dal niente

Month: May, 2009

Sun

I had a bit of a reunion with some high school friends that I really hadn’t seen in a long time.  I still hang around with Paladin and Kazuma, but it’s been forever since I’d seen Jenna, Acidwisp or Jessica.  I think it kinda came up because we’ve recently been getting invitations to our high school reunion.  And, y’know; fuck ’em, because we know that we were the coolest ones anyhow, so we can just do our thing whenever we want.

I was never really close with Jess, but it turns out that now she teaches at the high school that we all went to together.  I guess I’d say more if I knew more but we really don’t have that much history together.

Jenna and Acidwisp though were closer to me.  I guess my memory fails me a bit nowadays but I do have a few things that I can draw back on.  When I used to go to high school, I was always in there early.  I left super early to go to school.  In part it was because I didn’t like the crowd of the bus later on.  In larger part, I think I was just always a bit of a loner, because when i say early, I meant that I was usually in school a bit before 7am even though we only needed to be there for 8:30.

Usually I spent that time in the music room, practicing, since I didn’t own any drums of my own.  In the early years I went in to practice every day because I wanted to get into the high school band. I remember doing the entrance exam for the band in grade 9, and at the time the test consisted of sightreading a piece of competition calibre music and playing it on the spot.  There was a particular rhythm that I’d never seen before on paper, and I failed the test while one of my buddies Kal got in, and I remember that being a traumatic moment for me.  But I’d go in and practice and practice and eventually, a few weeks later, the band director gave me a second shot and I got in.  I’d go in and practice early and then leave before anyone else came in to practice.  Usually I’d go to the third floor and there was jenna, sitting in front of her locker, trying to figure out some math homework or something.

The hallways were such that there was always sunlight coming down the east end of it, and it was blinding.  The shadows of the doors stretched out along the entire length of those halls.

I’m not sure if that’s where I met Jenna or not, but she was also someone who came in to school really early all the time.  Being in the same grade and having at least a few of the same teachers, we spent the mornings either doing homework or copying from eachother.  I think there was one thing we had in common– we didn’t really like our parents.  She didn’t talk much about that, but neither did I, and that was one thing that I think I could relate with: silence when it came to our parents.  In large part, one of the reasons why I went to school so early every day and busied myself with events after school was so I wouldn’t have to go home.  Ironic, since most parents sign their kids up to things so they’ll be too busy for drugs– but I signed myself onto things so I wouldn’t have to go home.

In later years, she started playing volleyball, which was something I was into as well.  I played briefly on the bantam team, while she was on midget.  Seeing as her team usually trained at night around the same time as band practice, she usually would hang around with Fil and I and we’d just start doing stupid things in the gym since nobody was around to stop us.  I think that out of my circle of friends, she was perhaps the only who didn’t learn how to play hackey sack.  But there was always volleyball.  Our paths crossed on those courts pretty often because we both played mixed games when they were first becoming popular.

Acidwisp was someone who I met by chance through computer classes I think.  Back in the day before easily accessible internet, online communities were on Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes).  You’d dial up via modem, go on some discussion groups, maybe play some games in 16 colors of ANSI coded art– it was all quite primitive and it came at a time where things like your mice still had IRQ settings.  I remember my 14.4 USRobotics modem had an IRQ conflict with my mouse, such that it would only receive data if I wove the mouse around.  Strange huh?

Anyway, Acidwisp and I met through the highschool BBS or soemthing like that.  Even Paladin and Zanshin were part of the BBS, and we’d organize the high school BBS to fight wars against rival BBSes.  There were games like Solar Realms Elite and Barren Realms Elite that had inter-bbs capabilities, so that each BBS was like a ‘planet’ or ‘country’ and each player on each BBS was one general.  It was, in a sense, the turn based, text based precursor of the modern MORPG.

In later years, Acidwisp and I would become closer friends because of hackey sack and “Prefects,” who were the school ‘police.’  I put that very loosely in quotes because we were very much like a bunch of untouchables, taking the law into our own hands, and abusing our authority for personal gain.  We got to wear these burgandy vests, later upgraded to snazy black ones that look a lot like what you might see in Indigos.

We got out of classes 5 or 10 minutes earlier than anyone else because we had to do traffic duty in the cafeterias.  The best part?  Getting out 5 or 10 minutes early meant that you could go in, buy all the chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk, and then resell it for more expensive when the supplies eventually weren’t enough to handle demand.  Man, we made a killing.

Ah, those were the days.

-=-=-=-=-

It’s interesting how after meeting them after all these years, they’re very much the same as I remember them.  I mean, Jenna and Acidwisp.  And I mean, they’re the same in the right kind of way.  They’ve got jobs now, they’re part of this same generation as I am where we’re in charge of the future of mankind for some reason because we’re now (more or less) responsible members of society.  That’s really a frightening thought when i really think about it, how, we are the worknig generation who are in training to be the leaders of this planet.  Just a bit.

Regardless of how far they’ve come though, they’ve somehow managed to retain the same kinda energy that drew me to them when I was in high school.

It’s a bit of a cliche to say that the more things change, the more they stay the same, but I really can’t put it any other way.  I suppose in many ways, looking at myself, I have changed– but there are fundamentally ways in which I haven’t.  Maybe it’s just the jackets and the cover art to this ongoing biography have changed, wheras the contents thus far, lettered in ink or pixel, do not.  And I think that’s in large part why I hold many high school friends in such high regard– because they were part of the formative years that, perhaps in the largest parts, influenced the direction I’m in today.

