dal niente

Tag: secrets

How’s the Weather

It’s nice to hang out and be sociable and all that, but I miss really connecting with people. Especially now that I’m going to be leaving Montreal for a long time, people keep calling me up for one last shindig– but in my head, sometimes, I wonder, what’s the point? These calls are coming from people who essentially never made the time for me when I was simply here.

I’m the kind of person who you might call an instigator– I’m the dude who decides, yeah, it’s be kinda fun to do something, and I’ll call up 10 people, and we’ll end up with a nice party of 6-8 people to do something together. We’ll have a good time, but I think that I’ll always prefer the one-on-ones or the smaller 3 person groups, because those are the situations where people talk about really important things. The sorts of things that people share with you because they’re friends.

It’s true that among the old circles, there are many that no longer exist, and that those that do don’t keep very well up to date. And, when I meet with people, I do want to hear updates. How’s the job? How was that last vacation? What do you think of Harper’s re-election? And how’s the weather?

But that stuff… while it is important, I’m more curious about what, through the ages, about how people feel. What dissapoints? What joys? What exciets and what scares?

And I find that while I can have fun being social and going out to do things with people… I find myself ultimately with a sense of wasted time and perhaps even a tinge of annoyance if the people I hang out with don’t talk about the personal part of their personal lives.

I don’t go out just to read a newspaper– and that’s what people are giving me, in a sense. What I want is drama, and the devils in those details.


Down the Rabbit Hole

A few months ago when I first bought a Danyco straight edge razor, I didn’t know anything about straight edge razors.  So when I went up to the counter and asked them for “that black one,” they gave me a choice of what kinds of blades I wanted to use.  She checked, went into the back room, and came out with an unassuming, folding straight edge.  It’s the cheapest blade housing that they have. I figure, who cares?  As long as the blade that I put in (it uses disposable blades) is sharp, whatever.  So, next was to choose the actual blade, which fits into the housing.  The clerk fanned out little packets the size of matchboxes before me on the counter.  I didn’t really know what I was looking at, so I looked at pricetags first, even while she began to explain which was which.

“…and this one is from Solingen,” she concluded.

“Solingen?” I repeated.

That name rang a bell.

That’s right– the Henckel kitchen knives that my dad owns, as well as the one he gave me as a moving out present, were all Solingen.  My dad, who takes Chinese cooking very seriously and used to work in a restaurant (in fact, it’s where he met my mother), is somewhat of a knife afficando.  One time, he dropped his 8″ chef knife from the kitchen counter-top.  It fell, tip first, against the hardwood, varnished kitchen floor.  It was so sharp that it buried itself about 3/4″ into the wood.  We weren’t able to take the knife out of the floor, so we had used a hacksaw to score it a bit, then managed finally to break the tip off, then just hammer that wedge into the floor so it wouldn’t hurt anyone.  Simply put: Solingen knives are pretty damn good.

Some of my dad’s knives are on display in the kitchen,  some are hidden away as reserve gifts of prestige for people our family decides we like.   He keeps a rifle bayonnet under his mattress. But what did Solingen mean?  What was the relationship between kitchen knives and shaving razors, apart from that they all basically cut things?  Is Solingen a type of steel?

“Solingen is the City of Blades,” explained the clerk, a matter-of-factly.

Now, as someone who studied martial arts, who plays video games, and used to have Ninja Movie Marthon days with friends, how can anyone expect to introduce an idea like a City of Blades to me and not have my curiosity piqued?

You can look it up yourself, but basically, Solingen was, for over two thousand years of history, a European blacksmiths’ mecca.  It’s weaponry was highly prized for superior craftsmanship.  Nowadays, since swords aren’t as useful as they used to be, Solingen has adapted it’s metalworking to the manufacture modern domestic blades: razors, knives, scissors, etc.  I like to think that, when I shave my stubble, I’m not just shaving– I’m hewing down masses of my enemies with fluid flicks of my wrist alone.

Until then, a razor was something I take forgranted.   I got cheap ones at the pharmacies like anyone else.  I ooohed and ahhhed at commercials with lasers and laboratories and buff men shaving.  My friend Roger is perhaps the most vocal of my friends in stating that “I’m tired of things that suck.” But like all things that we don’t appreciate because of their apparent commonness, there is a history to it.

I think that part of what’s interesting about growing up is really seeing the history in the making.  I grew up with the rise of videogaming.  AIDS.  Corrugated paper. I saw the gay rights movement come basically out of nowhere.  The fall of the Berlin Wall.  The Internet.  Madonna.  9/11.  The handing over of  HK to China.  Digital photogrophy. Globalisation.  Lance Armstrong.  There’s so many things that you could just use, visit, or see, and not think twice about, because as you see it is what it is.  But does a subject seem heavier, or deeper, if only we knew all the blood, sweat and tears that made it to be what it is now?

