Want not waste

I think it’s a widely accepted assumption that having more money doesn’t make you a better person.

I don’t have a ton of money and I’m not a good person. Like, I have more money than some, I’m definitely not complaining about what I have. I’ve got more than enough cash to support the hobbies and desires I have. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think there’s a direct correlation between the cash you have and how well you treat others. If I had more money I’d probably just get better groceries (fancier cheeses), go on nicer holidays and maybe care a little bit less about buying that extra drink out at the bar. Perhaps I’d upgrade things once they wore down instead of continuing to use a product well after its efficiency had peaked. In short, I’d very likely be more wasteful than I am now. I’m not advocating for waste. I think humans are ruthlessly wasteful. I’d much prefer for resources to be readily available to those who needed them instead of me overeating instead of throwing things out. Restaurants are a hotbed of food waste and it fucking sucks. I mean, wait, I lick my plate, it’s not my problem.

Joking, obviously. As much as none of this is a joke, I have a deep seated desire to hear about just how wasteful those with means can be. I want to hear how bad it gets. What’s the extent of total disregard for property and personhood? The further you rise beyond the unwashed masses, the harder it has to be for people to remember what that was like, right? If you’re not dealing with everyday issues, you forget that those issues exist. Little as I’d like to humanise the fithy rich, I understand where that mentality comes from. Every now and again I forget people in my life. I dunno, someone I went on a date with or a friend I had early on in my Toronto life. Then a memory will pop up on Facebook and I’ll be like oh that’s right. She was a former pro dom and current primary school teacher who vanished when I went to the bathroom. I certainly can’t fault her reasoning. I’m sure rich people forget that fax machines exist every now and again or that someone once gave them a kidney.

How bad does it get once most people become numbers just like everything else. Are there rich people who abandoned a car because they’d had a couple of drinks and couldn’t be bothered getting a dial a driver? Or paid for a hotel room and decided to not go instead? How much food do rich people order for decoration? Like, I’ve seen butter sculptures. Do they ever just order a lobster platter because the colours would make a pleasing backdrop to their suite? Are there pop artists who just don’t show up to concerts because they can’t be bothered? Let the publicists/promoters handle it? How many houses have rich people bought, not as investments, but just as somewhere to crash for the weekend? I’m not saying I’d be better than that. I had a flash in the pan idea of buying one of those Detroit $1 houses and going there to camp with friends for a weekend, then letting it rot. It was only when logic kicked in and I realised I’d have to pay property tax that I backslid. Not because I’d be denying squatters a legitimate pad.

Do rich people buy out movie theaters for themselves? Or fly around in planes like teenagers loiter in cars? Travel just to travel, with no destination other than the journey? A victory lap or something? Are there keurig machines in every room of every house (because of course rich people don’t actually have taste) because they once had a cup and liked it? How many unused pools exist just to sunbathe around? How many lavish feasts have been ordered through room service that go uneaten ’cause they’ve had too many drugs and ruined their appetites? Don’t even get me started on champagne spraying. Man, rich people are shitbags.

I just wanna know how bad they really are. I’m sure it’s worse than I could imagine.


It’s not the length of the wave…

I used to spend my summers mainlining music festivals.

It’s been a while, for no reason I can fathom. When I first got to Canada I started scoping out the festival lineups. For most of my time in NZ we just had one big festival. The Big Day Out. I went every year (since it was usually a day or two outside my birthday, it became a de facto gift), but always wanted more chances to catch an array of music in one day. I went to Lollapalooza with a friend in Chicago once and that kind of changed the scope. This was something larger with more potential than I’d dreamed of. Once I moved to Canada, I realised the density of large international acts was so much heavier. It was all I could’ve wanted. Then, strangely, I stopped going. It makes no sense.

My second day into Toronto I went to Grove Music Festival at Fort York Garrison. Sweet lineup. Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Phoenix and more. $30 tickets because Icona Pop cancelled last minute and some girl on roller blades no longer wanted to go. It was fantastic. The setting was an old historical garrison (hence the name), lush fields and some old brick buildings. Lots of colourful tents and food trucks set up, a couple of stages. The kind of place where people would bring kids and dogs. I saw some terrific music, crowdsurfed for the first time and met a good friend. Years later when I was writing for a food blog, I reviewed the food at Field Trip music festival, also at Fort York. Another stellar gig with a lot of Arts and Crafts label acts. Had an amazing time working with an ex who did the photography to my writing.

