Straight from the top of my dome.

I’m thinking of a toy. I’ve got no idea what it was called. Some kind of rubber dome. Usually fluoro coloured, or at the very least a “cosmic” shade. The kind of thing they’d give away at Pizza Hut. You’d push the middle and turn them inside out, then place them on the ground. You’d stand there, wait. Wait. Wait. POP! Out of nowhere they’d launch into the air, surprising anyone staunchly anticipating their ascension. You’d tell yourself again and again, “I’ll be expecting it this time”. Never. Like a pop up toaster, this inanimate object had a level of calculating self awareness usually the domain of sociopaths. It would bide its time until the moment you got complacent, then ruin any sense of security you’d cultivated. They were awesome.

I’m thinking of a tree. A Christmas tree. Artificial, no more than a metre tall. Unadorned. We were a Jewish family, unorthodox, which basically meant our parents picked and chose which traditions we’d follow. We didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t do presents at Hanukkah either. I say this not as a cry for me plea. We weren’t hard done by. We had abundant love and never wanted for anything we really needed. As a child I hated Christmas. Christmas was other children bragging about what Santa brought them. Finding connection in a holiday I felt isolated from. The envy I felt for their experiences eventually turned to resentment. I doubled down. Fuck Christmas and its corporate bullshit became the mantra. It’s easy to find justification if you seek it.

Still, there was this one small tree. My mother owned a second hand toy store and she’d occasionally bring things home. I asked for this tree and requested that it be put up in my room for my January birthday. I wanted to wake up in the morning, birthday present underneath the tree. It was a strange request for a Jewish family, but my parents did it. That morning was strange, mixed. There was a joy in finally discovering what I’d missed all these years. At the same time, there was an absence, a hollowness. Where was this spirit I’d seen played out in every holiday special? Wasn’t the spirit of Christmas supposed to infuse my being, resulting in goodwill for all humanity? I’m sure I got a great gift that I loved, but why wasn’t the tree lifting me up to where I expected it to?

Isn’t it odd how much power we give to objects? How we expect them to envelop us in meaning? Why don’t they confirm to our intentions? What’s with this inverse correlation between expectations and results? Furthermore, if we know we’ll crush things under the baggage of these expectations, why, time and time again, do we repeat the same patterns and expect another outcome?

Also what the fuck were those rubber dome things called? I wonder if they’re still fun…

Do you think there’s a grindcore band called Death Camp for Cutie?

I don’t know what it is about this story that’s capturing the hearts of social media denizens everywhere. Some toddler is obsessed with a personal injury lawyer and had a themed Morris Bart birthday. It’s some of the best viral marketing I’ve ever seen. I can’t stop guffawing at my computer right now. The thought of a little 2 year old being so transfixed by something that is so far out of his world-frame just doesn’t cease to be funny. What use does he of a personal injury lawyer? Kids heal quickly, they’re like mini Wolverines (character, not the small weasel beasts). Plus, on that child’s salary he’d be hard pressed to hire even an affordably priced lawyer such aa Morris Bart. This is ridiculous, I already like this Morris Bart dude and I’ve never even seen the ad (lies. I took a couple of minute and watched some on Youtube). It’s lunacy, but loveable lunacy for sure. I get it though, when you’re that age nothing’s wrapped up in a tight little bow of accessible logic. You like what you like because you do. Simple.

When I was that age I apparently had a favourite toy. It was this little soldier thing. Maybe the height of a bic clic pen (dumbest link I’ve posted?), some officer dude garbed in all black. He had a red hat and a skull and crossbones emblem on his breast. I still think it looks like a tiny SS officer. I’ve got no idea why I would’ve been drawn to it, but my parents said that as a toddler I played with it all the time. We were inseparable. So tight, in fact, that I ended up almost chewing the thing’s head off like a randy praying mantis. That’s adoration. I think my parents hid it away at that point. Or I moved on. Unsure, I wasn’t exactly cognisant then. It wasn’t until age 5 or so that my parents re-introduced me to it.

