dal niente

Month: June, 2009

Home?

I spent the night at the new apartment yesternight, and it was surreal.

In part, it’s because I’m messed up from night shifts.  But I had some trouble sleeping.

It was kinda cool, to be lying there on a cushion in the center of an otherwise empty room.  I haven’t moved my furniture in yet.  I just watched the ceiling fan turning.

Thus begins another chapter?

Of cabbages and kings

“The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
From the Walrus and the Carpenter, Lewis Caroll




I think that the first time when I left home,

part of it was the catharsis of relationships. I think that everything about life is about relationships– be it to people, or the things you do, the places you know– and going somewhere new does that.  Life is as much about everything that’s not you as it is about you.

There’s this buildup as we work our way from knees to dress shoes in which you’re just constantly stacking upon yesterdays.  failures and you’re just stacking it all up, jenga style, trying to see how high you can go.  And then you just decide that you’re done– it’s time to start over and see how it will look different from this point on.


Quynh and Ly have finally moved out of the apartment with Terminator, so that means I’ve got the green light to move in.  This morning after I finished work, I went and picked up the keys and went in to have a looksie.  The place is full of dog hair, but, the empty bedroom speaks to me like a blank page.

There are a number of things I’ve become more aware of, or been reminded of, over the past few weeks as this event approached.  The first is that I think I have a better understanding of what ‘independance’ means.  I’m not talking about myself, actually, but of my family.  My sister will needs some help here and there, she’ll get it right once she’s got a job.  I’ve got the highest of hopes for her.  My parents, despite their eccentricities, will also do fine without me– there was a time when I worried that my moving out would really have a negative impact on the family, but looking at it now it’s the opposite– there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve worked out over the years, and among those things is that we know what buttons to push and which not to.  And my grandparents?  Well, they do need me to help out every now and then… but isn’t that to be expected? They’re over 80 years old.  For the most part though, they are independant.

What exactly is this independence?  Financial security?  Emotional stability?  And just having a certain amount of substance with which to not only survive, but to actually live?

It’s hard to put my finger on it but you just know when someone’s doing alright. I hear from some people that they’ve moved out sometimes for independence but in the end, I don’t think it’s something defined by a geographical separation from those who can help you– moreover, it’s defined by having your shit together, and the nature of the relationships with those that can help you and whom you can help.  There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and I think part of my great respect for the people I hold closest to me is because they have people who they can call on; because they know their own strengths and limits; and in turn because they know their friends and family intimately enough not only to know their strengths and weaknesses also, but to not feel ashamed to ask for help.  Essentially, judge them not by where they are or what they own, but strength of their links to their environment.


You could look at it like Marlow’s hierarchy of needs.  Independence is sorta high up on that list– it’s not something you can get, it’s more like an abstract state of being when all the needs underneath it need to be satisfied first.


I started ‘packing’ today and I’ve been reminded of when I lived in Asia and it was suddenly apparent how little I needed to actually live.  Picking out the things that I need to take with me, I’ve set aside the following:

  • a duffel bag full of summer clothes
  • a sack of rice
  • a rice cooker
  • my Xbox
  • my city bike
  • spare scrubs for work
  • my laptop

I didn’t have to worry about a blender, washing machine or an oven, because that’s already in the apartment. Can you imagine what my apartment is going to look like?


I think that I’ve reached a point in my life where all of my basics have been covered, and so now, it’s time to live that nonsensical aesthetic and explore.  Why?  Just because, now, I can.  I know I’ll survive.  Now I have to start focusing on living.

The first thing I’ll search for is a pig with wings!

Imagine: all the deliciousness of poultry and pork rolled into one….

Fighting Evolution

Time: 1:59AM
Batteries: 60% (Not great)
Morale: 🙂

Thankfully, it’s a quiet night at work tonight.

Friday was Numac and I’ve received the unfortunate news that Louis, who owns the gym that we’re renting, isn’t really too keen on renewing his contract with us because it doesn’t really add anything to his school.  I find it kind of silly as a reason and I wonder what the agenda is behind this, because regardless of what it adds or doesn’t add as far as his classes go, it’s extra income for him to rent out to us at at time when his school isn’t open anyhow.  In my head, everybody wins.  So, he’s going to keep us for about another 3 weeks and then we’ll see if he decides to continue supporting us.

