Monthly Archives: December 2016

Wakening the Laughing Man

I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion lately. It’s not a place I ever thought my pretend-adult brain would ever march towards. Historically, fashion has not been something that I’d associate with ‘ooh shiny!’.

Yet here we are.

Here’s the thing: corporate wear is awful. Not a little awful. It’s abysmally awful. The kind of awful that I associate with being devoured by a dray of squirrels. Or being forced to reread The Scarlet Letter.

Despite being a heavily hirsute kidult, I’ve never taken to this whole slacks and dress-shirt nonsense. A pair of form-fitting jeans, sneakers, and a funny t-shirt are preferred any day of the week.

And before the temptation of saying “oh grow up” overtakes you like the blob on a rampage, try and respect that different things matter to different people, and being comfortable is paramount to me. Comfortable and feeling like, well…myself.

Remember that scene in The Matrix when Neo is plugged into the construct? When he appears as his residual self-image? It’s a little like that.

You still with me?

It’s a bit like that. The way I see or envision myself and the expectations of my employer don’t exactly have Legos that click with each other. I’m all about casual clothing, funny t-shirts, flat caps, and regrettably expensive (but comfortable!) sneakers.

Doesn’t quite jibe with the buttoned-down, dick-of-Satan-sucking corporate look, does it? In the three years I’ve been in my most recent place of employment, I’ve gone from (initially) wearing a suit to radiate that whole “oh yeah totally game, motherfuckers!” vibe to grey dress pants, barely ironed shirt, black Adidas I wear whenever no one’s looking, a hipster-as-it-gets beard, and a desk with a Doctor Who figurine, an XKCD comic taped to my monitor, and assorted little figurines scattered about my desk, like an invasion of ephemeral plastic and wooden figurines from the days of yore.

And usually, a door-stopper fantasy novel that I’ll casually read during the moments I’ve downtime and absolutely nothing to do. Occasionally, this can be helpful. I once read a whole Star Wars novel in one day at work, it was that quiet. But that day was a complete and total aberration.

Nevertheless, the corporate non-chic just doesn’t rustle my jimmies. The spectrum of acceptable colours? Shirts seem to get one set of rules, and pants and shoes – not so much. Shirts can apparently be the colour of ten-day old sushi left to shrivel up into itself in the Australian sun, provided that slacks are either grey or black, and shoes are either brown or black.

Bland doesn’t seem a sufficiently expressive word. We need something bolder, something that conveys the horrendous monotony of bleach bypassed polyester and cotton wankwear.

And the shoes aren’t much better. I’ve yet to find a company that can produce leather shoes as comfortable as my Adidas. At present, I’ve been faking the adult shtick by wearing a pair of Hush Puppies that are meant to have some kind of pressure or pump system. In theory, the company could offer to propel my hairy Russian arse to the moon and I wouldn’t care a whit provided that my feet didn’t feel like they were under assault by angry ninja lemmings within minutes of putting them on to please my skip manager.

Someone in the fashion industry needs to take action to make Corporate Wankwear more comfortable, wrinkle-resistant, and more playful.

Oh, and get rid of ties. They really do cross the line between functionality and aesthetic appeal into some new territory of complete uselessness. We’re not using them as napkins anymore, they get in our way when we try to eat, and more often than not give every indication of being little more than mobile arrows colourfully pointing at our death stars.


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A sense of accomplishment

A sense of accomplishment.

That’s what I’m feeling right now.

A real, honest to the flippin’ gods sense of accomplishment.

This hasn’t been the kind of year that’s given me much to feel proud of, to feel, hell, a remote sense of achievement.

Today’s a bit different; it’s high-fived the two challenges I set out for myself this year.

Why only two? Because it’s about all I had the energy, both mental and physical, to muster.

An early afternoon adventure to visit my barber for my first proper beard trim in nearly five months resulted in an excellent and carefully sculpted end-result that’s worth being proud of, and will allow me to continue growing an excellent and thick beard.


This evening, feet firmly and comfortably propped up on my desk, I finished off my thirtieth book for this year. A thirtieth book which I could happily log in Goodreads. That’s five more books than I set out for myself at the start of the year. And nearly as many books as I read per year during my undergraduate days at Concordia University.

“But Ilya, you get paid to read at work, so surely that counts?”

It doesn’t. It’s work, and I’m editing that stuff fast and heavy every damn day.

But it’s not really reading, not to me. It’s work. And it’s not something that’s exactly catalogued by Goodreads – thus making it somewhat difficult to qualify, particularly given that I probably read and edit over two-hundred reports a year.

Tangent aside, it’s an important milestone; indicative of an increase in energy, patience, possibly even time, to read more. Certainly it’s indicative of a desire to find a better work-life balance – a balance that will be made easier once I wrap up in my current role in the end of January 2017.

But still: 30 books in one year!

An important milestone for me.



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