I treated it like a stranger. I had (and to this day have) no knowledge of playing with it whatsoever. It was just some weird little object that I was informed I liked. I felt affection for it because I’d been told that was a pre-existing condition, but I had no evidence in my head that spoke to the little toy’s relevance. For all I know, my parents were just fucking with me and wanted to play some bizarre social experiment. I’m not saying they were (but I’m not not saying that either, dig?), there’s still suspicion. It’s like this urban tale that goes around within a close group of my brothers, best friend and his brothers. According to the older boys (back when we were much younger. The more that I type it out it’s becoming apparent this story came from the mouths of 10 year olds), when I was a kid on some farm we all visited (?) I ate cow poop. It was something they’d all laugh about, the older boys would tease, etc. I stopped caring and I think it got old for them not getting a reaction, so it was dropped. Between my friend and I though, it was taken as gospel. As a baby, did I really chomp down on some fine cow pat? It’s all too easy to call bullshit now, but at the time their conviction gave it some verisimilitude. That previous sentence was brought to you by pretentiousness and a strong desire to drop the word “verisimilitude” in wherever I can so people will like me. DO YOU LIKE ME YET? I NEEEED YOOOUR APPROOOVAAAAL. Man, I must’ve eaten shit at some stage, cause I’m a master of talking it now.

How much of your culture do you think is founded on dumb white lies and stories people have fed you? Did you parents actually tell you anything true about their upbringing? Or did they instead tell you the synopsis of Jingle all the Way with a few names changed? Man, if it wasn’t for the prevalence of social media and digital record keeping, you could just make up shit to your kids and have them believe anything. I want a 5 year old who believes they once jumped 2 metres vertically, just to see them repeatedly try.

For the millionth time, maybe it’s socially irresponsible for me to consider having kids.

More like a headphone jack-off.

Welp, looks like I’ve got another pair of Koss PortaPros to add to the graveyard or toss into the fires of Mordor. Why do I keep going back to that well? Alls I want is a nice pair of headphones to get to know. Take home with me, go out a bit. Maybe some light jogging. They can tell me stories or sing to me on the subway. I’ll treat them nicely and give them all the love, care and attention they deserve. I just don’t think I’ve met the right pair yet.

Getting a nice set of headphones is amazing. Suddenly music sounds different, better, clearer. New parts of songs drift to the surface that you never noticed. It changes everything and brings out an enthusiasm in you that you weren’t aware of. I’ve been through a ton and they all leave me the same way: The left channel of audio cuts out. At first it wavers, you’re able to hear it if you jiggle it in just the right way. Then it just cuts and it’s lost to the void. I’ve never found a solution that works for me. It’s strange that the same thing keeps happening regardless of headphone make or model. I wonder if there’s a commonality.

*** One quick Google (verb) later ***

Right. It’s so simple. I’ve been folding my headphone wire incorrectly. That’s it. One small action and it’s been ruining pair after pair. I can’t believe the hundreds of dollars I could’ve saved if I just knew how to fold a wire. Silly silly man I am. I guess the next step is seeing if I can find somewhere in Toronto that can repair the broken models I have lying around in my drawers. Then once they’re repaired, implore the repair person to teach me how to dougie. After that I can ask them how to fold the wire so I can listen to Teach Me How To Dougie with my new-found knowledge of how to dougie. Presto: I’m better than I was. That’s what we call character progression.

Strange, but I wonder how many simple things I’m doing wrong. If not wrong, then sub-optimally. To think that there’s a fix that could’ve saved me so much trouble and angst (seriously, nothing gets makes me furious quite like sudden audio drop outs. I’m not an angry person, but if a cd skips or amps die out, I hulk up big time) is jarring in a sense. It’s like there are so many paths around frustration that I could’ve taken if only I’d been looking out for them. Will the rest of my life merely be a shrine to lifehacker (on a related note, I hadn’t been to that site in years. Geez, when did it become a large “daily deal” repository)?

Dear Internet. Thank you for showing me the folly of my ways. I bow to your superior robot intellect and vow to be compliant when the inevitable singularity arrives.
Much love.
-Leon

P.S. If I’m good, can I get a nifty Daft Punk helmet for my fealty?

Appopleptic with choice.