And that’s really unfortunate because as far as our training goes, this is probably the best that we’ve ever gotten as far as technical and physical effectiveness pound-for-pound. It’s only in the past few weeks that Terminator and I started really experimenting with an expanded repetoire of mixed martial arts techniques– you can kind of see the progression of our styles throughout the years I suppose, but most of the differences have come in the past 3-4 months when Numac revamped the MAC ideas.

Initially, I was doing ‘basic’ kickboxing at Numac.  This meant a few basics– jab, cross, hook, roundhouses, sidekicks and a few front kicks.  I didn’t really involve myself in clinch-fighting but I did end up getting taken to the ground so I’d learned a fair deal of how to put up some good resistance on the ground.  I’d seldom win groundfights, but at least I could make it pretty difficult for them.

Since then, the toolset has grown with every passing week.

I think it’s important to note that my progression is directly related to the opponents I faced at Numac.  It was a feedback loop between my friends and I that allowed us to really get better overal, because with every new technique or tactic I tried, they came up with a counter, and then I’d need a counter for their counter, and the cycle continues.

There was the formal addition of side control, north-south guard at first, which helped me last longer on the ground.  With that, Terminator started putting more work on position control and energy sapping techniques to make the differences in our strength differences more apparent.

As a result, I started to disfavor getting taken down.  That meant taking more time to avoid especially his single and double leg takedowns.  There were two ways of getting this done as far as I saw– one was to get better at sprawling, and the other was to use raw stopping power of well timed strikes to discourage takedowns. 

Sprawling wasn’t something I really wanted to get into because it meant that I’d probably still go to the ground, and even from a dominant position, Terminator tends to turn things around and turn it into his game.  So, I opted for stopping power to intercept his takedowns.  Since this is friendly stuff, there was no really crazy brutal stuff like knees or elbows to the face.  In fact, before this point, we’d never used knees or elbows before except as check-blocks.  So, the stopping came mostly from push kicks, uppercuts and overhead punches.  The punches never seemed to work all that well, but the kicking did.  He stopped using takedowns so much after he got nailed with two particularly good kicks that slammed him in the liver once and another time on the collarbone. 

He adjusted his techniques in the following week by opening up a lot more with handwork that led to a rush and clinch range.  That allowed him to get his hands on me without requiring him to lean so much during entry (during takedowns, the first things that come to me are essentially his arms and face, so those are also my first targets).  So, he started doing standing grappling– that meant shoulder to shoulder tie ups, wizzers, underhooks, transitioning to underarm slips to suplexes or body slams, or to hip throws and grand reaping wheels.

I once again started eating a lot of turf.  In retaliation to his experiments with standup clinchfighting, I started using counters to high clinch tieups.  This was about the same time that Rod was coming to Numac frequently.  Then there was the Andy Hugg video which inspired me to start doing experiements with the application of axe kicks in sparring– I’d never used them previous to taekwondo training in Korea last year, and even in tkd, I’d never used them in sparring, but watching Hugg knock people out was really damn impressive.  I did some experiments and found that that was one of my solutions– it was easy to do and I found quickly that the damage output was massive, because the heel of my foot isn’t in any way padded.  That prevented a lot of rushes out of intimidation once I landed a few on people.

In retaliation, Terminator started using more footwork to try and get me an angle where I couldn’t use stopping kicks anymore, and plus, he started working a lot on his boxing to keep a very tight guard while being able to distract me with his hands.  With that, that once again allowed him to force his way into clinch range.

So, it seemed that clinchfighting was inevitable.  We took to fighting from the clinch then– that meant digging body shots in with hooks, uppers, and, something new, knees.

We’d never really used knees in a sparring situation before so this was really an interesting time for us.  It took a few weeks for us to get used to how to throw them out, what to try and hit, and just as importantly, how to block them or prevent the opponent’s knees from doing too much fatal damage to you.  All the while, you start getting in the habit of using a ‘thai clinch’ instead of a boxing clinch, because the former favors the angle and leverage necessary to really landing a solid knee to the opponent’s midsection or solar plexus.

