Dopen minded?

#ohcannada #marijuantario #torontoke #hightearonto #torontoreeferancelibrary #homeofthebluejays #hashhashtags

Honestly folks, I’m so old and out of touch that I initially had commas between each hashtags. I came out of my stupor quickly enough to realise. It’s the 17th of October and today marijuana was legalised in Canada. It’s an historic day, and having been at work for all of it so far, I’ve noticed not one difference. I don’t expect to leave the office and into a cloud of smoke. I don’t expect that the initial changes will be particularly drastic. I’m sure there’ll be people in parks ignoring the sub 10ºC temperatures and having a great time. I hope they all remember that while weed is no longer illegal, littering is still shit. I hope they have a blast, but responsibly.

Still, despite everything I just said, this is all kinds of wild. I’m not expecting drastic changes overnight, but I am expecting a bunch of subtle societal shifts. Firstly, I don’t really expect that there are that many grown ass adults out there who haven’t tried it before. We were all impressionable teenagers once, right? I never liked the stuff much as a teen, and to be honest it took a really long time to grow on me. I never knew what I was doing and always smoked too much. It’d leave me catatonic or paranoid and I’d have a terrible time. So I didn’t really do it that often.

I think this year was the first time I ever actually bought my own pot like a Real Adult. Even then, the rate at which I’ve been smoking has been altogether mild. I’m a light touch and don’t enjoy the experience if I’m too stoned to function. I tend to enjoy sativas or hybrids. Something to provoke the more creative parts of my brain instead of sinking into a comfy chair. I’ve definitely been smoking more often than I expected to, but I have been enjoying myself. It’s made some mundane tasks more tolerable. It’s been a nice way to unwind after a stressful day. The CBD strains have generally helped with feelings of mild illness or aggressive muscle pain. Also, as a frighteningly light sleeper, they’ve helped me rest a little easier at night. I’ve never been impaired at work, because I’m not an idiot. I couldn’t do my job high, so I’m not gonna try. I might not like what I do, but I at least respect that there’s an agreement that I’ll be sober while I do it.

It still feels weird though, this legality thing. I was looking on the government owned (!) OCS site to see what legally purchasing pot would look like. They have an assortment of strains to choose from. There are grinders and pipes and bongs, oh my. You can buy online and they’ll ship it to your door. It’s so surreal. You can smoke in parks or at any private residence. It’s hard to get past the notion that it’s all a trap. That it’s part of some elaborate Canadian bait and switch to fill the prisons with workers. I’m wondering how long it’ll be until the prison pardons are processed and those jailed for possession can be set free. So many condemned individuals being able to finally live a life that society robbed them of. It may be too little, too late, but it’s not nothing.

Tonight though? It ain’t a rainy day here in Toronto, but let’s just say that Bob Dylan was right.

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Oh fuck. This is a Drake song, isn’t it?

I’m Upset.

I got another job rejection. I know it’s not personal, but I’m taking it personally. I know it’s not about me, but it feels like it’s about me, y’know? It feels like if it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have this problem. I don’t think logic has any place in where I am right now. Logic would say that 200+ people apply for every position I apply for and only one person can be the right person. Logic would say that disappointment is inevitable for n-1 people where n=the number of people who applied. Logic would say this this is another singular disappointment in a series of singular disappointments. It doesn’t feel like a singular disappointment. It feels like a cumulative pile of failure in which I haven’t been the right person for anyone. That every time I’m not enough. Not experienced enough or talented enough or smart enough or capable enough. It feels like I’m coming up on several years of feeling at the very least low key bone deep miserable at all times and just kind of holding it together. This time feels different.

Logic has told me time and time again not to get attached, but I do. When I get an interview and the interview feels warm and responsive I get attached. I start thinking about what it could be like to meet new people in an all new department/workplace. To grow my skills and gain satisfaction in having done something well. To see progress and development in my own aptitude and confidence. To show myself that I am capable and bring value to the world with my output. When inevitably this doesn’t happen, I once again doubt all of the above. Logic tells me that I have value all of my own and I do bring something to the world in how I connect to others. It’s been a while since any of this felt logical.