I’m going to see if I can’t hold on to them, and try to get our group together more often than just every 10 years.  I’m happy to say that in meeting them again, I don’t want to just hang out with them again because it’s a good ‘maintenance’ thing to do, but because they’re connected to me in some sort of historical way that still makes sense on some sorta chemical level.  The bunch of us met up at Jon’s place this yesterday and had a barbecue. Before I knew it, 5 hours had passed and I had to leave to go to work.

It’s good to have things like things like that happen. I mean, things that make you lose track of time.

-=-=-=-

I think that’s one of the major differences between me then and me now though– the sunlight thing.  I really, really used to be a morning person.  I’d wake up super early because I wanted to see the sun rise.  I’d sit on a particular side of the bus just so that while it was coming up on the bridge, I could see it on the horizon– I took a particular bus just to see that.

Nowadays– it’s different.  A year of working on a South Korean hagwon clock has gotten me used to waking up to a highnoon sun, and finishing work to moonlight.  And now that I’m doing night shifts, I leave work as the sun is climbing and then go to bed before it gets any momentum– by the time I wake up, it’s already on it’s retreat.  On typical days (non overnight work days) I sleep at 3 in the morning, and on overnight work days, I sleep at about 8am.  I’m a night person now.

I also used to be more of a grou person.  I hung out with more friends at once back in highschool.  The high school band was a big thing for me. Training in Jeet Kune Do was another, because there was a class, and in a certain way there was that sorta camraderie of an event where everyone was lined up doing exactly the same thing.  I might even say that in Montreal 1.0, I played badminton because of that– because I liked hanging out with the group, even though i wasn’t close with anyone.

Nowadays?  I guess now although the method has changed, I haven’t changed so much. I mean, just superficially.  I still prefer to meet up with people in small groups or one on one.  I just don’t go through the whole process of involving myself in large things anymore.  You see a gradual progression– from me participating in a band of 40 students to me just playing guitar alone or maybe with Paladin if he’s around.  From me doing JKD in a class of 20, to doing semi-private lessons in a class of 4-5, to doing Numac and training one on one.

Fundamentally it’s not that anything’s changed so much, but I guess I just am more comfortable with being ‘alone’ now. I don’t feel the need to push myself to surround myself with people I don’t know.

I mean, on some level, I do– because I need to meet new people to freshen things up– but I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve come to really appreciate meaningful relationships with people, a genuine pursuit of moments where time flies.

I don’t do much social ‘charity’ work nowadays, and if there’s anything this little reunion highlights, it’s that I don’t necessarily have to; there are people out there who are just fun and who I don’t feel bored or burdened to be around.

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Without a paddle

My dad has a strange way of doing things when he’s angry.  He doesn’t really address the issue of his anger– he just takes stabs at people for whatever openings he can find.  Today, I’m not sure what it was he was pissed about, but my mom wanted to frame her diploma.  She’s got one for her bachelors and one for her masters in nursing, but the later hadn’t yet been framed.  She just bought one this afternoon so it was on the agenda to take care of that.

I on the other hand have had my univeristy diploma lying around in a plastic protection casing since I came back from Korea (I needed to bring it with me while it was out there for employment reasons) and I haven’t taken the time to frame it.  Actually, I hadn’t framed it ever since I’d graduated.

Randomly, my dad threw it out there while talking to my mom: “That guy doesn’t treasure anything.”  He said it in that disgusted “good for nothing son” kinda way that I’d gotten really good at being the duck watching water roll of his back, but on some level it hurts on the inside.  Not beceause of the effect it has on me personally– because I chose not to let that bother me– but because it reflects a poverty in the relationship I have with my dad.  Because he has no idea what I treasure.  And, worse, that I would probably never be in a state of communication with him where I’d really tell him.  You can tell me about how great you get along with your parents, but for me, getting along just means not rocking the boat.

I’ve gotten in the habit that when my dad says stuff, I don’t react outwardly for at least a half hour.  It’s just good practice.  He’ll often say things because he’s pissed about something or because he specifically wants to piss me off, but the thing is, I’ve found that confronting him about it doesn’t solve anything.  The truth of the matter is that not everyone operates in an argument because they want to win, or because they have a point to proove; some people just get into an argument because they want to fight and blow off steam.  Some people turn to meditation, some people pick up an instrument, some people write, some people play some sports– my dad initiates bitchfests.

But I don’t react to them because whenever I do, I end up feeling really guilty about calling him on his bullshit.  It’d be if I was playing the guitar just to sorta relax and them someone came over, grabbed the ‘tar and then axed it against the pavement, and walked away.  Sure, I might’ve been playing badly, or I might’ve been being really really repetitive, but it doesn’t change the fact that to me, it’s theraputic.

Arguably, some methods of releasing pent up energy are better than others, but to each, their own, right?

I think I get annoyed with my dad a lot though because of his way, and the way that his way to me feels not like a dispersal of diffusion of energy but more of a transference.  He actually does get into a better mood after just shitting all over things, but the problem is that it puts me in a bad mood because he often says things that he has no right to say.

I guess I would challenge him on it more often, but if there’s one thing I learned from dad, it’s that you don’t talk about anything important, just deal with the symptoms.

