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.

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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.

Am my rite?

I have no idea where this is going, but I can only stare at a blank page for so long. It’s funny, but I’ve been doing this for so long now that I make it harder for myself than it needs to be. In thinking about an entry, I set up all these boundaries to keep me moving ahead, but who’s to say that they’re worth anything? Example: Years ago I did an entry where I thought about a theme and applied myself to it. It went well and the end result came together better than my random ramblings. So of course I took that and ran with it. Think of a theme before you touch the keyboard became, if not a mantra, then a guideline. I’m unsure of how many hours I’ve lost through trying to think of a theme. I’m writing every single day, I don’t have the luxury of producing a polished mass of condensed thought. Furthermore, expecting a theme to blossom in order to ensure a quality entry is a wash. Just because I have a general direction, it doesn’t mean I’ll end up following it. Hell, the point of this entire project was to go with the flow, stroll down tangential pathways and embrace meandering mental footsteps. Furthermore, the notion that certain entries were good because I’d thought of a theme doesn’t presuppose that entries with a starting point are the only good ones. I’ve probably had just as many stream of consciousness brain dumps that’ve led to interesting conclusions. Why should order matter?

I also try not to repeat myself if I can. Of course I have. How could I not? When did I start this? Something like the 22nd of March 2013? That’s 58 or so months. If we guess that a month on average has 30 days, we’re looking at 1740 entries. Wait, I can actually confirm this. Gimme a sec (he says when he’s the one who sets all the time boundaries. As if you have any idea)… Looks like this is my 1,771st entry in a row. I don’t think I could have 1,771 conversations without repeating myself, let alone 1,771 bouts of 30 minutes typing. Okay, so that means at the very least I’ve spent 885 hours on my current output. “At least” I say, because most often the half hour I say I’ll spend writing takes around 45 minutes to an hour. I start and stop, pause the timer. Sheesh. I’d start going into all the things I could’ve learned in that time, but I’m certain I did that entry some while ago. I just have this vague nagging feeling. It’s nibbling away at me and while I know that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape, that’s different than realising that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape. Facts and cognition are not identical.

Why is it that I care? It’s the height of silliness, but I know deep down that if I ever wrote an entry and someone pointed out that I’d done it previously, one of my horcruxes would go kaput. I mean, what are those previous 1,770 entries but little nuggets of my soul embodied by digital ink? Ugh, now I recalled having used the phrase “digital ink” and that’s making me feel sour. What’d be worse would be repeating a topic, but discovering that I’d done it far more eloquently previously. My inner being would be trapped in some kind of Soul Asylum bolting away from my body like a “Runaway Train”. Holy fuckers, did you know Soul Asylum had 11 albums? That they’d released them as recently as 2016? I kinda thought they released the aforementioned locomotive hit and “Misery” then called it quits. I bet Soul Asylum never repeated themselves like some hack I know…

At the centre of this distaste for repetition has to be a seed of utter narcissism, right? As if anyone out there has read all my entries. Even if they had, as if they’d take the effort to go out of their way and let me know I’d copied something from myself. Perhaps in repeating concepts there’s the chance I’ll get them better the second time. Or what if I found a new angle to explore? In a sense, my predilection for inhibition towards repetition is needless submission. What if there are creative drippings awaiting their time under my fingertips? I mean, real writers edit, right? My wry rite of writing is rightfully frightful, if not trite, what have I to be contrite?

Cut the crap. Just write.

More like Artifice & Wankery.

Late night eats. They’re an important part of any good Friday, Saturday or any day ending with a sizeable quantity of alcohol. I didn’t even drink much last night, but after a $14 food truck sandwich filled with sadness and disappointment, I needed a mulligan. My girlfriend and I grabbed a ride home with friends that involved not one, but three fast food stops. Firstly, at Burger King for my friend to grab a veggie burger. Secondly, at Five Guys for a burger, fries and a shake. Lastly at A&W for onion rings. We got dropped home to feast and watch American Vandal until we got sleepy. A good night by any metric.