Every now and then, we ask a question, and you tumble upon a whole different time, a different place, right before your nose.


Location: @work
Time: 1:52 AM
Batteries: 80%
Morale:  😐

Lets start with work.

It’s almost 2am, and I’m here at work.  Big frikking surprise, eh? I’ve been here since 9pm, and I’ll be here until 8am. I’m doing overtime because a scheduling error on the part of the allknowing management gods fucked things up a bit.  Someone from the day shift was actually /forced/ to do stay and do a double shift as a result.  That’s because management didn’t remember to schedule an evening coordinator.  That’s essentially like saying that you want to run an emergency department without having a doorknob on the entrance the hospital.  Without a coordinator, the department basically just stops working.

The second reason is that a masters, especially the sort of distance education one that I’m going for, is going to set me back more than a few pretty pennies, so any extra dollars I can stow away in advance is probably in good advice.

After overnight shifts, I set my phone on a special call screening mode when I get home.  The goal is pretty simple: prevent anyone except really important people from waking me up.  I don’t care if you’ve got an astounding business opportunity, if you think I need life insurance, or if you think my opinion is important enough for a survey: if I’ve worked overnight, daylight means sleeptime.  That list is limited to calls made from the phones of my grandparents, my sister, my parents, [Supergirl] and my roomies.

I do get a text message telling me that I have voicemail or something, which I check when I wake up.  The text message sound will catch my attention if I’m awake, but it’s not loud enough to wake me up if I’m asleep.  When I awoke today, I found several messages from work basically begging me to come in because of the shoft staffed situation.

Time: 3:45 AM
Batteries: between 50% and 75%
Morale: o_O

I am SO tricked out on sugar right now.

[JoD] brought in home baked chocolate chip and double chocolate cookies.
[J] brought down two sizable slices of lemon meringue from upstairs.
And, the fridge is just loaded with applesauce today.

Anyway, to continue what I was writing about before—I received several voicemail messages from one of my coworkers basically begging me to come in, because without an EC, someone was being forced to work a full double shift and nobody was allowed to take breaks.  Another coworker was also being forced to stay a couple of hours extra.  That kind of situation really bites, but I guess technically it happens because as essential services personnel, we don’t have any rights apparently.

When I used to work at the Montreal Chest Institute as a nursing resource manager, I’d be in charge of handling sick calls, among other things.  I would show up at work at 5am (I used to work days back then) and if the nurses were really, /really/ short staffed, then I’d have the unfortunate job of telling a ward’s head nurse that they’d have to force an overnight nurse to stay for the shift starting at 6am.

Nobody ever takes that well, and usually, people demand that they sign a release of all liability, because, simply, they don’t want to be there and they don’t want to be held responsible for any mistakes they make due to exhaustion.

And that’s why you pay taxes.  So the government can abuse some of the last people on this planet who /care/.


I was called up by Human Ressources department a couple of days ago, and apparently they’re interested in my CV and perhaps an interview for a position at the Royal Victoria Hospital.  It’d be a clerical position in the pharmacy.

Just considering the position in my head.

  • Day shifts! (I’d be able to synthesize vitamind D again!)
  • No more stupid shit from my current stupid boss!
  • Easier, lower stress workload.
  • Equal pay scale to my current position in the MCH Emergency Dept.


  • Boring, monotonous work.
  • Maybe stupid shit from an equivalent, stupid new boss.
  • Equal pay scale to my current position in the MCH Emergency Dept.
  • It’s about 1.5 kilometers of extra biking, all up hill, which will be significantly more difficult during the winter months. It’s also rather difficult to access by public transportation from my apartment, if I decide that I don’t want to bike.

Well, no harm in sending in my CV and seeing how it goes.  I’ve only been to the Royal Vic a handful of times in my life, all during the orientation periods of both my work at the MCI and the MCH. Aside from that, I’ve seen a few hallways while wandering around with [Supergirl] who has classes there.  It reminds me a lot of the Montreal General, but even older.


On a lighter note, I’m applying to do my masters with Athabasca university.  It’s an online “open doors” university, which is their way of saying that regardless of how poor your grades were during your undgergrad days, they’d still take your sorry ass out of the rain, if you’re willing to work.

I’m not interested in going into debt to work on this, which is why I’m going to be working on the masters part time and by distance education while I work.

As to why I’m working on it, I have no particular expectations about it getting me a ‘better’ job, although I suppose it does open up some doors to me.  Mostly I’m going to do it because I’m interested in the program that I’m applying to.  It’s a combination of arts, sociology, humanities and communications.  Basically all that hot winded stuff that we all used to love and enjoy when we weren’t gagging on calculus and chemistry back in the day.


