Are you complicit? #metoo.

Any of you been on social media today? It’s sad that this #metoo campaign had to exist, but the hope is that the bravery of sexual assault survivors (A.K.A. every woman ever) in coming forward both highlights the alarming frequency of these assaults and provides solidarity for those whom it’s an all too common occurrence. I mean, there should be little argument that any occurrence is all too often, but let’s be real. We live in a world of shitty gendered bias. There are many reasons it sucks to be a woman in our society. Whereby so often these assaults went unmentioned or understated #metoo seems to have changed those ellipses to exclamation marks. Good. I (naively?) hope any who’s been wilfully hiding under a rock starts to take notice.

I’ve seen an avalanche of invaluable conversations. I feel stuck in this weird rally back and forth. It’s not the least bit surprising to hear of how widespread this behaviour is, but that doesn’t make it nice to hear. It’s fantastic to see these aforementioned conversations being raised, but disheartening how commonly the #notallmen brigade jumps in to recuse the statistical validity of calls against men to do better.

I don’t know if any #notallmenonites are reading, but maybe try looking at women calling on men to do better a little differently. It’s another way of saying “the exception proves the rule”. If a woman is talking about her mistreatment at the hands of men and you don’t think it applies to you, maybe you’re the exception that proves her overall rule. If that’s the case, try not jumping in and making it about you, because it probably wasn’t about you in the first place.

The thing is men, we’re all complicit in this societal bias whether we realise it or not. I’d be very surprised to hear otherwise. It’s pervasive enough to be unavoidable. Over the years I’ve said and done a ton of things that contributed to the culture without understanding the insidious ways in which I did so. I’m sure I still do. Acknowledging past faults is important in seeing the path towards better behaviour. Here’s a short list of the stuff I have done and/or may still do unintentionally:

  • Rape jokes. In my teens/early 20s the concept of punching down wasn’t even a blip on my radar. It was all about being as edgy as possible, to push the boundaries to reassert some misguided sense of bravery. Oh no, of course I didn’t think rape was funny, but using it as an abstract concept showed, I dunno, my unwillingness to adhere to rigid social structures? Fuck that. How brave I was as someone who didn’t most likely would never have to face the act firsthand. Fuck off forever, this mentality.
  • Devils Advocate. Forcing people to argue something that caused them emotional strife. Never mind that I had no emotional stake in the subject, I just wanted to argue and flex my intellectual muscles. Or I just liked being “technically right” or some other shitty nonsense. Once again, fuck off forever.
  • Placing my desire for sex above the autonomy, needs and wants of women. Even if I’d never physically pushed anyone towards any sexual activity they weren’t actively seeking (I may well have), so much of this stuff is insidious and ingrained. Did I wilfully misinterpret or ignore “no” signals and keep pushing for a “yes”? Did I objectify women and see them for how their sexuality could benefit me rather than as a person? Befriend women purely because I wanted to sleep with them?
  • Judging women on the way that they looked or dressed. Way to discount someone’s humanity. The clothes that I wear do not fully express the person that I am. Why would anyone else be different?
  • Ignored or spoken above women because I innately didn’t value their opinion? Of course. I’ve spent my life as a loudmouth and it feels like I’ve only recently learned the importance of listening. I have no doubt that I constantly did this and likely still do without thinking.
  • Constant use of gendered language. I’m sure a ton of people mock this kind of specificity, but I feel like there’s something in the way that we talk. Language is an important tool in conveying both meaning and intent. The number of times I’ve referred to large groups of mixed gender as “guys” doesn’t sound like much, but it also sends subtle messages about gender based hierarchy. It’s something I’ve picked up unintentionally throughout my life, but there’s no reason why we can’t unlearn unhelpful patterns. Nobody is truly ever too old to change.