All of this was preamble to say that when my friend offered up guestlist spots to a festival he was shooting, I nigh offered up my hypothetical firstborn. It’d been too long and the opportunity cost was so low. Wavelength is a collective of artists that curate concerts throughout the year. They’ll have showcases and whatnot that give space for up and coming talent to be seen. In the case of Camp Wavelength (usually on the Toronto Islands), some names were less up and coming than established. Suuns, TOPS and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are all reasonably well known by now.

The gig had an awesome flow to it. Incredibly relaxed, nothing was in your face. You could flow between the stage and all the interactive art projects volunteers had set up. There were the aforementioned food trucks and tents, there was even a comedy campfire with Chanty Marostica, Aisha Brown and a few acts I didn’t manage to catch. At the music stage, Zaki Ibrahim and Maylee Todd both really stood out to me. Zaki had this kind of smooth and funky R&B, with talented backing singers. Maylee used a harp and a bunch of loop pedals. I’m a sucker for anything loop pedal-ly. It was fucking swell.

I hadn’t realised one of my friends was setting up a Mystic Dream Tent. Tarot readings, massage, etc. It was a cute cushioned tent and a great space to relax. I got to catch up with her and get my first ever tarot reading. In doing so, I realised something I’d never cottoned onto before. Tarot is just therapy. There’s this whole thing in therapy about how you’re not supposed to tell people their problems, rather you lead them to finding their own answers. The idea being that telling someone what’s wrong is nowhere near as effective as them coming to their own revelations. If they feel like they’ve figured it out on their own, they’ll take greater ownership over effecting a solution. In tarot, the symbols are used to put down broadly relatable metaphors. The reader gives a loose explanation of what they could be, then the subject scans their past and finds their own causal links. Having those metaphors helps the subject to infer what issues are within their lives and consider how to resolve them. It’s brilliant. It’s all basically a big madlibs where the subject fills in the gaps to make the story relevant to their life. In doing so, they work through internal conflict and find resolve. I can totally see how in cultures past, tarot would have taken therapy’s place in easing emotional trauma.

Now the question is, with summer dawning, what festivals are still left for me?

I didn’t manage to watch Before Midnight before midnight struck

I was uncommonly relaxed yesterday, so I did what I do every year or so: I watched Before Sunrise.

It’s a beautiful movie. I know I’ve definitely talked about it here before, but every time I watch it, the experience begs talking about. With each passing year I see different aspects of the film, draw new inferences from its dialogue based on renewed life experience. The film ages but its dialogue doesn’t, while I do and my perspective does. With each lap around the sun I’m delving further back into past experiences to relate. I love the film. It makes Vienna look magical, with this timelessness elegance to it. Young Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are gorgeous, and it’s so rewarding looking at how they age with each film in the trilogy. The lines and creases they earn, never dulling. The dialogue has this soft knife’s edge to it, in that they’re both skirting opposite sides of the same ideas but rarely aggressively. Opposing notions have space to breathe and co-exist. It’s a wonderful patter and, even if it seems like Linklater’s voice through two characters at times, it’s been curved enough by his writing partner Kim Krizan to not totally sound like Céline’s a male written female character.

Watching this film makes me doe eyed and wistful. I adore the film so much and with each viewing, lines come back that I’d long lost. I interpret others in all new ways. I ache to see Jesse and Céline come together and feel the tension of their parting in an almost physical manner. The film imbues me with wanderlust, so enamoured with the romantic notion of exploring an unfamiliar place, open to new experiences. It makes me want to vanish from the city and wander, to invite the creativity that rides tandem with the unknown back into my mind. When I travel my brain unhinges. There’s a freedom to a life without habit and it pays dividends. Living to a schedule is very helpful when you need to get things done, but I’m a different person when I travel, as most of us are. I see Jesse and Céline traipse through Vienna and I’m thrown back to my arrival in Canada, not knowing what excitement or life changing direction could be around any corner. Conversations with strangers in parks or trains leading to unforeseen experiences. Giving into the magic of chaos and trusting in fate. Sensible? Of course not. Romantic? Very much so.