When the knees started coming in, that opened up a lot of doors as far as the grappling went as well– for me, it opened up the whole world of grappling counters.

Previously, I’d always been a very direct ABC kind of grappler.  It meant that I wanted to do something, so I attempted to do so.  But with the introduction of knees at close range, that meant that at any time an opponent who went on the offense with a knee would also have a moment of weakness in their balance– using an opponent’s incoming momentum, it was suddenly much easier to attempt throws.

So from clinch range, it was now possible to attempt to counter knees with throws.  This was very different for me, because previously, throws were always against an opponent who, once we began to tie up, was also in a ‘grappling’ mindset.  Now, with the mixed mindset, deception and leaving openeings as bait really came into the equation.

With the introduction of clinchfighting grappling counters (standing) that also gave me the inspiration to use the same balance shifting while on the ground, or while getting taken down.

That meant that sometimes if one of Terminator’s takedowns was inevitable, or if I knew he was attempting to secure a particular position on the ground, I would allow him to go for it but by aiding him along I could throw him off of me and get back to my feet.

As a result, Terminator’s come to rely less on pure positioning and now implements a lot of “ground and pound” to soften up a target prior to attempting position changes or a submission.

I’d attach videos to illustrate but it seems that Xanga’s rejecting them for some reason. Maybe the files are too large…?

Risk it for the Biscuit

Whether you’re trying to pull of the Iron Lotus; whether you’re going up against someone who knows german suplexes and neckbreaking is your weakness, whether you want to break free; whether you want to tell him/her that you’ve got oneitis and he/she is the one; whether you’re trying to make an entertaining evening and all you’ve got flamable clothes on and a bottle of kerosene; or, you know exactly where you are and you’re bored to death,

ya gotta riskitfordabiskit.

High Score

Ever since I bought an Xbox around January, I’ve been playing games more than once just because I try to unlock the Acheivements.

For those of you who don’t know, Acheivements are just little merit-badge type things.  When you’re playing a game, if you meet certain conditions, you get one and it goes permanently on your gamer profile.  Because your profile always stays with you, you will always carry forth this collection of Acheivements.  Each of these acheivements usually has some witty name associated with it.  Some achievements have are very simple to get. It could be something simple like “One Foot In The Door: Finished Act 1 on Normal Difficulty.”  Others are much more bizarre and difficult, such as “Kung Fu: Defeat 1000 ennemies without a weapon.”  Each acheivements is worth a certain amount of points in your overal “Gamerscore,” which is an approximation of your worth/experience as a gamer.  Easy achivements are worth a few points, like 5G, wheras tougher ones are worth 40G or 50G.

I think that everyone who writes a blog works with the same system in some way.  What the Achievements represent are experiences.  And while not everything that we accomplish in our lives is something to be proud of, they do have little titles, and they do have certain conditions to them, and once we’ve done it, whether purposely or by accident, those experiences are a part of us and can’t be taken away.  They stay with our profile forever.

The difference between the world of games and the real world always has to do with limitations.  A game is a simulated universe, already created, already in some sense finite in what you can and can’t do.  The real world’s difficulty lies in the fact that there are no limitations: there’s no one way to finish, and moreover, you get very few hints on how to unlock new achievements that improve your Gamerscore.  It’s all up to you– the thing about reality is that it is a game, but only in the way that you yourself frame it.


I’m really just anxious on the move out right now.  It feels like waiting for this is putting all other things in my life on hold.

A Butterfly Dreaming to be a Man

There’s this old Taoist story about a man who was dreaming that he was a butterfly while asleep.  The dream was so, so real that when he woke up, he was totally confused– he couldn’t be sure that he had woken up, and that maybe, he was in fact now a butterfly dreaming to be a man.


It happens every now and then that when I’m sleeping, I have a dream that feels so real and so possible that when I wake up, I felt that I had just fallen asleep from what I was doing in my dream.  I had one such dream this morning.


