back, I realised that those numbers had a net negative effect on my life, and resolved to ignore them.

At the same time, I’ve been feeling good about myself lately. Between going on anti-depressants, and the life changing effects of enjoying how my new work structure makes me feel, I’m riding on a high. I know that I’m not at my most toned, but I have a positive self image that’s improving my ability to navigate the world with a more balanced attitude. When I look in the mirror, I like my body. It’s a huge development, and I’m incredibly grateful to be undergoing it. I looked at the scale, and asked myself a question: Given that I’m happy with how I look and feel right now, would those numbers make a difference? I’d still be the same no matter whether or not I stepped on the scale. If the numbers attached to the way I feel were higher than I expected, but I was positive about that body, would those numbers mean anything? Purely out of logic, it didn’t make sense to get emotionally wounded by a few digits. I decided that if I could step on the scale and feel okay regardless, that would be a huge victory, lesson, and gift for my future self. I stepped on the scale.

For reference, my resting weight is around 78kg. If I’ve been working really hard at toning up, I often get to around 74kg. I think 73kg was me at my most toned. I was at 83kg for years, and it was a real effort to get under 80kg. Once I got there and made some healthy life changes, it became easier to maintain it. The scale today said 79kg. I stepped on and felt. Well. Fine. So I was heavier than my resting weight, but what did it matter? Just a number. I felt good about myself, and why would one digit change that? I’m hoping this is something I can carry forward, knowing the absurd weight those numbers have carried for years.

This was a great gift today, just imagine how good it could be in the future.

Or maybe the song’s about tumours. Who knows?

I miss my iPod. Not having a good portable media device is doing weird things to my already weird brain.

I’ve had a cavalcade of odd songs stuck in my head. For going on two weeks, I’ve had will i am’s verse from “My Humps” popping in and out of my subconsciousness. For those fortunate enough to have skipped it, check out my very real nightmare:

“I met a girl down at the disco
She said hey hey hey ya lets go
I can be ya baby, you could be my honey
Let’s spend time not money
And mix your milk with my coco puff
Milky milky coco
Mix your milk with my coco puff
Milky milky
Right”

It’s quite not good. The whole song is, truly. I’m way past the intentionally contrarian music tastes of my early 20s, but that song still sucks a big one. Anyway, I was biking home last night at about 1am, and the rest of the song was playing through my head. I got confused about Fergie’s nomenclature for her bits. While the song is called “My Humps”, in the chorus she repeatedly sings “my hump my hump my hump”. Singular, not plural. But then she also refers to her “lovely lady lumps in the back and in the front”. I’m guessing that means boobs and butt, but then what’s the hump? Singular? Does she have one fused buttock/boob? Or some kind of bony growth on her spine? Like, extreme scoliosis? If that’s the case and the song is all about her owning particular unconventional body growths, I might be slightly more on board. Somehow, I doubt it.

Since it was announced that Swamp Thing was making a prime time comeback, I’ve had the theme from the animated show moving in and out of my brain lobes. Unlike “My Humps”, it’s a goddamn delight. The whole thing is a rad as fuck riff on “Wild Thing” by The Troggs. Listen to this: Greasy 80s guitars, weird cartoony sfx, and a significant cheesy quotient (reminder, I’m into the Oxford comma now). It’s been kind of a blessing. I find myself singing it as I grind coffee in the mornings, or occasionally bursting into laughter in public because it’s still in my head, two months down the line.

“Down to the River to Pray” is another one. From the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. I know it’s weird not to have “Man of Constant Sorrow” tucked in there. It’s still a bop. Weirdly, I’ve been singing it with a closed mouth. I don’t know why. It’s this thing I’ve been doing for goofs lately. Like, I’ll have my mouth mostly closed save for a thin parting of the lips, and I’ll sing. Full articulation within my mouth. Actually pronouncing the words and everything, but muffled. It’s funny, sounds like you’re hearing singing from another room. I told my girlfriend and she was unimpressed. “They already have that. It’s called humming.” She’s wrong, I’m right and it’s funny. Or I’m just a goof, but I’m okay with that. In any case, I’ve been doing it with “Down to the River”.

Anyway, I need a new mp3 player. I sure can’t wait to get paid. But I will. Because I have to. In the meantime, at least I’ve got stuff to listen to in my head.

Like “In the Meantime“.

Has Fortnite’s popularity impacted the dental profession?

I don’t think we as a society reflect enough on the fact that in New Radicals’ 1997 car commercial anthem “You Get What You Give” they threaten to kick someone’s ass in. Not just kick someone’s ass, but kick it in. That’s so specific, violent and incredibly funny. But given the content of the song and its Kantian ethics, maybe that’s what the singer wanted for himself all along.

I’m going to the dentist today. More accurately, I’m getting a cleaning. I just ate tuna, so I’m definitely gonna have to brush and floss before the dentist. It’s not fair to put her through the strife of my tuna stank breath. Her and I are chums. Maybe a little too chummy at times. She’s a little handsy, and not in a way that offends me enough to say anything. One time while we were chatting she had her hand on my leg, which I thought was a little familiar, but no sweat. A few weeks back I totally forgot my dental appointment, and came in 40 minutes late. I felt like a dingus. We rescheduled, and she put her hand up as if to high five. I reciprocated, and she pressed her hands to mine which I figure was fine, but then her fingers curled around mine to intertwine. I followed suit, but it felt kind of odd. So we were just standing there with hands clasped. Strange moment. She does a great job on my teeth though. If I smelled like fish, would it dissuade this kind of behaviour? Who knows?

I have an event I’m going to tonight. I was originally planning to pick up cheap tickets from a friend’s friend, but that fell through. I looked on the event page, but ticket sales had ceased, with only expensive door tickets left. I posted on the event seeing if anyone had spare (cheaper) tickets left that they could no longer use. No dice. I very quickly got an offer from a friend who runs the event, who said she could guestlist me instead. So I’m getting in entirely free. I don’t know why I’m being rewarded for being lazy and slow, but here we are. This is what falling upwards feels like. Maybe it’s just my week or something.

I had this moment earlier where I complimented a team member, but it was weird. I saw her walking towards me and I opened my mouth to comment. Then paused, closed it, and commented that her outfit was really working today. She said thanks and went to her seat. Maybe she didn’t think it was as peculiar as I did. I had to take a sec to work out the beats, then come back to her with an explanation. So I told her that when I saw her walking, the blue of her pants really stood out to me. I have bright blue pants myself, so this made me happy and I wanted to let her know that I was cheerleading her all the way.

Then I realised that she wasn’t wearing particularly bright blue pants, just average blue jeans. It was her top that was doing it. She had this sorta dark mustard polka dot top that created a big sense of contrast. The top made her garden variety blue jeans pop, and I thought this was remarkable. So much so, that it deserved a remark to clarify. She took my compliment on her sense of composition as it was intended, and we both learned a little bit about how my brain processes information.

In any case, I need to leave to get to the dentist. Which means I’ve got some flossing and brushing to do.