dal niente

Month: August, 2009

Assez

Time: 2:33AM (Aug 31)

Location: @work
Morale: 🙂
Batteries: 66.667% (It’s been a long day)

A 1010 that was called at work a few days ago.  A 1010 is basically the single highest alert that the Children’s Hospital can go on for a single person, at least as far as the Emergency Department goes.  Usually it’s an ambulance that arrives with a patient in critical condition that can have any number of complications beyond what is already a very ambiguous departure.

The exact details of how the event came to take place are sketchy, and the social workers are looking into that, but to put a long story short, a 2 year old boy had his arm cut clean off just a little below his left elbow when an industrial fan blade sliced though him.  He showed up in my department by ambulance with his arm in a ziplock bag at the foot of his stretcher.

I don’t think that most of you would be interested in the details– I told my friend Kazuma about it and he pointed out that his thing about things like that is that in order to visualize it, he inadvertantly imagines it happening to himself–so he doesn’t want to know.  I think most people probably don’t want to.

But lets say that it ends with a more or less happy ending.  I’m not sure what became of the kid /exactly/, but he was heading up to the operating room to undergo a 20-hour procedure, couresty of the General Surgery and Plastics team, to reattach the arm.

I mean, okay.  A couple of weeks ago, I caught a bacterial infection that was really really messing me up.  And I thought that a week of antibiotics and the effect it had on me was nothing short of amazing– the whole thing started clearing up after just a couple of days, nevermind the 5 more days of antibios that I had remaining– but to reattach an entire severed arm?  Holy shit!  That’s freaking amazing!

Antibios can clear up infections, that’s cool.  But reattaching a completely severed arm?  Medicine apparently CAN do that.

I mean, sure, the kid is going to have to go through a lot of phisio and rehab to regain it, but last I heard, the kid had excellent chances of regaining almost full motor function in his arm, and even his hand.

Whenever I hear about a story like that, I feel great about working where I do.  I mean, sure, I’m not holding any scalpels, but it makes me push my papers with more pride.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Today was the first time I jogged since … well, it’s been a long time.  It’s all part of the ‘get back in training shape’ program.  That might sound strange because training is usually to get in shape, but what I mean is that I feel that I need to reach a certain baseline of fitness before I can get efficient results from training.  So, before I start attending those kickboxing/jiu jitsu classes, I need to get my body back in a condition where it will support the learning of techniques.  I think that the muscular endurance and power is coming back from the “kitchen supersets” and the biking program, but the area that I’ve really been being lazy about is cardio.

–=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Yesterday was sunday, or, as we call it in our apartment, Sloth Day.  On Sloth Day we basically do whatever we want, but the emphasis is on having fun and not doing any work.  Generally this means no exercise, but sometimes exceptions will be made for the overal benefit of Sloth Day.

Sloth Day began with a 1pm breakfast at Chez Coras.  I told myself I’d get something really light to eat because Quynh and Ly were hosting a barbecue that evening, and if there’s anything I know about their barbecues, it’s that there is not only an abundance in deliciousness but there is an abudance of FOOD. I mean, heaps upon heaps of shrims, pigs and cows have died to fill my belly.  Not mine alone, but by the end of one of their barbecues, let me tell you: measure your waists, and you will not be found wanting.

I for one just weighed myself, and I weigh in at 161.2 lbs today, which I consider an extremity.  I probably tip past 160 maybe once per month.  Most of the time now, my weight is pretty stable, and even with my increased appetite due to the Kitchen Supersets program, I still normally weigh in at 158.5 tops on these precision scales at work.

It’s not that big a deal I guess because I still feel pretty lean and healthy.  I don’t mind gaining weight as long as I’m not downright fat.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

If you’ve ever been to Chez Coras though, you’ll know what I mean when I say that those aren’t lightweight breakfasts.  Many of them are healthy, but almost nothing at Chez Coras is small. Whether it’s scoops of fresh vegetables, potatoes or toast, there’s something on that plate that will finish you off after you’re done with the centerpiece.

So naturally, after Chez Coras, we were quite full.  But I wouldn’t want to present myself at the bbq with a totally full stomach– so, Terminator and I laced up our shoes; and hence, the beforementioned jog.

I did as expected, which is to say horribly, considering that I haven’t been keeping up with the cardio work.  But I’m still pleased that at the end of the 20 minute run, I managed to willpower myself to really burn on the last few blocks.  At least the spirit shakes off the rust easily, even if the flesh is weak.

Yes, you see: Eating is so important during Sloth Day that it sometimes necessitates the seemingly contradictory action of exercising, if only to burn calories and make possible MORE EATING.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I HATE running.  I absolutely loathe it.  It hurts my shins, it hurts my achilles, it hurts my knees, it just hurts.  I mean, a lot of that goes away when I do it enough, it’s nothing really chronic, all these things are really just what happen from laziness and rust because I don’t do it frequently enough to get my body adapted to it.

It just so happens that I love eating enough to do something I hate as much as running.

Whoever said that management is just the efficient ballet of deflecting blame and finding scapegoats wasn’t wrong.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Sloth Day wouldn’t be Sloth Day though without my special contribution to it: Gears of War.  Since the venue was different today (Quynh and Ly’s place), we also went the extra mile– we not only brought my Xbox to Quynh and Ly’s to hook up to their television, but we brought an extra rig from [Ambassador]’s place.  That means an LCD television, about 38 inches and armed with HDMI, along with his Xbox and his copy of Gears.

Combined, what does that mean?

It means that we’ve got two pretty huge television screens, each one hosting split screen, so that we can locally host a game of Gears of War 2.

It was just Horde games, but still– it’s quite the experience to have so many people you know hooked up in the same room, and just basically crossing things up all the time.

