Well I certainly won’t be motherbored.

At the moment life looks like a bunch of pixels. My brain is unravelling and I can see The Matrix. It’s not bad enough for my vision to have devolved into binary, but I could be in need of a graphics card upgrade. RAM’s usually pretty cheap. Let’s toss some more in there too. I don’t know if that ol’ 512MB of DDR RAM can keep up any more. It’s been a decade since I last knew anything about computers and it seems like my mind is similarly outmoded. Oh well, it’s not like overclocking could have any severe ramifications…

I still haven’t caught up from my holiday hangover. I caught a cold and instead of shirking it off, I spread it to my girlfriend who begrudgingly held up her end of keeping the contagion going. Thanks honey. So I spent the weekend soaking in the festering putrescence. I’m still congested and my squishy think-y bits are accordingly dealing with my internal traffic jam. Everything’s taking a while to process. Pity, because returning from holiday has meant a significant backlog at work. We’re ramping up to the busiest time of the year, which co-incidentally coincides with the colossal comedy festival, which I’m covering. Cool. Cool cool cool.

Buuuuut, my accreditation hasn’t yet been sorted. Normally I’m all geared up a week or two ahead of time. This year, a combination of poor communication and a new PR firm covering the festival has meant that three days out I still haven’t been told the status or extent of my accreditation. They want me to submit my requests, but they haven’t told me what level of shows I get access to. This means I have to put together requests with contingencies. I usually plan pretty carefully to maximise what I’m able to see. Some comics stay for a couple of nights, others pop in for a night or two. This makes the festival into an elaborate puzzle.

This puzzle is further compounded by travel times. It’s all well and good to book a 7pm show and 9pm show, but if the 7pm show is at the Sony Center and the 9pm show is at Comedy Bar, it can be pretty fucking tricky to make it from the first show to the second in time. Sometimes shows run long. Furthermore, now that they’ve included Yuk Yuks in the venue list for midnight shows, it’s damn near impossible to get from a 10.30pm show to the midnight show in time, even after taking an Uber (RIP the novel experience that is Andy Kindler’s Alternative Show).

So one axis is timing and venue distance, the other is headliner access. If I can see headliners, it’ll change which shows I prioritise. If I don’t, that’ll change the shape of my festival. Without knowing whether or not I get headliners then, will affect the structure of my schedule. If I get Mulaney on Thursday night, for instance, it won’t only change what I see on Friday night, but could affect which shows I opt in for on Friday, Saturday and Sunday too. Which means I need to submit multiple contingencies based on what access I will get, without knowing how this will play out. Anyone else confused?

Then while all this is happening I’ll also have daily coverage, a full time job (which could be in another department with later hours if I get the job (it’s a six month assignment that would start over the next week or two. Fingers crossed) and the necessity of keeping up physical activity (or otherwise truly go insane). Sleep comes in there somewhere too. Is caffeine more effective if I shelve it?

The scary part is, this is what I do for leisure. I think I need to learn what priorities are.

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If I was to put together a personal ad, “Miserly, loves company” would be my tagline.

And reality comes crashing back in. While it’s tempting to grumble about how returning to work makes me want to walk out a window, we’re only five stories up. That’s more trouble than it’s worth. So let’s try and figure out positive things about being back home.