So we get into fights about the stupidest things.  We go through the movements of it all, because that’s the kind of communication he and I have.  And that’s part of being in my family.

The subject of moving out came up recently and my dad’s reaction to the situation was the same– he had nothing to say about the plan itself.  Instead, he just did it the way he always did.  He critisized me for being like “white people,” and he critisized white people for being so eager to move out and do stupid things as if it made them independant.

It’s all deflection, really– and what am I to say to stuff like that?

At the end of the day, what makes me kinda sad is that when we don’t want to play house, when we decide that we don’t want to go through the efforts of asking about eachothers’ day and having conversations about sports or training or whatever, my dad and I fundamentally don’t get along.  I just figure, it should be easy to get along with someone, shouldn’t it?  But it feels like I have to put in so much effort to tiptoe around things that he doesn’t like to talk about, or tiptoe around being who I am in certain ways around him because it just leads to more bitchfests.

Is this mendacious? Maybe.  I’d like to think that my role as a son in this family is one big white lie in the sense that I will bend backwards for my family– but I can’t change who I am at my very core, nor can I change my dad.  We can just get out of eachothers’ ways and avoid unnecessary collateral damage whenever possible.  We can pick our fights better.

I think ultimately, this is what moving out is all about for me.  It’s putting me in a situation where I can meet them to have fun but without the close quarters that would breed comtempt.

I think after living on my own abroad, I’d gotten way used to the maneuverability of living entirely on my own.

Do You Want to Take My Picture, Redux

My bike’s been locked at the university for the past couple of days now.  I haven’t had the chance to check up on it– I sure as hell hope it’s still there.  If I get the chance, I’ll go tomorrow (my day off) to see if it’s still there.

The problem is that when I’m working overnights at the hospital, I can bring my bike with me on the subway on my way to work.  But, because I finish in the morning at around 8am and it’s rush hour, I’m not allowed to take my bike back home.  Normally, I’d leave my bike parked at the hospital because the locking area is right next to the guards’ station (so for the most part, it’s unlikely to get jacked) but because it’s been pouring rain and there’s no shelter, I reparked at the univeristy since it’s sheltered.

Anyway.

I was leaving work yesterday morning and was talking to my boss when I realized something astounding.  I was so shocked that I didn’t really react at first beause I wasn’t sure what had happened, but in retrospect, there can be no uncertainty: my boss outweaseled me.

It was on the subject of some scheduling issues I’d had.  Now, aside from those times where I misread my schedule wrong and didn’t show up, or showed up late, or showed up when I wasn’t supposed to be working, I’ve been really good with the scheduling.  At least 75% of the time when there’s a scheduling problem and they need me to help either by working some overtime to cover an uncovered position or if someone really needs to make a switch, I’ll almost always accept. It happens about once a week on average I’d say.

Now, I thought that this was just the nice thing to do and build up some brownie points at the same time.  I mean, when it comes to switching shifts or doing some extra here and there, as long as I didn’t have any previous engagements I don’t mind at all– someone gets out of a jam and it doesn’t bother me, I might even pull in a few extra dollars.

Every now and then though I make specific requests for my schedule and I expect that they should just be given to me.  I give ample advance notice, after all– I plan out my days off months in advance.  For the most part, my only scheduling request is that I always have fridays off.  This is mostly so that I could have the night off for Numac, which is the only real weekly obligation I make for myself.  It’s one day per week that I ask to have off.

Now, I recently accepted a permanent night position and there aren’t many people who do this job.  But that doesn’t mean that I give up my fridays.  Suddenly, I found myself scheduled on fridays, when, looking at the schedule, there is at least one other person who is available to do the same other shift who hasn’t been scheduled.

So, this morning, I was talking to the said person and switching shifts with him, which he didn’t mind at all.  My boss still has to sign the switch requisition, so I still had to run it by her.  But while she was in front of both my coworker and I, she basically started going on this rant about how she’s aware that I request fridays off and that I have seniority over the person I’m switching with.  She just figured that because of the way things would be arranged, if I actually got the friday off, he’d be forced to come and do one night shift standalone in the week, wheras if I could do the friday, his schedule would be nicer on him.

“So really, I just thought it was the decent thing to do.”

I was thinking, wtf.  Why do I need to hear this?  Of course, I wouldn’t want to say right in front of the new guy “sorry dude, sucks to be you.  I’m getting my fridays off!” but basically she was phrasing my want of a friday of as something selfish, and doing so in front of the guy who would be most affected by my decision.

The thing is, she did it so smoothly that I wasn’t sure what was going on at first.  Our switch went down without incident, but in retrospect, I realize that she’d really very cleverly weaseled me into taking responsibility for all of this, when in fact, it’s not my ‘fault’ at all if the new guy gets some shifts he doesn’t like.

I mean, that’s the manager’s job– to make tough decisions and to take the flak for it– not mine.  I’m perfectly within my rights to request whatever days off I want and I think that if she has it within her ability to grant them, it’s my boss’ responsibility to do exactly that.  If the other dude doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by a random shift in the middle of the week that’s 12 hours opposite of his normal sleeping schedule, then he shouldn’t put himself as available, plain and simple.

It’s not that this really changes the situation at present between my boss and I, but it does change the way I’m going to deal with her in the future. I still have to see if she fits the weasel profile, but everything my coworkers have told me about her so far suggests that she is indeed.  This is, they say, the first of many subtle little incidents to come.

