Monday, September 30, 2013

momentous

huzzah! i'm still feeling a bit giddy with delight, i spent about an hour at the starbucks this evening rocking gently and tapping my fingers and probably looking a bit crazy, but i walked out having finally completed the intro script! which i began over a year ago. hah!

boy, have i learned some interesting things for my thesis :D

---
i've just sent off an email to the cto requesting a demotion from manager to developer. this will either dramatically improve my working conditions, or see me unemployed. there's no third option. once i realized yesterday that this is the correct course of action, i've been feeling really good about everything!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

purging

it's been a while since i've been in the mood to work on my comics... before bed i spent some time copying out a section of a source text, and something caught my eye and another piece of the puzzle clicked into place: very rewarding! i followed that up with an hour or so at the starbucks this morning (finally!) working some more on the intro chapter when it dawned on me that the background might prove to be considerably more material than the primary content. it's still awesome comic reading, though, and certainly more easily accessible than the psychedelic i'm focused on.

...

[caution: don't read the following if you're eating]
as i got into bed i felt something acidic burning in my chest. during the next half hour to an hour i'd learn that i have the wondrous ability to make myself throw up without sticking fingers down my throat - i'm so talented! i don't know what the hell caused it, but i was worried that it was food poisoning and i wanted whatever it was out of me as fast as possible so i didn't wait for actual nausea to set in. i continued until i retched dry, and was surprised that throughout the ordeal i felt absolutely fine (aside from the sour feeling and taste).

...

i couldn't help but wonder if that was my body finally ejecting all the stuff that's been accumulating in my lungs: i went to bed and slept really well, and woke up feeling fine for the first time this illness. just in time to take advantage of a gorgeous day!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

the first step to recovery

after yesterday's confession, i put myself to bed. my mind was a maelstrom of thoughts that gradually untangled themselves into a vaguely coherent plan - a plan involving presenting the cto with an ultimatum: either i'm going to extract myself from the management mess and focus on actual software development and training unimpeded by the axis of stupid (megaman and darn), or i'm going to extract myself from the company entirely. i'm sure i'll phrase it more tactfully than that, but what i've said just about sums up what needs to happen in order for me to get back to being productive and happy.

...

i woke up feeling a little better physically and a lot better physiologically. aside from an unproductive yet pleasant visit to walmart (well, the walk there was pleasant), i watched most of sherlock season 2. it's rather engaging: from a wonderful take on irene adler to my favourite werewolf as the lead in "the hounds of baskerville"?? brilliant!

my favourite israeli singer / songwriter finally took my advice; he contacted me this morning to let me know he's put his album up on bandcamp ^_^ (it's free to try, check it out)

i just finished watching the first four parts of jimmy's end... it's interesting, sure, but i find it leaves me wanting.

---
by grade two or three i'd made plenty of enemies. in addition to being an terrific victim, i knew how to antagonize bigger kids like a pro. i'd managed to really upset one of the kids a grade higher than me, and he'd been looking to smack me around for a while. how unfortunate for him that he walked in on me while i was standing at the urinal in the washroom! it was more blinding, nervous stupidity than malintent, the urinal was on a raised floor and as he threatened me i turned to face him... peeing on his leg in the process.

i expected a righteous beating, but instead he rushed out humiliated. i don't think he told anyone.


how very weird seeing the guy that kid grew up to be on linkedin and inviting him to connect.

Friday, September 27, 2013

life fail: addendum

the one excuse to stay up late was to call the mortgage bank, which of course is closed today. but that's okay, then i realized that i forgot to make dinner. that took a lot longer than i thought it would, and then i watched another episode of breaking bad and i still haven't finished eating...

...

did i not link to this? louis c.k. on cellphones: conan gets an F on his parenting report card. but louis c.k. gets an A.

life fail

shit. i can't even fill out a basic questionnaire at authentic happiness because of the situation i'm in at present. when i hit 30 i felt i was ahead of the curve and was very pleased with myself; i've had a productive and successful couple of years since but being stuck right now in the middle of my "sacrifice year" i can't say i'm feeling positive or satisfied about anything. i actually made a list today of things that should be motivating me when i realized that i'm properly depressed.

i've been sick now for a very long time (at least a couple of weeks), and while a major component of that may be physical there's obviously a significant impact from my being depressed. the issues at work have bled over into every aspect of my life and i cannot avoid attributing the exhaustion and lethargy i've been experiencing over the past few days to a lack of motivation. yes, i have bronchitis. but i don't have a fever (i actually went out to buy a thermometer today to make sure) even though that's exactly how i feel.

today, for instance, i woke up late but lay in bed restless; i didn't have the energy to get up or even read but i was definitely done sleeping. i lay sprawled on the couch watching telly - granted it's awesome telly - for most of the day and when i went out to do some quick shopping i was disappointed to learn that i'd spent a glorious day indoors with the curtains drawn.