I’m not logical right now. I’m Upset. “Capital U” Upset. I feel like I’m at a point of nothing. I’m 31 and I’m drifting, with no idea of what the future holds and zero assurance it’ll hold anything. I feel like any skills I had were honed almost ten years ago and my relevance has just been fading year by year. I know a fucking job doesn’t mean anything but it means something to me. I know the way I pay my rent doesn’t define me but I want it to, at least a little. Emotional as I am I know that even a dream job is still a job that sucks like any other job. I’m not asking for a dream job. If there’s anything the past ten years have taught me it’s to dream smaller. I’m just asking to do work that I can feel proud of, that makes people feel happy or understood in some way. That makes me feel like I’ve given something of myself. To feel like I’m connecting at least a little with others. I’ve long since known that money isn’t a motivator for me, but meaning is and I’m running on empty. I don’t know what I’m doing or why. I don’t know why I’m still trying. I’m scared that soon enough I’ll just stop caring and I don’t know what happens then.

Oh, I’ve had affirmations. That it’ll be my time next time. That something is right around the corner. That this wasn’t to be, but not to worry because something will come. That I am experienced enough and talented enough and smart enough and capable enough. Affirmations are great and all, but they don’t mean a thing unless I believe them and I don’t know that I do anymore.

I don’t know what the point of this is beyond venting, but I’m venting. Things feel pretty shit right now. They have for a while, but just that little bit more at the moment. I *know* that other people are struggling with worse problems, but I also know that doesn’t invalidate any of mine. I *know* that on a long enough timeline this won’t matter, but feeling shitty and worthless for years on end seems like a timeline that’s been long enough already. I’m so tired. I’m so tired of getting my hopes up and getting let down. I’m so tired of getting another deftly worded email that essentially tells me to go fuck myself. I’m so tired of putting energy out and feeling like I’m wasting my life. I’m so tired of swallowing my own disappointment day by day. I’m so tired of people telling me that things will just work out and both of smiling like either of us actually believe it.

I just kinda want to stop existing for a while.

And I know this too will fade. That everyone else feels this way a lot of the time. That we all feel shitty and worthless and like we’re not enough. That we feel like we’re just beating our heads against something, tasting our own blood and shrugging. That treading water is technically surviving, but it’s not a life. That there’s a piece missing that’ll make everything click, but its absense feels like a hole within ourselves. I know we all feel like this, but I’d kind of like to just not for once.

So for today, at least, I’m Upset.

It could be worse, people could be influenced by me

I feel old all the time. It happens with age, y’know?

Superfluous statements out of the way, a better way of qualifying it is that I feel increasingly out of touch with certain parts of society. I’ve been thinking of that absurd Gymshark line up over the weekend and having trouble working through my mental and emotional responses to it. I wonder if they’re indicative of being too judgemental or discounting large subsections of society unfairly. This is garble. I’ll try to do better.

I don’t Instagram. At a stretch you could say that I did briefly when I ran the Air Bud Pawdcast social media account. Really though, I posted and didn’t bother to look further into the platform. I’m not much of an image based person. I like reading and audio a ton, but there wasn’t a ton of appeal at looking at photos. This is no admonishment of anyone who uses the service, it’s just not for me and that’s fine.

I feel deeply unsettled by the rise of Attractive People Fame. Don’t get me wrong, attractive people have prospered since the beginning of society. This in itself is nothing new. It’s not like I woke up in 2018 and suddenly discovered that celebrities were pretty. Attractive People Fame takes this to another echelon. With the rise of the Kardashian Clan and the words “social media influencer”, being famous in itself has become a career trajectory in a whole new fashion. I’m not breaking ground saying this. There are a lot of people making money for being popular and attractive. There are corporate tie ins and sponsorships. These people a) being alive and b) using products has become a very visible avenue of advertising. I’m not trying to stand on a rickety pedestal and say this isn’t work. I know that a lot of effort goes into scheduling posts, cultivating an audience, reshooting and retouching photos until they’re perfect. It’s a real job with a ton of hours and thought. This isn’t my issue.