  • Life is cheaper. Do you know how goddamn expensive it was to go away for a week? I’m sure if I wasn’t such a lazy mook I could’ve put effort into keeping my costs down, but you can clearly see my use of the conditional above. I spent a fuckton. Close to $100 USD per day, which is absurd. Let’s not forget that I was spending at least $10 a day on coffee, let alone booze, food and whatever activities floated my boat (or submarine, as the case may have been. Now that I’m home, I can scrimp and save and be as miserly as I desire.
  • Friends. Miserly loves company (see what I did there?). I had a great time in Portland, but there’s no skirting around the fact that for significant portions of the week I felt lonely as shit. I thrive on human connection and the absence took its toll. A big part of what keeps my running is feeling fulfilled by my close relationships (whether romantic or otherwise). Now that I’m home, I can reconnect with everyone I missed on my date with the Northwest.
  • Girlfriend. Yes, we’re nuanced autonomous people with lives of our own, but we’re also a massive part of each other’s lives. She’s the last person I see before I go to bed and the first person I see in the morning. We share food, cat feeding responsibilities and naked body heat. She tolerates all my dumb jokes and touches my butt. These are vital components of being human, people. While I had a blast checking out Portland, I also missed the fuck out of her. When you get so used to sharing space and skin with someone, it’s hard being without them for too long.
  • Other Magic Decks. I was so stoked to have brought my Chainer, Dementia Master deck on holiday with me. It gave me an excuse to meet people while travelling. I stopped in at a few local game stores and had an amazing night at Tonic Lounge’s “Monday the Gathering” evening. The deck over-performed, exceeding my expectations. It was reactive and surprisingly resilient, with the capacity to win out of nowhere. I also have a ton of other decks, none of which got to come on vacation. Hazezon, my pride and joy. Ruric Thar, the deck that still hasn’t found its potential. Hapatra, which is proving to be scarily formidable. I miss my playgroup, where the meta has evolved to reward tight plays while still being fun and friendly.
  • Being active again. After blisters created a pincer formation on my right foot, I started walking funny (not silly. It’s an important distinction) to avoid the pain. I guess it engaged the wrong muscles, because I pulled something. I developed a limp, stifling my speed and hindering my progress in navigating Portland on foot. it also meant my plans of jogging to keep active and work off the beer went unfulfilled. I felt slow and bloated, which didn’t help my mood. I’ve found in recent years that my state of mind is often contingent on a certain amount of physical activity. Not getting that meant I moped around more than would’ve been ideal. Towards the end of the trip I managed to locate the stretched muscle and rehabilitate it myself, but I wasn’t instantly better. It’s finally sorted itself out enough for me to get back to the gym. Maybe I’ll skip the weigh in today though. Baby steps.
  • Toronto Events. Competitive Erotic Fanfiction tonight. Father John Misty is on Monday. JFL42 begins on Thursday. Life in Toronto is constantly moving at a rapid pace and it runs in tandem with my heartbeat. It’s great to be away on holiday, but Toronto is home. That sure counts for something.

Most importantly, it’s the end of a Friday workday and I won’t have to think about being miserable at my job for another two days. Life is pretty sweet, when you think about it.

Did I waste all my luck on getting free corn today? I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it.

My brain is gone, so it seems a fitting time to go on vacation. A week without responsibilities sounds ideal. I’ve finished a hectic day of work spent covering my ass and making it possible for others to also cover my ass while I’m away. I’m not sure that I’ve experienced anything quite so cathartic as clicking “OK” on my Out Of Office auto reply. My only regret was leaving my sunglasses at home. What efficacy could blowing that popsicle stand really have without stylish ocular UV protection?

Now all I need to do is withdraw US funds, pack my bags and make it to the airport on time. I’ve checked in online, set an alarm and have all the necessary electronics charging. What else is there to flying these days? The weather looks pretty warm, possibly due to the smoke and ash in the air from nearby forest fires. Where’s that old SARS mask when I need it? Tomorrow’s gonna be a shit day of traveling. I chose flights that’d get me there in the early evening at the expense of my entire day. I’ve got a six hour flight to LAX, a three hour wait once I arrive then another three hour flight. If that ain’t enough time to write my epic erotic horse doctor fanfic, it may never get done. Worst of all, I need to deal with a 4.30am alarm and the night bus (since my flight is apparently too early for the subway system to deal with its bullshit). To add to all that bollocks, I’m quite likely getting sick. I feel the familiar scratching at the back of my throat indicating that my body is also tired of my bullshit. Perfect. If I chug an oil of oregano bottle will that make it all go away? What if I eat “a garlic” (embarrassing as it is, at this moment I can’t remember the collective noun for garlic cloves)? Or just devour an entire orange tree, branches and all? Any other miracle naturopathic remedies out there? I’m desperate.

I could do with a shamefully early rest tonight. Exhausted, I slept a bunch last night, but fitfully and with weird dreams. I dreamt that I was still in bed, but my girlfriend was getting up irrationally early. Like, the kind of time I’m getting up tomorrow. These bells started chiming that woke me from my slumber. I looked out our open window to see shadowy figures patrolling the neighborhood. I was creeped out and took evasive measures. I rolled backwards and landed on the floor with a thump, but at least I was out of these shadows’ lines of sight. My girlfriend came back from the bathroom and I hissed at her to hit the ground. She ignored me, instead walking to the window to see what was up. The bells continued. I peeked out over the bed and saw that not only had the shadowy figures come closer, one was looking through the window directly at me. I ducked back down, but thought back to what I’d seen in that split second. It was a person. An old person. My girlfriend walked across the room and handed me a brochure. These old people had created their own artisan cider and this was their marketing push. Disgusted, I thought about telling them to get off my lawn, before realising I was still creeped right the fuck out. “You didn’t buy any, did you?” I asked. “Of course not.” She replied “they didn’t take debit.”