I watch Jesse and Céline and see people I love, people I’ve loved. I notice aspects of some of my closest friends, mannerisms. I recall the way an ex laughed or tossed her hair. I think back to spontaneous romance in my past. I recall first dates that were greater than the sum of their parts. Vibrant and unexpected connections. Conversations that never seemed to end. I question what parts of myself live within both characters. I marvel at how Linklater and Krizan were able to craft such relatable characters, both of them. Not caricatures, but breathing evocations who leapt off the page and lived through the screen. I question my actions and wonder what if? Did I ever call it quits too soon? Should I have left earlier? What lives did I miss out on because of who I was at the time, not who I’ve become? Would I have become who I was without things turning out as they did? What culmination of chance had to come together to get me here? Who would I have been had I made one big choice differently?

Of course I watched Before Sunset too.

More like “cumtries”, because they’re a load of wank, geddit? Also, am I 12?

I’m in a pissy, unrelatable, First Year University Student mood. Blame coffee.

For some reason today I’m inexplicably mad that people think nations exist. They don’t. They’re just very popular memes. A “country” as we see it is a fictional concept. It’s a handy way of collectively grouping a series of people who settled on a landmass and then telling them what being part of that group entails. It’s all fabricated. It’s a very functional method of rallying people behind a cause or getting them to follow orders. Want people to go to battle for something imaginary? Tell them they’re fighting for nationhood. The enemy force? They hate your claim to your nationhood, so you should die to defend it. But wait, the enemy force is a cluster of individuals galvanised in the same manner, also fighting in the name of a fairy tale. That’s all it is. If you tell it often enough and in an impassioned enough manner, they’ll start to believe it. There’s no real reason why a person born in Canada would be innately polite. It’s a social construct. Just read Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities”. While we’re at it, gender and money are also fictional concepts that gained a lot of ground because they’re useful tools for controlling people.

I’ve always fucking hated the idea of nationality and patriotism. They don’t make any sense. I was born in New Zealand, so I was told that I had a natural connection to those around me. A shared consciousness. Why? Our heritage all comes from different places anyway. The only reason why any kind of collective identity exists in a hypothetical sense is because we’re told it does. We’re told that being a Kiwi means you like rugby or that if you’re a real American you have faith in a fucking gaudy piece of fabric emblazoned with stars and stripes. Why? If you hate flags, are you not a true American? Maybe you’re more into stonework than fabric or something. I don’t like sports, I’ve never lived on a farm, does that disqualify me from being a true New Zealander? It’s fucking insane.

Also while I’m on this tear, I can’t believe how long it took me to realise that “The Star Spangled Banner” is a fucking terrible national anthem. It’s a convoluted mess. The song is difficult to sing for those who aren’t exceptional vocalists. Why would that be appropriate for something that’s meant to be accessible to millions of people. Much like the majority of American culture it celebrates exceptionalism and individualism, while effectively telling anyone facing difficulty to go get fucked. If you can’t sing it, too bad. Guess you should’ve been born with a better voice. Oh, you don’t have the exorbitant amount of money necessary to pay for health insurance? I guess you just go bankrupt or die. Too bad. Oh, you can’t afford talented lawyers to defend yourself legally against the ill deeds of large corporations? Whoops, sorry. I guess you don’t have rights after all. Justice has a high barrier to entry.

The worst thing about all of this fictional nationhood bollocks is that it takes advantage of the needy and less fortunate. Of course it’s not the rich and powerful dying on the front lines or forfeiting their right to life and liberty over unpaid hospital bills. It’s those who don’t know any better laying themselves down for an ideal that’s only used to manipulate the powerless. It’s no wonder that American patriotism and Christianity are often so inexplicably linked. They’re archaic systems of control that lead the most vulnerable to follow the desires of those who aren’t.

Maybe I’m just bitter Laser Kiwi didn’t become the new NZ flag.