-=-=-=-=-

There was one part of the evening which was definitely not fun though.  And it’s not even the part where after all this day started after 12:30PM, that I would have to be at work for 00:30AM for the night shift.  Actually, now that I’m at work, because things are quiet and I had a generally good and eventful day, I don’t mind being here because I’m in a good mood.  But the one thing that I could have really done without was  [BadMedcine]’s presence at the party.  (I might previously have referred to her as [SunshineAcid], but it denotes to the same person.)

Well, it’s not her presence that’s a problem– it’s when she drinks.  She’s got an alcohol problem, and there’s no way of getting her to stop once she’s decided that that’s what she wants to do.  She’s got an alcohol problem, totally beyond the social drinking that my friends like to jest is /my/ alcohol problem (it really isn’t :P).

I think I have a pretty good understanding of [BM]– she was my girlfriend for over three years (years ago) and through thick and thin, it was one of the longest relationships I’d ever been in.  We mutually decided that it wasn’t going to work in the long run and we remained friends, and that transition was surprisingly easy since by the end of our relationship those kinds of ‘friends only’ interactions were all we were doing.

 Anyway, I’ve mentioned it to her before, but I don’t think it’s a good idea that she’s gotten into a few bad habits.  One of them is smoking, and the other is drinking.  Smoking, well, whatever.  I say whatever because there are plenty of things that people do on a daily basis to kill themselves.  I’m particularly against smoking because of all the friends I lost to cigarettes, back when I was working at the Montreal Chest Instititute.  But whatever.  That’s her choice– it doesn’t affect me, not that much.  There’s always an excuse anyway, so I don’t bring it up because I get nowhere with it.

But the drinking is something that apparently developed further while I was away in Korea.  I know about it acutely, at least as far as phone calls go– I used to have my Skype number linked to my Korean cell, so basically, if you went online on Skype, you could call my Korean cellphone from anywhere in the world.  Sometimes I’d get calls at 3 in the afternoon (Korea time) by a drunken [BM], asking me to come and pick her up.  It didn’t only happen once.

But meanwhile, things have been even rougher for the other friends of mine who I used to share with [BM].  She used to be a really close friend of [Nimbus] and [Terminator] but frankly, I don’t see that happening anymore because they’re fed up.  And I’m fed up, after last night as well.

I was having a great evening and then [BM] started getting all flippant about the fact that she’d been away from Montreal for over a year and nobody had come to visit her.  When she was more drunk, she started getting really angry about that fact– and that just the other day, when a bunch of us had plans in NDG, we didn’t change our plans to meet her downtown instead.

It was basically complaint after complaint about how, upon leaving for Hull (in Ontario, kinda near Ottawa) none of her friends really cared enough to see her off.  None of her friends really came to visit.  And now that she was back, none of her friends cared enough to hang out with her a lot.

She’s absolutely right– by the time I got back from Korea, she was still in Hull, so there was indeed time for me to make a stopover– I certainly took the time to see [HamGaChan] in Calgary.  But I purposely didn’t stop in Hull, much for the same reasons that few if any visited her from Montreal– because we were fed up.

And that’s one of the big things that makes the difference between cigarettes and alcohol– alcohol has social effects if you overdo it.  It is an addiction not only to the habit of it, but to the emotions that you come to associate with it, and it’s effects aren’t limited to your own physiology, but to the way you communicate and connect with those around you.

After being called up one too many times just before I was about to start my afternoon classes in Korea, I was tired– tired of hearing the same old stories of how she was drunk and how this or that wasn’t working.  We were friends, and I cared, but there’s nothing I could do from half a world away.  Never hearing anything positive though had it’s toll on our relationship, at least as far as I saw it: she often wouldn’t remember that she’d even called, so as far as she rememebred, nothing was ever wrong.

On the homefront, there was apparently nothing her friends could do for her while I was in Korea either.  She shat all over her relationship with Terminator, Nimbus, and even NitroNilla, not always for reasons related to alcohol but for this hipocrisy of calling us bad friends when she’s really made it very very difficult to be around her.

I think that’s ended my relationship with her those many years back: that she was a rageaholic.  The world owed her something and she wasn’t getting it.  There should be justice, but there wasn’t. All that entitelement that most people sorta understand doesn’t really get served in the real world, she always kept going on thinking that she’d been wronged by forces beyond her power and that life was unfair.

Well, life is unfair– it really is.  It doesn’t really care about any sense of balance– if we see one, it’s only the tao in our own minds that perceives it as such.  But most people learn to make due, and how to let things go and move on. Life is, essentially, inefficient, but it’s the best we got, and we can still find way to enjoy it.

-=-=-=-=-

At first when the alcohol started getting to her, she was just getting really energetic.  Circulating around the room she was mingling with everyone– and then she started these playfull slaps on the back or whatever.  She started putting her arm around people and telling people to dance.

That wouldn’t have been bad, but what was unnerving was that she was completely invading my personal space, the personal space that reserve only for clinch-fighting or for my intimate relations.  She was in there for none of the above reasons, so I subtly always stood with wide stances, leaning this way or that with my elbows or hands out to keep her out of my space.  But she’d lean in, always try to whisper in my ear, sometimes touch my hand, put her arm around me– she seemed to be getting the hint that I wasn’t at all comfortable with any of that, especially not when she was drunk.  But she seemed to persist, almost on purpose.

At some point though I drew the line when she tried to sit in my lap. As she was trying to I told her to get her own chair, but she just kept on sitting so I dodged a bit, she sat down between my legs, and I got up an instant later to get myself another chair.

It was absolutely irritating that she would act so familiar with me when I owe her nothing of the sort, especially because it was becoming such a chore to hang around her as she got progressively more drunk.  I think all this is really, really selfish of her.  I don’t want to hear the comments that she’s making about the other people in the room, I don’t want to hear her stabs about how everyone in the room ‘is fake’ and I certainly am not in a relationship with her that allows her to try and talk to me or come into contact with me in certain ways.

So I told her that.

