You show a guy Hamilton ONE TIME

Many people have tried to push me towards leadership. It’s one of those common threads. Y’know, like when you’re watching a movie and there’s this little wink they do? And you’re like THAT’S coming back in the third act? Those threads. I’ve spent my life running away from it. Teachers would always put me in those roles, try to redirect something I probably let out in less productive ways. It never made sense to me. Why were they asking me? There were smarter people out there. Why not get someone who’s always right? I imagine the possibility of failure meant I never wanted to try. I was a chubby nerd. I was uncool enough without risking my reputation on my ability to not fuck up. The world was hard enough as a teen, why would I take on that mantle? Every now and again I’d pitch in, and it’d be fine. I still didn’t want that pressure. Leaders knew what was going on. They were confident, calm, and took charge. I was not decisive, and too afraid of being taken seriously.

And now I just don’t really care. I’m not cool, and that’s fine. I see leadership as something different now. I’m finally realising that leadership is a service position. You’re not trying to prove how good you are, you’re understanding the potential of everyone around you. You don’t need to have all the answers, you find the people with them and empower them to create change. You’re looking for the best outcome you’re able to facilitate. Being a leader doesn’t mean you always lead. It’s knowing when to step back and let others shine. Maybe there are specific areas in which you’re able to lead, and not others. It’s all part of it.

As is walking the walk. A leader who is not willing to lead by example is not a leader, they’re a narcissist. Be accountable. It doesn’t matter how you look, it’s how you act. Don’t place unfair expectations on others. Help them be their best. Treat people kindly as a first resort. Everyone has invisible baggage and potential. Normalise understanding when you’re wrong, admitting it, and looking for a better solution. Work towards progress, not profit.

I’m not committing to anything here. I might look out for times I can help, and see how that goes. I mostly don’t want to admit I’m in my third act.

On, Tario!

I think that this is an important article for Ontarians to read. Our public health communications have been an abject failure, and have directly caused preventable deaths.

So many of the issues that we’re facing now: Conflicting information, Communications that are difficult to parse or misleading, and the lack of a timely response backed by science, not spokespersons, are a direct result of cuts to public organisations for the sake of “fiscal responsibility”.

This is exactly what Ford said he was going to do, and sometimes it’s worth believing what people are saying rather than listening to their rhetoric.

I don’t know what contact any of you have with Ford’s base, but it is vitally important for all of us to put in the work to educate people on how the actions of his government have directly harmed the vulnerable. I’m not talking about “cancelling” relatives, or shitting on them. I’m talking about frustrating, methodical conversations where you listen to their concerns and lead them towards real information. It fucking sucks, but continuing to let partisan bullshit prevent actionable change for the better is actively harming us. We need to be better, and that starts with us.

A genuine “Whys” guy

Back when I taught kids’ gymnastics I quickly found that people learn when you give them the Why, not just the What. If you know what the purpose of a behaviour is, the benefit is much clearer.

I have read a bunch of Ontario’s COVID Stage 2 announcement and it is not that.

The document is long, with a bunch of sub pages. To find the information you want requires a lot of clicking. Most of the information on the different pages is very similar, just tweaked for the current topic.
And then it mainly tells you What to do.

By not telling the public why we adopt certain behaviours around COVID, we’re putting the onus on them to find it themselves. This is easier for some than others, and those who find it difficult will likely get discouraged. EVERYONE deserves this info and the right to be healthy.

It also sows the seeds of misinformation. If people are finding it too hard to parse how COVID works, they’ll go for the explanation that they understand, because then they get to feel better about themselves and their place in the world. They understand it now. Fin.

But it’s not. If people are ignoring information in favour of what they want to believe, they will continue to do so if it’s easier and continues to make them feel good about their competence. This leads to partisan rifts over facts, which is always worse for the public.

You don’t have to Make It Sexy, but public information should be clear and easy to understand so the public is informed. If you’re not telling people Why to follow your instructions, you’re not doing your job. People need to know Why these COVID measures are in place.

If the public understands how COVID spreads, then they’ll be able to take ownership over their behaviour, and understand how dramatically it affects the spread. The more people who understand how it works, the quicker we can mitigate the spread and get back to safe reopening.

There is no reason a children’s gymnastics class should be unable to understand this information. That’s how clear it needs to be.

Gimme shelter already you money grubbing rutters

It’s kinda weird that this is my fifth to last entry and I’m entirely out of pomp.

It’s an exhausting time. I came home from work, had an hour of leisure time, slept, woke, checked out things at the new apartment place with a handy friend, bought paint with my girlfriend, now I’m writing on the train on my way to work. This is my life for the next week. I’m already worn out and we have yet to paint or pack. Sigh. What a weird fucking period for moving house.

Everything feels too up in the air right now to latch on to a single emotion. It’s a tragedy what some people are going through right now. It’s stressful to see so many suffering, and infuriating watching any news from America right now. I know that Canada is not America, but their entire system is giving me grief. Hearing about the senators who took their advanced closed door briefings to dump stocks weeks before the public were told to worry is maddening. So much information has been kept back from citizens, with the Trump administration misleading the public of COVID’s severity until it was unavoidable. Prioritising fiscal interests over the well-being of their society means that exponentially more will die. That’s on them and it’s hard not to feel powerless about it. Seeing the hordes of twentysomethings partying up at Spring Break was mindblowing. I don’t blame them for being ignorant. They haven’t learned yet the importance of empathy, and I don’t think that’s expected of them. I’m sure we were all selfish pricks at that age, and I don’t think their culpability is something they’re yet capable of fathoming. Maybe if their government had sufficiently warned them, it would sink in a little. Once again, not totally these kids’ fault.

