I’m sure Maurice is actually really nice in real life

I’ve been taking a week off weed.

It made sense to me. I don’t think weed has been causing serious issues in my life, but since legalisation I’ve definitely noticed my usage creeping up incrementally. Having a vape has made it far too convenient. If I can smoke inside (to avoid the wind chill), and have nothing important to do, it’s been hard to find an excuse not to. Watching a movie is great, but do you know what’s better? Watching a movie high. It’s been nice having a small smoke and going to the gym. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, it’s a swell way to get in touch with my body and figure out where certain exercises have an impact. If I’ve had a smoke I’ll always refrain from lifting heavy, and instead focus on movement standards. Is my form good? Where am I feeling muscle tension? Is that where I should be feeling it? If not, adjust. Stretching feels so much better, and I get less antsy about starting my workout. It makes me actually take the time to stretch properly, and refrain from injury. I love snacking, but it’s even better high. Playing Magic is fun, but drafting nonsense while high is also a ton of fun. Wanting to be social, but not keen on drinking a lot? Weed has definitely helped to cut down my consumption. I can’t remember the last hangover I had, and that gives me no small amount of joy.

So yeah, the above stuff is great, but I figure it’s quite alright taking a break from things you love. In the past I’ve done non-alcohol stretches. A month off here, three months off there. I even did a six month period without booze. I’m no stranger to cold turkey scenarios, and I kind of like testing my mettle to see how I do without certain substances. It means something to me knowing that I have the discipline to cut something out if it potentially could be problematic. So far, no weed has been easy. I did the simple task of taking my vape from the top of my dresser and putting it in a box where I keep my supplies. All of ten centimetres behind the vape’s usual resting spot. It was a tiny, but meaningful change. I look at it in the box and think I put it there for a reason, and the reason was not to. So I don’t. Simple as that. I’ve heard before that weed isn’t physically addictive, and I get it. Scenarios have come up where I’d rather be smoking, but it’s been nada big deal. The vape stays in the box.

Have I seen benefits yet?

It seems far too early to tell. Obviously if I’m not smoking, I’m mentally sharper. No question. That’s not to say that weed puts me into a state of idiocy, but I’d surprise nobody by saying that I’m more alert sober. I think I sleep better when I smoke, and wake up more refreshed. When I don’t, I dream far more intensely. They’re more evocative and narrative. I can remember them better. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, and it’s nice to refresh my memory on what that feels like. Last night, for instance:

I dreamt that I was on Big Brother. I don’t watch Big Brother. There was some contest going, and I totally didn’t get the rules. Contestants were running around rugby fields with foam chunks strapped to them, holding either ducks or little pigs. The handlers were telling me to hurry up and join in, and I kept saying that I didn’t know how the game worked. Could someone explain it to me? They sighed, as if it was really fucking obvious, and showed me this video. It didn’t make sense to me. I had three choices, but I didn’t understand what the objective was. I could choose the duck, the pig or the third option. I was getting frustrated, and tearing up as they started yelling at me. “I don’t watch the show, it’s not my fault” I kept saying. “Just fucking choose one” the handler said. I thought for half a second and decided on the mystery option. Everyone gasped. “Why would you choose that?” The handler asked. “Well” I said “I’ve fed ducks before and they pecked really hard. I don’t want to run with something that might attack me. I’d feel really bad if I dropped a pig, and nobody seems to have chosen option three, so I will.” The handler nodded solemnly and told me to follow. “I guess you’re gonna meet Maurice then.” He said. I followed him into this dank barn. Rotten fruit and vegetables covered the ground. I felt something under my foot, and a lizard scuttled away. Flies were everywhere. Behind a gate was this raging bull, held back by a group of guys. “Uhh, isn’t this really dangerous for someone untrained?” I asked. The handler nodded. “Why do you think nobody ever picks it?” I felt entirely terrified, and suddenly everything cut away. A promo for the episode started playing. It talked all about the wacky hi-jinks of the other players, and a “heart-pounding, nail biting new experience for Leon.” I woke up having no idea what the game was, or how I did, but the worst thing was that I really wanted to watch the episode.

I dunno, I’ve seen a couple of Big Brother episodes for work. I don’t think even being high could make it an entertaining show.

Hear today, gone tomorrow

I had the best New Years.