Well it looks like I’ve finally joined the land of the tech savvy. I gots mahself a new telemaphone. When I say “new” I mean nigh year old, but closer to the modern standard than my previous old chunk o’ mini computer. Will it stand the test of time against my inimitable Samsung Galaxy S2? Of course not, because as my first real smartphone I built it up as the stuff of legends. As it stands though, this thing has more ram and faster data capabilities. The Moto G LTE. It’s a budget phone with decent specs, enough to run what I need amply. Considering my current uses of a smartphone are texting, Gmail, Facebook, note writing, maps and flashlight, my old one probably would’ve been fine if it processed at a speedier than snail’s pace. Taking 13 seconds to load a text app was sub optimal. Instant speed is much more my style.

Of course starting with a new device is never as simple as running it straight out of the box. Motorola has some new great app called Motorola Migrate that can at least push over your data from the old to new device. It means you don’t need to fuck around figuring out how to back up texts and contacts, instead it imports them directly. Mega fancy, mega handy. Fancy handy? Fandy? Hancy? Quick. Quicker than it took me to settle on a decent portmanteau anyway. Even with this function, I’m still some ways behind running my phone as I like it. So many apps to download just to reach the state of equilibrium I’d found with my old device. Of course the old theme I had isn’t available, so I need to find something else minimalist that facilitates smooth operation. Is a theme that important? Not really, but I need to find something that doesn’t piss me off to look at. Harder than you’d think.

Then there’s all the customisation I’m used to. Swiftkey needs to be personalised, I need swipepad set up to give me access to apps on the fly. What weather app will I go for? Can this phone actually use widgets without breaking in two? Maybe that’s worth exploring. You forget half the apps you use on a regular basis and now with a potential 8 gigs of internal storage (as opposed to 1) I can have more than 10 non-default apps installed. Oh frabjous day! So off I go to find just how identical I can make my operation to my previous habits, before expanding into new areas.

Just what can I do with this new toy? The last one had zero battery life, which cut down on any location services/GPS shenanigans. Does this mean I can create location based settings? Silent at work/gym, but active at home? Data while away from home, but instantly switching to wifi when I arrive back (without leaving the thing searching for wifi spots all day)? With a rip roaring battery life, can I actually leave the brightness off the bare minimum, enabling me to see in sunlight without squinting and creating shade with my hand? Google recognises Australian as a language. Maybe it’ll even be able to understand my Kiwi tongue. Does this mean I can talk to my phone like any old streetcar asshole? I can re-enact my favourite social disengagement scene from Her. Dreams are coming true, dudes and dudettes.

Truth be told, I don’t even know what a phone is capable of now. I’m gonna need to farm for app suggestions to enrich my life in every single unnecessary fashion. I don’t know that it’s gonna make me scramble for constant selfies, but I may be able to find movie times and addresses in less than 10 minutes. That’s some serious upgrade to my existence. I’m basically a cyborg now with a detachable adjuvant brain. I am the future, just with a phone from a year in the past. TIME TRAVEL IS REAL. I’M LIVING IT. I mean, we’re all living it, we’re just travelling through it in perpetual constant motion. But that’s not nearly as fun, right? So really guys, what time travel app has the highest Play Store rating?

Evanescence ironically haven’t disappeared yet. Unfortunately.

In trying to exit an exceedingly enjoyable conversation (so I could do this and get some small modicum of rest), I became determined to have the last word. My conversation partner agreed to give me the last word, but only if it was pleasing enough to end on, to pay respect to the dialogue we’d just shared. It took a while to find the word to end on, but a few good ones came up. Since words are pretty much my favourite things, I’m just gonna talk about some.

Defenestration

Defenestration I believe is the act of throwing someone or something out a window. I thought I’d come up with that definition all on my lonesome, but looked it up on Wikipedia only to find an identical definition staring back. Either Wikipedia and I came up with it in some kind of parallel evolution, or else I’ve read it so many times from there that it’s just embedded in my head. Like that Keanu Reeves movie Johnny Mnemonic (which I now realise is basically using someone as cloud storage). Defenestration is a marvellous word simply because specificity has a hilarity to it. There’s little that’s more comical than being precisely explicit to an absurd degree. Hence having a word specifically for things being outwardly projected through windows. Because Throw it Out the Window needed a more concise, polysyllabic name. As do all children’s songs. Also, isn’t 99 bottles of beer on the wall just an ode to alcoholism? Moving on.

