dal niente

Month: January, 2009


When you press, the shutter opens up for a moment, exposing the film to light for a moment.  How long this moment is depends on several things– you can change settings manually of course, but for the most part, it has to do with the automatic metering done by the camera.  It decides how much light to let in.  How good something looks in black in white is all about contrast.

It’s not that pessimists are better than optimists or vice versa.

But they are insufferable.

Nobody wants to squint at a photo that’s over or underexposed to the extremes.

There are a lot of beautiful things in the world, but in a world with problems that need solving, naivety and immaturity are not included on my list.

I will abstractly allow that children should be children… however, though adults can remain young at heart, they should only do so in tandem with a growing understanding of their place in the world.  We enjoy a lot of freedoms and safeties– as children, our parents tend to provide things like this for us.

But as we grow older, I feel that we owe it– not just to our parents, but to the world (specifically, outside of our families)– to do right things so that this can trickle on to the next generation.  Being a child is about finding beauty in the simplest things– but even a child knows when things are ugly.  The unavoidable, progressive act of growing older is about developing the tools to take control of those things that are beautiful and ugly in life. 

The difference between an adult and a child is the way that they deal with their situations.  A child is based on emotions and wants, and has little consideration of needs because they’re usually automatically provided by someone older.  An adult should be able to take all of the child’s wants (including the child within themselves) and be able to affect them through the use of reasoning– an adult doesn’t cry, for example, when he doesn’t get chocolate– he learns to accept that he can’t always have chocolate, or that he needs money to buy chocolate, or that he can ask someone for it, or that there are better things out there.  Being an adult is all about having options and making choices, taking into account reasoning.

It is about developing an increased understanding of one’s impact on the group.

Do we owe a group?

And if we do, how do we pay it back?

I would argue that we do owe a group.  Every little thing, even the safety we have to walk on the street, it’s not something we earned– it was just given to us (at least, as North Americans reading Xanga).  At who’s expense?

Someone always pays for the luxuries we have.  To draw a stretch, wars in the middle east existed because we want to drive cars instead of ride bicycles.  I’m not saying that you put a gun to anyone’s head– but for every choice you make on a day to day basis you set either set in motion a chain of events or subscribe to a chain that is already in motion.  The child doesn’t know these things– the adult, if he/she doesn’t, should.

And it’s not that I’m telling you to start looking up international politics.  I’m simply asking you to care, in a non-superficial way.

It is very possible to care in a superficial way.

Don’t care just because it’s fashionable.  Don’t care for just the easy things.  Don’t care just because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Caring has a lot to do with doing what’s right in spite of difficulty, pleasure or reward.

If you can’t understand that, then you’re just a child, looking out for his/her own pleasure.

If that’s the case, go back to Eden.   The rest of us have work to do.

Find out what it means to me

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Today was the first day that I was training for the ECore position with S.  She’s a great coordinator, but honestly, she’s a bit wary nowadays because apparently security was a bit late the last time she coordinated, and that’s when a parent got in her face and had a hand raised up right in front of S’s nose.  S thought she was going to get smacked.

Today, the day started off in the morning with about 6 hours worth of backlog– that meant that for category 4-5 patients (the vast majority of patients) you had to wait 6 hours before being placed in a room.  It might take even longer before a doctor had the chance to come and see you.

Today, at the peak of my evening shift, the wait time was a bit shy of 8 hours.

There was a bit of a situation today, in that while S was teaching me something at the coordinator’s post, two families showed up.  One was an angry mom who was certain that her kid had appendicitis, that we had a shitty nurse working at triage didn’t know jack, and that my job existed to provide disservice to patients who had the real problems; the other was a mother and father who were outraged that their son had to wait so long to have a tylenol given to them for their son’s fever.

I’d rant about what children they were being, but I wont; because today, after the events of yesterday, I just honestly felt sorry for them.  I did.  I didn’t have it in my heart to really imagine myself beating the crap out of them today as much as that really felt like my first thought yesterday (all be it thankfully inhibited).  I just felt sorry for them.

Of course they don’t want my sympathy.

This situation escalated because wheras S and I normally had enough going for us that we could calm a single parent, perhaps two of the same family, two separate groups of parents doesn’t work well.  The first lady started complaining and the next think you know the second family was agreeing with first family.  They were feeding off of eachothers’ anger and frustration, and compounding!

“I don’t understand why this is so complicated,” said the first lady.

“Yeah!  This is emergency!  But at this hospital, we are treated like…” and then he makes a stomping motion as if we’ve been kicking his baby in the face or something.

“Oh, you know what, I’m not putting up with this,” S says, and walks away.

“And yeah, that’s it.  Just walk away,” calls out Mrs. Appendicitis.

  And I don’t hold it against S– S isn’t a big person, probably 5′ tall at most– and this crowd of people who are getting increasingly loud at the desk probably doesn’t strike her as appetizing, especially considering her recent skirmish.  Immediately, I stepped into the area beside the counter so that the parents couldn’t enter our zone.  I put the two mothers between the man and I and I calmly explained the sitaution to them.

But it got worse.

I think I have to be a bit more assertive with the situation next time because I keep on thinking that they want someone to listen to them– they don’t.  These aren’t people who are here for a rant, they’re here for results– so I have to stay focused on that next time, and assure them that the results come with their patience.

In any case, Doctor [B] came in suddenly from behind and told them, very calmly, first of all, to stop it.

“Hi, I’m the doctor in charge tonight.  First of all, do not yell at the staff.  Do not.”  He goes on to explain the situation exactly as S and I did earlier to back us up.  “We are here to help you, nobody is preventing you from being served, nobody is at fault.  We are simply working as fast as we can humanely do so, and you will have to wait your turn in fairness to all the other children here.  Do not yell at the staff.”