Oh, and it sounds like Portland is currently engulfed in thick, dense smoke. People are advised against going outdoors if possible. This trip is gonna be greeeat.

Let the arbitrary hate flow through you.

Some dude on the subway in front of me us wearing a book with the Facebook logo, except in its place it says “fakebook“. What’s he rebelling against, really? Did he recently undergo a traumatic identity theft case revolving around the use of the popular social media platform? Is this some greater statement on the fleeing insincerity of online communication? Drawing contrasts between the facetious digital contact in lieu of a more personal connection? Or has he just seen The Matrix for the first time and convinced himself we’re all living in a simulation, thus goading one of the world wide web’s most influential sites into proving its worth in a land of make believe? Or maybe, just maybe he’s a gormless milquetoast zygote with a rudimentary sense of humour. You know what? Fuck that guy. He’s a FakeMook.

Work was shitty and frustrating today, so maybe that’s why I’m picking on this bland dweeb. A major shift in protocol right in the middle of my vacation means I need to do a metric fuckton of work before I leave. Otherwise it’d be left to other team members to pick up my slack. I bet that’s what Fakebook Dipshit does all the time. Slack prick. I bet he paid full price to see The Emoji Movie in cinemas. Maybe just to see his cousin, the poo emoji, on the big screen. Actually, that’s kind of sweet. I don’t want to personify him like that. I hate this guy, remember? How’s about this? I bet he was one of those goons bitching about the women only screening of Wonder Woman a while back. Yeah, that seems like his M.O. You know, they’re doing a Clown only screening of It at The Alamo. I wonder if gamer gaters will shit themselves over that too? Probably not. They’re just misogynists. They’ve got no beef with Arlequino and his ilk.

I saw someone on the train that I thought was a local comic I saw the other day. I was just about to tell her how much I enjoyed her “Kid Rock grandma” bit, but couldn’t tell if it was her. So she saw me turn to her, make eye contact and open my mouth. No sound came out, then I blushed, closed my mouth then turned away. She may have thought that I was some form of human/fish hybrid that’d forgotten about my gills. I remembered the comedian had chipped her tooth on the mic, so I wondered if that’d be how I could tell if it was her or not. I darted my eyes back to her periodically before realising I was trying to look inside her mouth and if things weren’t creepy already, they were bound to get into Slenderman territory in T-minus five seconds. I spent the rest of the subway ride trying to burn a hole in the floor with my glare.

At least I can console myself with knowing I’m not wearing a fucking fakebook shirt. That dude is an anus.

Something something BoJack’s Hor-semen.

I’ve just come from some project completion drinks and I’ve got farewell drinks to get to. In the hopes of legibility, I’m sandwiching my daily writing between the two as opposed to leaving it for the subway ride home. Because I care about you folks, obviously. Or I fear the plague of typos that I’d otherwise shamefully read through the next day. Let’s pretend it’s the former.

A friend of mine is having a competitive erotic fanfiction party and I can’t stop thinking about what to write. It’s silly to the max and I’m excited to put something absurd together. I don’t know if I have it in me to compose anything sincere, so the outcome will likely be pretty out there. I’m also a terrible fiction writer, so I’m not expecting magic to bloom on the page. I’m keen to put together an odd pairing, because in the spirit of things it seems like a neat challenge. My leading concept right now is a cross-fandom venture featuring Beth from Rick and Morty with BoJack Horseman.

It makes sense to me on multiple levels. They’re both depressed alcoholics prone to making stupid decisions while under the influence. They both have repressed trauma stemming from abandonment issues. BoJack is a horse humanoid and Beth is a horse surgeon with an inferiority complex about not being a “real” doctor. I can imagine Rick pulling Beth into a parallel dimension in order to get her to save his drinking buddy BoJack. Cue convalescence and misguided judgement in recovery. Then Poundtown, USA. The tricky thing will be finding justification for Rick needing Beth’s health, since he’s basically a walking god of science. I’ll think on it. I’ve got a few weeks.