I know there’s always people out there who wonder about where they’re going with their educations, and they often ask me what it’s like to be in the workforce, post-undergrad, pre-grad.  I’m not sure I have any advice for such people, is what I tell them– education isn’t as simple as wondering what’s written on a piece of paper you can slap on the wall and I think that one of the major problems in contemporary society is that it tries to make you believe that education solves all your problems.  This is sorta true, but it’s misleadingly phrased.
/Formal/ education in a higher institute of learning doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere, nor does it necessarily solve any of your problems, nor is it necessarily important.  /Real life/ education– that is to say, all the things that one usually learns about life, death, love/hate, trust/betrayal, integrity, goals, family, friends, the birds and the bees– is what will teach you everything you need to know, assuming that you’re paying attention and diligently doing your homework.  It just so happens that the time spent on real life education and formal education sometimes overlaps.  You know what they say about summer: just because ice cream sales go up doesn’t mean that ice cream sales cause air conditioner sales to spike as well.  However, this is a conveniently spun half truth that universities would like you to believe.

If you asked me to summarize it, I’d say that formal education is just a tool to facilitate your real life education.

In the end, real life education turns out to be heavily based on making yourself and other happy.


Time: 4:20 AM
Batteries: 45%
Morale: 😐
Location: @werk, still

I get kinda annoyed at times with people who don’t keep in touch but still make great efforts to assume that we’re really close friends whenever we meet.  Maybe it’s because despite my instructions otherwise, a lot of people I know still read my blog.

As a result, they feel that they know me because they’re constantly reading about what’s going on in my life and how my brain operates. Thus, they feel they know what’s going on in my life and that makes us close.

The fact is though that this blog is for me.  That’s why it’s got a lot of details that I probably don’t bring up in person.  This blog is usually written at the wee hours of the morning when I’m thinking about stupid things because I’m sleep deprived.  You’ll notice that I don’t often talk about these things in person.

Just in general, I should point out that friendship is a two way street.  You can’t just take details out of my life and then think we’re close if you’re not going to share from your end.  You’ll get as much trust and as much dedication as I think you deserve.  I’m always one to make first steps I feel– I often invite people to do things, and I try to get friends of mine who don’t know eachother to mingle and all that.  I think that I take a lot of initiative to building social circles, and I think that I’m quite open to people.

People get all huffy when all of a sudden I don’t always talk about everything with them, as if I don’t trust them in person. It’s true– I don’t.  The old maxim that trust is earned couldn’t be more true.  As far as I’m concerned, if you’re reading here, you’re spying.  I don’t want to know that you’re reading here.  Reading here, as far as I’m willing to credit, is cheating– you’re diving into my thoughts at some of my most extreme moments, because extemities are often what push me to write.

But this isn’t friendship.  You’re no more my friend than an author is to the audience– you do nothing for me, and so in person, I won’t credit you for knowing things that you didn’t earn.

In large part, I beleive that friendship isn’t just about knowing things about people.  Not even secrets. You can find those things out in any number of ways.  It’s about confidence– having someone trust you enough to tell you in person, to your face, not in just some sorta situation where you overhear or over-‘read’ as the case may be.

And it’s about doing things together, sharing things, in person. Investing, mostly time, in a history together.

Like anything else, take risks and pay your dues!

Otherwise, what’s the point?


Time: 9:33AM
Batteries: 25%
Location: @home, relaxing a bit before going to sleep

I’m going to see Ninja Assasin with [Terminator], [SoCool] and [Supergirl] on friday.  This movie is rated 16+ in Quebec, which is astonishing– usually, things that Ontario rates at R or 18+, we might give it a PG-13.  We’re hardcore like that I guess.  If it’s 16+ in Quebec, this must be one damn violent movie.  So far, reviews say that the movie is absolutely unbelievable, which I think is on par for the course.

Don’t get me wrong– I don’t expect this movie to be good, directly. I expect it to be so bad that it’s good.

I kinda expect Terminator and SoCool to jump on things like this, since we have a long history of watching terrible movies out of Movieland’s extensive collection of B movie horror and action flics, but Im surprised I guess that Supergirl agreed.  I joke, but this is I suppose one of her first acts of true ‘girlfriend duties’ because it’s something that she obviously finds is silly, but is going through with just because ninjas and terrible movies are important to me.

I’m really looking forward to this, not even because of the movie per se, but in large part I guess because Supergirl’s coming.

It’s really recently, within the last year or so, that I’ve begun to really embrace my inner geek, and I’m glad that Supergirl not only tolerates it but understands the lameness of my jokes enough to laugh or groan.  Most people just don’t get it.

Incidentally, you should all see Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.