“I wasn’t yelling,” mumbles the appendicitis lady.

“Do not disrespect the staff, and it doesn’t have to be yelling.  Everyone here is doing their job as best as we humanly can.”

The mother/father combo suddenly realized though: this is what they wanted!  They wanted some attention for their kid!  So they start repeating the situation about their kid, the one that S and I had heard several times already.

And then Doctor [B] matter-of-factly explains simply that he cannot see them right now.  He backs S and I up by not cutting them any favors, which reinforced the idea that you can’t try and weasel your way through the system just by being assertive.

I really, really appreciated that.  I’ve worked at too many jobs (including the last hospital) where people who had power to do things would grant favors to make themselves seem like the good guys, but then leave their teammates hang out to dry, and every time that happened I hated it.  Why have a system if that’s what we were going to do?

But Doctor [B] stuck to the system.  He did it in a measured, calm way, withotu being insulting, and he helped retrace the line that S already drew with those parents.

It didn’t make the parents any less angry, mind you, but at least it reaffirmed that they weren’t going to get any favors due to agression.

And then something funny happened– a pair of security guards had magically appeared, and so when Mr. “You’re Kicking My Baby while He’s Down” turned around, he had a moment of startled shock when he saw one beefy 180lbs guard and another 220+lbs guard standing just a few meters away, looking quite literally like immovable statues.

What a team play!  Really.  I didn’t realize that when S turned away she was actually calling security.  When the security guards showed up, I didn’t even notice them; man they were like freaking ninjas, and that’s no small thing to say of men of their size and stature.  And Doctor [B]?  He’s just fucking awesome for holding the line.

I’m really glad I’m working with who I am working with.

It’s the first time I can say that my employees are mostly all chill.

Well, aside from my bitchy first trainer. I came in an hour and a half early for work today.  Whenever I did the day shift, I finished at 3pm– so I assumed that the evening shift, which I was working for the first time tonight, began at 3pm.  Wrong, apparently– apparently, the evening shift begins at 4:30pm.  Well, it was an honest mistake and no harm came of it– I didn’t honestly care too much.  But Ms. Bitch had to throw in, at once smug and nonchallant, “I told him he had to read the manual.”

The fact that two other coordinators also made the same mistake in the last two weeks suggests that perhaps a single little sentence in a manual that is literally over 100 pages long, which we are expected to memorize over the course of  one month, and annotate with the billions of exceptions, well, maybe we’ll forget a thing or two like that.  But thanks for all your help.  And thanks for the attitutude, as always.

But aside from her, most of my coworkers are just awesome.  Doctor [B] and S are mentioned today, but there’s also N, C and Sp who are all great as well.  I’d mention more but I don’t know all the names yet.  I have a great deal of respect for all of them.

I also got to work with Doctor [E] today, but I might as well call him superman.

When Doctor [E] is working, the entire Emergency department transforms into his support team.  There are special procedures to take when he’s with us, lots of little quirks, meant to speed up his ability to see patients.  And then, he just clears them out.  He gets in there and just goes through patients like a machine– and in a single hour and a half, he clears out almost the entire waiting stack!

I suppose this doesn’t sound all that interesting to you if you don’t know what I’m talking about, but basically it’s this– Doctor [E] singlehandedly reduced the time to get a room from 8 hours to about 1 hour, and he did this in an hour and a half of time.  Those numbers are simply insane.  He’s a demanding commander-in-chief, but he’s very professional.

He doesn’t know my name yet so he calls me [Jinryu]EricJonathanJason to cover all his bases.

“[Jinryu]EricJonathanJason, what room’s XXXX in?” he calls out from down the hall.

“23, sir!” (yes I actually yelled out SIR).

“Very good.  Hold off on the 4s and 5s for a bit, lets clear up the 3 stack first.  Float it at about 5 kids total.”

“No problem.”

S gives me a thumbs up.  “Lets get him those red cards.”

And off Doctor [E] walks, his cape trailing behind him.

It’s not that parents are the enemy.  But they can either fall or put themselves in that position.  It is the Dark Side– when asking nicely doesn’t work, we make that progression from fear to anger that in theory can be solved by the brandishing of power.

Angry parents, like a cough, a fever, pain– they are a symptom of a problem in the child.  They often don’t go away, unfortunately, until the root of the problem is addressed.  In the absence of a cure, there is only self control and discipline to stave off the symptoms.

Essentially Infinintely

Newtons: A unit measure of force.

Force: An effect.

When you think about it, consider how truly powerful a human bjody really is.  Isn’t it amazing, really?  You have a planet 12.8 thousand kilometers in diameter, exerting the force of gravity upon you.  Yet all it takes is the flexing of one finger upwards and voila: you have acted in spite of the gravitational field of an entire planet.  Isn’t the amount of power we have in each finger astounding?

Fuck, and whadya know! We’ve got ten of them!

We live by high standards though.  Sometimes, I think we should just pat ourselves on the back for getting out of bed.  Work today– as far as I, Jinryu, the trainee, goes– was a warzone.  Thankfully no casualties as far as I was concerned directly.  As the coordinator, I’ve got most of my tasks down– patient and doctor assignments go quite smoothly for me, and I managed to juggle patients in surgical, medical and fast track all at the same time but I might’ve spent too much of my focus on that, and as a result, my labwork, microbiology and virology positives logging suffered.  It was kinda fun to work under those conditions, and I’m told that Mondays are always kinda crazy madness because that’s when all the labs are open and a lot of shit is going down at once.