I guess you had to be there to see it because it doesn’t sound like much, but to me, this kinda stuff is important because it changes the way I treat the beaureucracy of this place entirely.

—-

Last week,

my uncle’s mother died.  She’s not my grandmother per se, because he’s my uncle because he married my dad’s sister, and I didn’t really know here that well so I didn’t care so much.  Because I meet up with that uncle perhaps more than all of my other uncles though (we go out to eat dimsum whenever I’ve got a weekend off) it seemed appropriate that I’d go to give my condolences.

He took it all very well, in my opinion, compared to any of my other relatives whenever anyone else in the family died.

What is it, I wonder, is what exactly it means to us.  Death. Loss. Anything like that.

When one looks at the cessation of life, the most obvious consequence is that the person him or herself ends– that person can no longer do anything.

What about the effect on those who they leave behind?

See, that’s what I’m wondering about.

About a year ago, I went to visit the Philipines for the first and possibly last time in my life.  I have a fair amount of family out there.  Uncles, aunts, cousins, and I guess you could say I’m also an uncle.  Family.

But I’m probably not going to talk to them ever again. I’m also not likely to see them again.

What’s the difference to me whether they’re dead or alive, really?

I guess the thought comes up in part because my grandfather of late isn’t in the best of health.  His heart is basically operating at 15% of normal human capacity.  You know how you get out of breath when you’ve been running long laps or something like that?  He gets like that just from walking around now.  Basically, his cardiovascular endurance is shot, and there are many complications arising out of this as a result.  Is he going to die?  Eventually, I suppose, like all people. That’s about all I know.

But I do know simply that he’s not as tough as he used to be.

I’d like to think that I’d be doing something different if I knew that something bad was going to happen, but I’m not doing anything different, because… would it be so different?  Really?

I’d like to think that it is. I guess, although I’ve had a lot of people around me die, it’s been a long time since someone I really cared about did so.

In a strange way, and it’s not that I wish anyone would die, I think I look forward to being hurt by someone leaving us.  It’s been a long time since I’ve really missed anyone, and sometimes I wonder if I’m less human because of it.

One of my students in Korea, [Grace], was telling me that her life is all messed up.  We swapped a couple of emails a couple of days ago, and that’s the first time I’d heard from her since Christmas.  Her dad, back then, wasn’t doing so well because of health problems, and this many months down the line, the situation hasn’t gotten any better.  What condolences can I give to a former student, half a planet away?  What kinda “sorry” will really make someone feel better?

Like so many people, talking with [Grace] is a bit of a strange experience.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I make it a habit of writing to my friends in Korea every now and then. I very seldom get responses except from Zanshin– compared to the rest, because he’s someone I know back from Montreal 1.0, he’s more real because we have a lot more history together.  But the rest of them?  They almost feel unreal.

The connection with them is the same that I might have if they were all dead.  Any message I get is like some miracle, as if I was talking with the dead.  The conversations are short, sweet, sentimental, vague– inconsequential on the future really, even though for the most part I send them messages about how my life is going on nowadays.

You know, the whole world could have been nuked by now except for the Island of Montreal– and because I have mostly no real interaction with any of it, it wouldn’t really matter.  Kinda makes me think of Beaudrillard.

I think I’m mostly thinking like this lately because for the past two weeks I’ve been on and off sick, and not interacting much with people.  I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed watching videos and sleeping.  Haven’t spent that much time at work to build up the negative tensions, and as a result, it wasn’t even necessary to go to something like Numac last week (I didn’t, because I was too sick to do so).

This week, I’ve been working overnight shifts– and that always has a strange effect on the way you connect with the world.  You wake up when people are ready to go to bed– my overnight shifts start at either 11:15pm or 12:30am– and you go to bed just as you hear the world outside your window revving up. 

I like overnight shifts for two reasons– the first is that it’s usually quieter work, and because of the stripped down skeleton crew who operates the workplace, you’re given a lot more independence.  The other reason is that it actually gives me some common time at home with my family.  My mom and dad get home from work at about 4pm every afternoon– after working a night shift, I’m ususually waking up from my ‘day’s rest’ at about 5 or 6 pm, just in time to have dinner with them.

It might not sound like much, but I am moving out at the end of June, so I would like to spend as much time as I can with them.  There’s been some tension lately between my parents and I on the subject of me moving out… but maybe I’ll save that for another post.

Now that I’m back in good health though, it’s time to get back on track with things and drag myself out of my hole and start moving about in the real world of people again– can’t hide away in my bedroom or at work all the time afterall.

Format /q

I can’t remember exactly when, but a few months ago Good Friday came up and the tradition is that people give up something they like for a day.  Sorta like the urban version of fasting in more hardcore religions.  You’re supposed to sacrifice things, give yourself some time to think about what life would be like if it weren’t so easy.  Christians don’t have the monopoly on this– there are plenty of other religions out there where people do these sortsa things.

There’s this saying of course, kill the head and the body will follow– in the same vein, why not defeat the purpose itself if we want to devoid the practice of meaning?

What I’m getting at is that you’ve got all these religious things coming up all the time.  And I hear about people who are binge eating or binge drinking because after midnight or sundown or whatever, all of a sudden, it wouldn’t be lawful to eat.

