Be careful, this suddenly got SUPER political

Is gravy just hot, thick, meat fat?

I already regret my use of “just”, as it could be misconstrued that I don’t hold the marvel of gravy with the utmost reverence. That would be a shame. There’s nothing “mere” about gravy. Gravy is a wondrous substance that goes with anything. Meat? Of course. Cheese? Definitely. Bread? 100%. Ice cream? Chocolate? Some types, perhaps. Candy? It’d sure as hell improve the taste of Red Vines/Twizzlers. See? My logic is impeccable. Gravy goes with everything. Indisputable.

For the past week or so I’ve been feeling this irritating sensation. The kind of irritating sensation I usually get from water lodged in my ear. I’ve got weirdly shaped ears, I’m used to it. Water gets and trying to remove it is like bot fly extraction (warning, that link is both totally fascinating and utter nightmare fuel). I tried a bunch of cotton buds and got all the earwax out, but nevertheless the sensation persisted. I wondered if there was anything wrong with me. Then today after poking around with my finger a bunch, I realised that I’m now so old that I get ear hairs. So that’s great, something new that I have to upkeep about my body, as it steadily falls apart. Much like gravy, my body is basically now just hot, thick, meat fat.

Which I guess means it’s in good company.

You know, I started this about two hours ago. I’ve been getting distracted, procrastinating as much as possible and generally avoiding getting words down on this page. I don’t want to write every single day. At the same time, specifically because I don’t want to write every day, I need to write every day. I know myself well enough that if I let myself off the hook for a single day, then I’ll let myself off the hook for other single days. Then they’ll be less single days and more a cluster of days. Then I’ll find excuses not to write maybe for a week, or more. Soon enough I’ll write when I feel like writing. The thing is, I barely ever feel like writing. Occasionally, yes, I get gripped by creativity and it all bursts out of me. Then other days I’ll have this tabbed while I’m reading articles about the cessation of the US governmental shutdown, or 15 non-Oscar nominated films that deserved to be (and you know my boy Paddington was right in there). Maybe I’ll walk to the kitchen and grab ingredients for cheese and crackers, contemplate assembling them there, and instead decide I can do it on the fly. Then perhaps I’ll discover that they’re cumbersome enough to make that doing them one by one whenever my whims drive me, is just plain inefficient. In this entirely hypothetical situation it could be that the bacon marmalade (one more shout out to my boy Paddington) I’m using is too clumpy to easily spread with a knife, and a spoon would’ve been smarter, but I’ll press on anyway to my own detriment. Then possibly I’ll make five or six crackers before getting frustrated by my own ineptitude that I’d eat them all and take the ingredients back to the kitchen without having written a single word.

Hah, like that would ever happen.

But in any case, there’s no good to come of me bashing my head against a wall here.

I bet that’s how Trump felt.

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They’re always the last things I write, and are usually just a desperately written reference

Here’s an anatomy of why most of my posts don’t quite stick the landing.

I’m always tired. If that sounds entirely disengenuous, be aware that sometimes I’m tired from being so energetic, if that makes sense. The majority of my entries are done in that window of 4-5pm. It’s the sweet spot between having finished all my work and whatever evening plans I have. It also means that, once again, I’m tired. Maybe I’ll have something on my mind if I’m lucky, but it’s primarily a case of clock based motivation. Less creative “incentive to write” and more “let’s get this out of the way” sorta energy. It’s rare that I jump into these with a restless desire to loose imagination from my soul or an unshakeable political conviction to express myself. More often it’s “if I’m start in the next minute or two, I can have this off my back before 5pm rolls around.” I like to think it’s more carrot than stick, but if your carrot is long and thin enough, it may as well be a stick.

Don’t think too hard about that. I certainly didn’t.

So I’ll usually start off with a brief opening statement. I don’t truly know how this became incorporated into my style. Maybe it worked once to strong effect and I’ve been aping it ever since. In any case, it orients me enough that to fuel the following paragraph. That’s the hope, anyway. Fingers crossed (metaphorically. It’s hard to type that way) that this opening paragraph sparks some kind of material to expand upon, weaving a coherent series of threads into a greater whole. Occasionally things align and cohesive links emerge. More likely I’ll end up with a non-sequitur of sorts.