“I don’t want to hear it,” I said.  “I really don’t.  If you don’t like them, don’t deal with them.  If you don’t care, then don’t care– but don’t tell me about it.  And if you feel like it’s slipping away, then do the right thing and go over there and BE a friend to them; have fun and stop talking nonstop about how everyone’s changed and all that!”

And of course, “Oh come on.  Get your own chair!”

At some point in the evening she started telling me to come outside and have a chat with her, which I refused.  I wasn’t interested.  She kept on goading me to do so, calling me a pussy and all that.  I was getting pretty annoyed at the tediousness of the situation– most of the attention right then was at the table, where everyone was playing poker, and since I don’t play poker I was pretty much just sitting on the sidelines chatting in general with everyone about non-poker things.  But she was just being a real bitch about it, and at some point, I looked around the room– I saw that everyone was having a great time and that if I ignored this, [BM] just would get more angry than she was, so I agreed to have a little chat.

The chat really went nowhere.  “I’m not arguing with you,” I said flatly from the begining.  “There’s no point, because you never remember anything we talk about like this the next morning.”

“So why are you here?”

“So that you can talk your mind, and maybe so you can salvage what’s left of this evening.”

We had a long talk which was actually mostly her drunken alternation between self-loathing misery and angry ranting about the people in the room– the same way she always did when I was in Korea; the same way that she always did before we broke up– and I thought to myself, what am I doing out here?  This is such a waste of my time. /It never leads anywhere./  It follows a pattern.  First it’s anger at her so-called friends.  Anger so blinding that it brings her to tears.  Then it’s self-loathing, where she rants about how much her life/job sucks, and how she wishes that her friends would back her up.  Then when it comes to be offering my thoughts, since she asks, then it becomes a conversation of her targetting me as if I’m just condecending her. It then loops back to the begining.

What was I doing out there, nodding, etc-ing? Oh right– because if I wasn’t out her putting up with this, everyone else in the room would have to.   If there is anything I’ve learned from my time in pubic service in a library, in two hospitals and school, it’s  got something to do with not with empathy, but with a bigger picture.  I think from the getgo of that conversation I didn’t feel much symapthy or empathy for her– because she’d put herself in that situation.  If it were once or twice we’d let it slide, but it was the Nth time, and I’d tried– I’d tried for years to help her get out of that funk while we were together, and even after that, and so had all of us, all of us friends of hers.  But at this point, it wasn’t about empathy, it was just sparing the group of having to deal with her.

I managed to talk her into a better mood and eventually we went back in, but when she started going for more beers, everyone in the room was subtly trying to prevent her from drinking any more. I had asked Ti and Ly, who were mixing drinks, that if she asked, she should just get something without actual alcohol in it.  Quynh took a few bottles away from her saying that they were the last ones and that he hadn’t even had one yet.  At some point though [BM] was going to open up another bottle and I just told her, “I think you’ve had enough.”

And you know, if there’s a situation I think that ever demonstrates that there is no trust left in our relationship, it’s that she doesn’t believe me when I say that.  Most others would.  Or at least, most others wouldn’t be so intent on smashing themselves to oblivion.

And of course, she did.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I’m tired of all that.  I really am.  I wish she’d just get her shit together.

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Dungeon Masters

Time: 14:34

Location: @work

Batteries: 40% (Verrrry bad)

Morale:  O_o

 

Jinryu: Oooh, what’s this?

[Marge]: New printer.  Cute little thing isn’t it?

Jinryu: Very!  But what do you girls need it for?

[Ria]: This printer will apparently replace this hole in the wall.  Instead of nurses writing up their triage sheets and throwing them through the slot, they’re going to enter everything electronically now and it’ll just print out here.

Jinryu: Huh.  So it’s not a replacement for the other one?

[Marge]: Nope.  That one still doesn’t work.

Jinryu: Well it is cute looking.

 

(I open the cover to see what’s under the hood, and then something falls off and clatters noisly in the admissions department.)

 

[Marge]: Hey man, we just got that! Why you gotta go breaking it already, we’ve never even used it once yet!

Jinryu: OMG OMG OMG

[Ria]: That’s why nobody wants to be your friend here.

Jinryu: T_T Everything I touch breaks…

 

-=-=-=-=-=-

 

I got a call from Zanshin this morning, something like at 1AM.  We caught up on shit and the call lasted until about 3AM.  During that time my roomies were already sleeping, or attempting to sleep, so I opted to take the call outside on the street.

 

Man, it’s getting chillier out there nowadays.  It felt like it was 10 degrees out there.

 

Fall is actually my favorite of the seasons.  It’s good for training outdoors, it’s nice for your wardrobe because that’s when you can wear the greatest selection of things, it’s just nice overall because you don’t sweat so much.  I do find it amazing though that summer came and went so quickly—it’s hard to believe how many things happened that feel like they’re eons ago.

 

 

 

Although I went to bed at a few ticks after 3:30AM, I was awoken this morning at about 7AM to work as the fasttracker.  [Susie] called in sick. I didn’t have to accept it, but seeing as I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing lately, I figured picking up the extra shift couldn’t hurt my wallet.  So here I am, at work now, absolutely exhausted.  The FT shift started at 11:30, and after the workplace called me, I fell back asleep for an hour or so, but at around 10AM I was awoken by Quynh.  He was at my front door, wondering if “since it was my day off” I wanted to chill out and play some Gears.

 

Well, I’ve got a splitting headache now and I’m frankly exhausted. Really, really tired.

 

 

While I was talking with Zanshin, the subject of relationships came up again.  Along with Kazuma, his advice is pre-empt drama from happening.  It’s fine to hang out with dudes, but whenever you’re going to hang out with dudettes, you have to look both ways first.

 

And I don’t mean look out for things that are ‘wrong’ about them. I mean, that is part of it, right.  But more like, you have to look at the ‘politics’ of it.  I’ve never been much one to do the whole politics thing—the way I figure, if I don’t go out of my way to hurt or offend or bother anyone, then nobody should be hurt or offended or bothered.  But in reality, this isn’t always true.