...

there are a couple of steps i need to take, and the only problem with taking them is that they require motivation. which i only have in theory at the moment. vicious circle. must break it.

---
last night vfmp came over for some tekken; i hope he enjoyed it in spite of the schooling he felt he received. i thought he did okay, actually :P

as he was leaving he made a comment about steaming and i decided that maybe my mother wasn't wrong. i set up the pot and the boiling water and the chair and the towel and got down to business. it was a lot of trouble to go to and i sat deeply inhaling steam for more than ten minutes. by the end my sinuses still felt stuffy and my night experiences remained unchanged. this reminds me of the first and last time i tried steaming: i think i'll pass.

little moments: walking out the pharmacy preceded by a girl singing to herself. out loud, with a beautiful voice.

---
the advantage of being properly sick for more than a few days is the amount of effortless consumption i've allowed myself (in addition to a lot of tekken). this includes watching the first season of sherlock (2010): it's a lot of fun, mostly very clever, but each episode is the length of a full-length feature film! i don't know how to incorporate that into my notion of "television series".

Thursday, September 26, 2013

the ghost of israel past

i had a rough night last night. a couple of times my chest got the better of me; at 8am, when i needed to get up, i was unable to resist the urge to sink back into the mattress and the following hour was a medley of perfect sleeps and abrupt alarms going off.

if i was to arrive at the fedex depot along with my package i'd have had to leave at 9... it was a testament to how sick i am that it took me more than half an hour to get my shit together, and considering it would take an hour and a half to get there using public transport. i chose to go by taxi. it was going to be very expensive.

the middle eastern taxi driver that rocked up was pleasant, and kindly offered to make the trip worth both our whiles by waiting for me without the meter running to take me the next leg. he brought me to the depot fifteen minutes early, which was most fortunate as my package had arrived two minutes earlier than i had! for that i could ignore the speeding and shake off the strangeness of him removing his seat-belt as we left the highway. the woman at the counter saw that i had a taxi waiting and signed me out as fast as she could, which didn't matter regarding the taxi fare but would make a world of difference regarding the document signing.

as i broke open the seal and began to peruse the lawyer's instructions, the driver turned to me and asked if i'm israeli. how did he know? he noticed the hebrew in the page header. turned out he's an 81 year-old taxi driver who immigrated to canada 62 years ago, and the remainder of our time together was spent discussing my prospects for immigration - he was very sweet and supportive.

i was already in my hebrew comfort zone by the time i pressed the button at the embassy entrance. after a fair amount of waiting they checked me out, let me in, and explained to me why we could get the signing / notarizing done but not the binding. so after dragging myself out of bed and blowing $100 on a taxi, i'm still going to have to wait until monday morning before i have something to send and i'm going to be late for work after eleven days off...

... having said that, it could have been worse and i might have had to go in and do the signing etc. on monday morning, which would have taken even longer. so it wasn't a total waste, i scored an engaging drive and i began my day with a few very positive interactions:
1. the kindness of the driver even before discovering my origin
2. the kindness of the fedex woman at the depot
3. the portentous sensation of putting pen to paper and signing my signature over and over to turn fantasy into reality and transfer ownership of an asset that gave me incredible pleasure and desperately-needed stability for two years of my life, provided excellent support for the following two, and suddenly became a frightening liability a few months ago when i remembered that the israeli government (social security) fakes fines and can force me to forfeit my dearest (material) possessions based on those fines.

when i got back home i visited the ups store and tried to send a fax to my bank only to discover that i couldn't find their number, and as they're closed for the holiday that's going to cost me on my mortgage payment :(

---
i picked up a subway lunch and returned home, arriving just before the cleaning lady. i quickly tidied up everything, of all things forgetting to deal with the ultra-disgusting trash cans containing the output of the past couple of days... what firstfallen used to refer to as "lung butter" :$

i went out to starbucks to drink coffee and use their wifi, but for some reason i couldn't connect with either my iphone or my laptop. i had the same issue with my macbook - what the hell??? why is it that everyone else can happily sit down and surf while MY gremlins muck about?! i put together a panel for my comics and walked home, using my phone for a back-and-forth email with megaman that i was hoping to avoid (ios7 and i are not friends). the conversation was uncomfortable because the man just doesn't know how to ask questions or make requests that make sense :S

when the cleaning lady left everything seemed great - only i have this nagging sensation that she didn't clean the floors. what she did do, though, was teach me how to keep the damned balcony door open! gosh, i feel like such a tool for not figuring it out before; granted it isn't an intuitive mechanism at all and it's certainly not where i would expect to find a locking mechanism.

speaking of tool: i haven't got that forty six and 2 cover out of my head. that little girl totally owns it!

i spent the afternoon napping and watching tedtalks: head games. seemed like the right thing to do. it's now holiday, and i'm in just the right mode to make the most of it. meaning i'm going to focus on getting healthy and try to get some "me" things done.