I wonder what society will look like in the wake of this pandemic. I have every hope that things will change, that society will realign its needs and demands. That we understand that corporations and profits don’t exist without the workers who enable them. That wealth distribution, universal basic income, access to education, healthcare and affordable housing are rights, not dreams. That homelessness is a systemic issue, not an individual one. That trickle down economics is the conservative fairy tale we all know it is. That putting money into the hands of the needy goes right back into the economy, while providing tax breaks for the rich puts more money into untouched coffers and the back pockets of politicians. The system is broken, and our adherence to capitalism is at the expense of the most vulnerable. The cost is too great to keep going as we have. It’s okay to admit that we were wrong, and recalibrate as necessary.

I’m as hopeful as I am doubtful. Those airlines are getting bailed out, eh? Maybe if we’re giving them free money, there should be strings attached. Maybe the cost of accepting the bailout should be some amount of ownership, so the industry can face widespread regulations. Maybe if we’re gonna give mortgage relief to home owners and landlords, it should be mandated that an equivalent amount of rent relief passes on to tenants. Maybe the free market is a terrible system for renting, and there should be mandatory price ranges depending on the amenities. Like, I dunno, a one bedroom apartment can cost between 600-1200, a two bedroom between 1200-1800 and so on. If it has certain amenities onsite, like laundry and air conditioning it gets closer to the 1800, if not, 1400 max. Just spitballing. Find whatever prices are fair, that allow landlords to pay off their properties, rather than living off the rent because they were lucky enough to buy before home prices sky rocketed.

If there’s anything I’ve discovered over the past seven years, it’s that empathy is a strength, and it’s learned. Kindness is courage.

Commutually exclusive

Well that escalated quickly.

It’s 5pm, I just left Union Station on the TTC. The seats are sparsely filled. Riders have left large gaps between them and their fellow patrons. It’s quiet, and folks have their heads down on their phones. On any other day this train would be rammed full. My head would be all the way up someone’s armpit. Maybe folks would be arguing whether a tiny bag deserved its own seat. I’ve never seen a full blown brawl erupt on the train, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise. Seeing the immense drop in ridership is… strangely comforting, actually. It means people are taking COVID concerns with necessary gravity. Folks should be staying home, and limiting their proximity to others as best they can. The office was quiet for a Monday, and you can bet your arse I took advantage of the reduced occupancy to get in and swipe a bunch more bananas from the Monday fruit basket.

I won’t have to DV Big Brother Canada this week, but I wonder. Do the contestants know? They have no internet access, and very limited connections to the outside world. I can’t imagine the producers would tell them, what purpose would that serve? Oddly enough, it’s probably one of the safest environments right now with all this madness going on. Please don’t give me points for an original idea, this show already exists. Years back, Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror) made a limited series called Dead Set. It was a dark comedy set during a zombie apocalypse, where the only oblivious people in the world were those in the Big Brother house. They were still preoccupied with their petty rivalries as society crumbled around them. Funny show. It was on Netflix at some point, and I’d highly recommend it.

Going to the supermarket last night was trippy. So many empty shelves. Eggs? Gone. Toilet paper? Are you kidding? Name brand cottage cheese? No way in Hell. The frozen veggies were all out. The meat section was ravaged. Sale bins devoid of product. Long lines at checkouts. There’s a peculiar stillness in the streets. Outwardly everyone looks fine, but there are a ton more masks around. It’s placid and calm, but with a hint of menace. It’d probably be rather lovely if not for the pervasive viral pandemic. Fun is cancelled. Or postponed. I hope eggs aren’t postponed for too long. Plus I shit heaps. I’m gonna need TP soon enough.

Weird times. It’s even stranger that my girlfriend and I are a week or so away from a move. We need to paint, pack and get our shit over there. We’d planned on getting a hand from friends, which seems irresponsible with social isolation being everyone’s M.O. Everything is 12 times more complicated, which means approximately 17 times the stress. Don’t check my math. I’m sure if we just keep breathing, keep our heads down and wits about us, well emerge unscathed. Goddamn do I ever not want a mandatory two week holiday right now. I have to pay our new exorbitant rent.

Then again, with all my holidays getting cancelled, maybe I can afford it.

Back to the Grindrstone

Hey friends and strangers. I had my first ever hookup on Grindr last night, and decided to do an AMA with friends to talk about it. What follows is without a doubt not safe for work, and I want to give people the chance to opt out before reading if that’s something they’re incredibly not into. So if that’s you, maybe leave now?

 

Welcome all. Let’s kick this off. I’ve got coffee and oatmeal on hand and I’m ready to answer some questions. Also if people are only here to lurk, that’s fine too.

Q: Did you guys do the smoochies?
A: We definitely did the smooches.