 

Our actions have consequences all the time, and those are the environment around us reacting to our actions.

 

The other day, I came home from dinner with Ly.  Terminator was home with Zack at the time, at it was 1AM or so when I came in.  Dinner had started at around 10pm after she’d finished work—I’d ridden to the resto she owns, threw my bike in her trunk, and then we’d headed out to Chinatown for dinner. Dinner lasted more than a couple of hours.  It wasn’t that there was that much food, but we’d just taken our time, and done a lot of chatting.

 

Terminator, in passing, said something which caught my attention: “So, you’ve been going on a lot of dates with Ly lately huh?”  Aside from that dinner, she’d come to karaoke, we’d gone for dinner / coffee with Paladin and Rawda, we’d seen Inglorious Bastards… “and where was Quynh?” was the basic jist of Terminator’s question.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

I don’t know why but the way he said it implied something that I wasn’t sure I appreciated.  Especially not since Ly is dating Quynh, who is a good friend of mine.  I’ve known them since I started the RsM badminton club back in 2004.

 

And Terminator was joking of course—he wouldn’t seriously imply that I was trying to steal someone’s girlfriend.

 

But you know how it is, with all jokes being in part requiring some sort of basis in truth…?

 

Zanshin’s question was simply, “I don’t understand what the fuck is wrong with you people.”

 

 

Time: 18:21

Location: @work

Batteries: 39% (Just got back from my sleep break so I’ve staved off certain doom)

 

“Both of the Ivs have just blown,” declared [Dr.S], who was the Dungeon Master for the evening.

“What?”

“I said, both of your Ivs have just blown.”

“Oh man, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” moaned the surgical fellow.  “How about the central line?”

“The central line is holding.”

“Patricia, what’s the SAT?”

“Saturation is at 100 with O2.”

“We can’t seal the mask properly though.  Should we tape it?”

“Just put your hands there, we can’t tape that.”

 

 

“On the fourth try, you achieve intrusion,” declares [Dr. S].  “The patient is stirring now, moaning and resisting  slightly.”

“Morphine drip.  Reg, please hold her down.”

“Where are the burns? Am I allowed to hold here?”

“Just hold please.”

“It makes a difference, you know.  If I hold where it’s worst she’s going to stick us with a butterfly or something.”

[Dr. S] informs them: “Her entire body has 39% burns on the upper area, including arms and shoulders.”

“She’s not going to like this,” mumbles Reg.

“How is that drip coming?”

“10 kilos was the weight right?”

“Concured.”

 

 

Today at work,

 

Out of the blue, a Code 1010 was called.  A 1010 is basically a medical alert for a single patient in critical condition.  IT’s similar to those other situations that I’ve  described in the past, but the 1010 is particularly serious in that there could be an unlimited number of unknown variables involved, so basically, one specialist from every department is called in.

 

Today’s run was a simulation though—so all of the above conversations happened amongst a room full of professionals radiating around an operation table that was host to a 10 kilogram dummy.

 

It was pretty interesting to see how the simulation was run—the chief of pediatric emergency surgery, along with one of the teaching nurses, acted like the proverbial Dungeon Masters.  Nurses would check vitals ‘on screen’ by saying “I’m checking the vitals” and the DMs would check on the simulation scenario (like a script for the event) and then read out loud the numbers.  It was really funny to see because there was a lot of stress in the room despite the fact that it was a simulation—mostly because the chief of surgery was there dictating the scenario, and they were like puppets dancing to his music.

 

“Oh!  Looks like for some reason the SAT monitor’s readings have just gone off!”

(OMG we need to rewire the monitor stat!)

“Oh! Looks like you haven’t been able to create an intrusion!”

“Oh!  Looks like the patient is hyperventilating!”

 

Basically, his job was to throw the kitchen sink at them.  Mind you, he wasn’t making it up as he went along, he was reading out a scripted scenario in tandem with the clock.  It was sort of like a well crafted choose-your-own-adventure with a real author on the spot to make sure that it would always be realistic.  It was definitely interesting to see.

 

This kind of simulation, I was supposed to complete at least three of them before being assigned as the N1/N2 coordinator for overnights—that’s what all that drama at work with my boss was about a month ago when I first flubbed a live crash situation.

 

Nowadays though, I’m mostly comfortable with what I’m supposed to be doing.  I mean, you never know what they’ll come in with, but at least as far as my involvement in it all goes, I have a good idea of what I’m expected to do and how to get it done now, so although I was assisting during the mock 1010, I’ve already got enough field experience that it’s not entirely necessary.  It’s good to sharpen the tools a bit and see what the place is supposed to work like in an ideal scenario though.

 

You Owe Me 100 Scalps

I’ve decided that finally, I really like Inglorious Bastards.  You’ve probably heard all about it, and I guess it goes without saying that a gazillion people would like it because it’s a Tarantino movie.  But I am a fan of his work, not because it has his name on it, but because he gives me something that’s cinematographically interesting.

To me, a Tarantino movie is all about attitude.  I think the only movie that I didn’t really need to see was Kill Bill vol. 2, because frankly, the first one was original (an ironic statement considering he drew influences from so many sources) but Kill Bill vol. 2 just felt like … well, more of Kill Bill vol. 1.

Then again, I also hate waiting a year just to see the conclusion to something, so maybe I’m just bitter.

But as far as the Bastards film goes, I’m thankful that we’re back to a multicharacter ‘story driven’ mess of neurotics and psychos who are all trying to just go about their daily lives, whether that means running the local theatre or bustin’ up Nazis.

What I’ve always liked about a Tarantion film is the mythology of ‘the friendless hero.’

Because frankly, as cool as many of his characters are, for whatever reason I can’t imagine myself being friends with any of them.  I might’ve said tragic heroes, but they’re not always, not principally, in my head at least.  To me, they’re more like the people we’d have to deny, and who we always deny exist around us or within us.


