Welp, I tried and failed, and we’re all gonna die for our sins. All in a day’s work

Weird timing today, I’m getting writing in whenever I have the chance.

First day of training. It’s pretty exciting to be surrounded by a bunch of audio geeks again. Instant rapport with all of them. They’re friendly, positive and welcoming people all with a range of experience. Some come from composing, there’s a lifelong radio guy in there. Another is a year out of college. All have been freelancing for some length of time. I get the feeling that it’s gonna be a solid group. Training has run into technical difficulties, and while we’ve gone over a lot of the theory, practice is yet to come. We’re on a lunch break right now. I’m glad I at least opted for both training days. As it stands I’m still getting paid, so it’s not all bad. Still, I’m itching to get into the booth and voice. It’s funny, I was so stoked to get back to audio work, and now it’s the allure of learning the ins and outs of descriptive video that has me buzzing. There’s so much to consider and a heap to learn. What kind of stuff is best to focus on? How do we best illustrate for those who have visual difficulties? What language and terminology is appropriate?

Fast forward to a night spent drinking and chatting. I aired my grievances with the rest of my team. It’s a transitional thing, which means people will be left behind. One of my ‘girls’ had diarrhoea today. She was too embarrassed to walk to the pharmacy and ask what medication would be appropriate, so I did it for her. I figured I could take 15 minutes of my day to make hers better, so I did. I dropped the medication on her desk without saying a word, then got back to my work. I didn’t mention it the rest of the way. A few of us chatted, but moved on. There’s been a very clear hierarchy in our group for a while. As an employee, I know how meaningless this whole hierarchy is. We sat at different tables at different parts of the bar, if that wasn’t flagrant enough. The hierarchy and clique-iness wasn’t apparent enough by desk structure, apparently. It’s fine, my fellow plebs and I had our bitch session in any case.

I got locked into a conversation with a conservative middle class white boy for two hours. I know I’m a white boy from a middle class upbringing. That said, holy shit what a narrow minded dipshit he was. It’s hard to totally fault him, because he was 23. This was his first job, and he was convinced he knew how the world worked. We talked about homelessness, guns, taxes and education. I’m imagining y’all can guess how well that went. He said that guns were an I’m important liberty as part of the framework of the U.S.A. I asked him how many shootings he thought there’d been in the past year. He said 24, and said that was an acceptable number. I don’t know if he was aware that there’d been at least one per day in the past year. He gave me my condolences, as he understood that NZ was a hotbed of mass shootings. This well informed white 24 year old whose life aspirations were getting a wife, home and jet ski. What an ignorant piece of shit.

The hard lesson that I think I learned. No matter how much I tried to work through any of these ideas, and how inherently problematic/selfish they were, nothing got through. He was locked into his way of thinking. Believing 100 homeless deaths per year were entirely acceptable, with a true faith in a merit based system that didn’t account for people who didn’t have family based safety nets. I asked him, have you ever been bailed out? Then followed that track right the way back to how it would emotionally effect him situation by situation. His excuse each time was “I’d just work harder”. So naive, such a common viewpoint. It’s understandable why we’re so fucked. Still, oddly enough he said he was an NDP voter.

Weird timing? Maybe it was just a weird day.

Advertisements

Ooh baby is this some kind of salve? I guess my heaven was created by Valve

What would you want to happen when you die?

Honestly, I’d be happy with a full stop. Nothing. No life after death, Heaven, Hell, ghostly hangouts or endless void. Just zero, with no thought, agency or eternity. A complete end. I don’t know that I’d truly want to look into infinity if I could just cease. I know it’s boring and unromantic, but honestly I’ll probably be tired by the time it’s all over. I mean, I’m tired already. Give me nothingness and give me death, y’know?