I’ll commonly just go into a new thought I had. Maybe I had something I wanted to roll around on the page in the hopes of creating a new bit. Or perhaps I suddenly remembered a pop cultural artifact I wanted to Have An Opinion on. This part out of everything likely ages the least well. I’m not one for salient hot takes. My tastes change over time and enthusiasm is mercurial. While this non-sequitur sentence doesn’t matter a whole heap at first glance, it likely subtly changes the rest of the entry. While expressing my views on whatever it is I’ve chosen to focus on for this one paragraph, it’ll help me hone into a certain point and expand elements of it. This usually gives some form of guidance to the rest of the entry.

By the time paragraph three or four rolls around, I’ve got some idea of what I’m saying. Not always, but often. You wouldn’t think it, but this is practically the only part of the entry that matters. My brain has warmed up enough that it can process and analyse rather that just let loose ideas. I’ll dig in to consider what was important about the preceding paragraphs. If you’re looking for insight (and curiously, came to this page) or original thoughts, you could probably just skip the preamble and look out for this one. Chances are it’s longer than the others. It’s very possible, too, that the paragraph I’m talking about really gets bifurcated into smaller ones while realistically the content doesn’t change enough to justify a paragraph break. Look out for some prolix in there too. I try to cheat with commas, which is more symptomatic of writing as I speak than any real intention. Look, I could be a better writer, but is that really what you want? I mean, I’d like that. I’m just not sure I want to put ther work in to get there.

The second to last paragraph (and oh, we’re getting there) is a casualty of the format. While the preceding parapraph likely had some decent ideas, I doubt I expressed them to the fullest. The second to last paragraph has all the potential in the world, because it could deep dive into finding gold in my words. Instead, it’s used to hastily (and sloppily) tie up most of the threads I’ve raised over the course of the half hour. Clearly it matters more to me that I “technically” finish the entry, than utilise what I’ve considered to reach valuable conclusions. Don’t hate the player, hate The Game. Don’t hate the rapper “The Game”, but you should hate The Game, because you just lost it.

As I did all my steam. Here’s the occasional pre-tail where I’ll lazily circle back to the opening statement/paragraph in an attempt to desperately convince y’all that any of this was a) planned or b) plotted. It wasn’t. Why? Well I was probably too tired to be bothered. Also because 5pm just rolled around and I wanted to get the fuck out of the office.

I’ll nearly always end it with some quippy ending statement. Also, no. I don’t think hard about the entry names.

How negative do you have to be before it comes out positive?

Today I bought 75 cans of tuna.

If anyone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them exactly that. Today I bought 75 cans of tuna. I figure it’s the perfect response. It’s a neutral statement that belies my constant state of dread. I don’t need to specify that walking into the office instills me with a sense of listlessness and helplessness, because they likely assume I bought almost eighty cans in the hopes of committing ritual seppuku via mercury poisoning. I should be so lucky.

You know, I reference mercury poisoning often enough, but I don’t really know what the symptoms are. Let’s review, shall we?

  • mood swings, nervousness, irritability, and other emotional changes,
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • abnormal sensations,
  • muscle twitching,
  • tremors
  • weakness,
  • muscle atrophy, and
  • decreased cognitive functions.
  • peripheral vision impairment,
  • stinging or needle-like sensations in the extremities and mouth,
  • loss of coordination,
  • muscle weakness, and
  • other impairments of speech and hearing

So it’s like being permanently hungover. Seems like a rough way to go. Still, nothing like saying “fuck it” and ingesting too much deep sea fish out of sunken cost fallacy. That, if anything, seems On Brand for me.

Other things that are On Brand for me: Unnecessarily convoluted puns. Having serious opinions about pooping technique. Caring too much about irreverent observations and too little about making good decisions. Listening to Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” eerily often. Starting sentences with “So”, “And” or “But”. LCD Soundsystem’s “Christmas Will Break Your Heart”. Mixing Four Loko with anything. Consuming odd flavour combos less because I can’t afford better and more because I crave new experiences/hate waste. The bold plain colour t-shirt/pants combo. Cute animal based graphic tees. Air Bud over everything. Capitalising For Emphasis. Knowing a bunch about films I’ve never seen. Not watching any classic cinema. Crying frequently during Wreck-It Ralph. Spending more time reading Magic the Gathering articles than playing Magic the Gathering. Balking at people who haven’t watched Community. Climbing things while drunk. Confusing nostalgia and regret. Listening to a ten hour loop of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You”. Commas.