And even though there are parts of the movie where you’re flinching, I think that on some level it’s not just that the gratuity of the violence that gets to us, it’s that we know somewhere down the line that when someone pisses us off that is the scene of “fuck you!” that’s going to be invoked in our minds of how we wish we could dismantle someone for crossing us.

Of Mics and Mugs

Yesterday, after work finished at 3pm,

I went home and slept a few hours.  I was exhausted. I fell asleep.  Ly gave me the requested wake up call at about 6:45pm to join everybody at Tokebis, which I answered, but then, rolled back over and promptly fell asleep.  I woke up about 20 minutes later, realizing that I had effectively somehow thrwarted the effectiveness of not only two cellphone alarms but also a wakeupcall.  I threw on some clothes as fast as I could, brushed out my ‘morning breath’ (at 7pm) and rand down the stairs, hoisting the warthog (my new fixed gear bike) on my shoulder and dashing out the door.  I had my u-lock looped in my belt and as I rolled down Upper Lachine I was buttoning my shirt one handed as I weaved one handed inbetween cars and 3-inch deep potholes.

(I really wish they’d fix that street up.)

I got to Tokebis at about 7:15 or something, which is pretty fast.  Thankfully the AC in the place was on way too strong.  SiB, [The Grendel] (his real name is Wendel), Paladin and his fiance Rawda, YL and her friend (who, despite asking at least twice, I can’t remember her name now) were in attendance.  NitroNilla showed up later, as well as SunshineAcid.

Mostly a home crowd except for YL’s friend.


At some point SiB was just talking about people at the table and he kinda introduced me as “the one who broke up me (SiB) and my ex-fiance.”  It’s not the first time he does that and I find myself always feeling awkward about that kinda thing.  It feels like bad karma or something, I don’t know why.

In case you haven’t been introduced to me by SiB, the thing was that about a year ago, he was having relationship issues with his girlfriend of three years.  They had plans to get married and all that but he seemed unhappy.  We had a talk– over IM, of all mediums– while I was in Calgary and he was in MTL.  I don’t remember the exact conversation, but the gist of it was that I asked him to think about it really: are you happy? And do you think you will be happy?

His answer, not being quick enough, probably said it all, but the advice that I pointed out for him was that if you don’t see a future in it, you should suck it up and just cut it off.  Otherwise it’ll rot everything.

I didn’t tell him to break up with her.  I gave him two choices– one was to stay in, the other was to get out, and which option he chose should be based on an honest look at the way things were going.

The next day he told me that he’d done just that.  He broke up with her.


I guess the reason why it felt so strange to me is because, at the time, I hadn’t seen SiB in over a year because of my travels, so in my head, I still always visualized them as a couple.  I mean, he was whipped, to be sure, but that was part of it.  They had some sorta balance going that let it be that way but I suppose, in the end, this has nothing to do with that– to me, Montreal was like home, like a book on a shelf that I knew to be a certain way.  Now I was looking back at that and reading this chapter that wasn’t there before, one where SiB and his gf weren’t together.  I knew her, I mean, not closely, but she played at RsM and her sister was dating my cousin for a long time.  So I knew her.  And to just hear what had happened?

When you’re disconnected from home for over a year, what happens is that you try and relive the memories of home all the time.  It happens subtly.  You’ll see someone do this or say that and it’ll invoke a memory of the green green grass of home.  Naturally it has a lot to do with being in a new country, but your anchor is still set back home– it’s the solid stuff of your memories that makes up that anchor, that gives you stability from being adrift.

I think maybe I was just really really looking forward to being the best man when I returned home, and fliped was the world when I heard what happened.


It really shouldn’t bother me, and in fact, SiB thanks me for that, but I dunno.  I don’t like it being pointed out for some reason.  Even if it made them both happier.  SiB is living up the single’s life and his ex is in a relationship with someone who really loves her (not that SiB didn’t back in the day, but you know what I mean).  Everybody wins, you know?

So I don’t know why it bothers me.  I don’t know why but I just feel reluctant to be identified as “the awesome friend” or the “great friend” as SiB sometimes does, perhaps too bombastically.  He’s not the only one.  And I’m not boasting.

I think what it is is that deep down, I wish I was more apparently successful.  I mean, maybe I could’ve been a doctor, or an engineer, or whatever– it’s not that I would’ve cared to be either.  I don’t want to be either. I would just like the image of it.

I guess I oftentimes just wish that I could be ‘typical.’  Someone will look at me and say “oh, so your job is X?” and then just assume exactly who I was, and that’d be it.  That’d be nice and simple.

I don’t like living a life of drama.  I don’t like being reliable, or responsible.  I just want to be carefree, cool.   I want people to see something simple and for that reason I am the way I am in public.  I don’t want to associate myself with things like faxing psychiatric referrals for members of my family.  I don’t want to associate myself with fixing my friends’ relationship problems.  I don’t want to associate myself with trying to fix my cousin’s life.  With missing the party and that one and that one too because I had to wake up to help my grandparents with some stupid chore.  I don’t want to be the guy you call at 3AM because you’re drunk, or because you need backup that asks no questions, or because you’re just scared.

I’m not saying I don’t want to do those things. I do them because I want to.  But for some reason, I just don’t like the image of it.  I don’t want people to know that, oftentimes, I know that there’s a right thing to be done, and I’ll do it. 

I think it’s because doing the right thing makes me feel mature, and that makes me feel old.  Lately I’ve gotten really scared of getting old. That’s why I go out of my way sometimes to be such an idiot– being an idiot makes me feel younger.

I don’t understand how that makes sense, but it’s who I am.  Or maybe I guess maybe I just don’t deal well with compliments.


Before noraebangin’ finished last night, I demanded one last song:

Don’t Cry for me Argentina.

“It’s too hard!” whined NitroNilla.  But we did it, we belted out the high notes and the low notes, and we got 100%.  That’s the Jinryu I’d like to be remembered as.