But in the instance that there was some kind of afterlife, I’m not 100% sure what I’d want that to resemble. I’m not going to assume I’d get into Heaven, but for fun let’s assume that anyway. I think it would be really strange for there to be some formalised society after we’re all dead. How would that even be sorted? It’s not like we’d have tangible bodies. It’s more likely we’d be disembodied consciousnesses. Or at least I’d hope that were the case. My goal would be to get to interact with all the people I loved during my life, but also meet new entities. The ability to manifest infinite scenarios/simulations would be awesome. Does that have a limit? I’m not sure. Like, if you could be or do anything ad infinitum, that’d be kind of awesome. Live infinite procedurally generated lifetimes? Maybe I’d want to jump straight into the life of a seven year old tiger in the heart of the jungle. Or go back to my 20s, but in 1940s New York. If I could fast forward, rewind, pause and bookmark, that would be amazing. I could try all sorts of life experiences I never had. I could learn what it’s like to be a different gender or of a whole new cultural background. There’d have to be some kind of untamperable safety valve whereby I could always pull out of any scenario and back to a neutral state. Maybe I’d be able to link up with old contacts and engage in these scenarios together.

I think the conclusion that I’m coming to is that I want Steam, but as a dead person.

I just don’t see how else this would work in my brain. The concept of communities feels a little odd, because it’s hard to fathom being in Heaven, but also having to pretend to be polite to people you didn’t like on Earth. Or enacting social niceties. The idea of simply being around all of my loved ones doesn’t work for me, because in turn I’d imagine they’d be around all their loved ones, etc etc. I have so many friends who have friends who really aren’t my friends. If I get to be in Heaven, I want to be as exclusionary as my heart desires. Look, this is probably why I’m not getting into Heaven, but there are no stakes to imagining.

The one thing wouldn’t want, would be to get stuck in my own simulation where everything was totally fabricated. If every entity I encountered was a manifestation of my consciousness. There are limits to my imagination (as we’re clearly finding in this entry). I’d want to keep learning, growing and understanding things outside of my miniscule personal views. Otherwise what would be the point. I’m tired enough of complacency in my living years, let alone my eternal ones.

If that was the case, just give me a nice set of curtains and close out the show.

I cracked the code! He’s just saying that to throw us off his trail!

Forgive me while I watch this video of Billy Joel flipping out on repeat for the rest of the day.

It’s so great. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it already. I’m sure everyone already knew about it, but e-fucking-gads it’s hilarious. I got so sweaty laughing that I became relieved I keep a towel at work. It’s not just the juxtaposition of seeing a usually benign artist like Billy Joel losing his shit, there’s so much more going on. Hearing him intersperse furious production demands throughout his lyrics (“When am I gonna take control get a hold of my emotions-STOP LIGHTING THE AUDIENCE. Why does it only seem to hit me in the middle of the night-STOP IT.”) was a good enough gag, but it’s only amplified by the joyous muppet on the keytar in front of him barely breaking his stride. Then if that wasn’t adequate, he fucking FLIPS THE PIANO and runs out front to start wailing on the stage with his mic stand. Perhaps I need to learn more about his ouvre aside from “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and “Uptown Girl”. Wait, maybe he did start the fire.

I had another flying dream last night. They’re not super uncommon, but this one felt quite sustained. What I thought was interesting (and I knooooow that everyone falsely thinks that their dreams are fascinating), was that flying in this particular dream had a profoundly physical element to it. Flying was like a muscle. None of this magical levitation, there was a specific action linked. I just tightened something inside of me. You know when you tighten your core? It was like that, but further internal. The more I tightened it, the faster I’d ascend or move. It felt incredibly visceral. I’m not gonna try to really pin down the narrative (something about being in a small yee-haw Western outpost and having to hide my ability, so as not to appear a witch), but it was so strange actually intellectualising the sensation and how to work it best. Like trying to better understand your gait and how to make it more efficient. Throughout the dream, I noticed my ability increase substantially. Maybe it was just someone mentioning the film Chronicle the other day, but the ties were pretty apparent. Y’know, I’m well overdue for a Spider Man dream come to think of it.

I got bored today and figured I could play a harmless prank. A few weeks back, I talked about the mysterious package that showed up at my desk. This left me with an interdepartmental envelope. Everyone else was out at a stakeholders’ meeting, but since I’m leaving soon, I got to skip it. I took the envelope to my co-worker’s desk (the one who sits right next to me) and jotted down her name/desk number in the appropriate sections. Inside I put a little note on a post it. “TAG! You’re it! No tag backs!” That was it. I sealed the envelope and took it downstairs to the mail room. So far it hasn’t been delivered. Maybe it’ll come tomorrow, who knows? My eternal hope, is that it suffers the same fate that the envelope did on its way to me. That took months to deliver, MONTHS. If this thing kicks around the system for several months, then she ends up with a dumb tag note from someone who used to sit directly next to her, how great would that be? It seems silly, but fun, and I’m sure something like that could lift her day immediately. Do I feel guilty for tying up the mail room with my own dumb jokes? Likely not as guilty as I should. Who knows, this could move all around the company and start a building wide game of tag. Why would that be something to feel guilty about?