Cult of personality has become a career in a whole new way. Yet again, I don’t see that in itself as an indication of crumbling societal values. Take me as an example: I follow a lot of Dan Harmon’s stuff. I was a big fan of his show Community and began listening to his podcast Harmontown way back in The Year Of Our Lord (aren’t they all?) 2012. I’ve paid actual dollars to go to live podcast recordings. I bought a limited release book that his ex-wife put out of his Tumblr writings collated. I met him and got him to sign my book. I’ve interacted with other Harmontown fans in the online community. I’ve met some of these people out in public; When I was visiting Portland and sought out fellow Harmenians because I thought we might have similar interests. It’s not blind adoration. I don’t personally see Harmon as an aspirational figure in all manners. He has issues and views I don’t agree with. I do, however, think that he’s an incredibly good writer, is hilarious, talented and unbelievably sharp. I like a lot of what he does and the kinds of guests/friends he brings onto the show.

It might be a personal bugbear, but I have a ton of difficulty reckoning with Attractive People Fame. This might be rich coming after the past paragraph, but Attractive People Fame and its societal influence feels different to me. I don’t listen to Harmontown and ache to be those people. I’m not out there buying the products they shill to keep the lights on. I’ve met Harmon and other show members a couple of times, but it’s not why I follow the show. It’s entertainment, and the way its errant observations bring joy to my life can’t be understated. My mind sees Attractive People Fame and it worries me. Why? Because it seems irredeemably predatory.

Attractive People Fame is enormous in younger demographics. Teens and tweens following a collection of Influencers and their daily lives. I’m talking Instagram Models, Fitspo people, etc etc. It’s an industry that’s driven by aspiration porn. It’s telling these impressionable kids that this could be them. They could be hot, rich and successful by imitating these people. They see glimpses of these Attractive People at their best. They see all the rewards, but not the hardships.

They don’t see the 50 takes required to get that perfect shot. They don’t see the intentional angling of the model’s thumb right below the label. They don’t see the meticulous diet complete with calorie counting and a-z macronutrient content worked out. They don’t see the personal stresses and anguishes behind the scene. They don’t see the marketing team creating spreadsheets of release schedules. They don’t see the sales people hunting out sponsorship opportunities. They don’t see the Attractive People being told exactly how to cultivate their Brand. They don’t see what it’s like for your personality to be A Brand and how all consuming and dehumanising that is. They don’t see the hundreds of thousands of kids who don’t make it and spend their lives chasing a dream that’s so far out of their reach. They don’t see that no matter how many products they buy to emulate their role models, 99.9% of these kids will never be their heroes, never be friends with them. They’re a revenue stream to an industry which is so much larger and more brutally cynical than the heroes they look up to.

I see kids eschewing valuable life skills and experiences in order to aspire for something they don’t realise is entirely beyond their reach. I see kids developing eating disorders or dangerous health initiatives in order to have these perfect bodies. I see kids desperate to be noticed and adored without an understanding of the pacts that come with fame. I see a level of superficiality qualified as a goal that opposes true human connection and understanding. I see values shifted to an extent that growth really will suffer. I see a future with a much larger quotient of adults who will eschew compassion for Their Brand.

I already saw a 5-8 hour line comprised of thousands of individuals, waiting to be let into a warehouse with 19 different clothing items so they could take photos with Attractive People leading lives they themselves will never come close to. I’m not scared of who these kids will be, I’m worried for the people they could miss out on becoming.

Which is what I’m sure a generation said when MTV created VJs.