@Home

I think I often complain to myself at the end of a long day, especially at about 3AM, when it’s time to go home.  If I’m thinking of going home at 3AM it’s probably because I’m downtown, and more than likely, I have my bike.  That means another half hour of pedaling before I can throw myself in a shower or in my bed.  Yesterday was one such case.

I complain all the time about the prospect of biking home distance, but really, I shouldn’t– I mean, as much as I hate the idea out of laziness when the idea of a night’s close comes up, the fact is that more often than not I enjoy the ride home, even if I’m wearing dress shoes and cufflinks.

The ride home, especially at the wee hours of the morning, is nice and quiet.  All the roads are yours, while the world sleeps you pedal, you move where you want to move and nobody gets in your way.


Yesterday was another one of those days where I was just awake too long.  The sleep deprivation is getting to me, but I made up for it by sleeping a solid 7 hours just now.  But, more than that, I think that the little things in life were getting to me, which is why this Monday night out was more important than ever.

There are a number of changes that are going to happen in my family, or are in the process of happening, or have already happened.

The first is that my sister’s back in town.  That’s great– I missed having her around.

The second is that that problem tenant in our duplex in LaSalle, we’re going to evict him.  By law, the leaser is not allowed to evict the leaseee before the end of a contract.  One of the few exceptions the landlord needs the property for use by a family member.  So, the trick to getting rid of the bad tenant, really, is as simple finding a family member to move in.

Our first choice actually was my grandparents.  They live in the house that I was originally raised in. Basement, groundfloor and an upstairs floor.  Problem is that with their declining health, all those strairs aren’t good for them. Even if they don’t fall, the amount of exertion it takes to navigate them is just colossal– it’s not a problem for you or me perhaps, but for them, it’s a strain on their hearts.

Of course, the reaction from my grandfather was that he’d rather die in his own house than some apartment.  He had plenty of rathole apartments in China to live in; that’s not why he came to Canada.  (Mind you, that’s an exaggeration, since the duplex that we own is actually quite nice.)

Later today I have to make a run down to the hospital so I can fax a form to the Jewish General– it’s a requisition for geriatric psychiatric care for my grandmother.  I’ve been mentioning my grandmother’s mental condition lately, for years really.  She’s simply not all there, but for the most part it’s harmless.  She can be a terrible terrible woman at times– she favors her banker daughter and doesn’t talk a word respectfully to one of her others who is a seamstress, despite that they both do equal services to take care of her– but it’s just annoying to see her mind decaying.

She’s been diagnosed with slight dementia.  How she’s gone this far without it being pointed out is no surprise– neither of my grandparents ever want to cooperate whenever we suggest checkups.  They have few if any friends and don’t intereact with the world outside of their daily routines.  They ignore health problems in the  hopes that they’ll go away, and, it’s a morally grey area to suggest that we the children and grandchildren are in any place to force them to do ‘what’s best for them.’

It’s a complicated topic and I don’t really know how to describe it.  Basically, my grandparents are getting old.  As the founders of our clan here in Canada, that has a huge impact on our family’s dynamics.

There’s also two conflicting motivations in all my my grandparents’ children, most of the time existing simultaneously in each one of them: on one hand, they want my grandparents to be healthy and well; on the other hand, they want my grandparents to just die already.

And that sounds terrible, I know.  But I cannot reiterate how badly my grandparents treat people.  They make it very difficult to care for them.  Not only that, but they make it very difficult to want to care for them.

Return of the King?

So, I’m pleased to say that the whole impetigo thing (the infection I caught from work that was messing up the skin on my neck and face) is now completely done with.  The antibiotics bottle is now empty, and as far as I can tell, everything’s fine except the scarring from the sunburning of the sensitive skin during the time I still had the condition.  It doesn’t look great, but I can’t do anything about that, so I’m moving on.

This week I’ve got a few days off finally.  I’m planning on getting back into training again, which I put on hold for roughly the last two weeks while I was still on the antibios.  I’m sure my cardio’s gotten worse.  I think my quads are stronger actually because I don’t even feel the ride to work or back anymore.

We’ve started converting our home into a more ‘exercise friendly’ environment, and in tandem with Terminator’s training schedule, I’ve been making some changes to my lifestyle as well.  He’s on a plan to gain muscle mass this month with a protein saturated diet.  I don’t really want to go out of my way to gain any more mass, but regardless, the pull-up bar from my home in LaSalle has been installed in the doorway to my apartment’s kitchen, and there’s a 15 pound dumbell of Terminator’s on the kitchen floor under the table.

Since I’ve been so inactive over the last two weeks, I’ve been following  superset program over the course of the day.  Everytime I enter the kitchen, I have to do a set of exercises.  They could be situps, pushups, clappers, curls, whatever– the point is, in the past two weeks, especially I got really in the habit of cooking all the time, I’ve been making too many trips to the kitchen and just snacking on leftovers all the time.  Well, there’s nothing wrong with calories– so long as it’s fueling an engine that’s doing something.  So, do something I must.  Even if it’s just for a cup of water, that’s the rule.

It say it’s a superset routine over the course of a day because at a certain point, it really just is impossible to do any more pullups.  At the end of the day, going to the kitchen, I might be able to pull of 3, or 2, or just 1.  Just now, I got about halfway through one, and my body couldn’t do anymore.  Effort is what counts.

I know that a lot of people like to be emperical about their exercise routines in that they like to keep track of the numbers, but I don’t use that routine because I know that I know how to cheat.  So, instead of one day doing “20 easy” or “20 hardcore” another, I just work until my body feels tired.  The numbers really don’t mean anything anyhow, it’s really the muscle effort that counts, and while numbers are nice, I’m not in the business of always using the same technique for my exercises anyhow so trying to get it just the same all the time is pointless.

