That, my friends, is how we do a shameless plug

For a change, I’m worn the fuck out.

It was totally non-intentional. I had zero plans last night, then made the last minute switch to have plans. See, it all began when I woke up thinking it was Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t, but it was hard to shake the feeling. I was like is there any way to lean into this unnecessary delusion? I looked up some events and saw that there was a Bumble pre-Valentine’s mixer happening. Free drinks, all you needed was a Bumble account. I thought back to when I got really into dating podcast Why Oh Why? The host went to a couple of events and they sounded fun/silly.

I was borderline interested, but then thought back to that time I installed Bumble. It was sub-optimal. I swiped and swiped, often coming across friend’s accounts. Each and every one of those friends had stopped using the platform, so it turned out I was scrolling through what were likely endless dead accounts. Or maybe that’s what I told myself to feel better about my lack of matches. Who knows? My thumb still gets phantom pain from all the swiping. I figured I was better to stay home and have a low key night. The cat has been incredibly fussy lately, noisy at night. A decent sleep would do me wonders. I went home for a quiet night.

Around 9pm, I saw that one of my friends was attending the event. I was not dressed, I hadn’t eaten dinner and leaving the house was probably not in my best interests. We chatted, she said to come along, and if it was a total bust we could just grab a drink. I hadn’t been out all week, so I figured why not be adventurous, y’know? I hastily made dinner, showered and concurrently pre-drank. I ordered an Uber and managed to get there for 10pm. Real feat, that. I walked in the door and saw my friend standing there. It was loud, very loud. I seriously wondered about my ability to hold a conversation. It’s basically the only tool I have in my arsenal. “We have to leave immediately” my friend whispered. With no questions, I did a 180 and we grabbed her coat, then left. I figured that her judgement had always been impeccable, so if she said we needed to leave, we did. We walked to a Liberty Village craft beer bar and grabbed a table.

Adroitly, she pointed out the issue with the dating app party. On these apps, you have the benefit of relative anonymity. Creeps can’t message you because of the filters. You’re protected somewhat. When you go to a dating app party it’s kind of like going to a regular bar, but there are no pretentions of what people are there for and EVERYONE IS THIRSTY. It’s goddamn oppressive. It sounded less than ideal, and from the two minutes I spent there I already didn’t like it. Having left and gone to a craft beer bar, however, we didn’t have those problems. We just had good beer. I even ordered a cheesecake. It was gas.

It was fucking great to catch up, and I can’t imagine the kind of time I could’ve had at the party that would’ve been better. She’s a top notch human, and conversation has always been incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that by the time we’d had two beers and settled up the tab, it was later that we thought. Look, we hadn’t checked our phones, but how the hell does it just BECOME 1am? On a school night, no less. We hurriedly got out of there and gapped it to the bus. I got home and the cat still hadn’t been fed. She was all kinds of ornery (not really, she was just loud. I think that’s her natural state). I fed her and managed to get into bed for 2am. The cat was not ready for bed. Throughout the night, in very regular intervals she started caterwauling and scratching at the door. Again and again. My earplugs were long since worn out, so I just suffered, maybe managing all of 3.5 hours sleep. I’ve been half past dead today, and no amount of coffee has been able to exhume me.

Tonight I have very deliberate plans of zero plans. Maybe I can actually follow through this time.

And I ordered these from Amazon. I will sleep someday.

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I’m a lean mean napping machine

It was a week. It’s been a big weekend. I’m not sure why I’m italicising.

Suffice to say, it’s made me realise that I’m nap years old now. I’ve had two long nights out, heavy on the booze, the caffeine has flowed freely. Sleep has not. I’m staring down the barrel of a fun night out to cap off the weekend, and I’m not certain I’d be putting my best foot forward at this level of fatigue. I don’t even know if the last sentence worked, that’s my level of mental fugue. I’ve been doing too many neat activities to “waste” time closing my eyes between sheets. My body, however, doesn’t agree with my brain on this. I’m all of course we can burn this candle at both ends. It worked for lightsabers, even if Darth Maul looked a little goofy. My body is like yeah, but that almost directly led to the dorky lightsaber hilt thing, so maybe slow your roll.

