They should start more poetry slams with “It’s time to slam now”

How often do you give thought to when the things you care deeply about arrived in your life?

That was an amazingly clunky sentence, but I swear there was something in it. Firstly, I want to state that I rarely do. I find this odd because firstly, I’m an obsessive navel gazer. just look at how many times I’ve written “I” in this paragraph alone. Secondly, it’s a bigger part of what makes you tick than you’d expect. Think about all the music that defined your teen years. What if you heard different bands instead? Think about the many character defining stories that shaped what excites you in life. Would you still be the same you if not for them? Who would you be? What part of those texts primed you to receive the world with your own earned worldview?

I’m a clusterfuck of a basketcase, likely because I was raised as a cartoon. This has nothing to do with casting aspersions on my upbringing, and everything to do with my childhood desire to replicate behaviours I respected most. Ergo, I became a cartoon. Larger than life reactions, odd responses and strange comic timing. A colossal portion of my personality is based on how I perceive humour. This all started with cartoons. Whether they were the endless Loony Toones reruns on Cartoon Network all day, or the Saturday Morning cartoons from Captain N: The Game Master to Bucky O’ Hare. I am my own special weirdo and that’s double-plus okay. It’s thanks mostly to the many, many cartoons I consumed during my years of major cognitive development.

I mention this because today, at the age of 31, I discovered a band that would likely have defined my late 20s had I known they existed. Okay, saying I discovered them today is mildly disingenuous. I’d half-heard of them before, but I didn’t really know them, y’know?

Discovering them went a little like this: I started listening to the latest Good One podcast with Rachel Bloom (of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame). It centred around a Space Jam chorus line parody she wrote years back that helped lead towards the style of musical comedy she’d grow to inhabit. The podcast started with the sketch itself. Seven minutes into the podcast (before the joke itself had even finished) I remembered that some band once wrote a nine minute song recounting the plot of the movie Space Jam. So of course I abandoned ship and checked out the song (for far from the first time). Having listened to the song many times over the course of as many blue moons, I started wondering who this band was that had the hubris to commit such an audacious track to tape. I did a quick google and discovered that not only had they recorded the song, but they created an entire Space Jam EP on a dumb lark.

It turns out, Come On and Jam is actually fucking great. Sledding with Tigers are a musically talented San Diego folk punk band. The tracks are catchy and funny as hell. They manage to build premises based on silly plot points and expand them out into decent little jams (that’re at times oddly emotionally poignant). I listened, then immediately re-listened. The songwriting was on point and gave a hint to potential depth beyond 90s live action animation hybrid parody pop songs. If there is such a thing. Curious, I checked out some more of their stuff.

Once again, it turned out that they really were just an excellent band. Kind of like a softer Car Seat Headrest cum (in the Latin sense, pervert) Bright Eyes. Their songs spanned emotional insecurity, friendships and relationships, fear of opening up and pop cultural ephemera. Their discography is sweet, pleasantly twee and EXACTLY THE KIND OF MUSIC I WOULD’VE THRASED AT AGE 25+. 25 was the age where I finally began moving beyond my more edgelord-y proclivites and embracing a softer outlook. I got more in touch with my emotional IQ and sought out opportunities to connect more closely to others. I immediately went back to their Bandcamp and bought their entire discography for under 20. The songs are that good. I’ve been listening to three of their albums on repeat and I’m actively excited to download the rest when I get home. I think of who I am and the path it took me to get here. I wonder what that path might’ve looked like had this band been on my iPod. I am, once again navel gazing, proving maybe nothing would have changed at all.

But, I dunno, could they have?

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In other words, Viet-nommies

I had this brief thought, wondering if it was possible to string together varied song lyrics as some kind of faux poetry.

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin,
I move away from the mic to breathe in.
Long after the thrill of living is gone,
The beat goes on, the beat goes on.