---
the tedtalks: head games series is mind-blowing. they're old, and i've never seen 'em, and i'm really sorry i haven't!
dan gilbert: why are we happy?
temple grandin: the world needs all kinds of minds
are just a couple of examples of absolute must-sees!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

tipping

i'm feeling wiped out. either i underestimated how sick i was, or these antibiotics are really messing me up.

---
i am blessed to be of good genetic stock; all of my cousins on my mother's side are super-high achievers and exceedingly intelligent. that's why yang's total lack of critical thinking and emotional intelligence freaks me out completely: his twin sister, though we fundamentally disagree on a wide variety of things, is just as smart and savvy as everyone else, so how the hell did he become such an idiot?!

nature versus nurture? here's another statistic for you. this message brought to you by an aneurysm-inducing conversation that doesn't need to be repeated.

---
at 5.30am, i woke up from dreaming of managing a pro wrestling season, trying to maintain consistency while working under very dramatic conditions. i woke up feeling a bit clearer, but still struggling, and when i'd get up again after a bit more sleep i'd find that i wasn't clearer at all. i was horrific, as a matter of fact. ugh.

the rest of the day wasn't so disgusting... but it's funny how my first real coughing fit began just as i entered the supermarket in the evening :(

...

part 1: fedex was really nice about sorting out their "hold at location" thing. it'll be a mission to get there, but when they called me back later to verify they offered me an early warning so that i can manage my time more effectively. nice!

part 2: the israeli consulate general only answers its phones in the afternoon, and they weren't answering. i do hope they'll be open in the morning like their website says.

part 3: the product manager called to discuss my letter, and i don't know how he's playing this at all. he summarized my complaints with "management issues" and i left the conversation with a sense that we're about to undergo some serious role redefinition. well, i was waiting and seeing anyway...

by the end of the call i was barely able to stand, and as soon as it was over i crumpled onto the couch for a while. it took a fair amount of time for me to get up and active again, tekken and breaking bad and ted talks on capitalism helped out. well, one breaking bad episode upset me because i can't deal with watching stupid characters, it's shoddy writing :/

---
the peters projection world map? check this out: even if you don't read hebrew, the embedded video from the west wing will summarize my feelings nicely.

quote of the day: "jews don't like being happy". from the father of marijuana research

nystire pointed me to this article on golden rice. food for thought.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

infected with a need to rest

it's been a fascinating 48 hours.

---
sunday:

i woke up with a sore throat and a headache. it was to a great email from pg informing me that the caretaker had finally gotten his shit together and she'd made sure that the lawyer had everything she needed. i chased that news by watching trigun while doing laundry: i'm totally digging vash! and i was pleased by the "the future is an open ticket" bit.

i wasn't feeling good at all so i double-checked the clinic times and headed over. they lie! it's not so walk-in on a sunday, i was on time and they apparently didn't have time for me. for next time, call first :S
to sweeten the day, the bus back was hot and really smelly.

i napped with ted videos playing in the background, eventually getting up for tekken. it was that sort of a day, which i don't have very often, where i was wholly occupied with doing nothing of value. i got up to deal with a full kitchen sink, and glanced at the microwave to see that it was 7.15. that's when it hit me: dinner at godmother's at 7.30!

brilliant.

i called to let her know i was only then on my way out, and somehow managed to get there only ten minutes late. dinner was delicious and most of the evening was very pleasant... just the last bit, as i was saying goodbye yang did something stupid that upset his mother and he went full asshole after she flipped.

*facepalm*

that kid disappoints me so much sometimes.

...

i got home to find the heating's on - acknowledged. trigun and rum with hot chocolate made me feel good, good enough to get off my ass and read through the sale contract. i haven't read hebrew legalese in a while, and was amused to find myself sending a list of minor corrections. duty discharged, i went to bed.