But it just wasn’t an easy day.  My highlight (sarcasm) was convincing a man, in front of his 12 year old daughter, that we were doing everything we could and that I really wasn’t trying to tell him that his daughter wasn’t important.  He ultimately left after waiting around for about 5 hours in the emergency room, when he could have probably waited just one more and he would have gotten his spot.  That’s not the point of my mentioning this though– he had no idea of knowing that he had about an hour left, and we had no way of guaranteeing it– I could only tell him how many people were ahead of him and explain that as a category 4, his daughter was subject to being preempted by other children with more serious conditions.  But he left, he stormed off, as if by making him wait we were directly insulting his intelligence or that somehow our actions were an insult to the importance of his daughter.

“She’s in a lot of pain,” he repeated on his third and final visit to one of my stations (at least while I was manning it).  “Who are you to tell me that there are other kids who can come after and cut in line?”

We really do the best that we can and looking at me as if you want to punch me in the face doesn’t make me come to your aid, in fact, it makes me put a counter between us so that you can’t reach me.  I will not give you that opportunity because I don’t want you to even consider doing anything stupid.

And I understand that your daughter isn’t in the best shape.

But allow me to be human for a second, and just rant:

FUCK YOU.  I am trying to smile and I am talking to you in a calm voice and I am doing everything above and beyond the book– I can think of at least 4 other coordinators that I’ve worked with so far who by now would have really told you to just wait like everyone else or who would have told you off– I’m one of the nice ones. I shit you not.  But don’t try leaning in on me, and PUT THAT LOOK OUT OF YOUR EYES.  The one that says, and I am not kidding, I recognize it, that you are thinking “listen kid, I could hurt you.”  Because, you know, coercion is the currency of healthcare.  Yeah, of course.  Because mark my words sir– if you lay a hand on me 

this “kid” will dismantle you.

Le sigh.

Of course I’d never do that.  But I’ve always said that one of the problems with training is that you become intimately aware of how fragile people really are, mentally and physicaly.  It doesn’t really take much to hurt someone in either department.  And it really does take a whole lot of control to not hurt someone when you know it would be so easy and, at least for a moment, feel so good.

The guy probably walked out of the hospital thinking that by not doing anything he’d done me a favor.  Sure, walk away with that.  To loosely paraphrase Sam Fisher, It’s my gift, asshole,  because every moment you breathe from this point on, and you don’t even know it, is a present from me.

I understand it’s not easy for the kids.  I understand it’s not easy for the parents.

But… Listen, Parents?  Did we make your kids sick?

Fuck you.  You may not beleive this but I’ve heard it before.  We’ve seen people with the same conditions as your kid.  As special as you think your kid is, your kid is so special that he or she belongs in a triage category along with an entire waiting room full of kids with the same number.  Join the fucking club.

We can do this the easy way or the hard way.  It’s the Parents’ choice.

And the better choice seems obvious– why do we even need to take out a fucking coin?

I’d gotten about 6 hours of sleep the night before so I would normally have been in passable condition upon arrival at work, except that playing badminton and doing some sparring on Saturday required a few extra hours of sleep to get my body geared right, which I didn’t get.  So I started off the day a little bit tired but well, I suppose I was still pretty well grounded in the fact that I’d spent a simple weekend simply.  Aside from the dude who got on my case, it wasn’t a bad day at all and though I’m still a bit short of being on par, as a trainee it’s still on par for the course and I think I’m getting the hang of things pretty well.

After work today, I went to the same mixed martial arts class that I went to last week with Alfredo, except that this time I went with Terminator.

It’s been almost 5 years since I last grappled with Terminator.  It was a fun go– almost the entire time that we were at the H2O gym for the briefest of spells, and aboout 8 years since we’d trained at the Senshido gym together.

It was good.  We’d both learned a lot of different tricks in the time apart from eachother at least as far as the matts were concerned– his groundfighting style has really evolved, in that it’s now a lot slower and more position based.  He’s also developed a pretty good ‘floating guard’ which is really really difficult for me to get around.  I feel a lot more confidence rolling with Terminator than anyone else at the class– simply because he knows what he’s doing, and doesn’t ballistically perform the locks.  He goes for position and eases into the locks to give you ample time to tap out. 

On the other end, my throw resistance has gone up.  Terminator says that it’s because my footwork and balance are a lot better; maybe that’s a side effect from the taekwondo.  Surprisingly, I managed to actually put him down 4 out of the 11 times we went to the ground.  Doesn’t sound like a good ratio, I know– but in the past, I never could take him down.  I was also quite pleased that this week, unlike last week, I didn’t feel like throwing up due to the strain on my system.

It was a good day and after rolling, throwing, slamming, pinning and locking eachother for a bit over two hours, that was it; the class was closed.  I’d worked out most of the stress from the day and I actually felt really good about things.  I remembered that I got into my line of work because of Children and Dreams and all that nice stuff, you know.  Doing martial arts will always have sentimental value to me and that’s what it makes me think of.

We’d been talking to Alfredo a bit and Terminator had the chance to roll with him for a bit.  Alfredo lost, as expected, but he learned a lot from the experience.

I’m not entirely sold on the idea of joining the club yet, but I’ll see how it goes and what Terminator wants to do.  I don’t exactly feel like joining all on my own because I need a partner who is really better than me in the grappling department, that way I’ll be more likely to improove and won’t be as likely to get injured.

Louis Ho, one of the first jiu jitsu guys to bring grappling to the oldschool MAC, has just recently opened up a jiu jitsu gym called 10th Planet.  He’s the brother of Richard Ho, with whom they opened up the H2O gym (Ho 2, get it?) in St-Henri.  So there are also those gyms to consider… I’m sorta reluctant to join anything until my work schedule levels out after training.