If anything, I’m sure perennial firestarter Billy Joel would approve.

Tell me that opening line doesn’t sound like a dog’s internal monologue

Today is a good day. I was jogging, and for the first time ever a fellow jogger waved and smiled at me before I could wave and smile at them.

I also chatted with one of my pending co-workers. Lovely guy, he reached out when he saw me reply on an email chain. He asked if I wanted to meet up, since we were both in the same boat of leaving the company at large to become independent contractors. Of course I said fuck yeah, and made the time. Very sweet dude, we both talked about our paths to this company, and this new job. I didn’t ask how old he is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find we were the same age. Similar lives in some ways, very different in others. He immigrated from Mumbai about five years ago. Came over with a wife and kid, then had another kid two years ago. He’s been trying to network, find composer/audio positions for most of that time, but took a role in a more sales oriented department. For him, the shift work will allow him to devote time to grow his audio profile, take on other work. It’ll allow him to be present in his kids lives in a much more conscious manner, which is one of his prime motivations. We chatted for a good hour or so, just hearing about how we’d each gotten here. My fingers are crossed that any of my new co-workers will be half as personable, and I’ve got a good feeling that most of them will.

For me, I’m seeing the shift work as an open future to learn who I am and what I want to be doing. I’m excited to start the job, try my hand at something new and accumulate fresh skills. I’m thrilled to be in a position that’s providing a legitimate service for those with alternative needs. I’m also fascinated by the notion of what four days on, four days off will do to my life. It’s the epitome of a work/life balance. Talking with this new co-worker, he was set on looking at how he could use this time to take on other contracts. For me, this job will already be paying me a ton more than I’m currently earning. It’s an opportunity to widen my views, talents and interests. I was grinding my coffee in the atrium this morning, looking out across the lake. I noticed the hem of my favourite pair of jeans, torn as it has been for a while.

I thought about how much it would cost to get fixed, or if a friend of mine would know how to fix it. Then I thought again and wondered could I take sewing lessons with that much time off? How hard would it be to fix it myself? What about other manual skills? Simple home maintenance? Spending more time cooking? Having ready made meals in the freezer? Could I try my hand at comedy again? Write more? Get a bike and take rides around the city, just to explore? What will having that kind of headroom do to my brain? For my creativity? What will that reduced stress do to my blood pressure? Will I be able to maintain fitness without struggling to fit it into my workday? It’s no secret that writing these entries daily has long since lost its lustre. Is that something I could get back? The joy of written expression? Could I even do more longform, considered pieces?

Today is a good day. I’ve had a ton of them lately. Is that what the new normal could be?

Look, that poison craving/Every Rose link wasn’t intentional, but I’ll take it

I think there’s a lot of power to the phrase “Holding resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person.” It’s pretty valid.

But also, who’s to say I don’t sometimes have a craving that only poison can satisfy?

Case in point, my girlfriend and I were walking down to some thrift stores to see if I could scope out a potential costume piece for Halloween. I stepped out the front door to check the weather. It was sunny, but there was also this massive dark grey cloud blanketing the sky. I heard the rumble of thunder. Now, I don’t mean I heard one big crack, the rumbling was pervasive. It went on and on in a way I haven’t known thunder to act. Minutes and minutes of low level rumbling. I went back inside to assess if I needed to bring my big floppy sun hat.