At this point, this project has basically become a second Facebook

Look, this is probably cheating, but I wrote this piece yesterday. I spent a really long time on putting together a rebuttal for a Facebook debate (it reads more like an essay) and I think I’m okay with posting it as my “today” piece. It centred around a Facebook friend’s “unpopular opinion” that being offended is a choice we make. That we should “grow stronger than any of your traumas and history and simply rise above it. Work towards better things.” That free speech should be fine up to the point where it causes violence. That hate speech, while disgusting and awful, should not be governed by hatecrime legislation. That people have the right to say whatever they want and face the consequences. I want to emphasise that I don’t think he’s a bad person in any way. I do, however, vehemently disagree with his opinion in this instance. I feel like I care strongly enough about it, that I want to have it publicly posted in this space. Here’s my response:


You’re right that I disagree with your unpopular opinion. The reason why I don’t think dealing with hate speech is as “simple” as choosing not to be offended, or growing stronger than your traumas and history, is because not everyone is you.

You’re a physically able, tall, straight white male. You’re very capable of taking care of yourself. People of course are able to threaten you, but it’s much less likely than it would be for some others. Threats of a sexually aggressive nature are unlikely to be as impactful to you as they may be to a physically smaller person who presents with varying gender or sexual orientation. People of course are still able to physically attack you, but it’s less likely that people would engage in violence against you for fear of reprisal.

Of course you have been threatened in your life. I’d argue that very, very few people have gone through their life without physical, verbal or emotional abuse. You also say that you’re a bouncer, which is a position that comes bundled with the potential of abuse. You enter into that situation knowing that it’s an outcome. There’s a level of consent there that says, while you don’t necessarily welcome it, you understand that it comes with the territory. You make that choice when you take on the job. What about people who don’t consent to facing abuse?

What about outside of your job. How often would you face bouts of abuse in any form? I’d wager that the frequency or incidence at which you face this abuse is exponentially lower than it would be for some others. How are you to gauge how hurtful and oppressive hate speech feels when you most likely very rarely face it? What about sexual threats? I’ve had numerous femme/NB friends tell me about the constant barrage of unwanted sexual attention. Sometimes it’s loud and frightening. There’s often a disparity in physical dominance. My girlfriend told me she got hit on four times the other day and it made her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. She said that wasn’t even a high number. What if that was happening to you every day, multiple times a day? What if sometimes the manner of the other person was so threatening that you were afraid for your life?

What if you were of some minority in a workplace where hate speech was allowed? What if the use of it by even one co-worker on the regular made you feel frustrated or hurt? What if it was multiple co-workers? What if your boss spoke to you like a lesser life form because of your cultural background? What if you felt threatened by this behaviour and felt unsafe in the workplace? What if people with higher status than you felt that it was okay to try and make you miserable on the regular? Sure, you could brush it off, swallow the pain and just go on with your life. It’s just work, right? What if it followed you home? What if you were being belittled in the supermarket or other social spaces? What if people decided they didn’t want you around and felt comfortable expressing that? What if there were just some bars and restaurants where you knew you’d be regularly harassed? Or parts of town? Would that be something you could “simply rise above”?

Look, I’m gonna pull the Jew card, not because I especially want to invoke Godwin’s Law, but because it’s relevant to my day to day and I think it might be a decent way of highlighting how it’s not as simple as being bigger than words. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a physically able, straight white male too. Still, when someone uses the word Kike, it makes me feel fucking terrible inside and out. It reminds me that there are a lot of people out there who think that I don’t deserve to live. That word reminds me that for a lot of people, my personhood, achievements, personality, deeds, friendships and romantic connections are less important than the fact that I’m of Jewish dissent and as such, would be better off dead. This transcends people not liking me, this is ‘you should be culled’ territory. These sentiments exist out there and I know it, but I’m not always reminded of them. Which is a good thing, because despite being a physically able straight white male, I know that if these sentiments were given enough support, I would be given cause for concern.

I rise above a lot of it. Whether it’s jokey comments reinforcing stereotypes or my culture thrown out as a casual disparaging epithet that remind me that for some people, a religion that I don’t even follow is a large component of how they view me. That for others, noticing that aspect of me is enough to want me to be killed. I’m not an incredibly sensitive person, (despite how it might sound from the fact that I’ve been pointedly debating for hours) I’m really not. For the most part I live my life without major issues or cause to feel threatened. I have a pretty positive outlook a lot of the time. I try to be a friendly person and kind to strangers. I truly believe that people are more often ignorant than malicious and as such, I try to assume the best of most people/outcomes.