Plus, I’m a strong advocate that exercise has to be practical– doing an exercise with a particular technique to perfection, in repetion, makes you good at that motion, sure.  But there’s no reason to have good technique (except for safety reasons).  If my body “cheats” while doing a pushup, so what?  As long as I work to exhaustion of the muscle groups, any cheating muscles will take the load  anyhow.

In applying our abilities in everyday life, it’s unlikely anyhow that you’ll ever use only a certain muscle group in isolation.  It thus seems logical that an emphasis in training, at least for my intentions, is made to not worry at all about what muscles are used, so long as the job gets done, and that you honestly try to work as hard in a day.

Scores can be misleading, so I try not to look.

I am a bit antsy about joining the new kickboxing gym though.  I’m joining a gym called Leriken on St. Catherine.  It was mostly for the jiu jitsu at first, but I’m thinking about attending the kickboxing classes first because I really think that since the shutdown of Numac, whatever fighting sense I had has dissapeared all over again, and I’d like to get that back.

Terminator has been mostly training nonstop during my hiatus, and while I have no doubt that we can resume where we left off, it’ll be a totally uphill battle since I’m definately in lesser condition.

Personal Assistant

So, everything went more or less smoothly today.  Finished work.  Got home. Got about an hour of sleep. Went to the cemetery.  Had lunch with my family.  Came back home.  Got another 3 hours of sleep.  Woke up to find that my roomies and other friends had arrived for “Sloth Day” (a Sunday tradition).  Played a bit of Gears with some of them, chit chatted, then we all went to see Inglorious Bastards.  It’s 11:00pm and I just got home.

I must say I’m a bit tired, and that considering that I’m working at 7am tomorrow, but man.  That film… I’m not sure what to say about it.  It’s got me wide awake.

Tomorrow it’s work from 7am until 3pm, come home, catch a few more hours of sleep, and then head back downtown for 7pm.  It’s Tokebi’s at 7pm, and then somewhere else for a noraebang a bit later.

I need a personal secretary or something.

Sunday Lineup

Time: 1:21 AM
Batteries: 80% (I slept pretty well today, in about three chunks of 3-4 hours)
Morale: <(‘.’)> (Like a Kirby on Standby)

“I’d like the address to St-Justine’s  instead.  I’m not sticking around here,” spat the father.

“I don’t know it offhand, but let me get that for you,” says [D] helpfully.  She dials up locating on her Spectralink (a mobile phone specifically designed to work within the hospital without causing electromagnetic artifices in our monitors) and starts jotting some information down on her board.

We get that a lot– parents try barking at us that they’re taking their children elsewhere, as if the information that we’re losing customers will hurt us.  Joke’s on them: we’re not working on commission– we get paid whether or not you show up– and there are certainly another hundred sick children who would be eager to take up your spot.  I’ve never understood how parents just don’t figure that out.

When she’s done on the phone, she turns around to find the father in her face.

“Listen, I don’t know what your problem is,” he yells, “but I was talking to you and you just ignored me.”

“Listen sir, I’m actually deaf and this ear,” explains [D] through grit teeth, “and I was using my good ear on a phone call to help you out.”

“I was asking you how long the wait would be.”

“And, as I told you the last three times you asked, there’s no way of knowing.  I’m going to ask you to step out of this area or I’m going to call security.”

“What is your problem?  Really?  Why won’t you just help me?”

“Really?” says [D].  “REALLY?  Okay, we’re done here.”

Sometimes parents are truly frustrating.  They’re just so unreasonable.

Last night, we had a mother who was screaming through a glass window that her child was going to die: he was in the hospital because he’d either pulled or fractured his elbow.  Last time I checked, that’s not fatal.  But you know, I’m not a doctor, so what do I know.

The more you look at it, the more you see the relationship between children and parents– and that is that in many ways, parents are children.  If they’re not raised right, they don’t know how to communicate ideas and resort to tantrums and hissy fits when they don’t get the attention or sweets that they want.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 
Time: 5:17 AM
Batteries: 60% (didn’t really sleep well during my break)

I’m going to finish my shift at 7:15AM, but I’ve got a long day ahead of me.  My sister’s back in town, and I’m going to meet up with my family at around 9AM.  They’re going to pick me up so that we can all go to Mount Royal Cemetary together.

I haven’t been to the Cemetary since I left for Korea, so that puts the last reunion of this sort about 2 years ago.

Cemetaries always have been a strange place to me.  I’ve been to enough funerals and I’ve worked around enough dying and dead people that the whole experience of visiting a final resting place just seems kind of surreal to me, especially when the bodies of the people I’m visiting are people that I never really had any close relationships with to begin with.

This is one of those things I’ve always done though, and it’s probablty something I’ll do for a long time– it’s one of those traditions in our family that goes so far back in my mind that it doesn’t even have anything to do with any religious beliefs, this is just something so characteristically “us” that it feels like it should be continued, if only as if it were some sort of identity to us.

-=-=-=-=-

Time: 6:48AM
Batteries: 40% (Oh man, I’m really getting exhausted now)

Aside from the cemetary thing which I’ll be doing in just a couple of hours, it’s likely that we’ll be going out to lunch or something with my grandparents.  There’s a lot of drama on that front because my grandmother was admitted to the hospital last week because of a heart attack.  She’s okay now, and she’s been released, but as always, whenever this stuff happens it highlights that my grandparents are getting old.

It’s kind of difficult for me to deal with that and I think that the way I cope is, ironically, by not visiting them as much as I used to.  I remember them as really, really strong people.  I don’t see that much nowadays.  I see a couple that’s grown further and further apart, that’s grown physically weaker, and tries to substitute vigor with anger because it’s one of those few easy emotions left to them nowadays.

Where did my grandparents go?  They’re still there but… it’s not the same.

And I’m sure I’ll think of this in a few hours at the cemetary as we pay our respects to my great grand parents’ generation, but I’m terrified of getting old.

“Knock it off!”

A great post can be found here.