Case in point, like last night I have another nap scheduled for post posting this post.

I can’t remember being a baby, and I also can’t remember ever enjoying sleep. Sleep has been time I couldn’t get back, always. With under a week until I greet 32, I’m so much more aware of how my body runs. I can recognise the difference in greeting the world well-rested. My brain functions more smoothly. I don’t have to grasp for concepts, words, and how italics work as much. My limbs feel more attuned to my thoughts. I can navigate the world easier. Things just flow in a way they don’t when tacit understanding is beyond arm’s reach.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that I try to catch up like a goddamn tiny child. I took a capsule of magnesium citrate before writing this, and I think/hope it’ll calm my body down enough that mental peace comes easily. I want to get an extra hour of charge. I think it’ll make tonight more of a party. I’m well aware that people have been napping for centuries, but I’m often late to the game with trends. I just downloaded Snapchat today (so a friend could make shared Bitmojis with me). I gave up all kinds of rights and permissions so they could put together silly pictures. Does that sound like a solid idea from a well-rested brain? I DON’T KNOW.

But there’s now a cartoon version of us playing hacky sack. I don’t know that it’s worth losing sleep over.

That’s the thing, I have been losing sleep. I did think those italics worked, but I’m not sure about the ones I just typed. Coherence is hard enough to come by in this “crazy mixed up woild”. You know what’d bring it closer? Closing my eyes between sheets for an hour.

Wait. Are they called “italics” because Pisa is in Italy?

How’s Henry Winkler’s sleep schedule?

I’m old and I want a nap.

My dearest hope is that I can bust this out in half an hour without any fuss and get between one and forty winks. It’s almost 8pm and I’ve got a party tonight. I didn’t sleep enough last night, and while the party tonight is slumber party themed, I figured I’d commit to the theme insofar as wearing a onesie. Maybe I’ll bring a pillow or blanket. Snoozing all the way through it seems like more adherence than I want to give. I go out to social spaces to hang with friends, not to lie prone, snoring lightly in their presence. I’ve got vague hesitation about sleeping too long that FOMO comes into play, but maybe I’ll dream of the party to compensate. It’s basically like attending from the start, except my fellow guests may inexplicably have crab claws for hands.

I went to watch a bunch of student documentaries today. One of my friends has been working really hard in her course, and they screened their unit’s ten minute documentaries at Bloor Hot Docs. It was all kinds of neat to see all the work that’d gone into them, and the areas at which they excelled. I was super proud of my friend, ’cause I know the ludicrous amount of hours that went into bringing their story to life. The level of production quality of these pieces was amazing. For students, a lot of the work looked really professional. Of course there were some oversights or glitches. It happens. Still, the breadth and scope of these documentaries was astounding. There was one about competitive eating. Another focusing on a gay male model coming to terms with both his queerness and modelling. One documentary focused on a boy discovering he was adopted, and his 25 year journey towards discovering who his mother was.

My friend’s was on vaginismus. It was superb and incredibly affecting. I’d been vaguely aware of the condition, but I had no idea that some cases could be so bad, that an insertion the size of a Q Tip could cause pain. Imagine feeling that level of betrayal from your own body, with something the majority of people take for granted. It was very intimate, with a ton of quite brave and vulnerable admissions. Also, one of my friends was in it, and hearing about how the condition has affected her was hard hitting. Like, I went to her wedding. I had no idea that her and her husband had been working through this. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, the issue was presented with such compassion, but also levity. I came away having felt like I learned a bunch and it wasn’t shoved down my throat. My friend made a comment that documentaries should elicit feelings of surprise and/or discovery, which clicked. The documentaries we watched that didn’t quite come together or stick the landing, they were missing those aspects. They weren’t teaching anything new, or showcasing an alternative viewpoint/narrative from the mainstream. They either didn’t have much of a voice, or straight up missed what the real story was.

Ugh, I’m all out of story. I’ve been borderline passing out writing this. I’m ready to Get Them Winks.

Anyone need a spleen while I’m there?