This is not even the tip of the iceberg. Like it or not, all men contribute to patriarchal dominance and oppression. If you’re interested in changing this, maybe examine your behaviours and decide which of these contribute to the kind of world you want to see. Listen to women, not just when it’s trending. If they’re not talking, become the kind of safe space where they feel they can confide. If women are confiding in you, don’t just be horrified. Act, change, grow and help embolden this change in others. Call in shitty behaviour when you can. Call it out when it’s necessary. We can all be better and we have no reason not to continually work towards whatever shape “better” takes in our lives. It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.

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Happy T’ronahversary to me.

Happy Toronto Birthday to me. Four years to the day where I first wondered if I was walking into a hotbed of authoritarian surveillance. Four fantastic years where I’ve borderline Eat Pray Love‘d myself into a journey of self-discovery. I ate and had sex a bunch, anyway (though sadly never simultaneously), plus adopted a wide enough smile to make Julia Roberts frown with envy.

My path to Toronto wasn’t straight or direct. In fact it took many years before I even thought of it as a destination. Age five I decided that when I grew up I’d harness my citizenship and live in Canada. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but with New Zealand’s famed agricultural economy, it was ironic I was so avid to head somewhere US adjacent. It seemed different and exotic, plus they sounded like people in the movies. At age 20 I begun to give it more thought. I’d recently watched Juno and fallen head-over-heels for the idea of Ellen Page. I decided I’d move to Halifax and miraculously stumble into some kind of meet cute. Roll the credits (complete with Hand Drawn Block Letters). Why not? It was a quietly hip port town with a ton of breweries. Sure, I wasn’t into anything quiet or port, but things would work out. Remember the meet cute I probably told myself every night before going to bed.

Then it was Vancouver. I had family in Vancouver and the transition would be easy. I’d lodge somewhere then make my mark on the city. It was a city, right? With my generic media aspirations, I’d slot in just fine. I’d be close to Whistler in case I wanted to… wait, I didn’t really like outdoorsy stuff. What would I do in Whistler? I’d work out the details later, that’s what I’d do. I told some dude at a party just that once and he shook his head. “Toronto is where you want to be, man.” Toronto? I hadn’t really heard of Toronto. “It’s the biggest city in Canada and if you want to get into the media, there’s no better place in the country.” This wasn’t some good friend, just some dude I talked to a handful of times. I’ve got no idea if he has any concept of how much that conversation shaped my life. In the few minutes we talked, my totally vague plans became slightly less vague.

***Several Years Later***

I was 26 years old and I’d just been through the biggest breakup of my life. I was on a short term contract with the local university and it was coming to a close. There was funding for an interesting new contract, but I thought again. I’d never put down the torch I was holding for moving away. It’d been a not-insignificant part of the breakup. As soon as it ended, things fell into place. I bought a one way ticket to Vancouver (with the goal of heading to Toronto via Montreal) a few weeks later. I’ve never looked back.

Starting anew in Toronto was both hard and not. Picking up the pieces is always gonna be tricky, but Toronto kept throwing opportunity after opportunity at me. I hit the ground and started getting out to all kinds of events. I needed people in my life and I found them with ease. Walking back from a concert, running from a bus, OkCupid dates, movie screenings and Magic the Gathering games. Employment was less forthcoming, but I took whatever came my way and rolled with it. I tried and learned things I never imagined: Teaching gymnastics, feeding kids in schools, being a test subject, working the election polling booth, trying my hand as a barista. Toronto meant discovery, excitement and eventually community.

Perhaps it was a matter of getting out what I put in. Reaping the rewards of saying yes to the call of adventure. Maybe I lucked out, or learned to see the potential in coincidence. Toronto has given me so much, including a new lease on life. Over the past few years I’ve changed in ways that I’m still realising from day to day. I hear people talk about how cold Toronto is and possibly I missed out on that because of Accent Privilege. In my time here though, I’ve learned something about this city.

Toronto’s heart beats in its inhabitants, who create something larger than their sum. Toronto is discovering just how much people can surprise and impress you. Toronto is about learning the importance of saying yes, because opportunity is waiting for you to find it. Opportunity might not look like an Ellen Page meet cute, but that’s not to say that your wildest dreams are out of reach.