Still, it’s very hard to hear some of the recent alt-right sentiment and not feel at least a sliver of doubt that, if given more weight or the wrong people running with the sentiment, the floor could cave out and society could turn on me. That the words could become more than just words and people could act on them. That it could reach the tipping point where more of society decides that violence against me is okay than those who oppose this idea. That the overwhelming sentiment is that I’m a lesser life form and I don’t have the right to personhood. That it’s like killing an animal or something. That I don’t deserve the same rights as others.

It’s very rare for me to feel this way, because it’s not often reinforced. People are discouraged against this kind of hate speech, so the rhetoric stays bubbling under the surface. How often do I feel this? Not often. Most days and months go by without the thoughts even entering into my head. In fact, they come up so infrequently that for the most part I can ignore them and brush them off. It’s because hate speech is discouraged that it’s 99.999% easier to choose not to be offended, as you say.

I have a ton of resilience. If I faced hate speech day by day, I don’t think it would be as easy to be as resilient. I think that if people openly used racist words against me day in and day out, that my resilience would crack and it would be harder and harder to not be offended. I would be reminded a lot more often that a lot of people would be quite okay with me taking a gas shower. That my family, too, should all be dead.

But because hate speech is widely condemned, I don’t have to deal with all of that.

I honestly don’t think that most people out there are antisemitic. I do think that hate speech has a habit of multiplying negative sentiment. I think that people who have no horse in this race could be swayed to follow the hateful rhetoric. I think that a lot of people with these extreme feelings would feel strongly enough about it that they would try to amplify hate speech into hate sentiment, that things that were just words would become more than just words. I feel like the absence of hatecrime legislature would not lead to situations in which it would be as easy to rise above and not be offended.

I can envision these scenarios being played out over a myriad of cultural/sexual/gender identities that don’t affect me, but I sure as hell don’t want others to have to face a higher likelihood of dealing with this kind of thing. That sounds like a lower quality of life for all of us.

All that discussion and not one “statues of limitations” pun? Maybe it is a sign of pending nationwide collapse

I got into a Facebook discussion(/argument) today about the removal of a Sir John A. Macdonald statue from the steps of city hall.

He was Canada’s first Prime Minister, a symbol of colonial rule and his tenure led to a lot of violence against the Indigenous population. A Facebook friend posted this article from its sculptor. One of the points that brought me into the discussion (among wider things) was this.

“I feel that we must know where we came from to understand where we’re going and why. Context is important. If we begin erasures of history through the sanitization of anything mildly distasteful to any one person from our public spaces, I feel it does more harm than good and could lead us to some truly dangerous ground.”

I responded.

Sure. At the same time, as we all evolve we get to choose which aspects of ourselves we choose to highlight. We decide what best represent who we are and were, right? When I was 16 I loved System of a Down. I was obsessed with them. These days they don’t resonate with me much. I’m not gonna ignore how into them I was. I’m not gonna go delete them from my ipod or pretend I didn’t listen to them on repeat for a few years. At the same time, I’m not gonna bring up how into them I was when I first meet someone new. Why would I? That’s not who I am now.

Throughout history, countries change and grow. Canada changed its flag and that’s now how its represented on the world stage. Does that stop the old flag from existing? Nope. But we’d rarely prominently display it, ’cause it doesn’t really showcase who we are now.

Part of progress is deciding what patterns make sense in a renewed context. Like you say, context is important. For some people, the statue represents an all consuming kind of colonialism that’s deeply upsetting or in some causes traumatising. Is that the state of mind they should be in when they’re entering city hall? To be confronted with those ideas/ideals before engaging in civic activity? Recognising that some people have those feelings, is it useful to have that kind of open display moving forward?

When you talk about slippery slopes and 1984, do you see this action as pretending this all didn’t happen? Because erasure of those notions would involve an all out inversion of Canadian society. I do agree with you that history has an important duty of reminding us of both successes and failures. The way I see it, getting rid of this statue doesn’t a) cause every other sign of the past to fail to exist or b) mean that we’re going to terraform the past to ignore it all going forward. In my opinion, it’s just easing a point of contention or stress for some people that struggle with it.

Would you have different feelings if they took the statue and put it in a museum instead of destroying it? Moving it to somewhere it could be observed by choice?