Last night I dreamt that I had a rapid onset illness where my body stopped producing new cells. Untreated, I had a life expectancy of three days. We somehow caught it right away. My parents came over to Canada then whisked me away to London so one of the world’s top doctors could figure out what to do. It happened in what seemed like an instant and there was no chance to say goodbye to anyone. When I asked how long I’d be staying in this London lab I was told in an unwavering manner “this is your home now.” I asked about my girlfriend back home, our flat, my job. All my friends. They told me that was all over now, that there was science to be done. I was ostensibly not dying, but it didn’t seem like they had care for my quality of life. It felt a lot more like they were just intrigued by my condition and what a cure could mean for them on the global stage.

I got a message out to my girlfriend and told her our dark family secret. That my real estate parents had hidden genetic clones of me and my brothers in cryostasis, in the basements of three houses they’d sold over the years. She travelled to New Zealand and met up with one of my childhood friends. They cross-referenced every house my parents had sold with all houses currently on the market. They then posed as newlyweds pretending to be buying their first home and infiltrated every open home on the list, sneaking off to try find secret basements and hidden passages where my clone could be kept. Meanwhile I was wasting away as a London lab rat. Still alive, but barely more than a test subject.

I woke up really wanting to know how it ended. Did I die? Did my girlfriend find my clone? Was he an actualised person? Did I ever see her again?

It felt like a weird prescient dream given the events of last night. A friend hosted a birthday bonfire on the eve of Beltane. She read a passage on the Death card in Tarot rising with the pink moon. It emphasised the importance of letting old patterns and behaviours go. Beltane is a time of renewal and growth, part of that being death to held customs and anxieties. That in order to grow, it’s necessary to shed the known self and discover new potential. A time of transformation and the awakening of sexual energies. To discover your fertile self in every layer of meaning. Also we lit sparklers, which was dandy.

My spiritual belief cache has been barren for quite some time. It was nice, however, that the passage was written in a pretty down-to-earth manner that was easily relatable. We all feel stale from time to time, like we’d benefit from widened perspective. The idea of taking stock of where you’re at and questioning what brought you there is rarely a wasted exercise. It’d be no surprise for regular readers to hear that I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a wall and stagnated. That I’ve been treading water long enough I’ve started to question weather or not my head is still above water. That not being dead doesn’t hold the same place as feeling truly alive.

Maybe the answer is to burn away those things inside me that no longer serve a purpose. Have I been getting in my way this entire time? What version of myself has yet to come out of cryostasis, held in reserve by a simulacrum past its expiration date?

Once I figure it out, I’ll make sure to light some sparklers.

In Brussels do they just call them sprouts?

It’s around 7pm and I’m almost falling asleep. If I don’t do this now, my writing will consist of nothing but “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” as my head thumps down onto the keyboard.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and you know what that means. It’s list-o-mania:

  • I thought today about that song “Easy”. You know what? Sunday morning is pretty average. Most of the time it’s a sleep in or hangover drudgery. Either I’ll miss it entirely or it’ll be unremarkable. I guess that is “easy”, but being hungover counts that one out. What I realised is that Sunday afternoons are where it’s at. Either you’re doing errands or vegging out and eating delicious things. You could be hanging out with friends or eating delicious things while running errands. Maybe a little washing or something. Sunday afternoons excel without plans, but plans are fine too. In closing, Sunday afternoons. Good stuff.
  • Our landlord replaced the sump pump (which, for the record, is as fun to type as it is to say) downstairs and the noise is cacophonous. I think it’s from the pump, anyway. Our spare room must be directly above it or something, because while I’m on the computer the churning of the pump (is it evident I don’t know what pumps are yet?) has become our new flavour of white noise. It sounds like an army marching or some kind of production line assembling small robots. Maybe even a steam engine. Whatever it is, I have no idea how our downstairs neighbour sleeps any more. If it’s this noisy on our level, he must be using industrial strength earplugs to get to sleep.
  • I went to a party last night, because I’m that damn popular. Something remarkable happened when it came time to sing Happy Birthday. They handed out cake pops, which they assured us were gluten free. We sang the song, cheered and all chomped down. I don’t think anyone wasn’t surprised. Under that thick chocolate ganache shell were steamed Brussels sprouts. Honestly, I didn’t mind them. I love steamed veggies. Most people got “got” though and put their half eaten pops back on the platter. One of the best executed pranks I’ve seen in ages. Altogether pretty harmless, plus I got to eat tasty Brussels sprouts. Who doesn’t love fiber?
  • This story about a Wellington cat wandering the town may be the most New Zealand story I’ve heard in a while. Apparently it’s just entering people’s homes and businesses of its own volition and hanging out. Seems totally benign and friendly.
  • For maybe the second or third time I introduced myself into a certain woman at a party and she was like “oh we’ve met. We went on a date once.” Same woman, I’m not forgetting scores of women or anything. I simply don’t and didn’t date around that much. She wasn’t angry or anything and we laughed about it afterwards. From what I remember, nobody had a super shit time on the date, we just didn’t have much chemistry. I added her on Facebook a) because she’s friendly and swell but maybe more importantly b) because I’m petrified of forgetting her next time. I’ve heard if you forget someone who you went on a date with at three consecutive parties, Candyman appears to tear out your flaccid, useless heart.
  • Both Verne Troyer and Avicii died in the past week. Troyer was 49 and Avicii was a mere 28 years of age. Not that a stranger’s death is really anything other than surprising, but it’s ever strange to consider just how haphazard death can be. One minute you’re doing Reddit AMAs and the next you’re a decomposing husk of skin, flesh, muscles and bones. #YOLO in whatever manner that represents for you.
  • I found out recently that some venues in Toronto have cheaper tickets in person at their box office than online. The Sony Centre, for instance, waives the Ticketmaster fee. I saved $16 on a St Vincent ticket because I had nothing better to do on my lunch break (and was having issues with the site anyway). Knowledge is power and $16 is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Speaking of “nothing to sneeze at”, I’ve still got this bloody cold I picked up in London. Most of the symptoms have passed, but I’m still flooded with an uncanny quantity of mucus. It’s unreal how much my body contains. No matter how much I fling into tissues, there’s still more. I’ll clear it out in the shower, then by the time I go to towel off, I’ll be congested again. I don’t know how many trees I’ve downed for tissues thus far, but their sacrifice was not in vain. Wait, what am I talking about? Of course it was in vain, I’m still congested. Cuuuurses.

Is perfunctory still my word of the moment? Because that was pure perfunction over perform.

No sleep till London

Haaarumph. I’m starting this London trip off with a grumbly old whinge. And you know what? I’m waay up in the air, so there’s not a goddamn thing you can do to stop me. Let’s jump in and explore the plethora of things I can complain about.

First off, sleep. I want it. I didn’t get it. I did all the adequate preparation. I put in earplugs. I had a full belly and a glass of wine. I dunno, I saw an episode of Rugrats where Tommy had a glass of warm milk and it made him sleepy, so I guessed the adult equivalent should’ve worked. Did the wine need to be warm? I’m still wearing one of those goofy travel pillow things around my neck. I didn’t even toss on any in-flight entertainment. I just assumed if I was a good boy. did my chores and dreamed hard enough, literal dreams would come my way. Instead I felt uncomfortable in my seat for many hours, squirmed a lot and couldn’t drift off to sleep. I kept trying to sit up, then slunk down unintentionally. I put my socks back on (yeah, I’m one of those trash bags who goes bare footed on a flight) for traction but stil couldn’t get comfortable. Reclined or straight up, it didn’t matter. No rest for the wicked, wicked sick or Wicked the Musical, which is still running at the West End after all of these years. Maybe if the flight were longer than 6.5 hours I could’ve mustered something. As it stands, there’s an hour left and I’ve given up. I’ll just have to let those dreams be dreams.