Without spoilers, Game of Thrones had a fun and stupid seventh season. Most of the shortcuts taken were probably necessary to tell a primetime television story, but it did feel at times like they’d undercut GRRM’s methodical character plotting in order to skip to something more action-packed and exciting. I’m not saying they sold anything out. I think they definitely had to take measures to deal with the gargantuan texts they’d been dealt for previous seasons. It’s not like the previous few books have been anything to write home about in any case. Still, without the solid guidance of GRRM’s overarching narrative intent, characters floundered and heavy-handed plotting ensued.

Subtlety fell out the window as characters betrayed central motivations in order to keep the season running full steam ahead. It’s not that they’ve ruined anything, but moreso that they understand that the show they’re doing has become a different beast altogether. Fanservice and blunt exposition have become mainstays of an IP that’d always been massive in scope. It’s still entertaining to be sure. The production values are beyond compare and it shows. Also I guess with all the dragons, the CGI budget didn’t extend to animating Ghost this season? Small gripes.

I suppose I should head downstairs and say farewell to my co-worker. He was always a nice guy in a job that was severely below his skill level. It’s either that or I continue to sit here blabbing on aimlessly about pop-culture to internet strangers and probably one or two stalkers who know me personally. I hope you’re enjoying these stale hot takes.

The Dido song was probably queued up next.

Some thoughts:

As I was walking to the gym (the gym is wholly irrelevant to this anecdote. I don’t know why I chose to include that detail) some dude slowly drove past. His car was low to the ground, LED lit, essentially the baby boomer stereotype of everything wrong with our generation (I bet his passenger seat was filled with avocado toast for good measure). The car was kitted out with an absurd sound system. Bass to the nines. You could hear the vibrations as the car struggled to understand what he was trying to prove (as I’m sure the rest of the city block was). Thing is, he was cranking Eminem’s “Toy Soldiers”, a song known for its tinny, child sung chorus. I was baffled, bemused and altogether befuddled. Was this low level performance art? Or was he simply in a forlorn mood, seeking out the more sombre spectrum of ‘Nem’s opus? I cast my mind back to the days when I used to drive. We’d do this thing when rolling through small, quiet towns. We’d crank down our windows, jut our elbows out, turn the stereo up and crank out Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away”. Was it immature? Yes. Did we delight in it? Yes. Is it because we were immature? Without a doubt. I don’t know what the point of any of this is, other to say that whenever in my life it is that I next own a car, I’ll look forward to rolling down the windows, adopting a stern facade and blasting something absurd like the Sesame Street theme song.

The floor I work on has two sets of toilets. One for each side of the floor (it’s a large floor. Big building). The male toilet that’s usually within ten metres walk from me was closed for repairs today. I swear today was the most exercise I’ve ever done. I didn’t realise just how many times per day I went to the bathroom.

Went to a family gathering last night. I’m lucky that my family here in Toronto are pretty politically aligned. It makes for fewer awkward dinner table arguments. We were all taking about Trump last night and eye rolls abounded. It was a congregation of preaching to the converted. Except for an elderly, well, I can’t quite figure out what relation she is to me (if any). Every now and again she’d chime in with something outmoded or missing nuance of the discussion going on around her. I thought about whether to seriously engage or not and decided it wasn’t worth it. She wasn’t looking for a discussion or debate, she just wanted to be heard (which we weren’t really giving her either). I’ve heard post U.S. Election talk of similar thought, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it play out in front of me. I understood a little more how a ton of people in the other camp felt, why Trump had any basis of power in the first place. Anti-intellectualism kind of made sense if people felt tired of being ignored by a system that saw them as brainless statistics.