Q: What motivated this male date?
A: It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a while. It’s not my first sexual experience with another guy, but I’ve been curious/interested for a while and wanted to see how I felt with a more one on one encounter. I’ve taken my time and checked in with myself over what my comfort levels were, what kind of experiences I was looking to have, and figured now was a fine time. Plus I had two days off, so lots of down time.
Q: How long did you converse (online or in-person) before getting physical?
A: Maybe a few hours. He’d messaged yesterday at around 2am, and yesterday I was actively interested in having a hookup. I messaged him back around 7pm, and we chatted a little about expectations, what we were both into, etc. He said to come over around 11pm, and he was a mere 500 metres away from home. I appreciated the convenience most of all.

Q: Also how did you find the overall Grindr experience? Was it hard to connect with someone?
A: Grindr is fucking nuts. People will lead with dick pics, and be very straightforward about what they’re looking for. That part is actually fantastic, it cuts through so much admin type stuff and gets right to it. I didn’t feel bad about rejecting or not replying to people, because I knew they’d be fine and it’d be easy for them to meet others. I’m sure this experience is probably pretty familiar for women on dating sites, but it was very new for me. Over 500 profile views in 24 hours, upwards of 60 messages.

Q: Did you learn anything new about yourself through this experience?
A: Honestly, it really reaffirmed that I’m a natural switch. I had this idea that I wanted subby experiences with guys, and yet during the experience I had to try really hard to reel myself back from taking charge. I also had some misguided idea that I’d be fundamentally different after the experience, but I was very surprised at how nothing whatsoever changed. I’m the same me I always was, and the thought of how vehement people are about homosexuality is fucking absurd. Like, I’d already stuck stuff in my butt before, it’s not like I’m at all a different person now.

Q: What drew you to this person over any others?
A: Firstly, they lived very close, and that was convenient. But also they listed stuff in their profile that I was interested in. Dom, well hung, they were attractive, and through our conversation it was evident that they were interested in having an experience where both of us would be comfortable and could have fun. I chatted with other people (and was close to doing something on Monday), but the guy couldn’t be bothered leaving his place to meet up in public first. With this guy, I felt comfortable enough to just go straight over to his place.

Q: How open were you with your date about the experience you were looking for, and how was it received?
A: I was entirely open. I told him I was bi/pan and partnered, that I’d had a handful of experiences with guys over the years, but I’d never taken a physical dick in my butt. I told him that I’d probably be a little bit of a newbie and might need to go slow with some stuff. He was A-Ok with all that. It was also kind of great knowing that this was a disposable experience. We both put out the stuff that we were interested in, kind of cross checked the lists and went “great, now we know the stuff each other wants”, and that really helped make the experience more gratifying. Zero pretence.

Q: What was your favorite moment(s)?
A: So there was this moment I was sitting on him. Feet up on the bed, shaft all the way in and I started giggling. He asked me what was up. I replied that there was this thing that happens with farmers and cows. If farmers need to give cows medicine, they do it rectally. They shove their whole arm right up in there. Now, if the cow farts, the muscles of its rectum all tighten up and break the farmer’s arm, and that was all I was thinking about right then. But luckily I didn’t need to fart.

Q: What was the dick like?
A: Bigger than me, that’s for sure. Long shaft, slightly curved. Very nice dick.

Q: Did you just use the free app or did you get the upgrades?
A: Dude, I still torrent. There’s no way I’m paying for an app. Free all the way.

Q: I know that you had met specifically for the hookup, but did you do anything outside of sexual activity (e.g. Netflix, video games, etc.). If so, was it enjoyable or awkward?
A: We were mostly there for the sex, but took breaks every once in a while. After we were all done, he’d cum and we were both exhausted, we laid back and listened to some music. He played this R&B artist Emily King who I’m listening to right now. It was nice. We did that for maybe ten minutes, then I got dressed and went. It was a nice experience, but I certainly didn’t feel any romantic connection and that was okay. He was kind, respectful and patient, and I couldn’t have asked for more.

Q: So you had anal? Was this new, or have you had it before (pegging, solo toys, etc.)? Was it stressful letting a stranger put it in your butt?
A: Anal was new for me. I have toys, but nothing huge. I’d never done it with an actual boner before. I was straight up and told him, also saying that if I really wasn’t into it, I’d just suck him off or something. He was great at easing me in, starting with fingers. He did one, two, three, and gradually opened me up, checking in that it was okay at each stage. I smoked some weed beforehand, hoping that it was relax me enough to enjoy it, and it helped a bunch. It wasn’t stressful, but it was intense and different getting used to unfamiliar sensations. A number of times I gave him a double tap and we paused for as long as I needed.

Q: Did you strictly bottom and assume more of a subby role for this encounter? You didn’t switch with each other throughout? The ol’ swapparoo?
A: I was strictly interested in the bottom/subby experience, and he wasn’t interested in the alternative anyway. We didn’t switch, For me, the idea of status play is fun, and it kind of feels like acting. Getting into a character and going with it. I had thought that maybe it would spark something in me, and afterwards I’d be like “oh this is what I was missing”. It wasn’t that life changing. I like subby stuff, and maybe it’s taught me that I’d be interested in incorporating more femdom into my sex life, but I also like taking control and giving back, and I think I just learned that it’s more of a contextual, experienced based thing for me. Plus, I’m naturally a helper, and it’s easier for me to focus on others’ pleasure than my own. Always.

