More like Suds Patrick’s Day

I remember when I used to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Back in university it was a Big Fucking Deal. The city came alive in a way I’d rarely seen. Queen Street, the Auckland CBD’s iconic centrepiece, was thrumming with bustle. Less on the hustle side, and more blatant revelry. Businesses seemed to knock off early, and pen pushers flooded the footpaths. It was a mass of humanity walking from bar to bar. Cheesy green beer flowed freely, and everyone was Irish for the day. A bunch of us had early classes, so by midday we were free to run wild. Weirdly, for a day filled with so much liquor, it’s all still pretty vivid. I had a characteristically oversized bag, and it became a conversational lodestone. Of course we were all looking to meet women, and we’d take anything we could get. One of our friends happened to be pretty fucking “studly”, and a ton of women talked to us almost exclusively because of it. We hardly complained. Frankly, it was just nice to meet people who were in a good mood.

I remember this bar that’d paid a little person to dress as a leprechaun and descend from the roof. It was a spectacle, to be sure, but we all felt a little uneasy about it. We talked to the dude to see what he thought. He was over the moon. Got paid around $300 to do it once or twice over the course of the day. Otherwise he was free to mill about and hang with others. He was a pretty sociable bloke, so we bought him a couple of beers and spent time learning more about him. He was a student just like us, was going to veterinary school. Sarcastic guy, a real charmer. He also gave me shit about my gratuitously sized bag. We left the bar buzzing, and joined the throngs of wandering souls looking for adventure down Queen St. We eventually made our way down to the Viaduct looking for hookups, but ended up chatting with a bunch of businessmen who bought us pints of Kilkenny and told us stories of their glory days. It was better than it sounded. St Patrick’s Day became one of my favourite holidays. Why not? To us it was just an excuse to drink. A lot.

This was over ten years ago. Still teenagers. The day has become less and less noticeable/desirable each year. There’s something about it that just seems hollow. I don’t have Irish culture. I don’t really even know Irish people. Why would I mindlessly jump into a day headfirst that has no real resonance for me? I know it’s not a big deal, but I do feel like a killjoy. I feel that with subsequent years, I lose something of myself. Whether naivety or a willingness to go with the flow. It used to be so easy to let loose, my hackles weren’t up about everything. I was still learning about the world, and it seemed rife with opportunity.

I don’t know that it’s all changed as substantively as it seems. Much as we’re on a 24 hour doom and gloom news cycle, the world probably has as much suffering as it ever did. As much joy and meaning as it did too. I don’t know when I stopped believing that the future was something to look forward to, that utopia was within the grasp of our lifetime. I did though. I thought that as the world grew, we’d grow together. United by purpose, to elevate humanity because we all saw a brighter tomorrow. I was raised as an idealist. To look for the good, the potential in everything. I still want to believe, to look past what we are, and think of what we could be. Because we could, and deep down I know it. We have more than we ever did, and we’re doing a lot less with it. But we don’t have to.

I’d raise a glass to that.

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Better starts somewhere

It’s 2019, and it still feels like the world doesn’t really know much about New Zealand. We’re seen as a three-way cross between Lord of the Rings, Flight of the Conchords and Lorde. So basically, Lorde of the Conchords.

What the international community doesn’t know, is that secretly, deep down every New Zealand male thinks he’s MacGyver. I’ll explain.

There’s a phrase in Aotearoa, “No. 8 Fencing Wire Mentality” (or as its otherwise known, “Good Ol’ Kiwi Ingenuity”). It Is Known that there’s nothing a Kiwi bloke can’t accomplish with a spool of versatile No. 8 fencing wire, and a little bit of outside the box thinking. The adage has informed an adventurous spirit as part of our national consciousness that pushes New Zealanders to enthusiastically try new things, push boundaries and create solutions we didn’t know existed. It’s truly a wonderful part of our culture.

Put together a big rubber band and a ravine et voila (that’s French for “Good on ya mate”): You’ve just discovered bungee jumping. Or combine some nitrogen and alpha particles you had hanging around to split the atom, as Ernest Rutherford did. It may have taken a while for advanced technology to make it down to Enzed, but we’ve always been lifehackers through and through.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for the tragedy we suffered yesterday. MacGyver was great, but even if he were armed with No. 8, he couldn’t fix this. The Christchurch mosque shootings were a devastating attack that have irrevocably rocked the country’s foundations. We’re all wounded, angry and confused. In the wake of the shootings, amongst the sincere goodwill and love for our fallen brethren, has been resounding shock. There are a couple of refrains I’ve heard. “How did this happen?” “This is not who we are.” I’ve heard the prominent shooter referred to as an Australian first, almost underlined as if to say, this was not our fault. We didn’t do this. To distance ourselves from it. Because that makes things easier.