The removal of Confederate monuments came up and most everyone was in agreement in one way or another. Someone brought up the point that they should be removed from public places, but it made sense to put them in some kind of museum. The idea was that instead of celebrating them, to treat them as learning opportunities condemning their actions, but not forgetting them. The older woman commented that there was no point getting rid of them, because history couldn’t be changed. She mentioned how students now are rising up against their institutions, giving no respect to the system they resided in. I countered that this was a healthy thing and also wasn’t an anomaly. The youth had always rebelled, it was part of discovering and shifting boundaries. She asked what the point was, as things would never change. Hatred had always existed for Jews and minorities. I remarked that the mentality she exhibited was exactly the point, that younger progressive people weren’t content to resign themselves to that future. That while it might not happen in their lifetime, if they didn’t push as people before them did, nothing would ever change. Inwardly I was thankful that her views were a generational thing, that they’d eventually die out (THE VIEWS, NOT HER) and we’d stand a chance of nudging further towards equality. There’s still a long road, but at least we’re walking it.

I mean, yes, she will eventually die too. We all do.

Oat Brick would likely be my Knight Name.

Hey friends. There’ll be Game of Thrones spoilers coming up later. They’ll be very clearly marked.

Well that eclipse was some kind of whelming. It was neat and all, and the science behind it is pretty choice. In the end though, as a partial eclipse it was good for a minute or two of “ooh”s and “aah”s before walking back indoors to resume unremarkable work. Not to brag (I lied, it’s bragging), but it wasn’t my first. Way back when I was sub ten years we had one in New Zealand. I remember making some kind of shoebox pinhole contraption that kinda worked. I was at a friend’s place and his dad went into the garage to grab his welder’s mask. It worked way better, plus I felt like some kind of 70s sci fi cyborg. Which was basically my childhood M.O.

Fuck it’s great to eat bread again. I’ve been trying not to nosedive straight back into excessive eating, but what I’ve had so far has reminded me all too well of the massive sacrifices I’d made giving it up for Tough Mudder Lent. The cafe I often visit on the way to work has a plethora of baked goods. They’re ultra decadent, like these crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside salted chocolate brownies. For months now I’ve had my eye on these breakfast biscuit things. With no idea what they were, they nonetheless seemed like something I wanted to shove in or around my gob. So today for a treat I got one with a flat white. It was sturdier than I expected, but chewy and semi-sweet. Probably about ten centimetres in diameter and three centimetres high. Some kind of oaty, dried fruit brick. I dawdled along to work with my coffee in one hand, oat brick in the other, bliss in the centre of my being.

*** GAME OF THRONES SEASON SEVEN EPISODE SIX SPOILERS TO FOLLOW ***

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Wasn’t that a shit episode? I’m not trying to imply it was boring in any way, because the show has switched into act three action. The shortened half-season is screeching to a halt and they’ve got a lot of stuff to get done by the time it’s over. I certainly enjoyed a bunch of the scenes we got thanks to the Magnif-Ice-nt Seven grouping of fun fan favourite characters. A lot of cool interactions between characters. I’d forgotten the link of Brienne that chained Tormund and Sandor together. The Jorah/Jon Longclaw scene was nicely handled. Still, the entire adventure was a stupid fucking idea that made no logical sense for the characters concerned. Nobody at Dragonstone thought to seriously question just how shitty it all stacked up on a risk/reward scale (no pun intended, surprisingly)? Just a way to waste a bunch of Redshirts. Also for the first time it feels like temporal complaints were pretty fucking valid. They were surrounded by a ring of zombies. How long did it take a) Gendry to reach The Wall, b) the raven from The Wall to reach Dragonstone and c) the dragons to arrive North of The Wall? I’d wager maybe three or four days at the very least. Did they just stand there in the freezing cold for days? They didn’t seem to have a ton of provisions. Dumb, clumsy writing from a show that should know better.

Speaking of clumsy, what about this whole Arya/Sansa thing? It feels disingenuous to the characters that they would’ve gone through their worldly experiences and not be able to resolve their issues without Arya threatening to wear Sansa’s face. Yes, I get that family reunions have a way of making old dynamics resurface, but that seemed like a flimsy excuse to manufacture drama. Plus Sansa didn’t know that Littlefinger had any idea about the incriminating scroll (I mean, Arya wouldn’t take the fact that Sansa wrote it under duress as a valid argument? She knows how soft Sansa was back then), in that context why would she willingly go to him with information? She knows he’s not to be trusted. Furthermore, Bran is in Winterfell right? And he knows everything? Why not ask him? Is he too busy being aloof and watching Sansa’s highlight reel of traumatic experiences? Good show, but that episode was fucking dumb, clunky and sold out its characters for the sake of expediting the plot.

Still, it hasn’t eclipsed an otherwise enjoyable season.