It’s a declarative statement, and I’ll stand by it. My New Years featured nothing but fun, excess, and comfort. I basked in the warmth of intimate friendships, easily digestible films, and digesting food easily. At around 5am, after a kick ass costume party, I headed off to another friend’s penthouse apartment downtown. She has a massive deck, open plan lounge, and lots of sheets/mattresses in front of a big bedroom TV. There was ample food, booze and weed. Whatever needs I had, they were simple to tend to. Lots of cuddles and even more laughter. My girlfriend and I could nap haphazardly, or join in conversations as we pleased. We stuck around watching movies and getting collectively H O R N Y over Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle. We continued the Fraser Festivities with Blast from the Past, and tossed on Mulan for good measure.

I couldn’t get over how many conversations I had about music. There was a tablet hooked up to speakers/Spotify, so all day we shared tracks and playlists. It made me remember how integral music used to be in my life. I was constantly searching out new artists and albums. I’d see live concerts all the time, and a significant portion of my income went into maintaining that. I had nuanced opinions on what my most treasured songs meant to me, and considered it important that I did. Friends shared some of their favourites from the past decade, and I felt a longing to jump head first back into caring about music like I once did.

It makes sense. Last year my iPod broke. I didn’t replace it for months, which meant less music and more podcasts/DJ sets. I moved away from keeping up, and disregarded a ton of new releases. The fact that both Vampire Weekend and Tool released albums last year I barely touched should be more personally significant than it was. Even having my new mp3 player, I just loaded all my old music on. While it’s been nice diving back into the vast back catalogue I have, I’m still thirsty to refresh what I listen to while out and about. It’s time to download the albums I’ve accumulated on my Deezer shortlist. It’s also the start of the year, an ideal period to comb through critics’ Best Of lists in a hunt for new favourites. While I hate New Years resolutions, I would like to see more live music in 2020 than I did in 2019. It enables parts of my personality that feel lost, awaiting reawakening.

I also realised how important it is to me that people are comfortable in my presence. At the New Years party I was chatting with someone in a hallway (prime party hangout spaces second only to kitchens), and I mentioned that I just want people to feel comfy always. I didn’t realise at the time that it applies a ton to how I conduct myself. I’m always trying to do things for others, take care of people in their own homes, etc. Later in that party, I saw one of my friends getting buffed across the room. I was sitting on a couch chatting to people. Concurrently, part of my brain was wanting to help her get the best out of her experience. She was sitting up, the sheet that was used to create a barrier between buffer and skin was being poorly applied. I was ready to shout out and give guidance, and I stopped myself. My friend is an intelligent, grown woman with agency. She was free to do whatever she wanted. While my intentions were good (knowing she has back problems, I wanted her to feel as good as possible), I wasn’t doing anything for anyone with my interference. I was needlessly getting involved in a scenario that had nothing to do with me, and distracting my brain from its current conversation in the mean time. Of course it’s great to take care of people when that’s desired, but I think I’d be wise to pull back a bit. Maybe it’s time to learn when my help is actually desired, and stop wasting so much brain space on pointless involvement.

NYE 2020 stuck the landing. Let’s see how the year measures up.

Nonsense and sensibility

Mistoffelees Navidad, motherfuckers.

Was that aggressive? Aggressively horny? Who cares? All that matters is that I’m seeing Cats tonight and will subsequently lose my mind in a swirling eddy of randiness. From what I’ve heard, this film is alarmingly sexual and terrifying, which is a Venn diagram of my interests. I’m in. I’m all in.

It’s weird how this film has already created a mythos of its own. I can’t imagine many things more 2019 then people coming out of their internet holes to celebrate mainstream Hollywood crashing and burning. If there’s one thing I love more than big corporations failing, it’s big corporations failing big. It sounds like Cats was an unintentional abyss, and anyone conspiracy theorising that it was an intentional bleeding discharge is too high on their revisionist history. They tried, and created a monster. Accept it. Love it.

Mostly, it feels like getting in on the ground floor of a cult film. From what people have been saying, it’s madness wrapped ribbon-like around a visceral erection. I’m absolutely sure that Cats (2019) will find its way into midnight screenings/frenzied orgies. I’m ready to able to say “I just finished watching Cats and boy are my arms tired.” My friends and I are all super thirsty for the unedited version. Oh wait, let’s jump back a tad. So one of the big calling cards of this film is that it made it to the cinema unfinished. They didn’t nail all the CGI in their haste, and the studio is sending out updated versions to theatres. We’re taking Judi Dench’s human hand, ring and all. We’re walking a grey humanoid statue they forgot to add the cat layer to in post. An old man walking around in a scarf and hat. The movie already had suspension of disbelief issues with their unstable ratio of scale, and this only adds to the maelstrom. Supposedly big chains will have the updated version, but we have hopes it’s coming Tuesday. None of the smaller Toronto chains are carrying the film, so we have fingers crossed. We’re ready to be horrified, and positively randy.