There is nothing easy about this. Much as we want to distance ourselves from this horrific loss of life, we’re all at some level culpable. Because while we may not have done this, we have not done enough. But we need to. I know we’re all hurt, and it doesn’t seem like the time to have a hard conversation, but we have no choice. We need to do more.

We need to talk.

It feels like the resounding logline of our fair country has always been “we’re not as bad as other places”. Sure, with settlers came conflict, disease and war, but we moved on. We signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 to move forward as one nation together. Whenever accusations of racism have come our way, we’ve pointed elsewhere to redirect the sentiment. Look at the United States, at Australia. Now THEY need to sort themselves out. We have to look back at ourselves, and the nation we need to be.

People have been saying “this is not who we are” ad infinitum. It’s the most understandable thing in the world, but it’s also a lie. Every time, I hear this is not who we want to be. By recusing ourselves, we’re continuing to live in the illusion that this is not our problem. It is. Now is the time to listen to the voices that these terrorists tried to silence. Instead of being defensive, we need to open our ears and hearts to those who have had so much taken by this harrowing assault. Following the actions of March 15th, their words will be amplified. When minority voices detail their experiences, we have no choice but to listen. Because we’ve ignored them for far too long.

Did you know that incidents of hate crime are not recorded by the police? We’re all too quick as a nation to decry the actions of Neo Nazis, to preach our nation’s history of racial harmony. Yet when a co-worker makes a sly racist comment, we’re all too quick to ignore it or look past it. Yeah, but he’s not actually racist goes the sentiment. Dave says some dumb stuff sometimes, but his heart is in the right place. Maybe it’s not. I’m not saying it can’t be, but clearly there’s something behind the comments. We need to listen. We need to talk with Dave and Bruce to figure out where these views come from, and we need to help them understand that what they’re voicing is not okay. That we’re all human beings deserving of love and respect, irrespective of our culture. That racial superiority is a myth perpetuated by narrow minded bigots. That thinking less of another does not raise you above them. It just makes you small. Because this is all part of who we are. This Ethnocentric rhetoric didn’t sprout from nowhere. It’s been feeding for generations, since the first European settlers arrived in our country. Thinking it doesn’t exist because it’s not prevalent is naive, and we’re too clever for that.

Gun laws will change. Online white supremacist dialogue needs to be closely monitored and acted upon. Otherwise why the hell did we hand over our privacy to the Five Eyes Network? We need to call out systemic inequality, and the organisations who benefit from it. We need to call in those who show signs of alarm, and help them towards a more inclusive path. We need to lead by example. Rather than pointing out how we’re not as bad as other countries, we need to become how we see ourselves.

This should not be who we are, but for many of us, it is. Many of us don’t understand how the smallest spark of intolerance can catch alight, stoking the flames of hatred. We need to come together as a nation and stomp it out. From the ashes of a terrible disaster, we need to rise anew. We need to have difficult conversations, and work to make our country the great land we believe it can be.

It won’t be easy or quick. No. 8 wire can’t fix this, but we can. We have to.

It still weirds me out that George Miller directed Pig in the City

Let’s clear something up, because I know y’all were asking. Liver curry was great.

I hadn’t quite realised how much a teaspoon of cayenne powder was. In a very literal sense, I think I know what a teaspoon looks like. At the same time, knowing what a mound of ground spice amounts to is desperately different. It had a kick, I’ll say. Which was probably compounded by my decision to use pickled jalapeno brine as a stand in for a) lemon juice and b) peppers. Thankfully, I love the delicate dance of hot tip toes down my tongue. I’m also into bold, brash flavours and intruguing textures. Liver curry came through.