Q: What is their (first) name? What did they look like? What did they smell like? What did you like most and least about a) their appearance, b) vibe, c) personality d) interests?
A: I’m terrible with names. I asked it twice, then instantly forgot each time. I honestly don’t know what his name is. He was a taller guy, soft feminine features. Not muscular, but more cuddly? Black guy, short hair and no facial hair. I have virtually no sense of smell, so I don’t remember what he smelled like. It meant a lot to me that he was kind, and willing to go at my pace. He was a touring musician, so it was pretty cool to hear a little about that, and listen to music afterwards. We honestly didn’t spend a ton of time not having sex though?

Q: How does he identify? Gay? Bi? Pan?
A: Gay, definitely. We didn’t talk a bunch about it, but it sounded like he had a bunch of casual partners, some more serious, and really enjoyed being able to have experiences.

Q: Did you talk about safe sex practices prior to doing it? i.e. testing, condom use, safewords, whatever else?
A: We did! We started off on the app talking about what we’d like to do to each other, sexual interests, etc, and getting each other warmed up. Then I was like: Sidebar, let’s get the boring admin stuff out of the way. Have you been tested, do you have anything I should be aware of? Or tension points for me to consider? Are you good with me giving a double tap every now and again if I need to pause or slow down? Condoms were a non-negotiable, and he was in for that.

Q: But was the dick PINK?
A: It was naaaaaaught, but I guess I answered this one further up.

Q: Did you not come?
A: I didn’t. This isn’t an anomaly for me. It usually takes me a while with a new partner before I do (though not always), and part of that is comfort and easing into the experience. I also lean pretty demisexual, so romantic interest is kinda important in having more gratifying encounters. Which I guess begs the question of why I’m looking for casual hookups? In a way, it’s research. I’m interested in finding out what kind of stuff I like. I don’t know if I’m romantically interested in guys, if I just like cock or being dominated, or if I do like guys romantically, but the puzzle pieces haven’t come together yet, and these experiences will help me put together a picture of what I would like my experiences outside cis women to be. I’m open to it, I’ve got zero shame around the idea, but I want to figure out what I’m into before diving in headfirst.

Q: How long was it from arriving at the house to doing it? How long was the doing it?
A: There was very little pretence. Maybe 3 minutes between walking into his room and getting down to stuff. I told him I wanted to smoke some weed first. I stripped down to my underwear, he invited me onto the bed. We made out and felt each other up a bunch. Then I was like “pause, I’d like to have that smoke now” so I did, then we got back to it. The overall experience was about two hours with short breaks.

Q: Were you hard while you were bottoming?
A: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It varied, and wasn’t consistent. I honestly haven’t figured out to what degree I like penetration. At first it wasn’t so much painful, but getting into my head and telling myself to relax. That these sensations were new, and I was safe. We took probably a solid ten minutes to go from the tip to the shaft going in all the way. It was very intense and new, it felt better as we went on, but never to a point where I was like “oh this is fucking great and my new favourite thing.” It was more a feeling of “oh shit, there’s a very intense, non-painful but non-pleasurable sensation, and it’s distracting me enough that I can’t enjoy the pleasure part of this equation.” So not bad, but still an experience I have to work on, to see how much I enjoy it.

Q: Anticipating anal, did you do any particular prep (different cleaning, diet, etc)?
A: So the day before, when I was anticipating having an experience, I used a little douche bulb at home beforehand. Then nothing eventuated. Yesterday I was thinking about it, but also thinking more about the fact that we needed eggs, bananas and cottage cheese. So I went to the supermarket instead of douching, and hoped that wasn’t taboo. The part where this gets very interesting, is that we talked about whether or not he subbed. He said that he didn’t, he was so so on the experience and moreover, he didn’t want to have to eat a sub’s diet. I was like PLEASE TELL ME MORE. And he was like well, subs typically have a super high fibre diet to keep themselves flushed out. I was like ZOMG, I’ve had a subby diet for years and didn’t know it. So it turned out I was naturally flushed out enough that douching wasn’t necessary.

Q: Are strap-ons of interest to you now?
A: I’ve used strap ons before, but not much. I do like the idea, but part of this process is unravelling comfort levels and understanding what I’m okay asking for. I think for a long time, there’s been an innate element of shame and confusion surrounding asking to be dominated by women. I’ve found that in hetero sexual connections, there’s an assumption that the guy will take charge or be dominant, so it’s been hard to get the gumption up to ask for the alternative without feeling like maybe it’ll change the way I’m seen, or lead to a loss of respect from my partner. Dumb stuff that happens when you soak up years worth of mainstream societal rhetoric and 90s gay panic jokes. I like oral stuff a bunch, and it turns out this goes for all genders.

Q: Was he funny?
A: Nope. Personality wise, I can’t imagine why we’d hang out otherwise. I certainly didn’t feel any kind of connection, and it felt transactional, but compassionate.