Discussion continued and another article about the sculpture removal was posted. I responded.


Like, if having a reminder of this dude is so important to you, draw a picture of him and put it on your fridge. Frame excerpts from books that mention him. Whisper the name of every former Prime Minister before you go to sleep each night.

What about the notion that we became a nation once Canada was formed, rather than immigrants taking over lands belonging to indigenous peoples? Is that historical erasure? What about landmarks around Toronto that had significance in the culture of decades past being systematically turned into Rexalls and condos devoid of local flavour? Is that historical erasure? What about constant gentrification pushing out the former residents of areas in favour of wealthier inhabitants? Is that historical erasure?

If one shapely piece of bronze displayed prominently in a public place was all that stood between history existing or not, would that really be a solid history worth preserving? How fragile is Canadian history? Should we all be worried?

Why is everyone so quick to jump into slippery slope arguments? That’s a slippery slope to believing that the world is totally without nuance and that we’re only a step away from a total collapse at all times. That’s simply not true and seems emblematic of the increasing divide between political orientations. The world is not black and white. There are so many colours and even shades of those colours.

Also why do people have such a fucking hardon for statues? They’re not that cool.


Of course, like all online discussions we just talked past each other and nothing of value was accomplished.

Back home there was a brand of boysenberry cider called “Boysencider”. I thought that was funny

My girlfriend’s going to Ottawa for two nights this week, so you know what that means… Boys’ Nights!

When I say Boys’ Nights, I more accurately mean Boy’s Nights. For this Boy, there will be two Nights in which I will have the house to myself and a cat. What will I do with this wild and crazy opportunity for madcap misadventures and silly shenanigans? I’ll probably go to the gym, come home for dinner, play some Magic and sleep with the bed to myself. Maybe I’ll even have a friend over to watch a movie. Call my unimaginitive, just don’t call me late to dinner. Because I’ll be making the dinner, so your plans will fail. Perhaps I’ll even put something in the Instant Pot so there are leftovers for future dinners. My girlfriend could even have some when she comes home. We have a freezer, time isn’t superbly limited on this whole leftover thing.

Are you disappointed at my lack of ambition? Honestly, the concept of a celebratory Boys Night Out seems kind of outdated in my life. Firstly, I don’t give a shit about the gender of who I’m hanging out with. If I enjoy their company, that’s good enough for me. Secondly, it’s not like I’m kept on a leash of sorts. My girlfriend and I live together and bed together, but it’s not like we spend all night waiting desperately for the other to get home. We hang out, but we’re also independent enough with both mutual and separate friends. Our schedules don’t always align and even when we’re home, sometimes we want to do different stuff.

The time worn “ball and chain” mentality has always fucked me off. I’m an independent guy, I don’t know that I’d last long with someone who wanted to exclusively hang out with me and not have their own interests. If I didn’t have a partner who made their own plans, I’d find it pretty tedious. We’d have nothing to talk about when we came back together (or after we “came together”, if you catch my drift). I don’t always even want to hang out with myself, let alone the same person. I need alone time and I need an assortment of friends to soak up on the regular. The only social constant I want is new and refreshing perspectives. It’s hard to get that when you’re perenially hanging out with the same folks.

If someone was enough of a drag to feel like they’d imprisoned you, why the fuck would you have married them in the first place? With a few harrowing exceptions, I’m going off the assumption that if you’re engaged, you’re probably an adult. Why “saddle” yourself with someone you create excuses to escape? That’s fucked up, right? DON’T MARRY THEM. You’re wasting their time and emotional energy until death/divorce does you part. That kind of makes you a piece of shit. Don’t be a piece of shit, don’t marry someone if you’re unsure. Personal preferences aside, it’s arguable whether marriage actually matters in this day and age beyond a symbolic gesture. I’m not knocking that gesture. Hell, I want to get married someday. I also don’t see a point in embarking along that path with a partner until it makes sense to do so? Weddings cost a lot of money and take time to plan. They’re fraught situations where many many strangers have many many opinions. Why get into that beleaguring morass with someone who you compare to a colonial incarceration tool? That seems like more than a mild oversight (if I’m being incredibly charitable) of sorts.

So yeah, big party for me. I might even put on some washing while she’s gone.