It wasn’t a tough recipe. Parboiling the livers, sauteeing onions with a bunch of ground spices, then adding a little water to make a paste, chopping the livers and tossing them in. Cook on low for a couple of minutes to spread the tastes throughout. It was basically a big ol’ stack of soft meat, bursting with flavour. Best of all, I have leftovers. Even better, my girlfriend won’t want to touch them, so I’ve very distinctly got leftovers all to myself. Even even better, I’ve got another whole packet of livers, so I can make the recipe again while she’s gone. Win win win.

I was thinking of the word “babe” today, and how unnatural it feels in my voice. I don’t blame that on an actual aural affliction, more the summation of my character. I’d like to be someone who says “babe”, but I’ve never been that person. There’s something nonchalant, cavalier about it that doesn’t quite gel with my frenetic, zero chill persona. “Babe” to me evokes Santa Monica vibes. “Babe” is Bill & Ted, it’s Malibu standing court about his American Gladiator injury. It’s someone who doesn’t care what others think, and I care all too deeply with every fiber of my being. I think if I used the term without irony, I’d be constantly looking over my shoulder. I’d be a phony, buying into a mentality I couldn’t truly sell. I’d be desperate that someone would think about it later and be all did he really think he pulled that off? No idea why. Words are weird.

Then again, for the longest time I didn’t think I was the “dude” type either. I think I absorbed it via osmosis from a mate who exclusively used it to call out shitty behaviour. It’s funny, because I distinctly remember an older neighbour using the term and having that thought man, I wish I was the kind of “dude” who could casually say “dude” without so much as a pause. Turns out that ten years down the line, I am. Maybe all it takes is time. Despite how I happen to feel about infantalising language (I mean, if you call your partner “babe”, are you comparing the person you fuck to a literal infant? That’s messy and I’m not a fan), could I find peace enough with myself to relax my sphincter and not get so uptight about a word?

Not for a few years, at least.

I’m the Good Charlotte of motivation

I know it seems like I’ve lost my way lately, but after a lot of coffee in a not long period, I’ve decided what to do with my life. I’m gonna become an Instagram motivational guru.

I’m sure at the offset this sounds like a curious vocation for someone in the depths of depression, but I’ve got this. If David Avocado Wolfe can peddle nonsense pseudoscience to scores of desperate white hippies, then I can 100% take advantage of the same demographic. It’s clearly the right thing to do, and I’ve run out of other options. So let’s go, time to motivate the fuck out of some Equinox gym members!

Why do people care so much about gold, when nothing shines brighter than a mother’s love?

You know what money can’t buy? A ray of sunshine. Be the brightness in your life.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it uses fewer muscles. Happiness is literally the path of least resistance.

Sure, antioxidants are great, but why be so negative? Try being pro-oxidant for a change.

Regret creates negative ions that dry out your skin. Being happy produces quarks that send your body into a constant state of flux, eliminating impurities.Why argue with science?

If you really want to start your day off right, try a bowl of pine cones. They’re nature’s granola, but without all that sugar.

Music is the fruit of love, so never go without it. Silence leads to the void, and that’s how sadness gets in.

People spend so much time worried about what happened in the past, that they forget tomorrow is a new day. Identity theft is only a crime if you get caught. Just be someone else.

Take five minutes a day just to stretch and feel in your body. Buy a rack. Hire a personal torturer. Elongate your limbs and soul.

If you have trouble sleeping at nights. Try staying awake for five days at a time. It’ll kickstart your metabolism and refresh your entire system. The night terrors can’t catch you if you never rest.

Your body is the greatest vaccine of all. To set yourself up to fully realise your dreams, take a shot of a deadly disease every morning. Become a professional bug chaser. Trust your body. It will take care of the rest.

Real beauty comes from within. Your organs are where your true light shines. Try inversion surgery today, and find your inner splendour.

Now all I need is to pay some Instagram models to repost me and I’m set. Why was I ever worried about my future, when it’s literally this easy?

Predictive typing doesn’t totally prevent mistakes

Do you know your type? Do you know what type you are?

I posted basically this question on Facebook today, curious to see how my friends saw themselves. One friend chimed in immediately with “Most people are a whole bunch of different types. Depends on who’s looking and what they are prioritizing.”

So thread over, right? He nailed it. Except the thread wasn’t over. Friends chimed in with how they saw themselves. Some I agreed with, some I questioned. Ultimately, because I’m never not navel gazing, it kept me searching for real kinship. To see if I resonated with whatever people could come up with. Really, to try and figure out what type I am.