In case you were wondering, I’d happily sell out and turn Being Me into a financial transaction. If anyone wants to pay me for On Brand content, I’m game. How else am I going to Do What I Love/Love What I Do and practice self care simultaneously? There must be some kind of way, right? Become a lifestyle guru for those with questionable standards? Sell jade vagina eggs to take advantage of desperate women? Become a lobbyist for Big Tuna? Get a book deal that involves repackaging exceprts from this writing project? Start a cooking channel for pescetarian bachelors? Get sponsored by Four Loko and write about it for Vice? Start a blog about listening to 10 hours of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You” in different public locations?

And here I was thinking I wasn’t marketable enough.

I’m nothing if not a student of human nature

Why are cleaning products so often marketed as nature analogues? Nature’s is pretty much the dirtiest thing there is. It’s where the word “dirt” came from. Marketing is weird.

Poo is natural. Rot and decomposition are natural. Sure, waterfalls are nifty, but they can also stir up gross sediment. A windswept meadow looks lovely, but also harbours a diverse ecosystem of insects and excrement. There’s such a thing as underwater carrion, but they call it “chum” so it sounds a lot more delightful.

These were all thoughts I had while washing my hair, noticing the “natural” shampoo another employee had left there. So, literal shower thoughts. Marketing has always bugged me, but it’s not like my connection to it has progressed since my teenage years. I’m still political in that adorable Mall Goth capacity. I’ll get free promotional sunglasses and scratch off the branding. I’ll refuse to get clothing with visible logos. To this day I still don’t understand football fans wearing moisture wicking billboards. You’re paying to advertise for someone, they should be paying you, right?

I truly wonder what teenage Leon would think of Leon aged 31. I’ve kind of inverted. As a teen I was obsessed with heavy rock and metal. My wardrobe existed in shades of black (where does “charcoal” fit in? -Ed). I thought I was totally counter-culture and legit, but also listened to schlocky trite like Sum 41. I remember thinking just how rebellious and edgy I was, while also totally fitting into a cookie cutter paradigm. I was all “fuck those posers Linkin Park” with one breath, and an entirely sincere “adults don’t understand” in another. I was misunderstood, like every teacher. Likely misunderstood mostly by myself.

I prided myself on how much I hated the things that didn’t jive with me and made a point of letting everyone else know it. It was pathological. If there was something I hated, I’d do my research and find out as much as possible about it so that my barbs had substance. In retrospect, as an adult I wish I still had that kind of work ethic. These days I wouldn’t waste the energy. I’ve got better things to do, like question the political motivations of cleaning products. I’ve hardly even started on my Netflix queue. I swear I pay $10 a month to watch an hour or two of content on average.

Is there a point to any of this? Of course not. Existence is meaningless and nature breeds filth. If you love nature so much, why don’t you marry it, grow old together and slowly decompose until plants desecrate your bones for nourishment?

Honestly, that sounds kind of romantic.

Move over Radiohead, we have a new King of Limbs in town

Toronto Fringe is here and I’ve lost my girlfriend.

In a metaphorical sense. We’ll still be sharing a house/bed, but it’s likely to be more of a “ships in the night” kind of deal. She’s working evenings and I’m a 9-5er. We’ll share company during the weekends. Magic: Arena is my new girlfriend for the next two weeks. Maybe I’ll go watch some shows myself too.

Look, once again I have nothing. It’s not like I do much prep for these. It usually starts that I’ll look around my desk for inspiration. Maybe I’ll think of a conversation or song that’s been on my mind and go from there. Once in a blue moon I’ll have a topic ready to rock and/or roll. Presently: Zilch.