You wouldn’t think it, but that short combination took maybe 10 minutes to write. It’s goddamn hard to bring the disparate songs together. I know there are people out there (Black Thought, anyone?) who can string together thought provoking and conscious lines in a mental tight rope walk. I’m not one of those people. Instead I sat thinking of lines, then other lines that matched. But then I realised that I didn’t really know the lyrics that well, so I had to think of other ones. Most of the lyrics didn’t make a ton of sense when smooshed together and these aren’t miraculous. Still, they honestly don’t work that badly together. This isn’t a statement. If I was gonna do a statement it’d be longer and I’d devote a bunch of time to it. This isn’t that. Even so, I am surprised at how congruent Smash Mouth, Tay Zonday, John Cougar Mellencamp and Sonny & Cher lyrics were. Words, yo. They’re great.

I got bored, as I do, so I started walking the floors at work. I found a big pumpkin on the 5th floor and took it. I gave it big ol’ anime eyes, a cute bulbous nose, a little smile and a big beard. Then I borrowed a trilby from a co-worker for extra flair. Its name is now Pumplestiltskin and it’s my newest workmate.

I’m getting Vietnamese with friends tonight and I’m gonna have to fight my ever instinct to get Pho. To impact the situation, Toronto’s getting down to around -19 degrees this evening. Pho would clearly be the ideal dinner, but for the sake of sharing and introducing friends to Vietnamese cuisine, I’ll relent. Look, Vietnamese is great, but I rarely ever don’t want Pho. It’s just brilliant. It’s a big bowl of love and warmth. It incorporates meat in various stages of rawness. The broth has been tended to non-stop for hours. It’s a quick, cheap meal that’s delicious and seems relatively healthy. It’s also crammed full of noodles, which are endlessly fun to eat. Not getting Pho is an exercise in willpower so extreme, that if I manage to go through with it, I’m pretty sure I’ll be capable of anything.

I will try, for my friends’ sake.

Invariably, it’s gonna be spring rolls, vermicelli dishes and maybe if we’re lucky, “broken rice”. I want good shareable dishes so we can sample a bunch of different things. Pho is not that. I mean, you could share Pho, but why would you? If you already have Pho, you don’t want to eat any less Pho than you could. Pho is life, Pho is love.

In short, tonight I’ll have PhoMo.

I didn’t think “Big Willie Style” was a synonym for fascism…

Most of my days are weird days, but today was A Weird Day.

I feel like it started last night. The weirdness, that is. Today definitely started after I woke up. I had this stupid idea banging around in my brain. I’ve still got a while before I work out the beats of it, but the basic idea was some sort of satirical pizzagate style conspiracy theory based around Will Smith’s pre-millenial classic, Willenium. Look, the world has gotten kinda fucky and strange. There’s a lot that doesn’t make sense. All of our established broadcast mediums are imploding. Society is separating into dichotomous spheres in which reality is almost entirely different from one another. Nazis, the literal first thing anyone thinks of when you ask “what’s the most evil thing?”, are back en vogue. Adam Sandler released a legit great stand up special. It’s all pretty damn inexplicable. What if- and bear with me here- we accidentally ended up in an alternate universe where, instead of the millennium happening, the Willenium did?

Think about it, doesn’t this all seem like the bizarre fever dream of a breakout rapper-cum-actor-cum-scientologist-cum-youtube star? Somehow Xenu and thetans got involved in fucking up the state of balance. Could explain Kanye, y’know? We’ve ended up in an all new Wild Wild West, he pulled a bait and Switch worthy of a Men in Black mission. It’s sure become a Nightmare on My Street. Is this some terrifying triumph of the Will? The Fresh Prince might not cuss, but he’s fucked us all royally.

Anyway, it’s a thought in process. I’ll work on it.

Speaking of work, it only exacerbated the weirdness. Look, I underslept, I’m going through some stuff at the moment and I’m clearly in a manic state of mind. That said, I think something was in the water. It wasn’t just me. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it was me. I was ranting endlessly about my Willenium Theorem, I had too much coffee and News sent us a ginormous cookie to say thanks for our help with a campaign. We had a new hire start. It was bonkers mojo all around. I really do feel sorry for her. If she makes it back to the office tomorrow without calling it quits, she’s a keeper. It was a cosmic calamity to have her seated next to me though.