I dreamed that I was in the basement, and had just woken up.  It was sometime in the afternoon.  That was consistent with what had really happened in reality– I had come home from work this morning, and because it was too hot upstairs, I decided to sleep in the basement.

Anyway, in the dream,

I was awoken by a text message.  It was a friend of mine– she said basically “heya!” and so I replied in kind.  As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, I lay my head back down on the sofa, intending to go back to sleep, sorta.  I was in that sorta state where something’s woken you up and you know that you’re probably going to have to stay up, but you’re too lazy to do anything along the lines of actually getting out of bed so you just linger there, hoping that the obligation just forgets about you.

You’re not moving, are you? came another message, just as I was at the gates of unconsciousness again.

How’d you know? I wrote back.  And I shut off my phone.


In the dream, I awoke a second time.

“Oh hey,” I said, as I came up the stairs from the basement.  My friend was standing in the stairs, wearing a skirt and shirt that reminded me of our old highschool uniforms.  “What’re you doing here?”

“Well, excuse me for trying to cheer you up.”

“Whatever,” I mumbled, and walked past her.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


Back to reality.

See, the strange thing is– I’m not in a bad mood.  I wasn’t before I went to sleep.  And I don’t know what I’d need cheering up about, really.  Or do I?  I guess on some level, I am, and I know what this dream is refering to– but I’m unfortunately not willing to write about that on this blog at this time.

I guess there will always be sad things or little fantasies in my life that have yet to be resolved, so they stay like that– as dreams.

These kinds of dreams don’t come with a summary or a table of contents though– they’re vague, often just a really strong feeling that I repress while I’m awake.  I guess I’m a ‘mind over matter’ kinda guy so when I’m in the real world, I will myself to be in certain mental conditions.  It usually works.  But when I’m asleep?  I guess sometimes I feel like I’m unfamiliar with a lot of truths about myself.

No, that’s not right– it’s not that I’m unfamiliar with them.  I think I just deny a lot of them, and when I’m asleep, all limitors are off.

The whiplash is incredible though.

I woke up, into the real world, in a daze, fully convinced that she was somewhere in my house and that I was going to apologize for being such an ass.  It wasn’t for a few minutes that I realized upon thinking back of the details of it all that it was all ludicrous, and that all of that was out of character for us.  It took me a while to convince myself that it wasn’t real, that none of that had happened.

I’m not crazy, I swear.

Imagined

He cupped his hand to his ear to hear above the ambient noise of the coffee shop.


YO I’M A BLONDE MOTHERFUCKER AND I WORSHIP THOR

I’M GUNNA USE MY AXE BUST DOWN YOUR DOOR
SCREAMING VALHALLA AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS
I GOT PHAT RHYMES AND I SPEAK IN TONGUES
RAGNAROK THE PARTY LIKE A VALHALLA PARTY
RAGNAROK THE PARTY LIKE A VALHALLA PARTY
NORSE. (crazy motherfucker with a longship baby)
NORSE (gunna kick your ass and I don’t mean maybe)
NORSE. (crazy motherfucker with a longship baby)
NORSE (LONG BLONDE HAIR THAT IS SOFT AND WAVY)

“I can’t believe that those lyrics actually made it onto the radio,” he muttered.

“It’s the gift,” she said, raising an eyebrow.

“I still can’t believe it,” his voice was hoarse, from the sweetness of the cake, but he didn’t notice.  He just strained to make out the lyrics over the noise of the blender, and to the letter, they were the same.  “I mean… I guess.  From Bash to radio? Come on!  I mean, I’ve heard of like, nerd rock and all that, but really…”

She interrupted him.  “Did you ever hear about the curious case of Heather Bellingham?”

He listened for a few more seconds before responding: “Should I?”

“Well, no, I guess not.  I haven’t told you about her yet.  She fell in love with a boy at the age of sweet sixteen.  He worked at a videostore, he was two years older than her, and studied film. She thought he was cultured.”

“And?”

“Well, they did everything together and all that.  You know how it is with a first love, right?”

