dal niente

Where do you want to go today?

Time: 3:09AM
Batteries: 67% (Not great)
Morale: 🙂

Back on night shifts, for today and tomorrow. It’s always really tough the first overnight– that’s when you really haven’t been able to sleep enough yet (because it’s hard to sleep when you’re not tired yet) and you’re really pushing yourself to stay awake when your body normally wants to be going to be bed.

I haven’t really said much since I moved to the new place, and I’m not sure where to start– there is, in fact, a lot to say, but I’m so caught up in it all it’s difficult to find the time or way to say it all.

Well, I think the easiest way of putting it is in terms of a role playing game.  In it, there are playable characters (PCs), non-playable characters (NPCs), there are primary missions, and there are sidequests.

I think what I’m getting at is that for this chapter, I’ve really completed a crapload of sidequests and I’m back onto the main story arc of my life now.

Lets have a quick breakdown at the various sidequests that have presented themselves and been solved in the past week alone:

Forgot my bicycle lock at the apartment, and only realized when I arrived at work.  So, I bought a new one, which is also better than the cheap one I was previously using.  This also solves a much older incomplete sidequest of “Get a Good Bicycle Lock” which I thought would have been solved by [Sunshineacid], but despite numerous requests, I just haven’t been able to get the damn thing back from her because she keeps on forgetting to bring it whenever she visits from Hull. [Jinryu got the OnGuard Lock!]

Needed to outfit my bike for rainy conditions, because I’ve made it a resolution to not use a buspass for all of summer and fall.  At first this was thwarted by a bike shop less than a kilometer from my apartment in NDG– they wanted to charge me 25$ for the splash guards, plus another 25$ for installation labor.  I basically told them to go fuck themselves, then found another shop in Old Montreal that charged me some spare change over 10$ for the splash guards with free installation. [Jinryu got Splash Guards!]

A couple of days ago, I lost my glasses.  They’re the third pair of perscription glasses that I own– the first pair I lost while on a date over a year ago, the second pair I broke in a bookstore when it got caught on my satchel, and this third pair? Well, it turns out I forgot them in this awesome Indian restaurant on Jean-Talon called Bombay Mahal.  After eliminating all other possibilities, I gave the restaurant a call (it just so happened that I took their business card the last time I ate there, mostly because  was fascinated that their cards were so sturdy they could be used as throwing weapons) and to my delight, they had them.  So, I went and picked them up, even though the restaurant is pretty far away from my placv.  [Jinryu got back the Orange Glasses!]

Quynh and Ly helped me with some final FINAL moving, so the apartment now has my couches [Jinryu got the couches!] and a bigger bed [Bed Level Up!].

I got a flat tire with my bike the other day, so I had the inner tube replaced.  [Bike HP restored!]

I’ve also realized that accepting the 0.4 Night Position (that’s the technical term to describe that I get 4 guaranteed shifts every 2 weeks) has realyl worked out in my favor in terms.  If four shifts every two weeks doesn’t sound like much at all, that’s because it isn’t– but having a 0.4 position puts me on a completely differnent food chain as a ‘PPT,’ a ‘permanant part timer’ which has more priority for shifts than someone working as a ‘TPT’ (temporary part timer) or those workning simply as availablilty (who are essentially ‘bouche-trous’).  While I’m not a full timer, which means that I don’t get the full guaranteed five shifts per week, I do seem to be pulling in between 3-5 shifts per week which is just perfect for me for summertime.

To be honest, after working over 60 hours a week,

etc etc etc

I guess what I’m getting at is that in the grand metaphor of things, I’ve got my prerequisites covered and I’m really moving onto the next chapter.

Normally, it feels as if life is dictating the conditions for success– you want this or that, and in order to get there, you need to do this, this and this first.  Sometimes, you just run into random problems that need to be solved.

Well, I guess the interesting thing about where I am now is that for the first time since I can remember, I have nothing left to really solve as far as sidequests go.  There’s nothing in particular that I need to get out of the way.  At this point, I’m really free to just decide where I want to go next.

It’s a strange and foreign feeling to be where I am right now.

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Heat Signature

The following is an old post that I had written up at about 3:55 AM on June 29th, 2009, but apparently, I forgot to post it up.

I’m not sure when it happened, but RsM’s changed in a lot of ways and I can’t always put my finger on it.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talkig about when I mention RsM, or “Racketsports Montreal,” it’s a badminton group that I started with the help of Vittek back in about 2003.  It might have been 2004, I can’t exactly remember anymore.  It consisted of two parts– a badminton club, known as the “RsM Weekender Club” (now known simply as “RsM”), and an online co-op equipment store (www.RacketsportsMontreal.ca).

Of course it changed for me in a few obvious ways: I was gone for a year and I did take on partners, so it’s natural that since a lot of players moved on and new ones came to take their place, my place in there both as an exec and as a player are different.

It’s something else though. The feeling I get nowadays is that when I step into RsM, I’m the visitor.  When Vittek and I were still new on the badminton circuit or when RsM was still new as a club, we used to go around to other badminton clubs to check out how other clubs were run as well as recruit some members.  “Vagrants” we used to call ourselves, and the whole practice of vagrancy was one of those things that was necessary in order to see what was out there.  You’d go to one gym and find younger players who were more energetic and smash crazy; another might have older players that had superior tactics and placement; another might have a hodgepodge of elite class players without much technique.  Whatever the case, going to different gyms always provided a different feeling and the only thing you could be certain of was what you brought with yourself.  All bets were off as to local styles of play, paralleling the old world of martial arts where dojos would specialize in particular branches of the same game.  In the same way, we were like “dojo destroyers.” In most cases, you were the intruder, and the hometown was hostile in some subtle way or another because of some unifying spirit that each club had.