Oh, and as to this picture:

It was about 6:50 pm and I got off the bus, waving goodbye to Terminator who was riding it the rest of the way to the metro.  My body had that nice afterglow of a good couple hours of training.  Those of you who do it know what I mean– it’s when your ribcage hurts a bit from flexing, the muscles here or there are a bit stiff but with every step you endure it quite easily, and it gives you this idea that, right now, you’re big.  You’re tough.  Whether or not it’s true doesn’t matter– but you feel you’ve done something that most normal people can’t, and even if not because of victory, by endurance you are a victor for deciding to test yourself in those ways.

I was switching at the corner of Newman and Dollard to another bus that would take me home.  It’s the same bus stop for both busses.  Then I see this girl walking towards the bus stop, and she’s crying.  At first I think she’s talking on her cellphone, and it’s something like boyfriend drama or something.  She’s probably 16 years old.

And then suddenly, she just kinda half stumbles, half crumbles.  At first I figured she slipped, so to save her some embarassment I look the other way.  Or I was embrassed at noticing something like that, because you know me, my first dark response is to internally think “pff! Drama queen!” Because I’m that jaded.  Then looking back, I realize that she hasn’t gotten up, and is still crying.

She actually asks me, and she’s about ten meters away so at first I didn’t think she was calling at me in french: “Sir! Sir, I need help!”

So I rush over and she tells me that she’s in a great deal of pain.  I ask her what happened, she can’t answer.  I ask her if someone hurt her and I stand up, suddenly feeling the need to assess my surroundings.  I start looking around the parked cars in case someone’s out there.  She says nobody hurt her, but she’s hurt and she can’t walk.  She’s not just sobbing, like, crying out audibly– she’s got tears streaming down her face.

I ask her what’s wrong again because it’s been a long day and I feel kinda dumb in retrospect for repeating the question, but maybe this time I’ll get an answer.  She just keeps on saying how she’s in pain.  I ask her did she twist her ankle?  Did you break a bone or something?

No. No.

I ask her then can I get her to a hospital?  Do you want to call your parents?

She says yeah, she wants to go to a hospital.  I look around and don’t see any taxi cabs immediately.  Without giving it much thought, and still tense, looking around as if expecting someone to jump me from behind (which is… well, sorta ridiculous, considering how Newman and Dollard is a pretty busy intersection with tons of cars passing all the time).  Am I paranoid to think that a 16 year old african american girl is bait for a street mugging? I don’t know what I thought, except that I didn’t like this situation because I didn’t know exactly what was going on.  There were no controls.

I whisked out my phone and dialed 911.  Someone picked up immediately and it actually caught me off guard, and I explained the situation.

You know, in the back of my head, I was still watching to see if my bus was arriving.  You know?  Here’s what was on my mind while this was going on:

  • I haven’t had a meal since 11AM.
  • It’s -30 degrees Celsius out here (I’m not even exaggerating) and that doesn’t even include the wind.
  • I want a shower.
  • I want to sleep.
  • I’ve had enough of this “Emergency” business at work for a day, thank you very much.

I didn’t want to help her, quite frankly.

So I start giving 911 information and ask for an ambulance.  I actually thought to myself– it’ll probably be faster to get her in a taxi, and honestly, I just wanted to pay the 20$ for a taxi ride to dump the responsibility on someone else– but I figured that wouldn’t be right.  Fuck, let’s just wait for an ambulance.  What if it was something serious– I’d rather have some ambulance people around.

In any case, she refused the taxi so I didn’t really have much in that direction.

So I’m talking on 911 with the lady and she’s asking me questions to ask the girl and I’m asking her but she’s not answering anthing useful, just that it hurts a lot.  911 tells me an ambulance is on it’s way.  I tell the girl she can’t be lying there on the ground all day, it’s freezing– if whatever she’s got wrong with her doesn’t kill her first, the cold will, we have to get her inside.  I ask her if she can get up, she can’t.  I try to help her up and she does with a lot of fuss and tears, and I again ask her if she’s got broken bones or if she’s injured or something, but she says no, just that she’s in a lot of pain.  What the fuck does that mean?? TELL ME SOMETHING MORE USEFUL. Argh, dammit!  Hold the phone, I tell her, talk to 911.  I’m going to carry you into that videostore (about 50 meters away) so you can warm up.  For some reason, there’s like nobody on the street (perhaps because it’s so cold, and I just missed a bus).

I pull my bandana over my face.  I don’t know what’s hurting this girl but fuck, I hope it’s not contagious.  Having done a fair share of piggyback and fireman-carry training in Korea (part of the taekwondo training was to carry around my 200lbs training partner, T-Bird, on my back and ‘run’ laps) I’m no stranger to lifting bodies around.  I pick her up fireman style and start marching towards the video store when she just starts crying like crazy into the phone as if she’s being raped, and I put her down in a panic fearing that maybe she had  a broken rib puncturing her lungs or something.  It certainly sounded like she did.

So, moving her was out of the question.

By now, another girl had noticed this little scene and she came, and I half expected her to spray me with a can of mace.  I mean, picture it– you see a dude pick up a girl and she’ doing nothing but cry and scream that it hurts it hurts.

I think my appearance was the only thing that stopped this second girl from trying anything, because it’s not everyday you see someone wearing a hat and a bandana covering everything except squinty eyes.  I’ll probably looked like a terrorist, or a kidnapper, or a rapist, or a terrorist who kidnaps and rapes.

In french, she was like, “what’s going on!”

“She’s sick! She needs to get to a hospital!” I say.  Thankfully the girl, now back on the ground, is at least sensible enough to coroborate with my story.