He hated questions like that, so he just smirked,”I guess.”

“She was totally certain that he was the one . He was perfect in every way for her.  When he got her a promise ring, it might as well have been an engagement proposal.  She was ready to drop everything for him, y’know.  Quit school.  Get married and have 2.5 kids.  White picket fences: the whole kit. At 16, she knew it all.”

“How romantic!” he sneered.

“It ended in tragedy though.”

“What, did she die in a car accident or something?”

“No, he did.”

He paused, studying her  expression to see if she was joking.  “Shiz.  I was just kidding.  That is kinda tragic.”

“Ah, but you see,” Kate took a sip of her drink, “that’s not the tragedy.”

“There’s more?”

“It was all fiction.  That was the tragedy.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, she made it up.  There never was any boy.  There never was any love in her life.  She was a bookworm who read too much.  A surfer only in cybersapce.  In meatspace, she’s quite hard to get along with I guess.  She made him up– used to tell all her friends about ‘him’ all the time.  He was the long distance relationship from her hometown up in Gatineau.  After ‘he died,’ the story of her lover was one she’d tell only the closest friends.”

“Why would she do that?”

“It was all a lie.  But you know what the ironic part was?  It’s what helped people relate to her, and somehow, people looked up to her for her advice.”

Kate absentmindedly swirled his cup around, the coffee whisking about the waxed walls, leaving no trace when she set it down.

“How’d you find out all this?”

“She brought her laptop to the shop, and…”

“You knew her?”

“Well, no…”

Anthony’s brow wrinkled.  “Then, you were reading her files?”

“She’s the same age as us.  It wasn’t all that well written and she doesn’t seem like a writerly type, if you know what I mean,” she nodded sadly. He rolled his eyes a bit. “I just did some sleuthing and the story checks out– emails and everything.”

“Oh Kate, what have you gotten yourself into,” he was rubbing his face tiredly.  Trust Kate to not only get into these morally dubious situations, he thought, but to not even notice.

“Nothing!  I just took an image of her HD because I thought it was interesting.  You have no idea how boring it is at work sometimes.  I need something to make me look busy otherwise the geek squad all start to hit on me.”

There was a bit of a pause and her eyes stared at him for a moment atop her pleasant, inviting smile, as if expecting him to say something to that.

“So, you read it all?  How much is there?”

She sighed. “Not all of it.  It’s her diary, her emails, her chat logs mostly.  It’s not linked, so I it takes time to bounce between them and match up the dates to figure out what’s going on.  The diary is the key though– that’s where you see just how well she’s playing everyone.  He was her only love, and he wasn’t even real,” she explained.  “Or maybe he was. I mean, the love was real, right? How is love ever fake? I think in the end, she really did believe it was all true.  I mean, you know how that Queen song goes, right?”

Anthony hated how she always asked him if he knew what she was talking about.  At first he’d thought it was endearing, as if she wanted him to complete her sentences, but now he took it like some form of subtle mind control.  It wasn’t enough to know what she was thinking– he was expected to think like her.

“Which one?” he asked.

“Uh, hello? The one that says something like ‘Find me Somebody To Love.'”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s sorta how it goes right?  She found herself someone to love and it was so great that it was the only person she loved for what, over ten years?  And that he dies in an accident– isn’t that great too?  Because then, there’s no time for the story to get boring– he dies at the peak of their passion.  If that isn’t romantic, I don’t know what is.”

“You’re talking about him as if he was real,” he mumbled.  “I dunno.  To me, it’s all so Shakespeare.  Everyone’s probably going to die in the end, or everyone’s going to end up hooked up.  Since the boy is already dead, you know which way I’m guessing.”

Ever Wonder if it’s All For You

During the night at about 3AM, while I was once again working as the N2 coordinator and the Red Phone rang.

The Red Phone is a lot like the one in the Batcave. Only the most important of calls come in on the Red Phone.  Usually it’s abulance tech riding shotgun who calls in to give us advance warning of an inbound patient in need of immediate attention due to some sort of arrest.  Whenever the Red Phone rings and a Coordinator is on duty next to it, he/she is, according to procedure, to find the nearest clump of nurses and yell “RED PHONE!”