Now, I’ve had my fair share of bizarre interactions with coworkers. My close team mates are used to it. Mostly. Still, today had its standout moments. So this afternoon the new hire was sitting next to me. I asked her if she’d gone on the slide yet. She said no. I said “when you do, take off your shoes.” I accidentally said the last part a little bit louder than the first. My other co-workers heard it and turned around. So in their minds, apropos of nothing I turned around to a young female co-worker on her first day and loudly said “TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.”

Today’s been a strange one, folks. It’s had its ups and downs for sure. What can I say? This Willenium has taken more than it’s given.

I don’t know why, but the words “Anacondaleezza Rice” popped into my head

I feel like nobody else has every found this funny, but my enjoyment of the song “Baby Got Back” greatly increased once I started thinking of the phrases “I like big butts” and “I cannot lie” as mutually exclusive statements.

Prolix.

I don’t know what kind of narrative would see Sir Mix have to navigate both his love of plump posteriors and his inability to fib, but I want it in my life. Maybe he’s some kind of super spy whose weaknesses are bodacious booties and polygraph tests. Sure, he wouldn’t fail the polygraph test, but he’d tell them everything they needed to know. I dunno, I think this is silly and humourous, sensible chuckle territory, but if someone actually funny took hold of it they could really get a stew going. It seems like most people are just all “eh, I guess?” I think it deserves more.

I’ve got my six monthly personal coaching session coming up and my manager keeps pushing it by 15 minutes. So I get ready to start something, but then it’s pushed. So I can’t do anything. I cannot lie, I don’t think there’s anything I’m seriously gonna get out of this session. Also I like big butts. And smaller butts. Butts are just great, but I digress. My personal development in this role ceased a few years back and I’ve just been treading water. I’m not sure that it has anything left to offer me outside of rent and benefits. I said this last time and she understood. So we’ve booked another session to say the same thing, but temporally removed by half a year? All so corporate can tick off a box and say that they’re invested in their employees’ development? Shouldn’t it be opt in? Once again, I dunno. Y’all have heard me complain about work often enough that you get this, right?

Also a reminder that since returning from Austin back in February, I say “y’all”. Deal with it.

If only there was some job that could harness my love of sumptuous backsides and honesty. Folks, is it finally time I became a rapper?

I swear rap is one of those things I constantly think is easier than it is. Like modelling. Deep down I always think oh, I can write and I know how to rhyme things. Piece of cake. Or modelling is just being pretty and following instructions. Doubly wrong. There are a multitude of skills that come with rapping that I don’t have. First of all, I can’t freestyle. I do it in my head from time to time. That’s exceedingly different from having an audience. Pressure makes diamonds and crushes the unprepared. There’s a world of difference between cobbling together rhymes and actually crafting a narrative. Much like modelling. A pretty person can look great, but that doesn’t mean they’ll know how to work angles, light, or find dynamic poses that stand out. I don’t know that these two creative pursuits have much in common other than my inability to shine in either.

So I guess I know what I have to do with my life now.

Watch out Nikki, I’m coming for your crown. And your butt?

I’m perturbed there was never a distinct Beach Boys haircut called the Kokombover

Weird dreams last night. Must’ve been the Jack O’Blast.

So in my first dream I was a metaphorical fly on the wall while the Beach Boys were recording “Kokomo”. Thing is, I have no idea beyond Brian Wilson of who the Beach Boys consisted of. I know “Kokomo” was done with some new guy, and in my dream one of the other members was Seann William Scott A.K.A. Stifler from American Pie. The new guy seemed to be a nice dude, really excited about his song and to be working with the Beach Boys, but SWS wasn’t sold. They’d be recording and Stifler was all “this song is terrible. Kokomo isn’t even a real place. These lines have nothing to do with one another.” And I was thinking well, Stifler’s kinda right, but he doesn’t have to be such a dick about it.

So they recorded a bunch and Seann was obviously agitated. They laid down a bunch of tracks and new guy was like “oh guys, my mum’s here to pick me up. Anyone want a ride?” SWS was enraged and started aggressively walking towards new guy while new guy backed up towards the front door. Seann was all “OH, so you think you can just coast on the legacy of one of America’s most influential pop bands? What are people gonna think of this shit? Our first song in like 20 years and it’s this?” And as he walked, he started shrinking into this freaky doll thing. You know those ones with soft bodies and firm plastic heads? But he had these huge eyes like Christopher Lloyd at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And new guy kept backing up and tried slamming Doll Stifler’s creepy doll head into the ground to get away. It made this foreboding heavy thump and SWS kept advancing. Seann Doll got right up close till all I could see were those eyes, then I bolted awake.