I was in a kind of pissy mood for… reasons, and for me this translated into a singleminded problem solving mode. The walk was meant to be a lackadaisical traipse through neighbourhoods, stopping to smell each and every rose. Because of my mood, that faded into the background. I imagine “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was playing low level in my brain. I didn’t want to bring contingency plans for rain. I had my keys, wallet, cellphone and sunnies. Still, the thunder rumbled along. The dark clouds clawed for real estate, and pulled themselves across the sky. I turned to my girlfriend and commented something to the effect of “It’s like we’re in a horror movie, and there was a sign saying “Beware all who enter here”, but we ignored it. Then there was another sign saying “Hey, didn’t you read the sign before this one? Turn back.” But we didn’t. Then another sign cropped up that said “Hey idiot, turn the fuck around already” and we were like hmm, I guess the sign making industry is really booming around here. Then we were likely to be eaten by a grue.” [Okay, the gist was there, but I definitely punched it up in post – Ed]. My girlfriend asked if I wanted to stop in to get a second coffee of the day. I looked at Wallace Espresso, looked up at the sky, and thought out loud.¬†It’s probably gonna take about four minutes to get a coffee, but we might be 10 minutes from a torrential downpour. If we walk instead, we can get to Value Village and be there when it rains. I did not get my second coffee, we crossed the road, and the heavens opened.

Here we were, hiding in the little nook of someone’s front door, and things got biblical. Surprisedpikachu.bmp. Massive gobstopper drops of rain thudding constantly on the ground everywhere. Cars slowed, people frantically ran for cover. Folks shielded from the rain all pulled out their cellphones to film. Keep in mind that it’s been blindingly sunny for the past few weeks. This was out of nowhere. Well, excessive thunder warnings notwithstanding. In my pissy mood, I looked around in a huff and was like¬†well, what did I expect?

I started to think on what we could do. We didn’t have umbrellas, coats, anything. We would just get totally soaked if we tried to make a run for it. The thrift shopping wasn’t especially useful or necessary, it was just something to do. Were we at the ridiculous point of evolution where, if the rain didn’t let up, the logical course of action was to go on our phones, locate a stranger with a car, get in said car and have them drive us home? We were maybe a four minute ride away from our front door. Everything about it was totally absurd. Then my girlfriend turned to me and asked “so how long do we wait until we just call an Uber and go home?” We waited maybe a minute.

So we went home, had a big difficult talk about important relationship stuff, and I felt less pissy. The weather let up and it turned into a surprisingly nice day.

I didn’t come here to write a big ol’ metaphor, but sometimes they write themselves.

We had a gas. Or in a word, sublimation

I so rarely karaoke.

I did last night. Karaoke was fucking great. I don’t usually, what was different? My girlfriend and I went over to our friends’ house, and they’ve got it all down pat. They built a gorgeous tiki bar in their basement complete with AstroTurf and comfy couches. They also have a karaoke mic. I’d never considered the logistics of home karaoke with modern technology, and it’s actually pretty smart. In lieu of a whole machine, it’s a singular mic that looks a bit like a reporter’s mic. It has a little box thing between the receiver and hilt. Said box has a couple of buttons, but also a built in speaker. Your voice doesn’t get amplified through the wider audio setup, but instead through this handheld gizmo. It means that you hear yourself pretty clearly, others who are close by can hear your non-amplified voice clearly, and people chilling about can have their conversations without disrupting the person singing. It works really well. The other unsung hero of this setup was YouTube. People upload a ton of karaoke versions, and all it takes to find them is using the prefix “karaoke”. So a search term might be “karaoke let it go” and there you are. You can belt out Elsa’s queer anthem for the entire lounge. You’d be surprised at just how many there are, and you don’t even need to fuck around with huge tomes full of arcane numeric codes.

I so rarely do karaoke because the thing here seems to be people coming in with polished song choices. That’s cool, but it’s not me. I just want to fuck around and see if I can imitate voices, or hit certain notes. I don’t care about blowing the roof off, I want to goof off. I don’t feel like I have the safety net to do so when it’s this performative bar scenario. If I’ve had to wait an hour to get a turn, I’m not gonna toss on “Teenage Dirtbag” purely to test if I can do the weedy voice. I’d go for a safe choice instead. In a friend’s basement, things felt a lot looser. I didn’t have to worry about embarrassing myself, because it’s only friends present. If we’re all trying stuff out, there’s a ton of support for merely giving it a go.

It was widely agreed that one of the worst karaoke conventions is being stuck with a song that has infinite outro. You know those tracks where the last minute or two is just the chorus repeating? If you’re not a strong or creative singer, that shit gets stale so quickly. My guess is that trained singers know their voices better, and thus are well equipped to improvise or do neat variations. If you’re like me and pretty much know the song how it was recorded, it’s hard to find the subtle changes to keep it fresh. On the contrary to this, it was interesting thinking about “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. The whole “where do we go” breakdown looks boring on paper, but the vocal inflections are really interesting and fun to emulate. It made me realise that while lyrics matter to some extent, that only goes so far. What are words if not a way of expressing the instrument of your voice? Rhythm and cadence are their own language, and sometimes that supercedes the amount of sense their guiding lyrics make.