This message brought to you by Guy Fieri’s stolen Jalopy

My girlfriend and I left the house today to look for Halloween costume bits. Here are some of the people we saw during the three or so hours we spent out in public:

  • A throng of gym garbed folks lining up for some gym gear sale around the corner from us. They were taking up basically the whole sidewalk, three to five people abreast. I had to softly push them out of the way because they’d left no room for pedestrians to get past. The line wasn’t super long, but I imagine it had around 30-50 people in it. This in itself wasn’t super notable, if not for the previous day when the line stretched down the block, around the corner, down the entirety of the parkette, around the corner, down the block, around the corner and back as far along the next road as I could see. There would easily have been thousands of people in line yesterday at around 9am for a brick and mortar pop up of gym apparel. No sales or anything. To be clear, this was all stuff they could buy online, but it was a two day pop up in a physical location. Apparently there were athletes there for people to meet and greet? Maybe an Instagram thing? From what I’ve understood, this was a big part of the appeal. According to people on the Facebook page, the wait was 3-8 hours, depending on when you arrived. It was kinda baffling to see that sheer quantity of people. Thing was, most of them looked like they were already wearing pretty expensive stuff. I dunno. I can’t imagine waiting in line for that long to meet someone I was a fan of, but I guess if it’s not for me, it’s not for me. Torontonians do love waiting in lines after all.
  • Some dude in an old Archie style Jalopy. It was painted all black with Guy Fieri style flames licking up the side. His passenger was his pet dog and, because I still by default look to the right hand side of the car for the driver (thanks Down Under upbringing), I thought the dog was driving. It wasn’t. The dog would’ve had better taste in cars. The flames were purely cosmetic, but it smelt like something was burning. The exhaust was thick and odious. Thanks to traffic on the street, we caught up to, walked past, then got passed by it three times. So we got to smell its crusty old exhaust a charming amount.
  • I spotted someone wearing a winter coat that was so brand new, they’d forgotten to take the price tag out of the hood. I just thought it was kinda funny.
  • I overheard a girl in Value Village begging her mother to buy her Harley Quinn accessories for Halloween. That’s not super odd. The girl was taller than I was and until she opened her mouth I thought she was a grown ass woman. So it was more a juxtaposition of reality and expectations than anything. It reminded me of so many times shopping with my parents, begging for dumb things I’d probably use once or twice, but my parents well understood how quickly I’d get bored of them. So when the girl said “please Mum? I’m gonna use it basically every day” with full sincerity, I had trouble stifling a sensible chuckle. While I stood in the women’s section looking for booty shorts that I could affix fur strips pulled from a soft toy to create a pseudo loin cloth thing. Yes, this perfect ordinary teenager was the weird one.

The point is, nobody is normal. We’re all weird as fuck. Get along, folks.

Mercury in sweatrograde

Les Mills classes never change.

Sure, they update the music, but it’s fundamentally the same experience. Don’t take that as a slight, it’s kind of the point. You know exactly what you’re in for when you arrive. A Saturday morning Body Attack class is something I hadn’t experienced for some time. Between injuring three of my favourite limbs, to getting back into drinking again, peaceful (relatively early) Saturday mornings haven’t been in abundance. However, a quiet night at home with my girlfriend cooking soup and marathoning Big Mouth was the ideal recipe for a 9:30am Body Attack.

I’ve been going to Les Mills classes since I noticed a trail of spandex clad butts walking upstairs at Auckland Les Mills aged 16. Like the pied piper, the siren song of teenaged gawking was enough to get me into the room. The class was fun enough that I kept going back for all the intended reasons: Spunky instructors cultivating a fun environment. Upbeat tracks that motivated me to keep moving. A low barrier to entry and the promise of an efficient workout within an hour.

It’s still the same moves with slight tweaks. Repeaters (standing on one leg and bringing the other knee up and down), jumping jacks, running on the spot, running with high knees, running with ankles to butt, high kicks, skaters (jumping from foot to foot, pausing on each side), tricep push ups, shuffles. It’s all the same. Just add music and an overly jazzed instructor. Sure, the order changes sometimes. Maybe there’ll be a small addition like mixing jumping jacks with squats. Really though, there haven’t been any serious shifts in the past 15 or so years I’ve been going.