A nurse will always come running to answer it.

[P], the charge nurse for the night, ran for it it this time, and I handed her the coming-in clipboard where she would write whatever information the ambulance technician could give her.  It took some time for her to get it down, and it sounded complicated.

I was scared.  Really, I was.  Deja vu was coming up in the back of my throat like bad bile: this was exactly how it started last time.  It was just a bit under two weeks ago when I was the attending coordinator for a crash, and because of my rookie screwups, we’d lost entire minutes, in the two digit range.   Last time it was a category 3 that had been upgraded to a category 2; I was lucky that my errors hadn’t resulted in something really really bad happening.  The patient coming in though was something entirely different: he was a category 1.

“What is a category 1?” I was wondering in my head. Again, I knew in theory, but I’d never seen a patient who was classified as such in person.  Well, I sure found out.  The patient was less than a day old– he’d come into the world just a little while ago.  He smaller than a football with apendanges, his head was a bit bigger than a baseball only. 

He was a neonatal case, and he was blue, and apparently, turning cold.  Category one means that the patient is non-responsive.  Basically, dead, and that what was going to go on in the crash room was to bring him back to life.

I started choking a bit when I saw the parents– and it wasn’t that they were crying or breaking down or anything.  It was, in fact, the exact opposite– they were cooing, whipsering words of reassurance to their baby, waving the baby’s arms up and down, shielding his eyes from the harsh examination light– and it was heartbreaking because they were pouring out so, so much love into that baby, who was, clinically, dead.  He might as well have been a rag doll.

Throughout the procedures, which lasted about an hour and a half, not once did they shed a tear, not once did they lose faith.  And that… I can’t explain it.  I’ve never seen that much love every before in my life.  I had this strange feeling in my stomach, like guilt.  As if I wasn’t a good enough person to witness something this sublime.  It was hurting me from the inside out.

And it’s insane, isn’t it?  It’s completly batshit insane.

The baby was less than a day old.  The cynic in me, who makes dead baby jokes all the time, says “well, you can’t have gotten too attached yet.”  How can you keep a straight face while telling someone so small, so fragile, that everything is going to be all fine, when the baby doesn’t even look real?  Babies kick and scream and cry.  This one was doing none of the above.  What did they believe in?  How could they?

I got through the night and you know what? I did my job perfectly yesterday.  Response was excellent.  I did everything I was supposed to do, and everyone else did the same.  It just went right.  It could just as easily have gone all wrong I suppose, but everything went right.  I had all the numbers right, I did everything I was supposed to do.

And somehow… the kid gets to celebrate his second day tomorrow.  He’s stabilized and been moved up to nenonatal intensive care.  The parents just carried on as they had the whole time– with that inexplicable, inexhaustable warmth.

That’s what it’s all about, or something, right?

High. Five.

A Fistful of Paperclips

Time: 3:58 AM
Location: @Work
Batteries: 75% (not bad for first day back on nights after 4 days off)

-=-=-

“If something happens to my child, it’s YOUR FAULT,” he said, jabbing a finger at me.  He turned on his heel and stalked off.

I often fantasize about getting into a fight with an angry parent at work.  My desk is full of things that could could be used as weapons: a pair of scissors; a Spectralink; an addressograph (man, would the addressograph ever hurt!); a small metal bowl full of paperclips– Bas Rutten would have a field day if he was still making self deffense videos.  Can you imagine the possibilities in a hospital setting? I mean, barring the obvious stuff that’s metal or pointy, given enough thought, even an alcohol swab could be a fingerful of pain– a tongue depressor could be an instrument of total ruin.

Everytime someone flaps their jaw at me, my brain translates their body mechanics into wire frames on nodes and memorizes it.  I won’t remember their face but I might remember the way their face moves, and if there’s one thing that uses a lot of muscles, so much so that it’s almost like a fingerprint, it’s when someone gets pissed off.