I mean, The Pink Ranger lives here you guise.

Just a bunch of haw-seplay.

In attempt to warm up my mojo and finally get down to business, I’ve garbed myself in my new donkey onesie and chunky slipper boots. It’s almost 9pm and I have no good reason to not’ve written. I mean well, but it’s all too easy to get distracted by shiny things and when there’s a task at hand, everything but that task glistens alluringly. I wrote the word “alluringly” assuming it wasn’t a real word and I’m kind of disappointed to discover that it is. It sounds clunky, which is peculiar for a modifier to “alluring”. “Alluring” is such an enigmatic and exotic word. It’s shiny, shimmering, splendid. It holds a kind of taboo promise. Seems that little bit naughty. If “alluring” was the suave dude you went home with, “alluringly” would be his Ed Hardy laden wardrobe. Those two letters do nothing but taint the potential of all that came before. “Alluringly” are The Matrix sequels. “Alluringly” is realising 16 years later that Lucas was actually a pretty shit director. Jar Jar Binks is the poster child of “alluringly”.

“Alluringly” was the rigid side dish regime at The Rooster Rotisserie and Grill on Bloor. Don’t get me wrong, the portions were gargantuan. The food was delicious. Service (though pushy for a bewildered newbie) was quick and the prices were good for the meal size. There are a heap of side dishes, but their policy is so inflexible. You get two side dishes with a combo, no complaints there. I saw the beetroot and thought how my poop hadn’t been noxiously red in a while, so I picked it. As the woman behind the counter started heaping it on, I realised just what a commitment that much beetroot was. I asked if she could possibly give me a third of that and a small amount of broccoli instead of what had amounted to around three large beetroots. Nope. No way. Two side dishes, no mixing. I’m not blaming them, I’m just complaining because I’ve built my own soapbox here. I understand their policy in theory, but they’ve also opted for a separatist movement between foods. You get two mammoth amounts (in that they’d each feed a mammoth) of individual vegetables. There is no “steamed vegetables” option or selection based on rough grouping. So I had a generously sized pork chop flanked by mountains of potatoes and beetroot. “Alluring” was the sight of the plate beforehand. “Alluringly” is my body figuring out how to process all that starch.

If I wasn’t entirely explicit, I’d still fully recommend this place if you have a massive appetite and want to eat a lot of a few things.

On the contrary, I don’t have a large appetite right now, but that isn’t stopping me from wanting to eat a lot of a lot of things. Due to insufficient planning, it’s one of those Friday nights where I’m tooling around on the internet in lieu of meaningful human interaction. Please don’t think I’m complaining. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff there is to do on the ‘net (as kids these days call it. In my day we just said Information Superhighway for short). I’ve got Netflix, a ton of games and so many unread stories on r/NoSleep. While I’m doing all this (ALL OF IT) though, I want stuff to nibble on. Something cold like ice cream or maybe wobbly like jelly. There’s chocolate around the house, but I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that if I have some of the chocolate there’ll be less in the house once I’ve finished. What if I want chocolate another time and there’s none to be had? I don’t think I wanna live that kind of dystopian existence. So the idea of eating chocolate, while alluring, is appearing more alluringly by the second.

Homophoning it in.

Feeling out of it today. Tired and vaguely nauseous. So tired and nauseous that I briefly tried spelling the word as “nautious” before realising the era of my weighs. What if I did that? The entire entry, intentionally opt four the wrong spelling? Would that make people flip their shit? Sounds like a worthy endeavour two me.