And worse, I had “Kokomo” stuck in my head.

The cat was meowing and I kind of had to pee, but I was determined to get back to sleep and have my last hour or so of rest.

I must’ve managed, because I found myself in a familiar but all new location. Friends of mine who live together were moving out. They decided to have a massive party to bid the place adieu. Thing is, while they do all live together in real life, the place in the dream didn’t resemble their IRL flat whatsoever. This one was out in the country. It was a sprawling, three building property. The houses themselves were totally dilapidated. They didn’t all have walls, and there were large chunks of exposed brick jutting out from the open field surrounding them. Like they’d inhabited a former war ruin. It was such a big party that some of my friends from New Zealand were there. Food was all over, tons of pizza boxes, Halloween candy and a friend dumped a trough full of capsicums, onion and sausage into a barbecue. Yes, into. You know where the charcoal usually goes? It all went in there.

In the dream I really had to pee, so I went to the bathroom. Thing was, the bathroom was in this odd L-shaped room with three toilets on different walls. Not urinals, full on seated toilets all in the same room not separated by doors. So I just got in there with other dudes and started my process. We all chatted about how great the party was, and I complained how slow my stream was coming. One of the other dudes patted me on the back reassuringly, telling me that good things took time. After what seemed like half an hour, I finished peeing and rejoined the party.

There was a huge rugby game going on in the field, with people dodging around other players and the large concrete chunks. Other partygoers were sitting around in deck chairs drinking Coronas. Turns out it took so long for me to pee that the weird barbecue sausage mélange was finished. Also, it was goddamn delicious. I took a couple of shots off an ice luge and helped my friends pack things into boxes. By the time the sun went down, everything was packed, we were all exhausted and tucked ourselves into the copious bunk beds around the property.

Slightly odd but totally benign. Kind of like me, I guess.

A one stop shop for all your premium Mal content

I have the words “Nightmare Beef or Christmas” in my head and I don’t know what to do with them. I guess it’s gonna be one of those days.

I was listening to the La La Land soundtrack this morning. Ready for the most lukewarm of takes? I still think La La Land was a grossly enjoyable popcorn film with a fantastic colour palette, gorgeous visual composition, likeable leads and a fun score. I think the majority of animosity it gets in certain circles comes from how critically lauded the film was when it was released and its friction with Moonlight for the Best Picture race. Moonlight was a better film, no questions. That doesn’t diminsh that La La Land has an enduring quality to it that leans on a successful musical formula with modern framing. Much as I loved the film, I don’t see why it was viewed as Best Picture material, and being overrated doesn’t inherently make the film bad. No, it didn’t really have anything poignant to say, but that’s also totally fine for cinematic escapism.

In the vein of other musicals, I’m seeing a Rocky Horror shadowcast tonight. First time, “V” on face and all. It’s not my first viewing whatsoever. My best friend growing up was very into it at a possibly unsuitable age. When we were 7 or 8 we’d be watching the exploits of Frank-N-Furter et al, but I was mostly scared. I thought he was a vampire and, at that age, had no time for anything remotely scary. Though strangely I loved Aliens/Predator, so who knows what was up with that? I saw the stage show once, which was a fucking riot. Listening to the soundtrack this morning it all came rushing back. I can’t believe just how many lines are etched deep into my memory. I also somehow made it to this old without realising Susan Fucking Sarandon was in it. Frankly, I’m not even gonna try to learn all the callouts. There are way too many. This isn’t some filthy casual shit like The Room. Rocky Horror has enough of a history that it’s fine to be inexperienced. It seems like that’s half the fun.