That’s traditionally been my problem with laws– laws don’t really have much to do with justice, they’re a system to approximate conditions that most of us would appreciate as not bad for us.  They take the thinking out of things so that we can have something to fall back on that isn’t obviously against our best interests.  I would say there are two reasons why I follow rules– mostly, because I don’t want to get in trouble, and secondly, because I don’t want to have to think.

Back to sacrifice.

I was just thinking, yknow.  If you really, really wanted to show devotion through some sorta rituals of sacrifice, you know what I’d say is a more surfire, uncheatable way of doing so?  I mean, people have been fasting for a gajillion years.  They’ve mastered the art of how to cut corners, from stocking up in the days before the fast begins, to ways to deal with a lowered metabolism, to whatever– some people even stock up on a few boxed sets of 24 so that they can keep their mind off of the suffering.  Is that really sacrifice?  Really?

Well, my suggestion is that if you want to cut yourself down to size, go find the nearest random sick person and just inhale their fumes for a solid ten minutes. Just suck that stuff in.  Infect yourself.  Fasting will probably be automatic but if you find yourself a real winner, you’ll have symptoms that in theory would really make you appreciate your normal life.

I hate being sick.  I really do.  I can deal very well with people around me being sick or dying I think, but I’m a real poor sport when it comes to me being sick or injured.  I just can’t stand being in that sorta state– I’m impatient for results.  To me, getting sick isn’t just a physical condition, it is a state of mind and spirit.  Whenever I recover from something, I feel like a varying degree of me has been reborn.

You can do the self mutiliation stuff, for sure– but some people just start to like that, we know.

I’m just saying, if you walked into a random hospital and went out of your way to catch something, it’s one of those sacrifices that clearly turns out to be a very bad idea quickly.  The best part is that you can’t really stop it, it’s not in your power (assuming you initiated it properly).  Nothing makes a sacrifice painful like the fear and inconvenience of the unknown.

Don’t Stop

“I have it on good authority that you need a license.”

“You mean, I need a license if I get pulled over.”

“No.  I mean, you need to earn the fucking license!” he laughed.  “This isn’t like nobody giving a shit about a tree in a forest!  You earn a license and it means something regardless of whether or not, god forbid, you fall and crack your stupid skull open.”

“Yeah, it means I wasted a hundred plus hours of my life learning that people are bad drivers.  Did I tell you?  My sister actually got her license.”

“You’ve only ever ridden a bicycle and played videogames.  Your only motorized history is driving illegally in Korea for 8 months.  Doesn’t that make you a terrible driver?”

I smiled: “I like to think it makes me the driver.”

“You’re not in Korea, you know,” Pablo reminded me. (He, actually, is.) “You don’t have diplomatic immunity anymore.  There are LAWS in the west.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”


I watch them.  Chick flicks.  Romantic comedies.  Feel-good movies.  Whatever you want to call them.  They go by different names, but, you know what kind of film I’m talking about.

Is there anything wrong with that?

They’re fun.  They really are.  And there are other things, of course, but sometimes, it’s just really hard to talk about those movies with anybody else because people get all uptight.  I’m not sure if it’s because people genuinely hate romantic comedies, I’m almost under the impression that they just kinda hate their own lives.

I mean, what are the reasons why people rail on RCs anyhow?

  • they oversimplify relationships.
  • they depict only beautiful people.
  • they raise your standards of the opposite sex unrealistically.
  • they’re cliche.
  • there’s always a happy ending.

… well, to be honest with you, that’s a pretty short list.  But you’d expect it to be, because I’m NOT someone who dislikes romantic movies.  It’s hard for me not to enjoy one.  But you know what else can suck?  Real life.

Real life can be unromantic, and unfunny.


I did some electronic housekeeping today.  Dropped a bunch of blog feeds that I’ve just grown out of.  Every now and then, you read a blog and you follow it for years and you’re pleasantly surprised to find that they’ve really gotten somewhere; those weren’t the ones I dropped.  The ones I dropped were the ones who were bitching about the same things.

But the ones who you could read from who actually… grew?  I mean, to be able to track it back, bookmark by bookmark, entry by entry…

I’ve been writing for a over ten years now (not always on Xanga, in case you were wondering) and man, you know, it’s a big thing to keep the habit up.  A lot of people get bored of blogging and they quit after a while, maybe because life got sucky or because life got too good, but in either case, something changed and they’d decided they no longer wanted to share.    But when you find some people who go through transitions, and they get through that, isn’t that great?


There are trends though, maybe you can call them ‘phases’, and one of them is this whole ‘cynicism’ thing.  I’m not sure if everybody goes through it or not, but I get this feeling that people think cynicism is cool because it makes people seem smart or something.  You know, pick your cause– then take it seriously, get your panties in a bunch, get your feathers in ruffle, do the much gnashing of teeth and all that– and really, really stand up for it, because that’s what people do when they’re smart.  They decide to hold a line here, and they will trade fire with you over it.  All because it’s scientific, or something.  We delude ourselves into thinking that the physical world, governed by science, will reveal itself to us if we look at it with enough of a dissecting eye.  We should disintegrate everything– including love.

I think the fact that romantic comedies ‘don’t make sense’ is exactly what people sometimes hate about them.  I mean, in real life, does love really make sense?  Sure, there are procedures, there are techniques, there are ways to do this or that, and you can even write a book like “The Game” about it all and people will read it and study it and try to practice it.  But all that stuff, those are the mechanics– they are sympthomatic of emotions that, deep down, don’t understand control.