Q: Did you like that it was a purely sexual experience? You’ve described yourself as demi before but this sounds like a straight up raw dog (with protection).
A: It was a very refreshing experience to have zero pretence. We sorted out the ballpark of what we wanted over Grindr, then turned up and did the sex. I think that having a personal connection is important to my sexual experiences, and I imagine that most of my Grindr hook ups may be unsatisfying to an extent because of this. At the same time, I’m using it as research to hopefully figure out what I like, then seek that out once I’ve got a better idea.

Q: Is there a spreadsheet available of said Mr. Sub diet?
A: I haven’t released my celebrity diet regime yet. But basically for breakfast every day I have oatmeal with added banana, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, nutritional yeast and peanut butter. Lunch is often tuna and crackers with an apple. Dinner is steamed veggies (cabbage, broccoli, carrots) with cottage cheese, two eggs and kimchi.

Q: What was that gag reflex tip you mentioned a while ago?
A: I totally thought about that when I gagged once or twice. So the tip that I read on the internet (and like, weirdly works) is to grab your left thumb in your right fist and squeeze for 14 seconds. I don’t even know if the left/right thing is important, but it’s weird how well it works.

Q: Would you do it again (with the same person or with a different person)?
A: I’d do it again. It’s definitely not something that I’m like “shit, I need to organise as many hook ups as possible”. If it took a week, a month, six months to have another one, I’m not bothered. I feel thankful that I’m secure enough in myself, with my community and friends, and in a supportive relationship whereby I can take this at whatever speed I choose. As I said, the guy was very nice, but I don’t know if the vibe was precisely what I was looking for. At this stage I’m looking to explore and figure stuff out, so I’d rather meet more people and try different things. I don’t think he’s necessarily expecting a follow up, but said I was welcome to drop him a message any time if I wanted to fool around. Who knows? If I find that I have a real taste for it, maybe I’ll message him again.

Q: Were you worried you’d show up and he would be not-cute, or have a bad personality?
A: Somewhere between half to not at all. I was excited about the experience. We’d sent pictures beforehand, and worked each other up a little. I feel super privileged to have an amount of imbued confidence, being a guy and having that physical stature to be able to take care of myself. I had no qualms that if at any point something didn’t feel right, if I wasn’t into it/him, or a boundary was crossed, that I would get dressed and walk at the drop of a hat. Plus I was close to home, so the stakes were so so low.

Q: Would you recommend Grindr as an option for people who are looking to experiment/explore?
A: I would. I was surprised at how straightforward the process was. As someone who’s done a ton of online dating and is used to sending maybe 15 unique messages for every one I get returned, it was incredibly flattering to be desired and a little objectified. It was also a little overwhelming. Every time you sign in, people see that you’re online and you get a flood of messages. It felt very easy to dismiss people without worry. If someone showed interest and I was like “oh, I like the look of them”, I could respond, but there was no necessity over it. I also think it’d be helpful for me to do a post asking for advice, safety tips etc. Before the experience I got in touch with a good friend and asked them if they’d be okay if I used them as a safety person. If I was in a scenario I felt a little cagey about, could I let them know where I’d be, and get in contact if I needed help or support extricating myself. I didn’t message said friend about it last night, because I felt pretty good about the experience going in.

Q: Did you put your dicks in each other’s dicks.
A: Negative. There was dicking, but no docking.

Q: Do you like sucking dick?
A: I do. As I said above, I’m naturally a helper. I really like facilitating pleasure, and it’s super gratifying to see someone’s eyes roll back, or feel their body respond. Sucking dick kind of makes me feel slutty, in a way that eating pussy doesn’t. That’s a fun experience in itself. It does feel like there’s a lot more you can do with a pussy, more ways to be creative, but maybe that’s just because I’m more used to it. I tried bringing a bunch of that in, playing with tempo, sensations, different parts of the cock, etc. So I think I like the way sucking cock makes me feel, but I find it far more fun to go down on pussy. Who knows? It’s still a new experience for me.

Q: What was the mood of the sexy time, did you have fun banter and laughing, or was it intense and passionate, or was there nice dirty talk, etc?
A: It varied. It never felt like the experience was too intense that I wasn’t in control. Physically it alternated between intense and tender. I think I would’ve liked him to be a more vocal dom/top, and that would’ve lifted the experience. It felt easier doing dirty talk, which I sometimes struggle with, because the encounter felt more disposable. I feel like with partners who I have social connections, I’m hesitant to push into too many new areas too quickly, because of a worry that this might fundamentally alter people’s comfort levels within the friendship/relationship. Not having that strata surrounding it made it a lot easier to ask for what I wanted, which was gratifying. I didn’t feel passion, which made me feel slightly distant from the encounter.

Q: Did he laugh when you mentioned the farmer cow thing?
A: He did, but it also felt like my sense of humour was very different from his, so there wasn’t really back and forth banter in the manner that would make an experience super gratifying for me.

Q: After this experience do you feel like you could date a guy?
A: Not right away. I don’t have any objections or qualms to dating guys, but I think I need a better understanding of what it is that draws me in first and what I’m attracted to. It’s kind of turned around the way I look at things, and now I need to recalibrate to better understand what I seek. Full disclosure, kissing is super important to me in a relationship, and I’ve never had a kiss with a guy that I’ve enjoyed much. Like, sure, I’ve been with women who were average kissers, but most guys so far haven’t kissed the way I like.