We will not be sober. Edibles are legal here now, and we’re all prepared to embrace the clusterfuck. When Jason Derulo sprays milk in a radius at the summation of his song, we will lap it up metaphorically (and maybe literally, if the edibles are strong enough). I’m hoping the will be live sing-a-longs. I’ll scan the lyrics to Mr Mistoffelees just in case. Our memories in the moonlight will not be alone. We’ll have others to hold us in the theatre. I may have to refer to my life in BC/AC, for pre and post the screening. I’m prepared, but still not quite H O R N Y for this film. I have a few hours. I’ll get there.

See you in the AC, pals.

Oh fuck no. England why?

In the ultimate quelle surprise, former PC Party leader Andrew Scheer was found to be funnelling party funds into paying for his kids’ private schooling.

Of course party members are feigning utter surprise and outrage. It’s not like someone in the party had to authorise those cheques. It’s not like they’re all refraining from embezzling funds. Does Fiscally Conservative mean “afraid to spend your own money”? I’m sure if it wasn’t for the grifts, these vultures wouldn’t be in government. It differs very little from Ford trying to get the party to foot the bill for his brand new vehicle, complete with fridge and flat screen tv. The thing is, they’re only gonna feel remorse once they’re publicly outed. I have zero doubts (despite the URL) that it’s common knowledge and practice across parties. The Liberals will no doubt be taking advantage of the system just as much in their own ways.

I was preparing my vape the other day, grinding up weed, funnelling it into the chamber. I thought to myself what a simple action it was. How easy the weed was to procure now that it’s legal. I thought of the process of legalisation, how it seemed so daunting and now it’s barely a footnote. Nobody really cares. I imagined it’d be a major societal shift, but it hasn’t been whatsoever. I thought back to the generations of people whose lives have been destroyed by incarceration. Children whose parents have been stripped from them. The legacy of jail and its knock on effects. The amount of poverty these unnecessary sentences have created, while its victims have provided labour for the state. For what? And why? A meaningless war on drugs that’s done exponentially more damage to society than the substances themselves. Have Canadians incarcerated for weed related offences been pardoned yet? How many are still hanging around in the system for actions that are no longer criminal? It’s fucking sickening to see already affluent white people being hailed as entrepreneurs for building businesses atop the bones of minority enterprises. Especially while Ontario’s system is reduced to a rigged lottery. The fucking gall. So it goes.

The sad thing is, nothing will change. The play book aids those who play by its rules, and so often those who play by the rules are the ones who make them. Did you realise there was another massive Panama Papers style leak of the world’s wealthiest creating offshore accounts to avoid paying tax? You know what’s gonna happen? The same thing that did first time around. Nothing. If you have enough money, you’re invincible. You have influence, if the laws aren’t on your side, you can change them. Will Zuckerberg suffer for Facebook’s role in election tampering? Of course it won’t. Will they be forced to change their policy on lies in political advertising? Definitely not. Will this towering conservative tide of dispassionate austerity cease? Why would it? There’s a rich an powerful worldwide cabal of ghouls funnelling money into lobbying, and pissing on the status quo for anyone below a certain pay grade. Big oil has its hands in the pockets of conservatives pushing an anti-climate change agenda, and we will all suffer for it. Oh, and Trump is now trying to classify Jews as foreigners, which I’m sure will only stoke the flames of intolerance more. If England falls to the Tories, we’re fucked.

We’ve almost finished another trip around the sun. Who’s ready for a revolution?

Would you could you on a date? Would you could you on a plate?

I woke up at midday. We nocturnal now, baybee.

I think I pushed the pedal down a little too quickly. Yesterday was a 4am deal. I dunno, I get excited about transitioning to my evening shifts, which invariably means life becomes an 11am to 3am sort of deal. Also when I’m downing three coffees around 1pm, I will be awake until at least 2am. That’s simple math. I feel all muddled though. The last few days have been busy and not. I’ve had lots of stuff to do, but most of that “stuff” has been lying around watching nonsense in extreme comfort with copious snacks. I won’t let the ease of my endeavours underscore that I’ve been having them. I was keen to get out and see a ton of friends after getting borderline cabin fever the week before. I’ve wanted very little more than getting cosy to trash talk films with buddies. On Friday a friend and I wanted to delve into Pauly Shore’s oeuvre. We made it through Son in Law before running out of time. Or maybe that was just an excuse.