3v11

Time: 4:35AM
Location: @ work
Batteries: 70% (just back from my break)

“Deflections of criticism and assignments of blame” is one of the concise and precise strings of words that Barack uses in “The Audacity of Hope” to describe the political game.  He’s right– but what would you do if something wasn’t your fault?  Would you really take responsibility for someone elses’ mistakes?

Is there something that you believe in that you’d take on, on behalf of other people before you have tried and perhaps failed, as far as some sort of ideal goes?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I think that one of the big things about working the position that I do is that you can do so while believing that what you’re doing is worthwhile, or you can do so just to earn your buck.  I’m relatively new at this hospital, so I’m still in the former rather than the latter category– I think, really, that my job contributes to “saving children” in as much as someone who pushes papers and taps keys can.  No, I don’t use a scalpel, and though many unsung heroes do, many jobs, I believe are just that– unsung.

Aside from the fact that I use the same cellphone as him, that’s a similarity that I have with the main charactaer of District 9: I beleive in my job.  I get excited about it.  I will make a big deal about the things that I hear and see at work.  I will forget that not everyone is in my line of work and doesn’t care about things that I do.  I am, in a sense, a nerd for my job, because I believe in it.

How much of that really has to do with the ‘good’ of the job though? How much of working in healthcare is really good for the world, and how much of it is social image, partisanship and the convenience of popular culture?

-=-=-=-=

Kazuma is a friend of mine who, in my circle of friends, is identified behind his back sometimes as “the baby killer.”  This is because he works as an engineer for a company that develops military hardware.  Conversely, SiB tells people that he knows that “[Jinryu] saves babies for a living.”

Within my circle of friends, we live on two opposite extremes– I happen to conveniently sit on the Light Side, wheras he sits on the Dark Side.

But is that real?  Is it even accurate to define a Dark and Light side?

“If someone says that I’m a baby killer and truly believes it,” Kazuma once explained to me, “they have a very limited understanding of my profession land how the world works.”

And I agree with him.  Nothing is ever really that simple.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Healthcare exists to help the sick and wounded.  To stave off death. Prima facie, that’s a good thing– we all hate suffering, after all.

But what really has healthcare accomplished in Canada?  Has it improoved our quality of life?  Has it made us happier people?  And I’m sure you can tell me your story about how it has made you a happy person– I’m not doubting that.  What I’m suggesting is that although we all have our cases where we think that the preservation of life is a good thing, it might not necessarily be true.

We help children with bad diets and poor excerise habits unclog their arteries and grow up to say to their children that it’s okay to not take responsibility for your health– there are hospitals where we can give you pills to control some of those things.  Dentists for those sugar diets’ effects on your teeth.  Neurosurgeons for those head injuries you got because we never forced you to wear a helmet.  Psychiatrists and psychologists because we never took the time to love you.  Social workers because we never took the time to talk to you.

That is what health care, in part, is: it is a system designed as an extension of our way of life; to perpetuate our comfort with our level of involvement with our lives and the lives of others.

Just like the military.  Prima facie it deffends us from bodily harm– but on another level, it deffends “our way of life.”

The question isn’t if protection or healing is good– the question is, is our way of life something that deserves protection and healing?

That’s what I’m saying about how healthcare or arms manufacturing aren’t two sides of the same coin– they are two ways of looking at the same phenomenon of “our way of life” that we’ve decided it’s granted, obvious, that we need to find ways to perpetuatate it.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Which brings me to the idea of ideals. If I can be a cynic like this and say that healthcare in itself isn’t imperatively good (let’s say, ridiculously to illustrate, would saving the life of a murderer be good?) what do I beleive in that keeps me at this job then?

I believe in the moment.  And I like that anyone and everyone has the capacity to deserve caring.

That’s all.  I beleive that the most important thing, the thing that defines us as humans, is that moment of catharsis where we turn around or see something that we didn’t previously see.  And if anyone is ever capable of catharsis, which I think everyone is, then they’re deserving of caring.  Even if it’s just for a moment.  It’s not always for the better, because ‘the better’ depends on how big a picture you want to look at– we might save a baby today, but tomorrow that baby grows up to be a serial killer– but it’s not our job to think about that.  What’s important is that in the moment, something is done, some caring is given, and that someone appreciates it and recognizes the humanity of the act of caring.  THAT is the moment.

Saving lives through pills or bullets?  Whatever.  It would all be for nothing if you never appreciated it.  Life means nothing without appreciation.  If it takes a whole production of disease or war before you can appreciate something, then so be it– some of us are more cynical than others, and that’s not an indictment so much as a statement of what is so that we can get on with it.

I believe that even a bad person can be scared and that though it’s arguable who should and shouldn’t be scared, I don’t think that anyone needs to stay scared, and that’s why I think it’s necessary to help people who ask for it because that’s one of the ways that people get that memorable moment where they ‘see’ something real. 
It just so happens that I also think that ‘doing good’ might have something to do with ‘helping people,’ and that if there’s one thing I ever got from the bible, it’s that lesson about helping friends: even criminals and killers have friends who they help; only a good person could help people who they don’t like.

That’s why I do my job.

Or perhaps the audacity of mercy for my enemies makes me feel stronger.

The one thing that doesn’t fall into this, that is completely outside of this theory, is ‘pure evil.’  But just like how I don’t believe in ‘pure good’ I don’t really believe in ‘pure evil.’  If you asked me to define it though, pure evil might be a total incapability towards appreciation or sympathy.  Imagine meeting someone like that– that would be fucking scary.

Pure evil would not only be perfectly psychotic, but perfectly sociopathic– imagine, someone who would never accept any responsibility for the ‘bad things’ they’d done, or, just not care about it?  Deflect criticism and assign blame?  Only hurt by sticks and stones?

You could kill them but their ideals would live on forever!

… incapable of catharsis, of moments of doubt.

On the otherhand, it would be insufferable to live with a Saint.