Q: “After this experience do you feel like you could date a guy?” Is it a style thing or is it that you don’t feel that intense attraction in the same way?
A: I’m definitely attracted to guys, but not in the same way. It’s more of a sexual thing, and it’s probably that I haven’t reframed paradigms enough to see guys as valid romantic partners. It may come with time, or maybe I won’t. I’m happy for things to work themselves out eventually, in whatever way that manifests. I’m still exponentially more attracted to women, but it seems really myopic, knowing that I am attracted to guys, not to act on it. The biggest credit here comes to the years and years of protest and defiance from the queer community, plus the company I keep. Non-hetero connections have been normalised to the extent that it seems stupid not to act on them if I have an interest. I don’t lose anything of myself by doing so, and that’s a hell of a freedom/privilege.

 

I might call it there folks. I’ve gotta have a shower and get ready for work. This has been fun, and I sincerely hope y’all have gotten a kick out of it, sated curiosities of experiences you’re not necessarily looking for yourself, or emboldened you to examine the experiences you’d like to have and recalibrate for yourself. It was fascinating for me, and I’m very happy to share that with others. Also ever thankful for the endless support I get from friends and my partner that have enabled me to delve into new things without feeling pressure, stress or shame. That’s a big fucking deal, and I’m very lucky to have it. It’s 2020, y’all.

Are we gonna elect The Rock or are we not?

How am I supposed to get anything done today?

It’s impeachment day. I’m not a dummy. I know that nothing will happen, but that doesn’t make me not want to watch. There’s something about this kind of political theatre that works on a visceral level. Every now and again, a democrat will say something tantamount to a Sorkin line, and there’s a stirring inside me. The republicans fall back on the same talking points, evasive bullshit and straw man arguments. Republicans repeatedly shout “WHERE IS THEIR EVIDENCE?” despite the fact that all of Trump’s cabal (y’know, the people who perpetrated these crimes?) refused to show up as witnesses. They point out specific wordings in The Transcript that underline the president wasn’t talking about himself, he was talking about the country, despite the fact that the transcripts were not a carbon copy of the conversation, they were cobbled together from memory afterwards. They create their own stupid metaphors, then quote themselves as experts based on the metaphors they created. They call the impeachment process a partisan farce concocted by democrats who have no capacity to hear out the evidence first. Yet the republican side had all decided to vote no going in. The process is partisan for sure, and I’ll give that it’s a farce, but primarily because the president and his party have specifically stacked the justice system with biased judges. The whole system is a farce, with this party showing the cracks in a broken framework. No, it’s not a crime because he got caught, it’s a crime because it was committed.

I dunno. Everything to do with the Trump campaign is shameless, and I wonder whether true red Trump voters understand how the rest of the world views them. Just total worldwide condemnation and disbelief. It’s obvious that Trump is an unhinged madman who sought the office as a big ad for his brand, then lucked into winning. Since taking office, he’s blatantly used the office for his own gain, and made a mockery of the notion of democracy. He’s constantly touted the splendour of his cabinet, then fired everyone who’s disagreed with him. As soon as they’re gone, he turns both cheeks and shits on them. He talks in stream of consciousness pulled entirely from half-thoughts and lies. He makes up things constantly, and in a world where fact checking has lost its efficacy, it’s working for him. It’s totally insane that we’re here in a post truth reality, and a reality star with dementia sits in the biggest seat in the world.

Trump’s rallies seem the perfect reflection of his governance. He’s a total narcissist who’s obviously been surrounded by yes men his entire life. He can’t handle criticism one iota, so he lashes out at anyone who doesn’t grovel and bow. I read a great post recently talking about how Trump attacks others for his own fears. I don’t like to punch down, but still, let’s not mince words. Trump may hold the highest office in America, but he’s a low status person through and through. Trump is a feeble, shambling dissolving corpse. There is no shame whatsoever in ageing or bodies breaking down over time, yet he’s utterly ashamed of how life has taken its toll. He has the posture of a candy cane, and he thinks people don’t notice the back brace structure he wears publicly. He refuses to release his actual physical check up results, because like everything else, he refuses to take responsibility or ownership over anything negative. He’s a multi-bankrupted businessman who I assume would think nothing of bankrupting the United States. His mind has been dissipating for years, and increasingly so since he’s taken office. He believes his own thoughts to be fact, instead of learning evidence and making up his mind. He’s not a critical thinker, or even a thinker at all. He’s a naked emperor who will only surround himself with supplicants. He’s a snivelling, spineless amoeba for foreign dictators and powerful men. He admires that they hold decisive qualities and conviction he never will. He punches down constantly, and mocks the vulnerable. He’s never had to really face consequences, and it shows in his utter lack of character. He’s a sad, lonely man who has never been sincerely loved, and he’s taking it out on the United States. He’s a creepy, decrepit sack of decaying flesh and loose grey matter, and it’s totally unreal that he’s able to spread his politics of fear, division and hatred to a country that’s becoming increasingly defined by those tensions.

Sure, impeach the motherfucker, but it’s not gonna get him out of office.

Oh fuck no. England why?

In the ultimate quelle surprise, former PC Party leader Andrew Scheer was found to be funnelling party funds into paying for his kids’ private schooling.