My hand smells funny. There you go. It’s still cast-bound and I went for a run today. Toronto’s still in the sweltering grip of a heat wave, so my hand sweat excessively. Well, all of my sweat excessively, but the sweat on my right hand had nowhere to go. Poor, poor pores. With all the blood rushing into said hand, it began to swell. Maybe it hated being constricted or something and hulked the fuck out. It got to a point where, mid-jog, I’d be flicking out droplets of sweat on the path before me. Like a sweat Red Carpet. Sweat Carpet?

It smelled funky, so I washed it in the shower, letting the water trickle out. Problem solved, I thought. Except for the liquid leaking onto the office floor, that was. A trifling issue. A few hours later (namely, just before) I got a whiff of my cast covered palm and my nose crinkled involuntarily. It looked a little odd. White and patchy. I prodded it with a finger and skin came loose. Gross. I rubbed it a little and lots more skin flaked with it. Was I spliced with a snake? Is my hand a grand fungual infection? Have I got athlete’s fist?

A quick Google says I should put a light amount of baking soda on it to draw out the moisture. A quick look at my brain tells me I should add some salt, detergent, cooking oil and vinegar to make it into a bitchin’ arm volcano. I can pretend I have a cool Mega Man arm cannon and possibly be arrested for disturbing public behaviour. Maybe I’ll get deported to Johannesburg, my arm will morph into an inhuman appendage, I’ll be able to wield awesome alien weaponry and I’ll feel like I have to throw up whenever I watch the movie. Then maybe I’ll develop a bizarre Pavlovian vomit response to looking at my own limb. I’ll continue to unload until my body inverts and I develop a misshapen exoskeleton. Then I go to live under the sea like one of Lovecraft’s unfathomable horrors.

Anything’s possible. I mean, I managed to write a whole entry from nothing, right?

Quite quote unquote, quid pro quo?

I’ve been humming and hawing (a word I’ve been using for years without knowing the true meaning. Apparently it’s to hesitate in speech) about what to write. No cohesive themes are popping into my head. I don’t have the darndest notion of where to start, but if I’ve learned anything from this project it’s that starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere.

Man, that sounded like I dropped some serious wisdom:

“Starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere” – Albert Einstein.

Maybe I’ve finally gained the ability to casually drop aphorisms on the fly. Wouldn’t that be a rad superpower. It sounds meek at first blush, but the more you think about it, you’d be able to give your opponents pause while you came in for the coup de grâce. They’d be standing there doing some serious hawing (’cause the only way to truly learn a word is to use it in a sentence, right?), and I’d take advantage of their flat footed predicament. An ability to drop truth bombs at will sounds like a great power with great responsibility.

I read an Onion article the other day “Man Forced To Reverse-Engineer Point In Midst Of Meandering, Absentminded Rant“. I was just happy they had the restraint not to print my real name. Perhaps it’s come from years of downing Harmontown episodes, but I totally do this. I’ll start at a certain point in a conversation with this unearned confidence that I’ll be able to spout something vaguely resembling sense. I’ll twist and contort, taking non-linear sidesteps while engineering a through-line that comes together at the end. It’s a high wire act. I’m well aware that most of the time it doesn’t work, but when I have a couple of drinks, any potential self-doubt is clipped in favour of blind faith. I’ll make it happen, even if I have to force it with clunky segues and tenuous narrative links.

I get away with it far more than I should. Maybe here in Canada it’s an offshoot of accent privilege. I’ve mentioned it a bunch of times before, but I feel like having a Kiwi accent affords me a great many privileges here in a foreign country. You know that socially observed phenomenon whereby attractive people go through life with strangers being nicer to them? 30 Rock did a great episode on it with John Hamm. Living in a foreign country, I feel like having an accent gives shades of the same. So perhaps people smudge over those times when my conversational crafting is bumbling at best. Possibly they’re not even understanding the words I’m saying, but get a kick out of my cadence. If neither of us notices and it gives me neat little advantages, I’m certainly not gonna complain.