Queef

Okay. Queefs are hilarious and fantastic. Guys, humans are weird as shit. I heard it said the other day that we’re basically ghosts possessing sacks of meat held together by a stack of bones. We’re absurd. In line with being absurd, our bodies do weird and wonderful things. Get over it. We fart, piss, puke, laugh cry and cum. Shit happens. Literally. Queefs are part of that, and for that reason they’re part of what defines us as human. You never expect a queef, but just because they’re surprising, that doesn’t mean they’re frightening. Guys (and I’m primarily addressing guys here, though if there are other gender orientations that also find this applicable, rock on), if you’re having sex with a gal and she queefs, if you find that to be a turn off, you don’t deserve to be having sex. I’d say fuck you, but more like no fucking for you. You’re already fucked. Don’t shame someone for being fallibly human, just laugh with them and keep on going. Or pull out and never set dick inside a vagina again. You fuck.

Spoonerism

I was really just trying to be clever here, but I’m no good with these. This site is much better. Fave hun.

Insouciance

A casual or cool indifference to something. Nonchalance would be another excellent way to say this. The thing I like about both words is how apt they sound. “Insoosianse”. Doesn’t that just have a great mouth feel? I find it hard to be insouciant about it.

Munted

Greeeat Kiwi slang. Basically broken or ruined. Objects can be munted “Your car’s munted bro”, things can be munted “non-consentual sex? That’s munted as bro” or people can be munted “You’ve had too much to drink, you’re munted bro”. According to my usage, this only happens within siblings. Usually the male is at fault. It’s a great term that needs to travel further. If I may speak so frankly, the fact that it hasn’t is kind of munted.

Tintinnabulum

I stumbled upon this word typing “tintinnabulation”. It’s a small wind chime that’s usually attacked to a small bronze figure with a massive penis. This massive penis apparently was thought to ward off the evil eye and offer prosperity. This is my new pick-up line. Also just look at the thing. Bell phallus? More like “bellus”.

Shalom

It’s not often I pull out my Jewish roots (also a Kiwi slang term meaning “fucking”), but this word means hello, goodbye and peace all in one. It’s like one of those triple form Transformers (I had this one), which were amazing. If all Jews were Transformers I’d have a lot more Jewish pride. Which sounds like a tribe of Jewish lions. My name means lion, maybe I’m actually a robot in disguise.

Rad

I wanted to bring back the word “radical” for ages. I did. I still would, but I think I’ve come to peace with the fact that it most probably won’t happen. I can live with this. Rad, however, entirely has. I say rad all the time. It started off in jest. I’d say it mockingly or sarcastically, but then somewhere along the line that sarcasm did a 180° turn to sincerity. I think things are fucking rad and I mean it. Especially words, words are fucking rad. Which is where I’ll leave you with my final parting word…

Evanesce.

I mean, people love Rocket Raccoon, right? They’d go ape over a kangaroo.

For some reason I was just thinking about how Marvel needed to reboot Brute Force. Seriously, how could that not translate to millions and millions of dollars flowing back into their already Scrooge McDuckian coffers? Brute Force, for the non initiated (most everyone, I think it was relatively obscure by the time my best friend and I discovered it as kids) was weird hybrid of Captain Planet and Dino-Riders. Cybernetically enhanced animal eco-warriors seeking to liberate the environment from the pillages of large multinational corporations. A lion, kangaroo, bear, eagle and dolphin all garbed in robot exoskeletons, equipped with an arsenal of weapons and intelligence enhancing technology. I know how kids operate (I was one), they’d lap that shit up. Just add a dubstep intro song and you’ve got yourself the newest range of action figures flying off the shelves for Christmas. Also a ton of old collector types would rush out to reclaim the nostalgic taste of their childhoods. A hit ABC Kids Saturday morning cartoon, video game and movie franchise. Just imagine Kangaroo Jack, C.S. Lewis’ AslanYogi Bear, Flipper and that eagle from The Hobbit all tanked up with lethal armaments with which to take down pollution. Doesn’t it sound equivalent to printing money? I guess someone out there agreed with me, ’cause I just discovered they’re bringing back the franchise in the newest Deadpool annual, co-written by US comedy mainstay Paul Scheer. Giving the people what they want.  By “the people” I mean me and only me. I love it.