In any case, eye woke up tyred. The kind of fatigue wear all of your dreams are about trying to go to sleep. One of them eyed been out drinking and partying in town (back in Auckland). Eye knew eye was drunk, given the sloppy mess of a burrito that eye’d attempted too devour like a raccoon in the compost. Lying down on the concrete, eye lay my head back and tried to close my I’s. A police officer had other ideas, prodding me with his boot. Eye came home (two Toronto) and got into bed, butt I couldn’t stop tossing and turning, knowing that this restless sleep in my dream was disrupting my sleep in reel life. I’m strangely aware while unconscious, which doesn’t do my ability to stay unconscious many favours. My life is Inception, okay, butt without the snazzy Hans Zimmer score.

Eye was tempted too come home sic from work today, butt a teem member pipped me two the post. The teem was covering her work, sew heaping my lode on top felt like unnecessary ruffness. Being tired, unwell and busy meant today was won of those clusterfucks where things will only continue to go wrong. They did. Continual sais were all eye could muster as defence against the workplace’s continual excrement.

There was a dilemma of sorts that eye wasn’t sure how to handle. My manager asked fore our phone numbers in case of emergency circumstances. Won) I’m surprised she doesn’t have mine already. To) What constitutes an emergency? Is it if we’re late too work? That eye can understand. On the other hand, if it’s about work things after our’s, do eye really want two make myself available? Frankly, once I’ve left the office, eye put work out of my mind completely. Eye don’t think about it until I return the next morning. It’s not the kind of job where I’d expect to bee on call. There’s nothing I can do, four won, and secondly they don’t pay me enough to care. In the end I gave my number knowing full well that my phone is always on silent and that giving my number in know weigh means eye have too pick up.

Speaking of which, it’s time to get the fuck out of here. Piece out.

This entry brought to you by Atlantis Morissette’s hit single: You Water Know.

Like an alternate universe Bad Company, I feel like making puns. So for the next 30 minutes I’m gonna hit up Wikipedia and make puns on randomly assigned topics until my mental well runs dry.

Style (2006 film)

  • What’s the chance this film has Bollywooden acting?
  • More like Ganesh Up 2: The Streets.

2009 Qatar motorcycle Grand Prix (Oh, this really isn’t working out like I hoped)

  • I guess they revvised the date on that one.
  • It was raining? More like “While My Qatar Gently Weeps”.
  • Looks like a rolling Stoner won.

2012 Georgia State Panthers baseball team (FFS Wikipedia, give me something)

  • Isn’t it weird that Cole Outz played infield?
  • Why’d they leave Gabe Shivers so far away? Talk about giving him the cold shoulder.

Kang, SBS Nagar

  • I’m afraid to make any puns here. It’ll sound like I’m taking a Punjab at them.

Linalool dehydratase (Fuck this. I’m out)

Okay, so maybe this experiment didn’t work so well. It’s nice to try something different for a change, right? What else was I gonna do? Continue to mention the absurd amount of food they’ve plied us with at work? How having half the building already on holiday means we never have to wait for a bathroom stall? That I don’t need to watch another Air Bud film for at least a month? That work gave away the poinsettia plants it had in the lobby yesterday and I’m so careless I think mine is already dying?

I’ve got doorman’t potential.

Ugh, it’s late and hot and the humidity has left my brain feeling kind of murky. It’s been a while since I wrote after midnight and I now remember why. In some Gremlin-esque twist, my mental faculties morph and twist into spiteful, mischievous creatures whose only wish is to render my sentences unrelatable and nigh incomprehensible. See? Did you read that last one? The proof is in the pudding. Or prose, as it were.

The question stands then, why have I left one of my quotidian foundations on the back burner? Also, why does my vocabulary sound like it belongs to a first year theatre major, untimely ripped? Quotidian? Really? What else is in the bag? Prestidigitation? Sesquipedalian? I’m sorry, the polite thing for me to do would be to wipe that wank off the page for you. Things have gotten weird, haven’t they? Fucking gremlins. How about some quaint observational humour to lighten the mood?