Even the archetypes are the same. In every class there’ll be someone trying it for the first time. There’s always a frail elderly woman who you’re not sure actually knows there’s a class going on. She’s kind of just doing her own thing, which is amazing at her age. Maybe she lives there, who can say? There’s also another older lady (old dudes just don’t seem to show up with the same regularity) who’s been going for 30 years and knows all the moves. She’ll move into the advanced stuff before the announcer even brings it up. She’s perfectly optimised the whole moveset and has no interest in slowing down for anyone else’s sake. There’s someone for whom it’s not their first time, but they’re still having trouble with the choreo. There’s the overly enthusiastic dude (oh hey, it’s me) who adds some extra little flair into his moves, but is also a bit clumsy. A group of three girls in their early 20s who are going out for coffee after class. One of them doesn’t seem to like it as much as the others, but probably just wants an excuse to grab coffee with mates. Someone young with a dead set stare taking it all way too seriously. They never miss a rep and don’t bring water or a towel.

It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. They’ve cottoned onto a successful formula and it’s all for the best. Honestly, I love being able to sweat a bunch in the morning (especially if I’ve had one or two drinks too many and I’m pushing out those toxins), then have the rest of the day to slowly meander home via coffee. Maybe even see the group of three at the cafe.

Oh Les Mills classes. Never change.

You’re just a dead animal and a shape

20 minutes ago I reached the level of bored where I went to the kitchen to fill up my water bottle just to kill time. The worst part is, they’d just fixed the filter so it didn’t take very long.

Business as usual.

Sorry, I got distracted for the past 20 minutes by a shitty ad I saw on a supermarket flyer. Apparently there’s a product called Meatbar and its main beef seems to be with jerky. It’s clearly their central competitor and they’ve gone after it guns blazing. The copy on their site reads:

“Step aside, jerky.
Meatbar is so NOT jerky. This is the real deal, friends. Grass-fed, slow cooked, slow smoked, perfectly seasoned beef. No artificial preservatives, flavours or colours, and 35% less salt to boot.

We don’t mean to brag, but… yes, we do.

100% Grass-fed beef = more Omega-3, CLA and Antioxidants
Top quality, lean cut meat (hello, mega-protein)
Certified gluten-free all the way
USDA certified”

It’s transcendantly cringeworthy. It’s like parents trying to appeal to teenagers, but in the most embarassing way. Their caps and seats are turned backwards and they’re ready to rap with you kids. It’s so not jerky bee tee dubs. Crammed with all that mega protein and gluten-free all the way, so you know it’s full of them sick nutrients, fam. I took to reading their FAQ and it’s full of assorted gems.

  • When a cow is fed a diet rich in grass and free of drugs and hormones, they get to live their next life as an incredibly fulfilling Meatbar.
    FATHER. WHY WAS I BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD ONLY TO FEEL PAIN?
  • Jerky gets stripped of natural fats, then it gets dried, and then salt is added to prevent bacteria from forming. Meatbar, on the other hand, is made with 100% grass-fed beef made from high-quality, top round cuts. It hasn’t been stripped of a darn thing, which is where all the taste comes from.
    DO THEY STILL DO THE THING WHERE THEY PREVENT BACTERIA FROM FORMING? THAT SEEMS AN IMPORTANT STEP.
  • Meatbar is kind of in a league all on its own. It’s here to shake up how you get your protein fix, but it’s definitely no jerky. Just all-natural, 100% grass-fed beef bar that’s super high in protein with no artificial preservatives or flavours. No bigs.
    NO BIGS. MEATBARS ARE CERTAINLY NOT JERKY HIDING IN A MEATBAR SHAPED SUIT. NO SIREE.