Speaking of McDonalds slogans, I just turned on my old Galaxy S2 that I’m using for some Fan Expo coverage and holy shit. Waves of nostalgia and affection almost physically radiated through the screen. If you’ve ever been through a demanding emotional break up that just lingered as you guiltily checked out their Facebook page day after day to try and see how long it’d take before they finally announced their new partner online who your suspicious and calculating subconscious just knew was trying to carve a path towards your former partner while you were still together and looked with longing recalling the happy memories you had that suddenly epitomised the whole relationship ignoring the many problems that caused the schism in the first place but ultimately made you just want to jump back in time to that better place away from all the hardship, you might get an idea how I feel about this phone. It was my everything (and I’ve often gone on about it at length on here, despite the fact that it’s been about a year since I last used it) and I still feel like I’d be happy to wake up to its soothing default alarm every morning. It’s just a much faster unit than my current one and suits the hectic work environment I’ll find while cruising the convention for potential interviewees. It’s been sitting gathering dust, which I feel is a poor use of its still useable technical specs. At the very least I could use it without a sim card as a wireless remote for my computer. One that can also handily access the internet. I’m sure I could use it to automate any number of processes, but for Saturday at least it’s gonna record interviews and take notes like a champ. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of stuff comes out of the lips of geeks and hoping I can garner some choice quotes to use. I know anything I do for my Humans of Fan Expo article won’t hold a candle to the excellent Humans of New York, but with such an exemplary project, even its offcuts can still hold something substantive.

And if it doesn’t, I’ll just find a way to muscle in on a Marvel Brute Force relaunch to make my first million.

Jagon in 60 seconds.

The guy across from me on the bus is called Jagon. It’s a pretty rad name. I know this because it’s emblazoned on his uniform name tag. Garbed in crisp whites, complete with while leather shoes and an official looking captain’s hat, he’s either some type of military official or a cruise ship captain. Given the suspicious looks he keeps sending my way I’m leaning towards the former, but that could just be his justified response to me looking him up and down. Jagon? Seriously? Sounds like it was ripped straight from the pages of a fantasy novel. Sounds like he would tear his foes limb from limb by hand. Or he could be a mysterious dark rider armed only with his trusty pistol and sardonic wit. Jagon. Jagon should be sailing the sea in a Viking raiding ship, not a cosy leisure vessel.

Jagon. I want my first-born child to be named Jagon, irrespective of gender. There’s no way life could ever get on top of someone named Jagon. Jagons forge their own path, not subject to the whims of destiny’s meddlesome fingers. Jagons are heart breakers, fiercely independent and self-aware. They know what they want and aren’t afraid to rattle a few cages to obtain it. Jagons own the room instantly, a name like Jagon commands respect. There’s a reason you don’t see children’s party clowns named Jagon. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m saying they’re the ones holding dominion over the clown community with an iron fist. My child Jagon would not only have my love, but also the ability to project a 30-ft. line of acid, dealing 1d8/2 caster levels (maximum 10d8) and certain elemental resistances. My kid’s gonna be awesome.

It’s funny, whenever the thought of which gender I’d prefer my child to be arose, I always veered towards having a son. Maybe this came from the influence of living in a primarily male family line. My grandmother used to joke that before we had a female child born she wanted enough males for a rugby team. 13 males born in a row later and she had her wish. I’ve grown up in a family of guys and I happen to love most of the male child centric toys and subjects of interest. That being said, it’s all a big crock of shit, right? These gendered dichotomies we instil in our kids are driven by held societal bias. There’s no reason why girls have the be little princesses while boys have a myriad of heroic roles in their grasp. Of course there’s no reason why the princess has to be a passive role either. So often at work I see young girls already set in this binary gender view that their sex dictates what they can and can’t do. It shits me and I do my best to immediately shoot down such a close minded value system.

I’ve got so many fiercely intelligent, driven female friends who don’t see gender as something to cling to in order to define how they navigate the world. Maybe it’s the minuscule anti-authoritarian bent in me driving me to seek any way to stick my middle finger up to the status quo, but the righteousness of raising a girl without ceding to held expectations has a massive allure. I’ve got too much respect for the women in my life to not want to raise a little girl in their likeness. To help shape someone with strength and integrity, someone inquisitive and confident. In short, I don’t care what gender my hypothetical child is, I know two things to be true: Their name will be Jagon and they’re gonna be a conqueror.