I’ve never really known. I’ve been referred to as “adorkable” and a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, so to others my type is basically Jewy Deschanel. I get why people think this, but like most types, it belies the multitudinous nature of my personality. We’re all a lot more complicated than a simple elevator pitch. I’ve definitely got aspects of the aforementioned Deschanelity. I am goddamn adorable at times. I’m a goof and I generally reflect positivity back at people who engage with me on a personal level. I’m also a total curmudgeon, picky and pedantic, frustratingly meta and esoteric. I’m an extroverted loner. I thrive in my own weirdness and am uncompromisingly myself. I also have a preternatural fear of being boxed in with labels.

Honestly though, the previous two paragraphs were really just table setting to come back to my friend’s comment, because it’s the goddamn truth. As much as so many of us see ourselves within archetypes, those shift with the winds. I know that any notion of slapping a label on my dating behaviour is pointless, because it depends who I’m dating. It’s not that I stop being uncompromisingly myself, because I really don’t. I’ve never seen any reason to pretend I’m someone else. I have my own eccentricities and if anyone doesn’t like them, they won’t stick around. Why delay pulling off that band aid? Better that they get that sense from the first date and high tail it if it’s not for them.

At the same time, I will showcase different aspects of myself that are more cohesive with whoever’s sitting across the table. I ask questions and find out more about them. I mentally try to cross reference how we match and go from there. I don’t try to disguise anything about myself, but it’s not like I’m gonna rabbit on about how deeply I love Magic the Gathering if that means nothing to them. If they ask, sure, I’ll dive right into my passion for it, but why bring it up if it’s a conversational dead end. For some people I’m a gentle listener. To others I’m constant riffing and ranting. To others I’m a determined pessimist. To others I’m a broken ray of sunshine. To others I’m a ceaseless greenlight. To others I’m an ardent weirdo. To others I’m rapidly familiar. And I am all of these things, for sure. I’m also a lot more than this.

As for my type, do I know them? I’m pretty sure I do, and it turns out we rarely have sexual chemistry. Go figure.

Home, a loner

I’m phoning it in again today.

Don’t worry, I didn’t give myself a stern lecture yesterday only to turn around and ignore all of it. I’m lazy, but I’m not a dummy. I’m planning on working when I get home, but I want to save my focus for it. This is more of a post work, post gym, pre dinner deal. I was just too busy at work today working to find writing time. So you get the joy of a weird intermediary stop gap. Let’s just hope that post workout endorphins will make this slightly less of a snooze fest.

After spending the entire weekend alone, confined to home, I finally shared space with another human being last night. I’m not being cryptic. A friend came over, I made dinner and we watched a bunch of TV. A week or two back I wrote about living alone, how much I treasured having my own space in which I had total dominion. Just me, myself and I hanging out, doing what we all wanted. No bending to the whims of others, heavy books or teachers’ dirty looks. I also mentioned that I had no doubts (in defiance of the URL) that I’d come to miss my girlfriend and the space we carved out together. I was right. About both, really. I’m still very happy on my own. ALSO after a self-imposed exile, eschewing social contact for social networks, I realised I was pretty fucking lonely. Having my friend over mitigated it well. Chatting idly with someone, sharing a simple meal with someone. Watching TV while being in each other’s presence. I didn’t quite realise how much I’d missed that effortless socialising. And I don’t mean to frame these people as interchangeable, ’cause they’re anything but. I was also very happy to hang out with my friend because she’s awesome, we don’t get to see each other nearly enough, and I missed her.

You know what I miss about my girlfriend? She’s a fucking weirdo. This isn’t some glib euphemism like Instagram basics use for their bland boyfriends. She’s a strange cupcake. But I am too, and that’s why we work so well. It means she’s down to try new stuff, and she does it with glee. We avidly pick each other’s ingrown hairs and check each other’s arseholes if we’re concerned about them for some reason. She doesn’t have one foot out the door the moment I start talking in an odd cartoony accent for no reason, or come into the kitchen naked, dancing to the Chili’s Baby Back Ribs jingle. She goes along with it, or adds her own flair. We don’t have to spend time together just because we’re both home, but it’s always on the table, which is a comfort I think I’ve grown to take for granted. I honestly like spending time with her, and that counts for a lot. This “ball and chain” mentality has always seemed like pathetic rhetoric, and she backs up what idiocy it is. I can’t imagine someone putting up with my bullshit for long, but we’ve gotten pretty great at reciprocating and supporting one another’s dumb hang ups and excessive frivolities. I think we’d both be so fucking bored if we were stuck in some milquetoast smooth sailing nightmare.