It’s really fucking cold out there and she’s still on the phone with 911.  She’s wearing a stylish kinda of jacket, the kind that really isn’t warm.

“Are they coming yet?” I ask.

She kinda nods.  With the other girl, we manage to drag the injured/sick one against the bus stop so at least it will break the wind for her.  I half consider giving her my jacket, which is a 700 grade downfeather North Face jacket, but then I resist the urge to act hastily– it only works as an insulator.  The minute I take it off, it’s no better than a windshield, it won’t warm her, and I’m going to die out here. So I keep it on.

The next few minutes are me waiting impatiently for an ambulance.  I’d already missed my bus– amazingly, it passed by, and people who had gotten off didn’t seem to care or notice or care to notice  that there was a crying person sitting against a bus shelter.  Eventually we saw the ambulance.  I started waving my arms and from a fair distance away (I was impressed) they spotted me– they drove straight into incoming traffic on one of LaSalle’s busiest streets and just turned in to park right behind us.

The ambulance techs helped her to her feet. I got my phone back and I saw my bus coming a few minutes later. I just jumped on and didn’t even look back.

I was tired, hungry, and cold.  That’s all I was thinking.  My bus came every 20 minutes, but I’d just missed one when I first got there, then because of the situation I’d missed another, so I was out there for almost 40 minutes. 

When I got home, my dad asked me why I was late.  This is one advantage of living back at home– sometimes, it’s someone else’s turn to cook.  He was heating up my food.  I’d run from the bustop at the corner of my street to my home so I was totally out of breath, and plus, i was still freezing.  I sorta explained what happened quickly to my mom and dad, and told them that I was going to throw myself into the shower because I wasn’t feeling too hot.  Hah.  Not feeling too hot? Get it?

I took a 10 minute shower under boiling hot water.

Afterwards, I have my meal, and now that I’m feeling better, I have some dinner while my parents sit about the table and we have a little chit chat about the day’s events.

You know what came to mind?

As I was on the bus from that intersection to home?

That girl in no way looked like Flynt.  And she was younger than Flynt was the last time I saw her.  And that isn’t the situation that Flynt was in, really.  I just imagined Flynt there, on the bus, sitting next to me.  It didn’t creep me out because I was conscious of the fact that I was doing that– but it did weigh me down, really heavy, and it has nothing to do with the crying girl today but I wonder,

did Flynt cry?  Did she feel helpless?  Cold?  Alone?

It was the first time the thought of Flynt came to my forethoughts in a long time.

I can say I miss her, but I don’t really, I can say that I wish she was there sitting with me, but I guess I don’t.  I don’t need her anymore, not like that, I’ve honestly moved on.  But she’s part of me, so much so that I don’t think about it anymore because I’ve lived a lot beyond then.

But you know– sometimes you don’t want to reflect.  You don’t want to define yourself anymore, you just want things to sorta dull, and there she was, a like a ghost.  I’m not sure what to think about what happened, just that I’d rather it hadn’t, and not even for the sake of that crying girl.

It’s the tiredness talking.  Thankfully, I work in the afternoon tomorrow so I’ll have more than enough time to rest for the night.

We are strong enough to lift our fingers– and that is titanic.  It takes an entire planet to pull down a feather.

Yet how much force does it take to hurt? To be hurt?

And some of the biggest hurts aren’t even visible.

And I was feeling pretty moody about it, until i happened upon the news post at  Penny-Arcade. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2009/1/26/) .  That made me feel good again.  So I leave you all tonight on a lighter note.  And note as you read it: I played Street Fighter 4 entire MONTHS ago in Macau, that’s how cool I am. 🙂

In any case, writing about it all made me feel better about it all.

Stay safe out there folks: and Happy new year!

I hope tomorrow is more boring.

 From Penny Arcade:

We stopped by Gameworks on Sunday night before heading over to the Video Games Live concert. We had heard that they had a Street Fighter 4 machine and we all wanted to check it out. They did have the machine and when I saw it I was instantly transported back to my youth. The arcade culture that surrounds a new machine like this was in full effect and it was something I hadn’t witnessed since I was a kid playing fighting games like Virtua fighter and Killer Instinct. Chairs had been scrounged up and placed around the cabinet. There was a steady stream of people going up against one guy who had been running the machine for a while. It was like watching people being fed into a chipper shredder. He dismantled each new player without ever giving up a single win as long as I watched. I snapped this picture because I thought it was so awesome.

This used to be so common when I was a kid. You’d see these guys drag their girlfriends out to the arcade. Presumably to watch them destroy challenger after challenger. The girls would always sit there on a stool popping their gum or reading a magazine. In my young mind there was nothing more awesome than these cabinet kings and their bored harem. My dream was to someday have a girl of my own, who would grudgingly accompany me to the arcade of my choice. Then she would sit in silent judgment as I performed my killer combos. 
It warmed my heart to see that there were still young men out there keeping the old dreams alive. 
-gabe out

Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here


I’m too exhausted to write now, but as a placeholder to remind myself, I’m leaving a picture of the ambulance that answered my call at the corner of Dollard and Newman at around 6:20pm.

A Life Less Ordinary

If there’s one prejudice that I have it’s that I tend not to get along with people without baggage of some sort, or people who are so ashamed of their baggage that they try to really move beyond it.

A certain amount of trauma during our lives I think is necessary– otherwise we’re insufferably saintly, or we’re sinfully boring.

Okay, guilty: I might just be saying this because in fact, the angle I come from is one of baggage and shame.  And it’s not that this is a big deal in itself– but I’d like to think that if anything can be scavenged from years off the beaten path set out for me, it’s that I can hold a bit of a conversation or do a number of odd things that might be points of connection with other people.