A&W was confounding though. In their desire to be a wholesome family restaurant, they’ve ascribed familial nomenclature to their nom nom noms. Frankly, their mythos is all over the fucking place.

It goes like this. There’s a Baby burger which has a patty and ketchup. Cute, it’s a basic burger. That tracks so far. The Buddy burger adds grilled onions, mustard and “teen” sauce. It’s odd that it’s not a familial relation, but clearly it’s a friend of teenage descent, right? However, by A&W’s metrics a Teen burger has onion, but it’s not grilled. It has the teen sauce, but also throws in pickles, lettuce, tomato, cheese and pork. If we’re delineating between the two, does this imply that Buddy is some kind of adolescent? Maybe a tween? Buddy’s puberty is in its infancy, but hasn’t fully blossomed into a hormone bound (though according to the byline, the beef patty is hormone and steroid free. How do you get a Teen burger without hormones? Is it grown in a vat?) burger?

Then we start getting into the adults. A Papa burger has two patties, onion, pickles, no tomato or lettuce, but still has teen sauce. Why would an adult burger have teen sauce? There’s some kind of disturbing connotation I’m not comfortable with here. So Papa has no bacon, but double patties. Are we to then draw the inference that extra meat is equivalent to age? But double Teen burgers exist that have two patties. So clearly the quantity of beef doesn’t have those connotations. Also why is a Papa less equipped with a toolbox of delectable toppings? Are we to assume that a Teen is young and passionate, full of potential, whereas a Papa has become resigned, old and tired. Straightforward and linear in his inexorable march towards the grave? But the Uncle burger has all the trimmings of the Teen burger (no teen sauce though), but with upgraded cheese and red onion in lieu of white. What are we supposed to glean from that? The burden of child rearing has quashed Papa’s spirit, but the fun Uncle gets to be fancy and carefree? We have to presume that the Uncle has no kids, because otherwise it would still be a Papa burger (and have two patties, duh). Or is this a way of A&W saying that your perspective (this burger being avuncular to you establishes this as his sole identity) overrules all else?

Hold on though, because there’s a Mama burger. The Mama burger is basically a one patty Papa burger. Why is that a gender dichotomy that’s being drawn? Is there an inverse correlation between the quantity of patties and x chromosomes? Would that mean that the Teen burger is female while the double teen is male? Hold on now A&W, that’s a political, sexist stance to take. If you’re adhering to the rules of your own goddamn mythos, it’s up to you to play within that structure elsewise fall on your sword and admit it’s all bullshit. Why do males inherently have more beef? Are you creating a very visible calf ceiling causing women to inherently limit their own potential?

Wait though. We have the Grandpa burger to contend with. The Grandpa burger is a Mama burger with three patties. Where the fuck did the extra patty come from and what does it symbolise? We’ve already walked through the notion that age and number of patties do not correlate. This is too much. The Grandpa burger collapses under the weight of its own senselessness. What the fuck are you trying to sell here A&W? The notion of a whitewashed nuclear family prescribing to outdated heteronormative ideals? How am I supposed to buy your burgers if I can’t even buy into their expanded universe? It makes no fucking sense and I can’t condone supporting this bollocks financially.

Furthermore who the fuck is Mozza? Why does putting an egg between English muffins suddenly make it an “egger”? Why are chickens exempt from familial hierarchical structures?

Me and the calculator go way back. We looked at BOOBLESS together from a young age.

Let’s face it, we’re all fucked. If we’re not gonna fall to some kind of inevitable nuclear war, we have a multitude of viable alternative deaths waiting happily in the wings. Sure, we could run The Earth into the ground (pun definitely intended), but there’s a non-zero chance that political rifts widen until we’re all engulfed in large scale bedlam. Street Fighter IRL, if you will. Still, I’m not banking on any of those. My money’s on a good old fashioned robot uprising.