And in my head, I’m generating simulations– what would happen to the shape of his face if I gave this dude a case of qwerty-itis?  What expression would he have if I took his medicare card and stapled it to his forehead (Dwayne Johnson style in “Get Smart”)?  What about if I told him, “Okay, you guys can go into room 23, you’ll be seen right away!” then stuck out my foot and tripped him and then said “Haha!  PSYCHE!”

My name is [Jinryu], I am a closet sociopath, and nothing you say in court would ever hold up.  Bring me your sick and wounded children.

Muhuhahahahahahaaaaaaa!

In all seriousness, “Asshole,” coughed [AM], one of the nurses standing nearby, when he’d gone back through the door to the waiting room.  “Where the hell is security?  We shouldn’t have to deal with this shit.  That’s all these assholes do.  Shit all over the place.”

I didn’t say anything at first.  I can’t say I was majorly shocked, but I was a bit surprised because it’s the first time anyone’s been so direct about placing blame directly on me for the long wait times in Emerg.


The truth is, I judge by appearances to a certain extent.  When I see a guy with the tight shift, pretty muscular build, crew cut and some tats on the forearm, I think, “Tough Guy.”  I don’t always act on what I judge though, which is a good thing, because I think I’m pretty creative about imagining peoples’ torrid and terrible pasts.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t know the guy because whatever way I judge him isn’t going to affect the way I treat him (I’m a professional, afterall) but it will affect the way I think about him in my head.

In my head, I’m thinking “Not so tough, are you, Tough Guy?” Then I ask the operator to load up the dojo program.

Be you pauper or prince, everybody waits in the waiting room.  In the meantime, we can tangle all you want– I’m not going to lose, because the very nature of the game is on my side.


Yeah yeah, I should be thinking about the children and all that.  I hear that all the time from people who don’t work where I work.  The thing is, I work here, and I don’t think about the children.  Really, I don’t.  At least, not all the time. It is morally convenient for me that I work in a job that benefits them, so I get brownie points over dinners and stuff like that (SiB seems to be in the habit of introducing me as someone who “saves babies for a living”) but while I’m here, I really don’t think about it that much.  I’m just sayin’, y’know.  The reason being is that if I did, I would age 5x faster and probably start suffering from manic depression.

Okay, well, I’m not entirely a horrible person– I do think about the children, in a way not unlike the abstract way people dont often deal with children do.  It’s just that perhaps I see things with a closer or more updated perspective than someone who picks up a newspaper and reads about our love-hate relationship with the Quebec healthcare system.

-=-=-=-=-

On lighter notes,

I got my work ID card, finally.  The last time I worked at a hospital, which was before I left for Korea for a year, I worked for over 3 years as a coordinator / nursing department manager and never got around to making my security ID card.  I mean, I got a free RFID pass to let me in through the gates after hours, but I never actually had a card made with my name or picture on it.  I would just walk around the hospital and tell people “Oh, I forgot my card.  Can you swipe me in?” and that, combined with the fact that I had the hospital supervisors keys, got me into 99.99999% of where I wanted to go.  For other things, it was a question of using existing access to find devices (keys or keycards) to gain access to additional areas.   Much like the way you would find keys in Legend of Zelda, but without the swords and Triforce.

I had access to a crapload of stuff, including the stuff in the CSR, which would be any crack-addict’s needle/syringe heaven, among a whole 6 page alphabetized list of other things in the typical non-pharmaceutical inventory.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve never actually had a hospital ID card before.

Imagine my joy when I passed by security early this morning and [Kinny] asked me if I’d seen my new ID already.

“Oh yeah? I thought it takes two weeks to make.”

“Nah, two days.  Just that usually we’re lazy, so we don’t make no grandoise promises.”  He rifles through the rolodex of cards and picks me out mine.


So, here’s the funny thing about my ID card.  First of all, I wear prescription sunglasses. They’ve got orange lenses.  I do have normal prescription glasses with clear lenses but I never wear them, because one of the lenses is broken.  But, when I’m outside during daywalker hours, I do tend to wear my orange sunglasses.  Because they’re not too dark, I often walk inside buildings without taking them off because I can still see just fine.