Aside from shitting on jerky (which is great, btw), they repeatedly go after its use of artificial preservatives and flavours. They even say some bollocks about not having ingredients you can’t pronounce. What kind of David Avocado Wolfe bullshit is this? Do people actually believe that all chemical compounds and artificial preservatives are worth demonising? What fucking year is this? Are y’all flat earth anti-vaxxers? Science is our friend and should be treated as such. Of course be skeptical, but a blanket dismissal is as ignorant as refusing to question anything. If anything’s about questioning everything, it’s science. Trust science, not Meatbar.

This is fucked up. I’m supposed to be the target market for this kind of product. I love eating straight up chunks of meat. They couldn’t have punted this harder in their quest to be relateable. None of this this ain’t your Daddy’s animal product.

  • MEATBAR – IT’S STICK SHAPED MEAT. THAT’S IT.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S LIKE EATING CROSSFIT.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S JERKY PLUS MARKETING.
  • MEATBAR – WHAT TO GET THE KID WHO HAS EVERYTHING.
  • MEATBAR – CURE FOR THE COMMON SNACK.
  • MEATBAR – IT’S TOASTED.
  • MEATBAR – SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL YOU CAN TRULY OWN.

Dear Meatbar. If you’re hiring, I’ll apply just to stop your awful copy.

Would I go to hair-ven or hair’ll?

I have something to get off my back.

It’s an ingrown hair. It’s sticking out of a birthmark or pimple kind of thing. I think, anyway. It’s hard to see, because as I said, it’s on my back. You know how you get those little hairs and you pull them out and over time scar tissue forms and it may as well be a pimple? Well, that. It’s been growing for weeks and it’s a goddamn monstrosity. I’d pull it out myself, but I’ve come to realise that I just can’t. I can reach it and I’ve been clawing at it like it’s a malignant growth for days. No dice. I even have nails right now. Big talons that click when I brush my fingertips against each other. I should have all the equipment I need, but still this hair remains. It’s far from the only spot on my body that produces these little sprouts, but it’s the only follice factory in operation right now. I’m trying to pluck it ALL THE TIME. Have you ever seen someone trying to bite their own ears? That’s me in the office, reaching back with my stumpy, useless limbs to get a good grip and tug. Nothing. It’s not even like I’m failing to reach it. My nails just clasp feebly below the hair and do nothing but dig into the surrounding skin. Like one of those claw machines that drain your wallet for more than the stupid soft toy would cost in the first place. I’m coming up short and it’s starting to feel like I’m belittling myself by trying. The worst part is, in all my attempts of pawing at it I think I ripped off some of the hair, but the root is still in there. I’ve even had my girlfriend around, but whenever she’s been there I’ve forgotten about it.

So I guess this was just a pretence to say, hey love, if you remember can you pick this hair off my back before I remember to pull out some tweezers? Also this is how we talk now, apparently. It’s kind of one-sided.

It feels weird that at 31 there are still types of clothing I’ve never tried wearing. I’m a reasonably worldly dude filled to the brim with curiousity. I love trying new things. There are also countless types of clothing. Still, I thought by now I would’ve made a bigger dent. I’ve worn skirts, of course. Still, I’ve never slipped into a kilt/sporrin (sp?) combo. What if I really do love something about the way it feels? Or could a codpiece leave me snug and secure? Likewise, I’ve tried on dresses for costumes, but never a long, flowing evening gown. Or a corset. What if there’s something about rhinestones that ups my confidence on a massive scale? Could a suit of armour be my jam? Would a pork pie hat be a fetching part of an all new daily outfit? Would platform shoes play an “O Captain! My Captain!” Role in my personal development? What if overalls brought something out in me that I’d never expected? It’s a common revelation I have, but there are myriad worlds we’ve never experienced, often even on a micro scale. Not only is there a world of adventure across the globe, but personal journeys can be so simple and achievable, yet what holds us back? Comfortable adherence to routine? Fear of failure? Potential ridicule? A lack of faith in our own judgement? Too much faith in our own judgement? I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I don’t want to go to my grave without a few more.

But I also don’t want to die without getting rid of this fucking ingrown hair. I’ll get it out even if it kills me.

Wait, what if it kills me?