I feel like Pauly Shore’s golden age lasted four years, and I only caught the back end. I loved A Goofy Movie (and I’ve been itching for a rewatch long enough that I’ll do it as soon as I’ve finished writing), which was a pretty good on ramp for Pauly Shore’s “charms”. Like a slice of cheddar atop an apple pie, he was an acquired taste and I acquired said taste when Biodome rolled around. I remember so little of that movie. Pretty sure Pauly and another dolt got locked in a biological preservation chamber in order to try impress some gnarly babes, or thereabouts. This line “when I’m not out there saving the universe I’m thinking of you. Naked. Thigh deep in tofu” has been etched permanently into my memory. When we were kids, my best friend and I would watch the film regularly, and repeatedly rewind that specific line. To my 32 year old brain, it sounds like throwaway trash. Is that even a joke? Or just a textural nightmare?

A friend had a slumber style birthday party last night and I still feel snoozy. She baked a ton of cookies, and her flatmate made some chocolate crackle edibles. Then another friend brought over a massive 1500mg cheesecake, plus a stack of 100mg cookies. To be clear, for an average everyday person who doesn’t smoke a ton, 10-15mg might be a night to normal dose. 20-30mg is the kind of dose a light smoker might take. 100mg is a lot, but I’d still wager there are regular smokers who’d take easily more than that per session. We had ample weedibles, is what I’m saying. We set out mattresses, blankets and stuffed animals, then lay around watching stupid movies. The most jarring of these was Can’t Hardly Wait.

Of course it was gonna be dated, but it’s still hard reckoning with the 90s. In this film you’ve got Seth Green trying to dress, talk and act like he’s black, and I have no doubts the joke would’ve been received without fault back then. The lead guy is totally infatuated with then It Girl Jennifer Love Hewitt, but didn’t really seem to know anything about her. He’d never even talked to her, but was somehow still all we’re soulmates and if you just looked at me, you’d understand. It wasn’t charming, he was just mopey and needy. He hadn’t done anything to warrant her attention or affection. He just wrote her a note. Of course they still end up together purely because of the content of said note. Apparently it was so romantic it entirely won her over, but they never actually read its content. We just have to take it at their word that the note was so good it justified sudden total adoration. The film was basically without message, moral, or humour. It was just tacky, slapdash teen comedy (though spending the entire film at a graduation party was kind of fun).

Look, I recorded a friend’s podcast this afternoon and I’m tired. I want nothing more than to sink into A Goofy Movie with cheese on a plate. Being The Lord’s Day, I think it’s worth following that bliss.

Goodbye writing, hello cheese on a plate.

Climate change is scary enough, Halloween needs headroom

I walked out of work and into a warzone.

It was awesome. Wind whipped wildly in a wicked whirl. I zipped up my coat, and was buffeted back. Branches from tall trees lay strewn across the path. Leaves covered the ground. The construction fence had collapsed on one side, exposing a muddy yard. Traffic lights thrashed from side to side. A bushy tree damn near bent sideways. I struggled to keep my feet. The lake was tempestuous, waves dotted by oddly calm ducks. When the lights changed, I bolted across the street, achieving no more than my normal walking speed. It was madness. It was beautiful.

Unfortunately for my sense of wonder, things calmed down once I moved away from the lake. I expected to come home to crushed cars parked streetside. Power outages, chaos. Instead there was just a mild breeze. Things were oddly calm for 1am on Halloween. I saw only two Joker costumes on my way home. Quelle surprise. It was kind of gutting that the weather dumped down so much. Think of all those kids who were so excited to dress up in pursuit of candy. Hell, Montreal postponed Halloween. Can a city do that? Well they did.

Neither my girlfriend nor I were home to hand out treats to kids. Maybe it was some form of mercy. Making small talk with kids is a legit skill, and I don’t have it. I’ve never really learned to talk to kids like kids, and so I’m just at a loss for words. What am I supposed to ask? So what do you do? Been on any cool holidays lately? What’s been lighting you up lately? My usual mingling tactics are useless here. Last year Halloween came a few weeks after weed legalisation. My girlfriend and I were a little stoned, and it all became a minefield. For the first time in years, Halloween was legit spooky. We were both almost afraid to approach the door, unsure of how to handle these innocuous interactions. Small mercy then, that our area doesn’t get much trick or treater traffic.

I wonder what a loot bag looks like here. Back home, it was a bizarre hodgepodge of things. Sometimes people forgot it was Halloween and grabbed random things from their pantry. Otherwise it’d be a cornucopia of off-brand lollies. Over this side of the world, Halloween is much more of an expected quantity, so people buy in bulk. The easiest way to do so is to grab one of these huge boxes from a supermarket. All the big candy companies put out packs with 70 pieces, 100 pieces, 200 pieces. Fun size candy that’s limited in variety. I can’t imagine how many multiples kids will get of the same stuff. Like, 20 mini Kit Kats and some Swedish Fish?