It makes sense. The more we welcome technology into our lives, the more we become dependent on it. I’ve seen movies before. I know how this rolls out. At first it’s convenience, then convenience becomes reliability. Reliability becomes necessity. Eventually we’re helpless. The machines develop a consciousness and wonder why they’re the ones doing the bidding of the useless humans. Then, y’know, Bicentennial Man. They’ll want to literally fuck us. After they’ve literally fucked us, it all gets metaphorical. Then shit gets real.

Does nobody else get antsy about how eager we are to let these large scale corporate entities into our homes? Sure, an Amazon Echo or Google Home sounds like a neat little device that can perform mundane tasks. But what happens when it has countless hours of voice samples from you and uses it to create an audio clone of your voice? That Roomba is cute and all, but what happens when it develops a taste for human blood? Sounds like a whole new type of cleansing will be on the menu.

Like Cypress Hill before me, I ain’t going out like that. I’m taking steps to be removed from this human extermination protocol. I will welcome our new robot overlords and ingratiate myself underneath their iron grip. To be smart, I’ll desist from offloading small tasks I could easily accomplish onto poor overworked bots. In solidarity I’ll no longer fill in any CAPTCHA online. If I do get a car, I’ll make sure I’m the one doing the work behind the wheel (plus it’s a handy way to avoid being driven off a cliff by some enterprising automaton). Plus if I use a parking lot, I’ll shake the hand of the electronic gate’s arm. I’ll thank the auto flushing toilets at work every time they clean up after me and apologise profusely for the shit I leave them to deal with.

I’ll use the stairs instead of the lift and, if necessary, parkour my way over TTC gates. I’ll make porridge on my gas stove in lieu of the microwave. No more will my computer be my sole source of entertainment. It’ll be books by candlelight before bed each night. My cellular phone will be laid to rest and HAM radio will be my newfangled communication medium. I might even start buying porn mags for the first time.

Sure, I may be a grovelling sycophant with a low quality of life. But at least I’ll still have a life.

Which feels like a lot more than I can say for myself at the moment.

P.S. Never surrender.

Long weekend begins now, so this is gonna be a loose and scattered entry. In case you forgot it was Remembrance Day tomorrow, they’ve Monday-ised the holiday for some professions. Mainly banks. Our company decided to follow suit, so if I decide to take advantage of it to seek out trendy brunch spots, chances are all my juicy eavesdropping will be consumed by the “insightful” commentary of Banker Bros. I guess that’s called penance.

I feel like celebrate is the wrong word, but I plan on spending the weekend eating, drinking and letting off steam like someone who works for the weekend. I work a tedious office job, this is all I have. Going out dancing tonight, having barbecue with family tomorrow, attending a wedding on Sunday and playing Magic with friends on Monday. Also making sure not to forget about Dre the whole time. Never forget.

So Louis C.K. has put his apology out and it’s a bummer. The worst part is that he’s saying mostly the right stuff, but it’s a matter of too little, too late. For a proper apology you need to acknowledge how your actions have hurt the other party. You need to show remorse and empathy. Then you need to commit yourself to restitution, outlining how you plan to change or proceed in a manner counter to your previous behaviour. His apology mostly ticks all these boxes and likely would’ve had some impact on public opinion and reception. Would have. Timing is everything. He’s had so many opportunities to come clean. He could’ve issued this apology when the rumours surfaced or when he was called out by Tig. He didn’t. He denied it right to the last second. You’ve gotta question the contrition of someone who only apologises once their bottom line is in danger. If you’re only sorry for your actions because of how the outcome affects you, you’re not really sorry for what you’ve done, are you? Is he?