There was an idea I was discussing in great detail with StrangerInBlack a long time ago, the idea of going around the course.  You start at A, you get to B, and so forth, but the track is sorta circular at times in that Z might actually be at A.  For example, someone might grow up liking to eat a certain kind of food, but having never tried anything else, tries everything from B to Z and then returns, finally, to discover that A really is the best thing.

And then there are the sorts of people who start at A but decide that A is all they need, because it’s comfort, because it’s already there and why would we need anything more?

“Baggage,” in the sense of all those dramatic episodes of our youths (or perhaps even our present lives), is a lot like that.  It has to do with all that stuff you didn’t ask for that happened along as you actually tried to get from A to Z.

It’s all relative though– because if you carry the baggage from A to Z and never really figure out some way to either accept it, get rid of it, or — basically, do something productive with it– then it kills you, a little bit every day.

I suppose it’s kinda safe to do the same old same old thing, because then you don’t run into as many possible dissapointments… but who knows.

I’ve sorta figured out an element to my life that makes things easier… the idea of faith.  It’s not necessarily in God, it’s just something I use as a word that’s equivalent to “belief that it’ll work out somehow, most likely.”

I mean when you really look at it, what are the odds of things working out for you?  Through everything that you do, you only increase your odds of a happy ending– but nothing is guaranteed.  Even the goals we pursue aren’t always exactly what we want, it’s more like we decide what we want and then the act of pursuing those goals distracts us from the real existential crisis that we’d have if we were truly idle without something to occupy our senses with.

What else do we have, though, really, except to give it a shot?  I know if I stay at A, I’ll be at A and that’ll be it.  If I go for B, C, … Z, things will happen along the way but though I get more experience, is any of it really, really making me ‘better’ in whatever way I wish to measure myself, or is it all just distraction?

That’s why I say it’s sort of like faith.  Because resonably, that’s all there is to it: a choice, without reason at all.

Back to the business of baggage.  Or if you don’t like that word, lets call it experience.  It has to do with running the course and being successful in some ways, but it also has a lot to do with living a real life by the reminders of our mortality– it means you got hurt, doing this or that.  And you went forward, in spite of being hurt. 

I guess I just don’t get along with people who lack this because people who live perfect lives make me feel like damaged goods– I feel smaller compared to people who are “better than me” and that’s the truth.  I am jealous of their perfect lives and they anger me because, as much as I can preach about the journey being more important than the destination, if you gave me a wish, like some sort of return to ignorance, or some sort of chance to just make ‘everything right,’ would I really refuse it?  What idiot would?

And so the people who have those lives without problems, they annoy me because to me, they’re not real, they’re dreamy in that way that I like to dream.

I’m exaggerating.  This only happens in degrees mind you– nobody in reality lives the perfect life.

But it is why I mention that I don’t like people who are ashamed of their baggage to the point where they won’t tell you about it.

Of course trust has a lot to do with it– and in that sense, I’m a pretty trusting guy.  I’ll tell people any story about just about any point in my life so as long as you ask the right question– I’ve come to terms with who I am.

The people who annoy me are the ones who don’t want to cause trouble, who don’t want to stand out, who want to keep their secrets– because they’re not sharing anything.  On one hand it might be with noble intentions, on the other hand, the outcome is a relationship about as deep as that with a perfect person– insufferable, because nothing is apparently wrong that you could ever connect with.

I suppose I’m getting a bit bored in general because people are just so reluctant to just talk sometimes, about things other than the mudanities.  And I suppose it is also true that I have to ‘earn’ good conversations out of people– but it’s not all one sided.  People I think are more and more untrusting…

and I don’t mean untrusting as in lending people large sums of money or the keys to your car.

I just mean, stories.  About yourself.  That’s all free, isn’t it?

And on another note, what’s wrong with gossip?

And let me make a point: there’s a difference between gossip and two-facing or backstabbing.

When I say gossip, I just mean talking about someone when they’re not in the room.  I’ll tell you right now– I gossip all the time.  I talk about everyone I know to everyone else I know.  I don’t do it because I want to insult people or because I want to make myself bigger– I do it because the experiences I have people are experiences– and those experiences are what I use to connect to other people.  Most people who talk to me often enough know the names of my other friends without even having met, because I link stories and specifically add names so that their stories can be built upon each time we discuss things.

I take people at face value, and if I have issues with you, you’ll hear them from my face the same way you’ll hear it behind your back.  I’m holding you responsible for your sins and your virtues.  Spread the word!

But so many people nowadays want all this cloak and dagger bullshit.

Well, I guess I can understand some of why this happens– there are people who will use any story you tell them to undermine you.  But this is usually because of the two-facing I was talking about– these are the people who are pretending to be your friend who get you to talk either intentionally or uninentionally and then use your stories against you in only the hurtful ways.

But you know, even that– I guess it depends on how well you’ve come to terms with your baggage….

I won’t say that I’m completely liberal about everything about me, but, like I said, if the question is asked right then I won’t withhold it.   And I assume that it’s probably going to work it’s way down the grapevine– but if it’s true, then what’s to be afraid of?

To summarize—

for those of you who aren’t sharing your stories, then I hope we’re working towards that level of trust.

for those of you who are talking about me behind my back, go ahead: see if I care, as long as you’re saying it as it is.

for those of you who don’t like me talking about you behind your back, that’s your problem, not mine: just do what you think is right and that’s all there is to it, isn’t there?  I do, you know, compliment and speak highly about some people behind their backs, perhaps more than I would to their faces in fact.  I’m not making power plays and I don’t involve myself in the lives of enemies because I don’t really have any– so any ‘dirty laundry’ that falls upon me, I don’t discuss it because I want to undermine anyone, I discuss it because it’s an interesting subject.  And I’m not saying that in that I’m using you for entertainment– because I wonder how that kind of situation would work better.