Of course party members are feigning utter surprise and outrage. It’s not like someone in the party had to authorise those cheques. It’s not like they’re all refraining from embezzling funds. Does Fiscally Conservative mean “afraid to spend your own money”? I’m sure if it wasn’t for the grifts, these vultures wouldn’t be in government. It differs very little from Ford trying to get the party to foot the bill for his brand new vehicle, complete with fridge and flat screen tv. The thing is, they’re only gonna feel remorse once they’re publicly outed. I have zero doubts (despite the URL) that it’s common knowledge and practice across parties. The Liberals will no doubt be taking advantage of the system just as much in their own ways.

I was preparing my vape the other day, grinding up weed, funnelling it into the chamber. I thought to myself what a simple action it was. How easy the weed was to procure now that it’s legal. I thought of the process of legalisation, how it seemed so daunting and now it’s barely a footnote. Nobody really cares. I imagined it’d be a major societal shift, but it hasn’t been whatsoever. I thought back to the generations of people whose lives have been destroyed by incarceration. Children whose parents have been stripped from them. The legacy of jail and its knock on effects. The amount of poverty these unnecessary sentences have created, while its victims have provided labour for the state. For what? And why? A meaningless war on drugs that’s done exponentially more damage to society than the substances themselves. Have Canadians incarcerated for weed related offences been pardoned yet? How many are still hanging around in the system for actions that are no longer criminal? It’s fucking sickening to see already affluent white people being hailed as entrepreneurs for building businesses atop the bones of minority enterprises. Especially while Ontario’s system is reduced to a rigged lottery. The fucking gall. So it goes.

The sad thing is, nothing will change. The play book aids those who play by its rules, and so often those who play by the rules are the ones who make them. Did you realise there was another massive Panama Papers style leak of the world’s wealthiest creating offshore accounts to avoid paying tax? You know what’s gonna happen? The same thing that did first time around. Nothing. If you have enough money, you’re invincible. You have influence, if the laws aren’t on your side, you can change them. Will Zuckerberg suffer for Facebook’s role in election tampering? Of course it won’t. Will they be forced to change their policy on lies in political advertising? Definitely not. Will this towering conservative tide of dispassionate austerity cease? Why would it? There’s a rich an powerful worldwide cabal of ghouls funnelling money into lobbying, and pissing on the status quo for anyone below a certain pay grade. Big oil has its hands in the pockets of conservatives pushing an anti-climate change agenda, and we will all suffer for it. Oh, and Trump is now trying to classify Jews as foreigners, which I’m sure will only stoke the flames of intolerance more. If England falls to the Tories, we’re fucked.

We’ve almost finished another trip around the sun. Who’s ready for a revolution?

Get fucked, Jack Astors. That was my main point

I read this article today.

If you’re too lazy to click, it details how an immigrant family moved to Toronto 50 years ago with $48 in their pockets. They just made the single biggest donation to Scarborough Health Networks in their history. I technically saved you the click, but the first paragraph spells all that out in a more concise and orderly fashion. Weirdly, my first thought went to anti-immigrant sentiment. Very little makes my blood boil like anti-immigrant rhetoric. Most of us immigrated at some stage along our family’s history. At what point does “I got mine” and refusing new entrants become acceptable? In my mind, it doesn’t. Look, I openly admit that I know nothing about managing immigration on a national scale, but I will go to my grave convinced that inviting a myriad of cultures into the fold always does more good than harm.

Sure, I have Canadian citizenship, but for all intents and purposes, I may as well be an immigrant. I came from another country never having lived here before. I’ve gone through my share of culture shock. There have been things I’ve acclimated to, and others I’ve shunned in favour of preferred practices I came with. I’ve shared elements of my country’s culture with others. Mostly, like Marmite and Pineapple Lumps, they’ve been middling successes. Still, I love inviting others to enjoy the things I adored about my upbringing. I’ve been working, and contributing to the economy. I’m now in a position where I feel like I’m providing a service that helps people, and that makes me happy. There are a ton of misgivings I do have about Canada. It’s very conservative and stuffy in a lot of ways. There seem to be layers of needless bureaucracy in many areas. Banking lags considerably behind the systems back home. It’s insane that we’re still in a First Past the Post system in 2019, and the political system seems shambolic, ripe for the populist style of right wing government that’s been plaguing the world in recent years. There’s a weird reverence that people seem to have for big box US stores and chains, which is kind of worrying. Toronto’s gentrification is accelerating at a rapid rate, with the youth and artists being pushed out of the city. Things are becoming homogeneous, safe and boring.

At the same time, imagine how this place would be without immigration. One of the best things about Toronto is that it’s rife with wonderful cultural neighbourhoods. If I want to get Ethiopian (and when do I not?), there are 3-5 places within a 15 minute walk of me. There are Greek, Italian, Portugese, Indian, Korean and Chinese clusters of places, which all have their own delights. People care about their culture, and it’s awesome to see/explore. If not for immigration over the years, I imagine Toronto would be all glass towers, Jack Astors and Second Cups. It would be the soulless mire that Tory/Ford seem so intent on fostering.