Do you ever hold a door open for someone, then see someone else coming and figure you might as well hold it open for them? Then a succession of people come through and you just keep holding that door open because you figure it’d be rude to step in their way and obstruct the flow of traffic? Then you think to yourself I guess this is my life now. You wonder when someone’s gonna come along with a hat and uniform and start paying you am hourly wage. No? Just me? I think I need a better hobby.

Oh, I finally got to spend a little more time in our eventual workplace. Since our company was acquired, there’s been the looming expectation of moving the entire staff down to the waterfront building. Teams have left sporadically, but we haven’t been given a clear timeline of our move. The combined department today had a combined departmental barbecue out on the waterfront patio. It was optional and at first I skewed contrarian. Fuck that noise, I thought. Why would I waste my afternoon going down there for a barbecue? Then I did a mental spit take at the word “barbecue” and had an instant 180.

The building is stunning. It’s massive, right on the edge of the waterfront with its own little artificially created beach. There were people in boardshorts and bikinis sunbathing, people had set up a couple of pokémon lures. If that doesn’t say summer, then I may have a divergent understanding of what that word means. So my afternoon involved hanging out on a sunny/windy deck with burgers, hot dogs and a Caesar salad bar. There was an array of beer, wine, soft drinks and fancy flavoured Perrier waters. I realised I was the only one from my team to come down and appointed myself the team ambassador. I met our eventual merger team mates and they showed me around the department. The offices are awesome. Much less corporate, with wide open floors and a fun vibe. Even if the new building is in the middle of nowhere, it’s gonna be a great place to work. Even if getting there feels like a literal journey.

Okay, it’s late enough after midnight now. I’m gonna check out this sleep thing everyone’s raving about.

Mortaliterial. Absolutely deadicated.

I’m sorry folks, but life as I know it is over. I had a good run, but I’m afraid I can no longer give my existence the maintenance it needs. From now on there’s to be a rapid decline. The basic things I need to live are:

  1. Water.
  2. Food.
  3. Sleep.
  4. Income to pay for all of the above.

Unfortunately, my ability to foster these vital necessities came to an end today. One of my friends was kind(/diabolical) enought to introduce me to a Facebook pun group. I can no longer cook, sleep, work or move when there are puns to be made. So far (and these will seem slightly out of context) I’ve done…

On a shoe store themed post:

  • Did they purchase the property through means of sole agency?
  • Do their sales staff wHeel and deal?
  • Wedge you hear that?
  • Moving outside of just feet really gives you a leg up.
  • I’d really like to sneaker peek in there.
  • How many more can we shoehorn in here?
  • She should’ve kept her eyelets peeled.
  • Wait, they’re just puns. Nobody needs to be ankilled.
  • (in response to a Nike pun) That ticked my boxes.
  • Uh oh, we’ve got a fa-toe-lity over here.
  • You just had to slipper that in there, didn’t you?
  • Hasn’t that one been used? You’re padding for time here.

On an art themed post:

  • Ugh, I need to brush up on my art puns.
  • I’m sure you’ve all got pretty refined palettes.
  • It might stop me from making too many broad strokes.
  • Am I gonna have to resort to making a Ninja Turtles pun? I feel like a Raphael-ure.
  • I guess it was a little abstract.

On an electrical engineer post:

  • This is what I call wish fulfilament.
  • But in the words of Neil Young, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
  • It’s alright, I’m sure you’re plenty smart. I’m not expecting Voltaire or anything.
  • Can I put in a plug for eating a full dinner? It’ll give you the energy you need. I give it a glowing endorsement.

 

And if that wasn’t enough for you, I might as well throw in a pun I made yesterday. This tickled me far too much:

“At the meeting today, my manager asked if everyone was there. I looked around the table and couldn’t see our team member Darwin.
I replied “We’re just missing Darwin. I guess you can say we have a case of… EBITDA-rwin…”
Not even so much as a flinch from anyone present. I think they’ve either evolved the ability to completely tune out my puns or they were working really hard to save me from any embarrassment.”

So if my life is over, does that make me… pUndead?