Some clubs give off more of a unified spirt than others.  The most territorial of clubs really get your blood going because they’ve got something to proove, and they’re the ones ultimately who you remember.

That’s what’s strange about RsM for me now.  When I walk in there, the fighting spirit of the place is very different– I don’t recognize it anymore, and in fact, I’m not sure I even feel it.  It’s presence is masked to me.  I feel that when I’m there, I’m at a club that has it’s ways and that I’m the visitor, looking to stir things up.

I was playing with Yu-Chih the other day– she used to be one of the players on my original LBA teams.  I met her at the very begining of my badminton experience– she was a Montreal badminton player who also happened to frequent Badminton Central, an international forum of badminton enthusiasts, and it also just so happened that she frequented the Chinatown YMCA where I made my first leaps and bounds.

Back then, she became one of my first badminton partners at the Y, along with Van, Tan, and [Machinegun Man].  She was a really competitive player who ran in circles with other ‘badminton heroes’ of mine like Demarco, Cheng Hua and Kwan.  She could beat me at singles, even though she was years older than me,  not as physically strong, and, a girl.

We played together at RsM this past Saturday for the first time in months– maybe it’s the first time since I left for Asia even? I can’t honestly remember how long it’s been.

It seemed like she had a lot of fun– it was at the end of the day and the damage my body had taken from Numac was really starting to slow me down, so I really wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to.  We lost a set 2-1, but it was pretty close and we were doing quite well.

It was fun because that reminded me of the early LBA matches where YuChih was my partner in mixed doubles.  Back then, I’d never played mixed ever before and she was always carrying me through the match because she was an excellent mixed player.  She used to always get on my case about my choice of shots and my tactics on court, and she was always sort of the ‘big sister’ of the team because out of the 6 of us, she had the most experience.

Nowadays, she’s apologetic and complains constantly that she’s not a good player anymore.  Her footwork isn’t as fast, her reflexes aren’t as sharp– she points these things out jokingly during a match and it makes me sad.  She was one of my badminton heroes back then, and I hate to see any of them come to this point.

Some of it revived while we were playing though– she’d score a shot and I’d yell out something without even thinking about it, like “Nice shot!” or “That’s the way!” or “BANG!” and she’d turn around with a smile, surprised, but nostalgic of the good old days.

I spent the earlier part of the day playing as Vittek’s partner, and that too was strange.  I haven’t had much chance to play with Vittek lately because, for one, I don’t go to RsM that often nowadays.  But when I play with him, sometimes it feels as if we’re resuming just where we left off.  I feel like I’m back on my team and to this day, even if we don’t always win our matches, there isn’t a badminton partner that I feel as syncrhonized with as Vittek.

We played for a couple of hours as a team and we were undfeated, and in many cases against people who we shouldn’t have been able to beat.

Ironically, this is kind of what upsets me about my experience at RsM– RsM’s grown soft.

I play badminton once every two weeks at most.  Sometimes I’ll go 3 or 4 weeks without.  Vittek plays about once a week.  For me to go against people who were playing the entire year that I was away in Asia, people who continue to play every week, sometimes multiple times per week, and for me to still be able to beat them?  What is that?

On one hand, I’m really glad for the sense of community that there is in RsM– while I was in Korea, I saw a photo, for example, of the entire gang at a sugar shack in a huge group photo with dozens of people together and having fun off courts.

But something’s missing.  Where’s the passion?  Where is the drive to improove the skills?

There’s nothing wrong with socializing, but I think that’s where I can’t get along with the crowd nowadays– there are very few people who truly want to win, and without that, I feel that I have very little in common with them.  It feels like it’s just a social group of friends.

Quynh, who used to be a supporter of RsM even through it’s darkest days, has quit RsM because he feels that the attitude of the club is all wrong nowadays.  His view is a bit more extreme than mine because he’s a lot more competitive than I am, but the main observation that we’ve both made is the same– RsM’s teeth have grown dull.

I don’t recognize its heat signature anymore.

And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s needing to be nostalgic to see the best of something in front of me.

However, I’ve decided that I’ve mostly moved on.  When RsM was what it was in my fondest of memories, it was a time when RsM was also the most stressful– financially it was always a challange for me to manage it and make ends meet, it was also more than a few sleepless nights of headaches to make sure that politicking with the Lakeshore Badminton Association and the Badminton Quebec tournaments went right.

I guess I was hoping that they’d figure out some way to keep that passion alive while I was gone– I mean, I was just one person, before I left for Asia, essentially running RsM on my own.  When I left, I took on 5 partners to run the place.  Don’t more hands make for lighter work, instead of more disponency?

Anyway, I’ve decided that I don’t really have the time to put much more effort into RsM.  I suppose I should be glad that at least the badminton club and store run themselves without my help at this point.  I suppose it’s a bit like parenting– this is the point where I just let it go and see what it can make of itself without me, because I can’t run it’s entire life for it.