The biographies of all the most famous people exist for this reason– because they shed light on characters beyond their public images.

We can love a persona, but to truly connect with a human there needs to be that backstory.  Okay, don’t tell me all of it– but realize that if you ever get tired of holding up the veils perhaps that’s when you can start really connecting with people because finally they’ll be judging you for who you really are and not just who you want people to think you are.

While too much optimism and rainbows and sunshine and kumbaya is sickening, the best stories are usually quite simple about the little problems in life that people got through.  They build character.  As bad as those things are, they led you to becoming who you are now– and is that really, really so bad?

Maybe that’s what I can’t deal with, it’s when people aren’t can’t accept who they are.

(And maybe I’m projecting)

(link from Zanshin, http://boltcity.com/copper/copper_037_observer.htm)

A Perfect Circle

Is Zero something that means you have nothing, or that you have no complications?
How big is your world?
What do you circle, and what do you cross out?
When you start somewhere, and you keep going, don’t you find you often come back to where you started?
Don’t you find that when you don’t come back to where you started at some point, you might feel lost?

Or you know, sometimes we feel lost because we’ve ended up some place too familiar.

It rolls, it rolls… so even though it’s the same circle, we find that it’s taken us to different places…. in a strange way, as a circle comes upon itself, it finds itself no longer the same, changed in all the ways that make a day distinct.

Last night (Wednesday), Hades, Kazuma and I went to his place to have some homestyle Korean BBQ.  With a few perks.
Expensive perks, mind you– but whatever, once in a while ain’t so bad.  Soju is special to me: it reminds me of my second home in Korea.  I associate it with all the 3AM noraebang sessions, the beaches of Daechon and some of the best humans I’d ever come to meet.  The company in Canada adds to this tradition.


“Whattt? Fruit juice with soju? But that’s a ladies drink!”


For some reason, most of Hades’ pictures have her trolling around under the table.

I’d say more about the event I don’t feel I have to, I think the pictures describe the mood pretty well.

These are my grandparents and my aunt with my new cousins.  The picture is actually from Christmas, but, seeing as I forgot my camera at a relative’s house and only now got it back (almost a month later) I’m only now seeing these pictures.


My new cousins are very tiny.

I don’t remember, but I imagine this might’ve been how things looked when my sister and I were babies as well.

So, for the last two weeks that I’ve been talking about training at the new hospital job, I’ve been training for two roles– the day DRec and ERec positions (“day reception” and “evening reception”).  Today I began working on DCore (“day coordinator”).   I can say without a doubt that so far, the coordinator role on the emergency floor is awesome.

No pictures for this kinda stuff, unfortunately.  But as far as DRec and ERec go, it’s not that they’re any less involved in the action than the Coordinator– however, the people you deal with are different.  The Rec positions involve you working almost excluscively with doctors, nurses, PCAs, technical staff and laboratories– you don’t actually have any contact with patients or patients’ families except over the phone, and even then, it’s mostly because they’re wasting their time trying to ask you “is the ER busy?  Do you think I should come in today?”

Which, might I add, is a useless question– if your kid has a problem, you have to bite the bullet.  Knowing what kind of bullet it is doesn’t really change anything, and to be honest, nobody knows how long it will be before your kid gets seen: we operate on a triage system where it’s not first come first served– the sickest get to cut in line.  If you’re being a bit paranoid because your kid’s got a little cough, you’re likely to be waiting for 7 hours or more just because you’re a “Category 5” patient and your problem isn’t nearly as threatening as you think it is.  You’re honestly better off just going to a clinic.

The Coordinator’s job, in any case, deals directly with patients.  With a limited number of rooms and doctors, someone has to get things rolling– the Coordinator’s job is essentially like playing a game of Starcraft.  It’s real-time-strategy.  There are hospital units (doctors, nurses and other staff) that you need to deploy so that their strengths and weaknesses match the situation.  There are objectives (patients, and their families) that need to be handled in specific ways.  They sort of like “enemy units” in the sense that each patient and each family provides a unique medical or surgical problem that needs to be addressed with a certain one of your units.  They are triaged into one of five categories, and that’s basically a threat assement by the triage department to give you a heads up of how to use your units.

So once you know what resources you have availble to you, and what the invaders are like (in general), you go into the fog-of-war, which is all that stuff that doesn’t show up on the paper.  You never really know what kind of parent you’ll be running into, frankly.

Terrain plays a role too– some observation rooms are differently equiped from others.  Some rooms have negative pressure and isolation enhancements.  The psychiatric room has nothing that can be used as a weapon.  Some rooms are communal, some are more private.  Some are primarily medical, others are primarily surgical (although in a pinch, either can be retrofitted to do the other’s job).  Treatment rooms are decked out with equipment.  The Cast Room also has it’s special features.  And then there’s the Crash Room, which I’ve started personally calling the “Chop Shop” because after a lot of screaming and/or crying usually people come out of there looking quite traumatized.

Because the Rec job was 99% a sit down job, it’s nice to try the Coordinator position now because it’s about 80% running around.  I get crazy mileage as a coordinator, and I also get to be involved in the activities of the treatment room and the chop shop.