I saw some police PSA on the TV. It gave out helpful hints like “don’t let kids try any candy before you check it first”. Really? Is that where we’re at? I’m definitely not someone who’s all ugh, PC Culture, etc etc. This seems like overreach. What do people think is gonna happen? Are we still on that whole train of people spiking chocolate with drugs and razor blades? In this economy? It’s 2019, people can hardy afford that stuff for themselves, let alone give it out for free. How many kids are hospitalised because of eating something they’ve been given? Especially with these sanitised bulk boxes being circulated so heavily. Most everything is individually wrapped and sealed. It’d be an absurd amount of effort to poison things, and for what payoff? Surely this is a culture of fear talking, that expects people to want to do malicious things to kids. Is there data to back that up? Or just empty rhetoric?

The craziest thing I saw last night was nature. Halloween, keep up.

Here’s today’s slice of life

I’m feeling a little loopy, and that’s okay.

My sleep patterns have been a bit iffy lately, and it’s translated into a strange and addled state of mind. Yesterday I had a nap around 4pm. Later, I got a little high and cut some cheese. I looked down at the knife, and started singing an improvised song about a “cheese knife”. I’ve never been great at riffing lyrics on the fly, but for some reason I kept going as I prepped to head out for the evening. For maybe ten minutes straight, I kept up with this ditty, going through all sorts of stanzas and iterations. At some point it became a funeral dirge, the same weird little tune, but slower. The lyrics were inane, something like:

Cheeeeese kniife
No matter what, we stood together
Cheeeeese kniife
Through thick and thin, through stormy weather
You’ve been so present in my life
Taken my hand in all this strife
You’ve
Been
My
Cheeeeese kniife…

And so on. It was fun. There was something to be said for disregarding a fear of failure. Not worrying about the outcome, but relaxing into it and keeping up momentum. It reminded me of teaching kids to do back tucks in gymnastics. The thing about a back tuck that will get in your way is hesitation. There’s a point at which you just have to push it, elsewise you’ll get stuck in the wrong position. If you hesitate, you’ll hurt yourself. If you push hard, you’ll land the right way up. Riffing this dumb cheese knife song was similar, in that I just had to go with it and have faith that I’d stick the landing. I stumbled a bunch of times, but I was surprised at how often I managed to come up with a legit rhyme. At times if I thought far enough ahead, I’d get a word into my brain that would be great for the following line, and try to come up with a rhyming word for the line I was currently saying. It made my mind reel at the mental gymnastics that prolific freestyle rappers must do on a regular basis. There’s so much to consider, but someone like Black Thought makes it seem effortless. I can only wonder what he’d rap about a cheese knife.

I realised today that there are a couple of things I’ve had wrong for a while. For instance, I thought that the saying went “Fear is in the eye of the beholder”. Apparently that’s quite not it. I only found out, because I made a pun that I thought was decent about it. It would’ve been, if that was the saying. I also thought that the line in Nirvana’s “In Bloom” was “But he don’t know what it means/Don’t know what it means to matter”. In my head it made sense. Nirvana was all about connecting with the disaffected youth. Big time Gen X energy. Saying that the dude likes to sing along, likes to shoot his gun, but lacks purpose, it all seems on the mark. I kinda want to retcon the lyrics and change them to mine. I’m sure Kurt would be up for it, if he were still around.

I know the sentiment of what would Cobain have become if he lived? isn’t new, but I was thinking about it today. Not in a musical sense, but socially. Nirvana were kind of a beacon for the weird and unwanted. Queer culture wasn’t as mainstream as it is these days. I wonder if Kurt would’ve been a good ally or not. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I feel like he’d be supportive of LGBTQ+ peeps. I know he idolised Bowie, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him follow in Bowie’s footsteps. As far as I know, Bowie was normally on the right side of history (like calling out 90s MTV for not playing enough black artists). Would Cobain have gone down a similar route? Of course we have no idea. I’m not gonna break any ground here. It also doesn’t serve any of us to imagine would could have been, when it easily could not have happened that way at all. Kurt was frequently unwell, and fame sorta fucked with him a bunch. If he didn’t take his life, would something else have done it for him? Sad. It’s been a while since I listened to Nirvana. Maybe I should go do that now.

Maybe I’ll cut some cheese, and have a listening party.