Physically, I can sit still.  I’m good at that.  But inside?  Every bit as stupid as a movie.  Moments, here and there, which the hero, heroine, or audience would notice, but never all at once.


Man, whatever they put in these meds, it feels like I’ve been hit by fucking elephant tranqs.

The worst part is that they’re not actually making me sleepy (which I imagine they should), I’m just totally light headed.  I feel like I’m teetering between life and death right now.  I am typing right now might be my very last words.  Last.


Okay, maybe not.

I started recently watching season one of “How I Met Your Mom” and I really, really like this series.


I wonder if sometimes the reason why people don’t like romantic comedies is simply because they don’t believe that they can ever live up to the stupid stuff that goes on in them.  Okay, while it’s true that they usually end with a happy ending, well, put it this way– nobody’d write a story about those characters BEFORE they got their happy ending.  The movie just focuses on the happy ending.

So is it really that our lives can’t live up to romantic comedies, or is it that we just haven’t seen enough of our lives that we could section off a part of it, have it all typed up in a script, and say, that’s that? That’s the story?


GOd these MEDS!#


I suppose, at the end of the day, things like romantic comedies keep my spirit on it’s feet.

In the past week, lets look at what’s been going on:

  • I caught some sorta flu
  • I went to a funeral
  • The workplace was shortstaffed so everyone in my department had to do about 75% more work
  • I caught a really bad cold
  • I had to skip Numac, and, Terminator reports (from Numac) that there were only 3 people present (including him).  Three others would have come but decided not to when they found out that I wasn’t coming due to my condition (Honestly, most people can’t endure 2 hours of training with Terminator.)
  • GOD these MEDS

But you know what’s putting me in a positive mindset, it’s stories like the one told in “How I Met Your Mother.”

Maybe morso than in any single romantic comedy– because it’s an ongoing thing, and we don’t yet get to see the ‘happy ending,’ and the story takes the unique approach that a happy ending is assumed, yet that there was ALL this other stuff that went down to lead up to it, which though included a lot of heartache, also included a lot of great times.

For those of you who feel that you’re in a rut, get out of it!  You can do it.  Unless you don’t want to.  In which case, I’m not interested, because I’m not a better person than that.

And for those of you who just wanna find somebody to love and nurse you when you’re sick (headaches, stuffy nose, fever, nausea, chills, muscle and joint pains, loss of apetite, disorientation, boohoohoo! T_T) I leave you with some words from one of my mentors, Dr. Cox:

Because really, and you can disagree because maybe you think you’ve seen and been through more shit than me, but you cannot tell me how many happy endings came out of cynics.  Converted cynics, maybe.  Romantics pretending to be cynics, maybe.  But a true cynic?


Alright! Time to fall unconscious!

Intermission

I left work about three hours early yesterday, on account of feeling really sick.  I can’t recall the last time I actually left work sick, or called in sick.

Feeling pretty lousy.  Lightheaded, headaches, fever, sore throat, and my muscles ache.  I must’ve caught something bad at the hospital.

Mondays

“What??” I asked.  “Are you sure?  How can that be possible?”

I know I’d had the flu for about 3-4 days last week, but I was quite sure that I’d gained all that weight back.

“72.5.  Times 2.2,” [T], the nurse, punched it into her calculator again.  “153.5 lbs.”

The scales only come in kg.

“That… that can’t be right.  How could I have lost like 7 pounds??  I don’t feel 7 pound lighter!”

“I’m telling you man, here, I’ll do it again.  72.5 times 2.2.  153.5lbs.”

I went over to a computer and ran the numbers on the windows calculator.

“Uh… [T], on the calculator here it says 159.5lbs.”

“What?  Let me try it on this computer,” she says.  Click click click.  “… what the hell.”

“What the…”

“OH NOES!  My calculator is screwed up!!!”

“Ohhhhhhhh boy.”

“Look!  The LCD is leaking!!  All the 9s show up as 3s!!  Oh god I wonder how many babies I’ve overdosed today!!”


Another nurse, [K], stepped on something when walked into the asthma department while looking at a chart.

It was poop.

In the middle of the room.

“What. The. Fuck,” she said.  There was nobody in the room, thankfully.  “WHAT!!!  THE!!! FUCK!!! WHO SHAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING ROOM!! AAAAAAA YOU DAMN MONKEYS!!!”


The exact quotes aren’t 100% accurate, but I assure you, both these things happened yesterday during my shift.

When the Windmills Come…

… I will tip my dishpan helmet, hold up my broomstick, and tell all the better knowing men to stand aside.  Then shall I bring the fray!


(The rest of this post will follow at a later time.)

Time Travel

It is 2009.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s 1 more year before industry heads make me my affordably flying car.

In the meantime, I’ll use my bicycle.


Here’s a bit of irony for you.  Most people at work who complain about how long it takes over an hour and a half to get to work blame it on traffic.  By work, I mean the hospital downtown.

Now, why do you suppose that traffic exists?  I’ve heard all sorts of reasoning– because the government is too cheap to build extra highway lanes, because there’s construction, because the bridge is closed, because people don’t carpool, yadda yadda.

Traffic exists because people get too used to cars, that’s why.  Need I even mention parking.