Well, I went to the Montreal General Hospital last week to have my photo ID taken, and I forgot to take my sunglasses off.  And the dude who was taking ID photos didn’t give enough of a rat’s posterior to point this out, so, I didn’t notice. So, problem number one with my ID is that I’m wearing sunglasses in my picture.

Problem number two is that when the photographer asked me what rank of administration I’m in, I had the choice between 1, 2 and 3.  I wasn’t sure, so I took the average of the three and just guessed two.

Apparently, they don’t check up on it and correct it, because my ID card has me written in as “Agent administratif Classe 2, Urgence”.  On the back, it says “Intervenant d’urgence”

Turns out, this is wrong.  Everyone in my department is actually a Class 3.

Sooooooo, I officially have the coolest ID card in my department, because I’m wearing my orange sunglasses (and matching orange hoodie under my scrubs!) in my photo, and I’m also one rank above everyone in my department, including my boss. And yeah, I’ve got an RFID keypass too now.

Yes, your tax dollars pay my salary.

Oh, whaddya know– it’s banana cake time!


Yesterday, after I’d finished all my errands and done my haircut, I had a bit of time to kill so I flung out a message to MaoMao to see if she needed any food from Chinatown. Text communications were kinda slow so I just took some initiative, got her something cheap, and headed out to her workplace in Old Montreal.

I’d never been in that area of Old Montreal purposely before, and I must say that when you’re on a bike with thin tires, cobblestone roads with inch wide cracks, while you’re holding takeout with one hand, well, it’s a bit daunting.

It’s kinda cool though to pass around that area, and her store.  I just haven’t been to Old Montreal in a really long time.  Now that I’ve actually got a job that pays money, I might actually be able to afford eating in that area, so that changes everything.  Maybe next time I’m downtown, instead of the same old same old, we’ll head out to Old Montreal and soak up some of that archaic ambiance, like a genuine yuppie?

Airflow

Yesterday morning, I woke up a bit too early.  About 9am or so.

Did some laundries.   Two loads.  Hung them outside to dry.

Came back in, did some dishes.


Truth be told, I enjoy simple domestic chores when I’m on my own, so as long as I can do them on my own time.  When I can do them when I want to do them, it says to me– you have time to slow down and enjoy the simple, normal life.  I don’t have to deal with work drama, or family drama, or friend drama, or world drama.  Just, you know.  Add soap.  Wash.  Rinse. Repeat.


I went over to my grandparents’ place this morning after taking care of all that.  It’s the first time I visit their place since my grandfather was released from the hospital the other week.

I was surprised because they were both in pretty good moods.  I mean, usually, it’s one or the either of them who’s in a bad mood (they’re just kinda grouchy people).  It’s not necessarily that they’re pissed at me, just that they get quite vocal about whatever it is in the world that’s not right for the day.  But today, they were well behaved.

My grandmother cooked me up some lunch, and in that way that all grandmothers probably do, insisted that I also eat this, this and this out of the fridge.


When I was in elementary school, I used to go to my grandparents house at lunchtime.  The schoolbus would drive me to the alley at the back of their street, where my grandfather would be waiting, sitting on a little wooden stool that he’d made himself, just for this once-daily routine.  Woodworking was one of his hobbies, and though none of his creations looked that great, it was something he enjoyed doing after his retirement, which around when I was born.  He’d pick up the stool, take me by the hand, throw out the cigarette, and we’d walk to his place.

I no longer have the red and blue spring jacket that once got a little hole burned in it because of a cigarette ember.  The stool has long ago been scrapped, since my grandfather no longer sits that low because he can’t bend his knees that much.  And he no longer smokes.

But, the noodle soups they make me for lunch, those haven’t changed.  It doesn’t matter that I’m twice as tall now, three times older– some things endure the test of time.

 


My grandmother hasn’t seen me in about two weeks.

“When are you going to cut your hair?  You look like a lion again.”

“Actually, I was planning to go cut it this afternoon.”

“Do you need money? Is that why you’re not cutting your hair?”

“I said, I’M GOING TO CUT IT THIS AFTERNOON.”

“Oh, that’s good.”