My costume isn’t totally sorted. I’m halfway there. I saw a French maid costume at Dollarama and thought it was perfect. Easy Magenta outfit, right? I fretted over the size on the packet, working out which measurement was chest, hip, etc. Turns out it was just a fucking apron. So I currently have an apron, fishnet stockings and purple fishnet gloves. I own a colourful bra (because of course I do), so I think I just need to secure a skirt that fits and, ideally, some form of upper torso wear. If not, I’m basically wearing a bra and an apron. If it was any other event, maybe I’d need to worry about it, but when it comes to Rocky Horror, maybe not. I have friends that can help me with the makeup, which is most of the heavy lifting.

As for today’s work Halloween party (which starts in about 15 minutes), it turns out I owned enough on theme regular clothing to do a lazy Captain Mal Reynolds cosplay. Aside from having to wear a collared shirt to work, it’s just a burgundy shirt, tan pants, suspenders, a crooked belt, holster and gun. That’s all. I’ve done the costume once or twice before, but I now own nicer versions of the shirt and pants instead of incorrectly sized thrift store finds. Years after the initial costume, I’m still using a normal hammer holster (cannibalised from an Al Borland Halloween outfit) as a gun holster, but nobody has called me on it yet. Maybe one day I’ll swap out the burgundy shirt for something in flannel and go as Captain Mal Borland or something.

Would that be… an Improvement?

Come at me, hot dogs

Sorry folks, I’ve got nothing today. My coworkers are all sick, so work was ballistic. I think my eyes actually hurt from staring at the screen. So here I am staring at a smaller screen, hoping that I can get words out for the next half hour before my mind implodes.

Let’s begin.

I’ve been listening to Mitski’s Be The Cowboy on repeat for the past few days. I slept on it for an absurd amount of time and now it’s all I want in my ears. The way she so thoroughly navigates the warring emotions of love is so compelling. She’s a brilliant songwriter and the album comes alive in ways both heartwarming and unsettling. She has this great talent for finding niche idiosyncrasies that are also somehow alarmingly relatable. Whether it’s blurring the lines of fiction and longing, or how desire manifests in the strangest of moments. It’s a total treasure and an album worth absorbing sooner rather than later. I did a quick delve into her discography and her other stuff is similarly terrific in different ways. Did that sentence make sense? Is that part of the criteria for today’s entry? I dearly hope not.

Whoops, looks like my mind finally imploded. I’m all out of anything to say. I’m not gonna claim that I have trenchant thoughts on the regular, but now I’m several rungs below what would be acceptable. My brain pretty much resembles that soft serve chicken nugget sludge. I know that’s one of the images touted around to put people off mechanically separated chicken, but honestly if you filled a cone or taco with it and nuked all the salmonella out, I’d eat the shit out of that nightmarish feast. Think of it, it’s basically an ice cream shaped hot dog. We all eat hot dogs and by now we should all know they’re nutritional voids. You’re eating wonderbread topped with flatland’s impression of flesh. I swear you’d be better served hooking tomato sauce and mustard to an IV and mainlining it hard. Keep the cheese and onions, get some real bread and make a great cheese toastie.

I swear this is the longest I’ve spent writing. I keep getting distracted and have nothing coming to mind to write about. Still, it’s been maybe almost two hours since I opened this page to jot down thoughts. Surely there’s something going on? I wrote about the pot legalisation yesterday, so I’ll let that die down for a while. I’m collecting bits for my Halloween costume, but I’m gonna be sorting that out in dribs and drabs over the next week. Yet again, not enough to delve into. My girlfriend and I are going to a fancy party on Saturday, but there’s no point talking about anything until after the fact. Oh BTW I’m going to wear a suit and shirt in two days. Scintillating, eh? I ate soup for dinner. Big whoop. My evening is folding washing and playing Magic. Still nothing exciting that’s cause to scribe. Am I done here?

Okay, something dumb that was sloshing around in my brain yesterday. You know how when you have a baby, people are always like “oh, it has your nose”? What if that’s actually what’s going on? Like, part of the pact of parenthood is giving of yourself to your offspring? So this kid is actually stealing your nose (which is maybe a blessing in disguise considering how odious children smell)? Is that why parents always play the “I’ve got your nose” game? They’re just taking back what was rightfully theirs from these born thieves?

I told you it was dumb.