What I find is the main plus is that as a Coord, I have to interact with the patients and their parents directly.  My French ain’t all that great, but it’s passable.  The main challenge of it all is talking to parents and children.  Smiles are very important.  And I don’t just mean, smile at them– but you have to figure out some way to make THEM smile.  This means aside from the actual deployment of units relative to the conditions of the terrain and the specific nature of the invading force, like any good RTS there is always the micromanagement that you must do to get added-value for your time.  That means offering a family an ice pack if their 10 year old has a lump the size of a tangerine on his forehead, or turning out the lights in a room if this other kid has killer migrines.  Technically, there is no procedure in the books to do these sorts of things– however, a little investment in this area goes a long way to preventing, or at least staving off, the evolution of a concerned parent into a hostile one.

I find it interesting to say this, but the child is generally not the problem.  You could think your kid is the most sick little angle in the world, and on a scale of 1 to 5, you get triaged into a 4 or a 5, which in many ways sorta means “what? 6 hour wait? come on, suck it up!” And you know what? Kids are very tough, they’re much tougher than their parents give them credit for.  But of course, wanting the world on a platter for their children?  If I didn’t want that, I might be a resonable person but I wouldn’t be a very good parent.

Love trumps reason.  Would you have it any other way?

I really like how getting hired here essentially isn’t me getting hired for a singular job, but four positions at once that are all closely related.  Technically I’d only be working one position per shift, but because of the close connection of the four positions, regardless of whether or not you specialize or ultimately only work one of the roles, you still need an intimate, inside-out understanding of the other three roles in order for the emergency admin team to effectively work as a unit.

Yarrrrrg.  I must wake up in about 6 hours to go BACK to work.  The work is good, but waking up always will suck.

Things have been going pretty well, well, as far as things that I’ve been working on.  I haven’t, for example, paid much attention to dating in quite a while now.  In part though I’m rationalizing that that’d be too complicated given that as it is I hardly have time to do anything with my messed up sleep schedule.

Fak you body!

6:05AM— Time to go to work and save the world!

No problem– I’m ready to roll.  See y’all on the flipside.


As a general note,

when i was a kid, and I had nothing to do, I’d call the “Hooked on Phonics” program just to see if it was REALLY free on all payphones.

Greetings, Earthlings

It is currently 12:31qm.

er.. I mean. AM.

Let my first note be that Hades can drink a whole lot more alochol (apparently) than ame without apparently suffering the same effects as me.

I don’t consider myself alcoholic, but I do understand the significance of being able to transgress on territories of conversation that i wouldn’t normally.  The past few hours, involving, among otherthings, buttsex and blowjobs, being a part of it

Kazuma and Hades for the most part seem like awesome people in that they just… well, they’re fun to be around.  Blame it on me working 7 days in a row to arrive at this concolusionj (if only because I skipped a day of work), but regardless of the fact that I’ve been working a week nonstop they are good people.

Hmm… well if this were nothing but a rant at the wee hours of the new dawy, this really woouldn’t be anything significant.

But seing as as I have as much to say as I am… shall I say this:

At the end of a day, or whatever, before you go to bed:

It all comes down to experiences.  This is what our lifes are com[[psed of.

It’s all the things that makes us happy and sad.  All the parts of our pasts, presents and futures, but not just in isolation of the people around you, but everyone and everything that make up the world in relation to you.

It’s, in the end, all about you: the world ends with you, and if that means for a moment, you can find people and you can find a good time, what else is there to it?

We don’t exist in isolation, and for every moment that we ever felt lonely, it’s only because we didn’t really take the time to invite someone to have some dinner with us.

wHEN asked the queastion, i wouldn’t say I’m a happy or sad drunk… I’m just a very ‘honest’ drunk in the sense that i tend to jiust say what’s on my miond. er… mind.

For tomorrow, let me say this then:
the world is full of beautiful people and regardkless of whether or not they believe in themselves, I believe in them, and most beautiful peopld on’t even realize it.  That they are, beutiful, en effet.  They don’t know it, but I’m a good judge of character I think so take my word for it!

I have to be in the Emergemcy room in about 6.2 hours, so I should probably sober up.  i aqm writing this mostly because I belicve in truth, so,m despite my less that stellar condition, I’m going to just put a few notes in here that I’ll be able to see on the morrow.

Don’t let anythign pass you by.

Embarssments, regretts, whatever– they are all experiences, they makey ou who you are, and they are what tiey ou to humanithy– before you fall asleep, think about the people who made you feel human in the simplest of ways that they probably don’t even realize, and then do that– make a conscious effort to be a person, interacting, feeling, loving or hating or whatever– and that, ladies and gentlemen,

that at the end of the day makes everything worth it.

Thanks, World.

If You’re Going My Way

You run into all sorts of people out there.  Some people, you get along with.  Some people, you become friends with.  Some people you sleep with.  Some people you start families with. Some people you respect even though you don’t know them and every time you meet them you’re glad to have worked with them.  Some people you don’t know but by association, because they’re part of something bigger than both of you, by default you’ll watch eachothers’ backs.  Some people, you will see do the greatest of simplest things– wait a bit longer at a door just to hold it for the lady with the carriage, for example.  Some people just mop the floors at a building you walk through on your way home.  Some people are wrong in all the ways except one, and that’s why you like them.

And on the other hand some people you don’t get along with.

Ah, but that’s life.

Every wrinkle you see on someone’s face comes from some sort of story– it’s seldom the case that someone is truly boring.  And even if you have no history, no stories to tell– boringness isn’t just about events.

The most interesting thing to remember is the future.  We often look to the past, I think, because it’s something we know about ourselves generally better than others.  In part that gives us the security that nobody else can disagree, because you’ve been there and done that.  Our pasts are as close to the truth as we can get, because it’s as firsthand as anything ever was.

I think, however, that a hypothesis is a beautiful thing.  It’s not right or wrong that matters– it’s the idea’s transition from dreamworld to realworld.

Save the past for when you have no more future.  Remember, don’t forget the future!