Immigrants bring innovation. They have new, refreshing ideas. Everyone has different ways of doing things, and that’s a help, not a hindrance. Learning more about other cultures only strengthens us all. It’s not just about trying delicious food (though personally, that’s huge for me), we’re far better off with diversity. Sometimes immigrants feel lonely, and seek to maintain their own culture. It makes them feel safe and secure. I’ve heard a lot of bullshit when in Rome rhetoric from people saying they should just acclimate to the Canadian way of life. Are the people saying this making an effort to welcome these newcomers? Make them feel like they belong? Are they trying to explore these new cultures? Or are they entrenched in the misguided idea of their own cultural superiority, and refusing to look outside it?

We all have so much to learn from one another, and hate cannot survive empathy. Diversity has only ever enriched my life, and I implore everyone to seek it out where they can.

Get enough change and you’ve got yourself some dollars

Life has been a little different for me lately.

I’ve written a bunch about my shift work and how that’s changed my day to day. Working fewer hours, having blocks of four days off at a time. I think it’s what work/life balance is meant to resemble. For me, it’s eased an incalculable amount of stress. It’s a very big deal, and it’s straight up made my life better. The other part of the equation is money. I’m earning more money, and it’s incrementally showing me just how many ways in which low income earners stack inconveniences and hardships atop each other. Nothing revolutionary, I’ve just been blind to it.

A very obvious outcome is that I’ve bought a lot of things lately. I’m not even talking toys, but upgrades to things in my life that’ve fallen into disrepair or at least diminished efficacy. I’ve been keeping this note on my phone listing things I need, and things I want. I hadn’t checked in a while, but looking yesterday, I crossed three or four things off. My bike has been repaired and maintained. It has all the necessary safety gear. I bought a new mp3 player to replace my dead iPod. I replaced my five year old speakers that often only played from one channel. All of this took money. If I hazarded a guess, I’d say I’ve probably spent over a grand since changing jobs, just on little life upgrades. Consequently, things have been more convenient, enjoyable, I’m stressing less about constant negotiations and workarounds, and it’s easing tensions in my life. All of these things cost money and time for research, they’re paying off.

Here’s an example. I was in the kitchen this morning. I had my mp3 player in hand, Bluetooth earbuds in. I turned on a track, and my girlfriend asked me to fill a bottle of water for her. I obliged, put down the mp3 player, grabbed her bottle, filled it, and handed it back. I then picked up my mp3 player and carried on my merry way. If this sounds unremarkable, it both is and isn’t. It’s not even an ad for Bluetooth technology. It’s a minuscule convenience in one small moment. I could easily and quickly drop what I was doing. I didn’t have some bulky player connected to a think tangle of wires, that I’d then have to cram into a pocket so it could move with me, or otherwise put down the entire thing. As long as my player was within a certain radius I didn’t even need to drop what I was doing to do something else. I accomplished a tiny tiny task with virtually no effort. I had more capacity to do things, because the task was simplified by a slight degree. It’s very unlikely to be the last time I have a similar convenience, and this is just one device. I’ve improved a host of tools in my life lately, and each of them make a multitude of things better. It’s an exponential growth in my quality of life, and money made it possible.

I very much don’t think my message here is “let’s all hoard wealth and live easier”. What I’ve noticed, is that money eases burdens, and the difference between easing these burdens is not as costly as you’d think. What did I say I’d spent? $1000 or so? In the grand scheme of things, $1000 is not much, but it’s helping me navigate life more fluidly. How many people couldn’t afford to spare that $1000 for unnecessary, but nice things? If $1000 can help, what could $2000 do? How much easier would that make some people’s lives? $5000? $10,000? It shames me to say it, but $10,000 does not seem like a significant amount of money when we’re talking about totally changing someone’s life. For some people, that’s just a portion of what they’d spend on a desired extravagance. How much does a new high end car cost? A lot more than $10,000.

I’m not especially wealthy, and if I lost 10,000 I’d be frustrated, angry maybe. However, it wouldn’t significantly change my life. I’d still be able to afford my everyday costs. I’d have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, clothing to take care of me over the winter months. It wouldn’t heavily impact future needs. I certainly wouldn’t be destitute. For others, $10,000 could totally change their lives. It would turn things upside down, ease stresses, and help prevent compound stresses. They have a habit of stacking up, where one thing impacts another, which has a knock on effect to other areas. Problems create more problems, and the fewer problems you have, the fewer problems you will have. Sure, mo money mo problems, but there’s a large threshold before money really starts becoming a problem. $10,000 isn’t it.

So if $10,000 wouldn’t really impact my life, what about people who do earn a lot of money? What about billionaires? If Bill Gates gave away $100,000,000,000, he’d still have $7,000,000,000. That’s 10,000,000 allotments of $10,000. That’s ten million families whose lives could be eased, and he’d still have more money than most could spend in a lifetime. The only reason I’m picking Gates in this example is because his net worth recently came up in public conversation. I’m not saying Gates should be giving money directly to people (there’s probably a way to make that money have an even higher overall yield for public good), but it’s a simple example. One person could make ten million people’s lives easier. That’s massive.

Money is a lot of things. There were probably ten thousand paths this entry could have gone down. This was only one. All I know is that my path forward has been made a lot easier lately, and it didn’t take much.