I was saying to my girlfriend the other day that I’d love nothing more than to have a job where I could just be amicable and charming all the time. Spout total nonsense, but help facilitate others having a blast. I like making people happy as much as I enjoy being liked. Win/win all around. I was speaking to a French dude today who said when he was in Korea, he got invited on a popular KPOP panel show just because he was a) tall and b) spoke English. They were all oh, your English is so great as he spoke in his thick French accent. He told me he had zero qualms about monetising that shit, because it made others happy and he benefited from it. Is there some way I can do the same? Find a line of work where I can be me and that’ll be enough for others? Where my meandering absentminded rants are marketable? How do I even set out to find that?

Then again, as the great Albert Einstein once said: “Starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere.”

Wise words indeed.

Skeletons of memories.

I’m starting this by saying that this entry won’t be me at my top of my game. It’s been a long day. I went maybe 6 hours without drinking water and now my brain is all backed up. My phone is stuck on some booting loop and the suggested solutions from the internet aren’t working. It’s 10.30pm and I’ve just eaten dinner. You know what that means, right? LIST TIME.

While I was prepping dinner, the phrase (or combination of two words. Not 100% sure it’s a “phrase”) “Remember When” popped into my head. That’s enough of a writing prompt for me to go go gadget bulletpoint:

  • Remember when buying candy was super exciting? When you’d go to the corner store and they’d have something like pop rocks that came in a little plastic toilet? You’d lose your mind at the novelty of it all, even when it was just sugar at the end of the day. Or that tongue colour changing technology? You’d walk up to some adult and they’d be all “what’s going on you young whipper snappin’ youngin’?” and you’d be all “BLARGH. LOOK AT MY TONGUE” and it’d be blue and you thought they’d be like “WOAH, THIS KID MUST BE PART GIRAFFE” but instead they were like “have you been hitting the jenkum too hard again? I had a storied childhood.
  • Remember when it was totally acceptable for someone’s gender identity to be the butt of a joke? When TV execs thought it’d be hilarious to make a dating show like The Bachelorette then be all whoopsie, she’s trans like that was some hilarious switcheroo instead of reducing someone’s very being into a joke? Then the contestants had the gall to try and sue for psychological damages? Is there a better illustration of gay panic lying around?
  • Remember when you were a kid and your friend’s parents would have one of those rotary telephones sitting in the corner of a room and you’d play with it as if it never had a tacit practical use? Then the parent would be like “well in my day” and you’d be all “your day is past. Hurry up and expire you sack of dry bones so we can inherit the earth.” Then we did inherit the earth and phones hardly have physical buttons let alone some rotating finger trap, yet we still have the audacity to use the word “dial” when we talk about calling someone.
  • Remember when Robbie Williams tore off his skin and we found out he was actually a skeleton in disguise the whole time? That was pretty trippy.
  • Remember when Pokémon hospitalised a bunch of kids in Japan and you were all “holy shit, a cartoon killed people?” but also those monster things look kind of cool. I wonder when this show will make it over to New Zealand?
  • Remember when coffee, alcohol and avocado were gross and now they’re the only things that sustain your boney old bones?
  • Remember when Bone Thugs N Harmony hung out at public transit buildings with Phil Collins and he looked into the camera all staunch? Then he’d loosen up when the chorus came around?
  • Remember when people would use the word “bones” in lieu of a currency? Like “How much for a night in your fine inn?” “three bones, goodsir and I’ll toss in a bowl of soup with a heel of crusty bread”? Me niether, but I’d like to live in that world.
  • Remember when you got your first bra and you were a 30 year old male? Then you went to a drunken art party on a train wearing said bra and drunken people were like “I guess it’s fine to shove fake money into your bra and that bit will never get old” and you sorta adopted a grin and bear it approach and you weren’t so much offended by people’s ownership of your body autonomy as you were that they failed to realise how hack and uninspiring the joke was. Then an all female Van Halen cover band played and that was kinda cool.
  • Remember when your parents got you a subscription to the Delta Airlines kids travel magazine and it had stories/comics with the characters? Plus it’d showcase the kids meals which looked super exciting? Then you got to fly with Delta Air and were super pumped, but it was a mediocre airline and the kids meals fucking sucked and your dreams died with your mortal shell soon to follow?
  • Remember when petrol broke $1/L back in the 90s? Then by the time you had a car you were paying $2.20/L and it cost over $120 to fill your tank?

I had a time. No bones about it.