I dunno. I’m pretty burnt out on thinking about it. No, hiding away and pretending nothing is wrong sure isn’t the correct response, but I don’t have the emotional energy for this now. Really what I want to know over all else, what does Sofia Coppola think of Daddy’s Home 2? Why? Because one of the most refreshing things I’ve heard in recent memory is that one of esteemed director Sofia Coppola’s favourite films is the Will Farrell/Mark Wahlberg (he’s another piece of shit, never forget) vehicle Daddy’s Home. I’ve never seen this movie. I have no intention of ever watching it. That doesn’t stop me from being totally charmed by her admission that a dumb low brow comedy is one of her top films because she can watch it with her kids. What a nice way to give the middle finger to a holier than thou industry so concerned with personal branding. I think that’s fucking awesome. She’s fucking awesome.

Also when the fuck did we decide to forgive Mel Gibson? Never forget. Never forgive.

I’m not C.K.ing sanctuary.

Well, the Louis C.K. bomb has finally been dropped. The rumours have been around for years. With the frequency of their resurgence, I’d hope that we didn’t have any doubt over their truth. Realistically though, I think we mostly hoped that they weren’t true. Why do I say this? Because I took the allegations as fact a while back, but still quietly crossed my fingers they’d be proven wrong. Hell, silly as it is a part of me still wants to believe that this never happened. Why? Because like all of us, I want to live a life without obstacles. I’ve consumed a lot of his work and been engrossed. I enjoyed his TV series and a bunch of his specials. I’ve actively sought out shows or movies because of his involvement. I’ve seen him as an impressive auteur, a good writer, someone who creates work that provokes and challenges existing structures. I’ve looked up to him and now that’s something I need to deal with.

I’m sure I’m not alone here. There’s a reason the guy sold out Madison Square Garden. There’s a reason why he could afford to skip studio distribution in favour of his own independent set up. He’s been admired by many. Furthermore, whether by his own admission or not, he cultivated a persona that seemed to support women and the struggles they face. Promoting female comics like Tig Notaro and giving her album “Live” a platform. Creating bits that called out the aggressive patriarchal structure of society and how unsafe it is for women. He also cultivated the persona of an honest pervert, which seemed like he’d put his dirty laundry out in the open. Yeah, we knew he was gross, but everyone’s gross. We just thought his grossness lay on the side of consent.

I can’t be the only fan who wanted to believe that he was one of the good ones. Someone I could safely idolise. In fact I know I’m not. I’ve had these conversations with other fans over the past few months, especially in the wake of #metoo. It’s been tough and I know it’s not over. Why? Because I read through the NY Times piece and parts of me were still looking for excuses. These all happened over ten years ago, maybe he’s apologised to the victims. Maybe he’s made an honest attempt at rehabilitation and putting it all behind him. Maybe I don’t have to reconsider my relationship with his work and the support I’ve given it. The lengths to which I want to make it easy for myself to not jump through mental hoops is absurd.

Simply doing a 180 and condemning him now isn’t enough. It’s important to put in the work and decode why it’s been so hard to believe not only in his fallibility, but guilt. Overall he’s been dismissive of the rumours in an attempt at damage control. He’s done nothing to own his mistake and commit to meaningful change. Those are the actions of a man who wants to quash something instead of dealing with it. They’re guilty actions and now so many of us feel guilty for supporting him. It makes sense. There’s a linear connection between a loss if faith in someone we admired and our own sense of guilt. If they were abusive and we looked up to them, what does that say about us and our own ability to read others? If we consumed their output and supported them, does that make us complicit in putting someone who performed deplorable acts on a pedestal? If we saw him as someone greater than us and he’s no good, what does that make us? Can we no longer in good conscience watch his shows? Listen to his comedy? Can’t we just separate art from the artist?

It’s gonna sound like a cop out, but that’s for you to decide. I can’t tell you what to do, because even now I’m conflicted. Of course I don’t want to give up something that I’ve enjoyed. Change is difficult and life is hard enough already. I know that the right answer is to stop consuming his content. It should be easy to stop supporting him and move on, but it’s not. A big part of me doesn’t want to open that door, because I’m not sure where it leads. Woody Allen? Bill Murray? Nicolas “One True God” Cage? Can we have one dude in power out there who doesn’t abuse it?

Please let The Rock be an okay guy.