What else? Oh, I know, everyone around me was watching Kingsman: Golden circle. Maybe not everyone, but enough of everyone to matter. The lady diagonally in front of me must’ve started as soon as she boarded. The lady to my direct right put it on about an hour and a half later. Have you ever tried not to watch the screens of those around you in-flight? It’s a Sisyphean task. You look away, then your eyes dart back to the screens again and that rock rolls right down. Because their screening schedules pincered me in, I feel like I’ve already seen the plot points play out. It looks like a fun, trashy, silly film. I’d love to watch it, but I feel like I already have. This of course was compounded by the fact that the gal in front of me chose to use subtitles. Brutal. I’ll save it for the flight back.

Actually, that’s one more point of contention. The film selection is fucking great and there’s no way I’m gonna have the time to see everthing I want to. Kingsman is a given now, but they also have Shape of Water, The Square, Dunkirk, and Coco. It’s only an 8 hour flight back. How am I meant to watch all those films. Plus it’s a daytime flight, which means there’s zero point in sleeping. What’s the bet I’ll conk out as soon as my ass hits the seat? London, you better have several ass-loads of coffee, that’s all I’m sayin’. Coffee: For when you need to compensate for sleep and a personality simultaneously.

WHAT ELSE? I need to hurry, because the sense of completion I’m getting through accomplishing this entry is rapidly diminishing my (admittedly put-upon) stroppy mood. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a task and a half being bitter when I’m en route to one of the biggest cities in the world. I’ve got over a week of visiting old friends, drinking delicious ales, eating too much and maybe seeing a West End show ahead of me. I hope you appreciate the effort I’m putting in to maintain dourness for your amusement. So what if I maybe managed ten minutes of sleep in the past 24 hours? They’re serving morning drinks! Plus I still have half a manwich in my bag.  Life is defiantly great right now, so any harumph I can muster only has half my heart behind it. I’m trying, folks.

Ugh, sorry. I’m all out of grumbles to give. I dunno, my lips are really chapped or something? Nah, I’m out. I’ll catch you all up tomorrow. Maybe after a decent rest.

Apparently sweet dreams are made of cheese.

I often have odd dreams. Don’t know why. Last night I had a bunch to drink and ate a considerable quantity of cheese before bed. I was prepped. I think my subconsciousness delivered.

I was on holiday with two of my friends somewhere. Let’s call them Friend Q and X. I’m not sure where, it was a dream. We had to get to our Air BnB but we’d drastically underestimated how far it was. We stopped off at a car rental place to check out their deals, in case it worked out more affordable that way. Q went to talk to the clerk while I looked around. A couple of seconds later, X came up to me giggling mischievously. He had some woman’s magazine with a sealed section in the middle. He looked at me and pulled out the sealed section, putting the magazine back.

An alarm sounded, panels on the walls shifted and folks in hazmat suits walked out. I grabbed my friend at the counter and yelled “we’ve gotta scram!” X called out and told us to follow him. He bolted and we scrambled to catch up. We got outside and couldn’t see him. Suddenly we heard him yell “hey guys” and a huge horn sounded out. He was in the driver’s seat of one of those massive trucks that transport cars. We jumped in and drove off.

The hazmat folks were chasing us Terminator 2 style. We were in reverse and driving up an impossibly steep road (physically unreal roads are a common motif in my dreams. Don’t know why). They started gaining on us. Q said she had an idea. And jumped out to the back of the truck. She began undoing the chains holding the cars in. I nodded and signalled to X to serve back and forth. I joined Q in the back and pushed the cars with all my uncanny dream strength. They tumbled out the sides and down the hill to take down the hazmat people. With the weight lifted, we zipped up the hill and made our escape.

We got to the Air BnB and couldn’t believe how spacious it was. A Japanese house, complete with sliding doors and futons. There were nigh endless rooms and the place was all ours. It was astounding. I congratulated Q on finding such an awesome place on a tight budget. X whispered to me “hey Leon, check it out”. He was holding up the sealed section he’d swiped earlier and grinning like a loon.

A fun, silly, action packed adventure. Pete Holmes is right in saying how cool it is that every night we get to close our eyes and our brain makes movies for us. I don’t know why my friend was so mischievously pervy, but I do know the journey would’ve been far less fun without his odd proclivities.