What this did for me, at least in a smaller group, was to make me consider approaching songs that were punchy and fun to sing, but potentially problematic in content. Case in point: Sublime. Sublime were my favourite band for years, and while everyone knows “Santeria” or “What I Got”, they also have a bunch of gems. Bradley James Nowell was a very talented singer and songwriter, and it always felt like his heart was in the right place. The thing is, the world’s a vastly different place than it was in early 90s surfer SoCal. For its time, it really wouldn’t surprise me if the conceit of “Date Rape” (dude is a shitty date rapist, nobody tolerates his shit and he gets sent to prison where he’s forcibly butt sexed. Ba dum tss.aiff) was considered progressive. It ain’t now. But songs like “Date Rape”, “Mary”, “Wrong Way”, they’re as much of a blast to sing as they are inappropriate for this time period. The songs have all kinds of rad dynamics, and they’re quite theatrical. With a certain amount of acknowledgement of that, and an understanding that the lyrics themselves aren’t being put on a pedestal, it’s a wicked time singing along with a bunch of friends.

One more thing I learned? I straight up don’t know the Spanish parts of “Caress Me Down”.

JFC – Jesus Fucking Clowns

I’ve been pretty lucky lately to have a lot of time with friends.

I mean, we all like spending time with friends, because otherwise they probably wouldn’t be friends. I dunno. At the same time, while it’s great to joke and catch up with my mates, I think one of my favourite aspects is soaking up differing perspectives from my own. Most of my friends have wholly separate experiences from mine. They have a variety of jobs, they see the world from their own unique viewpoint. It’s cool to hear not only what they’re doing, but how they’ve been doing it, complications and excitements. It’s fascinating to discover new stuff I never would’ve sought out on my own, and sometimes come away with other things to pursue. This might be something as simple as a pal turning me onto a new TV show I didn’t realise I’d love, to understanding an aspect of society I previously held no knowledge of. It’s all great. I’m gonna try and think about conversations I’ve had this week, and why they were interesting to me.

We went to The Walton last night. A cosy spot on College St with neat cocktails. One of my friends happens to be very knowledgeable about cocktails. She has a very curated Instagram presence where she participates in all kinds of cool home bar competitions. She makes her own cocktails, and she’s extremely good at it. Trust me, if she wasn’t already a dynamite person to be around, going on holiday with her is extra special, because she ensures your cup runneth over with alluring potions. She just attended a cocktail conference, and she talked about one lecture that blew her mind. It was on the concept of “rounds”. I’d never heard of rounds, but it’s basically the idea of cocktail artists making a bunch of drinks together with the utmost efficiency. They’re taking stock of the ingredients they’re using, how many can go into multiple assorted drinks, and working out a system whereby the least amount of energy is expended. A bottle should only be touched once in a round, she said. She also mentioned that drinks are supposed to be assembled from the cheapest ingredient to the most expensive, to minimise cost if there’s a big mistake and it needs to be tossed. She said the whole session was filled with jargon, but the long and short of it was, these professionals, using rounds, were able to create eight different drinks simultaneously within six minutes. If you’re not impressed, you’re far handier than I. I know I’m not operating within an optimised system, but I think it’d still take me about ten minutes to make two Manhattans, which are not particularly complicated. Eight drinks in six minutes is mind boggling.

Another friend talked about this notion of clowning, and the impetus to find your inner clown. Apparently a big part of being a clown is to understand what your dominant personality aspect is, and play into it big time. Are you playful and mischievous? Snarky and mean? Overly fastidious? How can you reinforce this in your makeup? Your act? How can you lean most into the clown that you are, to bring your most authentic performance? I’m a lot less afraid of clowns than I used to be, and there’s something in this notion that humanises them for me. The idea of so much forethought and intentionality going into their persona is kinda cool. They may be a lot of makeup and incongruence, but if it’s intentional, that changes a bunch. Maybe clowns aren’t so bad after all…

You know what the best part of this whole thing is? My weekend is very not busy. I’ve got a whole lot more time for friends.