Building larger highways or more roadways doesn’t solve anything– if anything, it exacerbates sprawl because the temporary relief of traffic congestion will make people think they can live even further from their jobs and still drive there in X amount of time.  It’s only when Y more people start thinking the same time that X starts to become a larger and larger value.

Solution?

Live closer to your job, or get a job closer to where you live.

If you have a family, that’s one thing– but people who haven’t yet settled down who complain about driving?  Come on– that’s because you’ve based so much of your life on the ‘convenience’ of driving, don’t blame the system.  Just because you’re free to live and work wherever you want and you pay taxes doesn’t mean that the government owes you highways.


It turns out that the apartment that I’m moving to in NDG is about a 15 minute bike ride away from my job.  After a barbecue last week with the friends I’ll be moving in with, I rode from the apartment to work and was surprised to find that not only was there a paved bike path the entire way, but that the bike path also goes through Westmount park so it’s the proverbial scenic route.

When the hospital relocates to the Glen Yards campus somewhere in the next decade, it’ll be about 5 minutes away by bike.  I’ll be about 20 minutes away by metro from just about anything downtown where I do everything I usually do (up to Berri), half an hour away at most by bike.

I don’t intend to get a car any time soon in the future for my own purposes.  If I do get a liscense, it’d mostly be because my grandparents and parents are getting older and it would come in handy to help them out from time to time.

Budgetwise, I intend to save the 70$ per month that I’d normally spend on bus passes.  Those 70$ could go supergenerously towards bicycle maintenance I suppose, but more likely it offsets the 340$ monthly rent.  Living downtown will save me about an hour and a half of commute per day on average, and relying on human power for my transportation will save me the cost of a gym membership.  Nevermind the buspass money– I’d pay 350$ to get back an hour and a half of my life per day.

My apartment has a smallish backyard, which we’ll begin terraforming as a hobby once I move in.  But if I wanted more greespace, well, the average suburban backyard doesn’t really compare to the average downtown park.


People have been asking me why I’m moving, jokingly poking that it’s probably because of my parents.

Why make it a joke?  It’s true. At the same time, that’s not the only reason– there’re a lot of reasons.  Financially, it’s not unsound.  Time-wise, it saves me a lot of time per day.  Social-wise, it puts me a lot closer to the people I hang out with and the places I go to do things.  Foodwise, there’s a lot more eating than where I currently live.  Professionally, it makes it easier to handle my strange hospital hours, making it more likely that I’ll get enough sleep.

etc etc etc

Well, I could rationalize all I want, but deep down, it all just comes down to a feeling.  A feeling that it’s time to move out.


Until I move out in a month and a half though, I must admit that living at home for six months after living away for over a year has made me quite lazy.  So, at the moment, while my parents are outside working on the garden, I’m going to spend my sunday afternoon sleeping.

Have a good weekend!

Recession

Yesterday at Numac,

there were only three of us.  Which is, financially, very bad– since we split the costs of renting the place, that means that each of us has to pay 27$.  Mind you– training with only two others over the course of two hours? That means you basically two two rounds in a row, then have one round of rest, then you get back in there– that’s a very intense workout and it gives you a lot of opportunities to try all sorts of things.  But, realistically, it’s too expensive.  And, with longer workouts, your chance of injury increases steadily with fatigue levels.

Terminator and I haven’t missed a Numac since it’s founding, and we’re only putting up with the random low attendance days because in the past the attendance has been high enough that we’ve allowed ourselves to attend for free several times (the costs would be divided among all the other members present.  Since we moved to the new location though, people have been sketchy about showing up regularly.  One week we’ll have 10 people, the next, 5, then next 12, then suddenly 8, then 3.  It’s hard to really see a pattern because the people showing up are different people, they never seem to come all at once.

Anyway, we’re working out some plans to get this place with a steady following, the same kind of consistency that we had back at the LaSalle location.


You know, for someone who most people seem to think is ‘level headed,’ it’s really just that I can get through a day without being physically or verbally agressive.  Inside me, I’m often just as angry as the next person, if not a lot more: I see plenty of things I don’t like.  I find ways to diffuse it, but when something is fresh on my mind, until I can forget, there’s often no amount of logic that can put it out of my mind.  I might be able to channel the energy into other things, but the source of it, the ‘stupid thing’ that makes me pissed off, really, really pisses me off.  It constantly generates anger as quickly as I can channel it.  Maybe that’s why I lead such a busy lifestyle, to constantly burn that energy.


You know, as someone who’s been here and there, I’ve seen all sorts of people with the best of intentions– but where’s the follow through?

Not just at work.  Work is a cutthroat environment in most cases, even when you’re all on the same team– there is a function, and that is to get paid, and that oversees any other relationships that you might have at that job because in the end, the very way you form your relationships at that work has something to do with the work, which has something to do with getting paid.

I think my view of things might differ slightly though, because of the non-profit situations I’ve been in.  Teaching is one of them– and it’s not that teaching in Korea is per se non-profit, but at least, students aren’t in there for the money, and there needs to be something more in that classroom if it is to work.  My badminton club is another.  Numac is another.  If I wanted to look further back I could think of clubs back in college or high school as well, but that’s less relevant.