Also intimacy. I miss intimacy something fierce. After all these years, we still know how to touch each other. To be considerate of what kind of touch and intimacy we’re seeking. Understanding give and take, and to not take it personal if it’s not actually desired right then. I wasn’t even meaning in a sexual way. Cuddles and closeness count for a lot, and it’s probably what I miss the most. Her smell and warmth, all softness and fantastic curves. But like, in a sexual way too. Anyone implying that’s not super important in a relationship can go fuck themselves. Nigh on five years together, I don’t know that either of us have wavered in the slightest. It’s reaffirming, and also brings home that this is all temporary. She’ll probably be back before I know it, and I’ll forget she ever wasn’t here.

Welp, guess it turned into a snooze fest for anyone but us. Sorry not sorry.

Or rather, well cum?

When you’re in a long term relationship, you get used to a lot of things.

I’m in the bizarre situation (well, bizarre and new for me) where, for the first time in my life, I’ve been in a relationship for so long that all of my condoms expired. All of them. I don’t say “all” with limited candor either. I had a healthy amount of condoms. I didn’t get an exact count, but it would’ve been at least 60 or so. Thing was, they were expired, so I had a healthy amount of unhealthy condoms. I’m talking in past tense, because I threw them all out. Maybe this was a waste. Maybe I could’ve rented a tank of helium, invited a bunch of friends over and had a fun, safe, inflatable rave.

Well I fucked that one up.

I had a conundrum. I didn’t really know how to get condoms. Look, it wasn’t that stark. I understand that capitalism exists. I know that I can accrue moneys, visit a store and hand over my moneys in exchange for penis shaped balloons. I get this. I just didn’t know how to go about it on a conceptual and efficient level. The stumbling block is that I’m unwaveringly cheap, but I also enjoy nice things. Wait, that’s uncharitable. I’m thrifty. T H R I F T Y. I don’t like paying more for things than I think that they’re worth, but my notion of what things are worth is stuck back in the 90s. My relationship to capitalism hasn’t grown with inflation. That was only mildly meant to be a condom pun.

So no, I couldn’t just have gone out to one of the ten Shoppers at Bloor/Ossington and bought some Durex, because they’re shitty condoms. My standards are higher than that. A few years ago I spent a lot more time in sex positive spaces, so free condoms were abundant. I’m not hanging around those spaces as much these days. Back in NZ I’d just go to the sexual health clinic and pick up a ton. There are definitely a couple of clinics here, but it’s different. I feel like I’d need to make an appointment (which honestly isn’t a dumb thing to do. Better safe than… unsafe?). I know Hassle Free is around, but I’ve got this feeling that I don’t want to take time away from the usual clientelle who need that kind of safe space.

I have a condom I like. Kimono makes great ones that feel barely there. I just think they’re neat. They’re also expensive. If you go to a nice sex store you’re paying something like $20 for a 12 pack. I’m not trying to put a dollar value on a sexual experience, but that’s a lot. Or at least, I feel like there are more economically efficient ways to go about the whole thing. Amazon.com has a ton of bulk packs at a great price. Thing is, most of those places don’t ship to Canada. Amazon.ca has terrible prices, or rather they have similar prices to most places that probably have reasonable prices, but I have unreasonable expectations. So that was a no-go.

So I did what any capable snake person would do and hit up Google. I searched for a bunch of Canadian sex stores and condom specific outlets. It took a while. Most places had the same Amazon.ca prices, which as I said were no-go. Finally finally finally, I found a decent store. Good prices, free shipping, and I only recently got on paypal, so it made the whole transaction even easier. In short, this whole entry was an ad for Top Condoms Canada. If you’re in the very specific situation of requiring condoms because 60+ of yours have expired and you’re too cheap thrifty to pay full retail (or don’t have one of those fancy US mailbox things for Amazon.com purchases). Oh, and you’re living in Canada, then go to Top Condoms Canada for all of your condom needs.

But in saying that, I only checked out the Kimono, so I don’t know about their other brands.

YOU’RE WELCOME.