And it’s not that the fact that people are coming to you for something that makes it any different from money-centered enterprises– I guess that I’m differentiating those experiences from other ‘work’ related experiences because there are some things which you do just for the enjoyment of it.  You don’t need to do it. And if you do extra work, it might be because you want to share this joy for others.

Imagine for example you just want to go out and play some basketball.  You could go out with a basketball and shoot some hoops on your own– but wouldn’t it be more fun with others?  So you start inviting others.

But then there’s some responsibility involved.  And that changes everything.


I think that was one of the things that used to stress me out a lot during the begining days of RsM, which few people except Vittek appreciated– that I was always trying to balance the books, which is a difficult thing to do without a lot of capital to float your experimental phase.  I used to float RsM on my Mastercard.  I’m not talking petty change either.

RsM got through because of a lot of work, and by the time I left for Korea, it was self sufficient.

Numac on the otherhand is a different story.  Martial arts, unlike badminton, are not something I take lightly because especially when you involve a mix of fighters without a body of instructors to oversee (like in a school) things can get dangerous really quickly.  Thus, I always have to be there.  The only other person I trust with running the place is Terminator.  It’s not something like RsM which I can just “hand over” because things would change in very strange and possibly dangerous ways.


As with RsM, Numac is going through a lot of the same problems.

First of all, establishing it’s basic member base, and figuring out how the balance the books.  Should we have shorter training days?  Should we put it on a different day?  Do we need such a big space?  Maybe we should run the place every second week instead of every week?

It’s hard to figure out how much we should be paying for space and equipment rentals when you have no idea how many members you really have.  And why don’t we know how many members we have?  We do know that we have something like 20 unique attendees– which is MORE than enough to balance the books.  We only need 8 people per day to work within ideal budgets to be honest.  10 would be nice.

So what’s the problem?  Why are our estimates off? 

It comes back down to people and their word.


There’s 4 different kinds of responses that I can hear.  And this isn’t Numac related.  If I ask anyone any yes/no question, there are basically 4 responses.  I could be asking “are you still taking drugs?” or “will you come to Numac this week?” or “do you want to get dinner sometime to catch up?” or “can you pay me back?” or “promise me you’ll stop doing this to yourself.”

The first is “Yes.” 

The second is “Maybe.”  Now, the only reason someone should use a Maybe is because they don’t have enough information right now, but they’re working towards some other answer.  Otherwise, Maybe is a class 1 bullshit answer, and it’s used by people who think that you want them to give you lip service by not letting you down.  People who use a Maybe as an alternative to a more definitife answer that they already have are people that I’ve systematically been severing ties with.

The third is “No.”  That’s pretty self explanatory, as is “Yes.”

The fourth answer is not spoken– it’s acted.  Someone might tell you “Yes, I’ll be there.” And then not show up.  The forth answer is worse than the second answer because it’s just… …………..  I have no words for it.


As someone who’s been in charge of RsM and now Numac, I’ve heard “Yes, I’ll be there.” All the time.  ALL THE TIME.  The only saving grace of Numac is that lately, my partner and I ignore everything that everyone says all the time and assumes that everyone’s a liar.

Everyone’s always saying nice little things.  You know, like “I wanna get back into shape!” or “I want to learn boxing!” or “I’ll be there this week, and I’ll bring some of my friends.”

I wonder why people say things like that when they don’t know they can really do it?  I mean, do I have a sign on me that says, feed me horse shit?  Do I have a sign on me that says “I’d like to train with you guys/gals but since you’re not going to, the next best thing is for you to just say you will even though you won’t?”

I don’t need that horseshit.  Here’s the reality– I can train on my own, I don’t need a “club” to do it, and while your attendance certainly isn’t mandatory, I would appreciate it if said people stopped posing as someone who’s word meant anything.  Just don’t say anything.  Show up and surprise me.  Or tell me you’ll come, and then do it.  Those are the best ways for us to continue having a good relationship together.

I’m giving Numac a couple of more weeks, three at most, to level out.  During the next month or so, to be fair, Terminator and I will be putting some changes into action to get things working right, but if it doesn’t work, I don’t need this.  I can train with who I want to train with individually whenever I want– it’s just a sad loss that we wouldn’t be able to do so as a group just because people can’t get their acts together.


Suppose you’re someone who said you’d come on a certain week.  You didn’t need to promise.  I don’t need to hear it so formalized.  But I will still hold you to what you say. 

People might think I’m going overboard with this, but the way I see it, this really isn’t about Numac.  Numac happens to be the latest manifestation of what I consider a pandemic corrosion of character that’s been going around lately.  People blame their busy lives and all that– I think that’s a bullshit excuse.  Busy lives have nothing to do with sincerity.  I’m not even arguing “if you wanted to make time, you’d make it”– right now I’m still on “if you’re a dependable person, you’ll say what’s true.”

This is about your personality. You’re allowed a few mulligans because everyone makes mistakes right? I always make mistakes.  But some people just get into such habits about it.  It’s not just the best of intentions that got messed up because some legitimate reasons came up that prevented you from doing what you said.  At a certain point, you can look at the people you know and see who did what they said they’d do, and then you’ll have the pile of people you know who found you reasons afterwards why they couldn’t.  Who pulled the Rambo and still went the extra mile to make it happen, and who just gave up at the first signs of inconvenience?

I am judging by actions, not by words.  If you say you’ll do it, just do it– otherwise, shut the fuck up!  I’m trying to balance my books here.