---
monday:

at 1.30am my alarm sounded to tell me to call the mortgage bank. the next half an hour was consumed by metadreaming of tekken characters recursively kicking and shattering my dreams. it was colourful and exciting! i eventually got up at 2am, unable to convince myself that i didn't need to make the call.

it was relatively quick and painless regardless of my body's protests, but half an hour later i actually had to get up and make tea to deal with the 'orrible sore throat that began to act up after the call. it would take a while for me to get back to sleep :(

...

i woke up my usual time, and my throat had gotten worse. the weird part is that as bad as my throat felt, it was overall-health-wise the best i've felt in weeks! i didn't feel that oppressive exhaustion, that completely demoralizing weakness. i mean, i wasn't feeling fantastic either, but relatively speaking i could've danced for joy!

---
first email of the morning: the buyers have signed the contract and it's on its way to me now. hooray! what an incredible relief ^_^

---
first stop: the clinic. once again: why tell me an hour when the waiting time is two? i grabbed a cup of coffee and tried to figure out where my appointment referral was (i'd left it at home, which was actually the less awkward of the two alternatives), then returned to do some serious waiting and deep air sharing with the other sick people. my throat felt a bit better after the coffee, fortunately that didn't fool the doctor who diagnosed me with bronchitis. well! i've never tried that before! he also sent me to be tested for mono, but i strongly suspect i don't have that because i felt so much better today.

as i walked out i stopped by the receptionist for a stamp; she spoke to me in french first and i expressed my desire to learn how to speak it. "i'm sorry, i only spoke in french because of the last person who talked to me. i hate french! it's such an ugly language."
holy shit, that's an unpopular sentiment in this province... and she said it loudly in front of all the other patients! i made the international shushing sign, which she conspiratorially made back before stamping my form and wishing me a good day.

i rushed home to pick up the referral and rushed back*, arriving half an hour late for my appointment which would have been delayed by almost exactly half an hour. wonderful! so i pretty much walked straight in to the odd, tiny little room in the back... short story shorter, the doc was more interested in discussing south african politics than he was in examining me. apparently my skin is fine for a 42-year old**.

* on my way back:
i thought the crusty on the three-wheeler was staring at me as he breezed past, but as he approached and sped through the four-way stop i registered that he's handicapped and wondered how he was able to so deftly steer himself onto the highway using only one corner of his peripheral vision.

granted, he did enter it going in the wrong direction.


** for non-regular readers, i'm ten years younger than that

i headed to the hospital for bloodwork, which would take hours. fortunately they have a "nutrition ward" (other places just call it a cafeteria), and they were out of veggie sandwiches but made me a veggie bagel instead. it was delicious! it was a real work of food art. very cool. i chased it down with odwalla (now i've heard of it since i've read jobs' biography) and soon after made it to the drawing station.

"do you have a problem with needles?"
"only if you wiggle one around when it's already in my vein."
i speak from experience. the nurse was really good, the only thing that freaked me out a bit was her drawing the needle out so slowly that i could hear air hissing. i don't care enough to understand the physics of that, something about injecting air into veins killing people in movies raises my hackles. okay, maybe i do care enough. fine, i was just being a big gullible baby. i admit it.

i eventually got home six hours later, did a quick run to the pharmacy for my antibiotics (oh, shit, i forgot - good thing i decided not to put rum in my smoothie thirty minutes ago!), then returned home to catch up on office emails. i passed out after a few, then did some more after a nap. the more i read the less i understand of what's going on there without me.

---
evening notes:

1. am i really watching breaking bad again? second season, i've heard it's the worst one.

2. i'm blown away by how ugly ios7 is. i mean, like, wow. i think that it's shameful for a company with apple's design core to fail at what it's supposed to do best.

3. this dark chocolate / banana / peach / kiwi / vanilla protein shake can't possibly be as good for me as it tastes.

4. kids doing forty six and 2. absolutely enthralling! watching these children doing something so fantastic inspires in me a profound sense of hope; no matter how much shit the youth of today see and do, they'll also be exposed to such wonders and opportunities as we pre-internets could never dream of. ignoring the pseudoscience, i think puscifer - indigo children is where my goosebumps came from.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

hibernation or bust - part ii

[... continued]

today:

gaming night went on until 3am. in spite of my physical health i enjoyed the evening and i think it was worth it, but i really was feeling like shit. i got a ride to the night bus home and was waiting for it when yang called to tell me what an incredible party i'd be missing, and i was in such a bad way that i didn't even care. all i could think of was "am i really sick? has my training put me in real jeopardy?"

i had sinus and throat trouble sleeping and eventually took a tylenol, which led me to overheat and wonder if i was experiencing a breaking fever.

...

my morning (early afternoon) involved long chats with my mom and with dirk diggler, pg and the caretaker. i didn't have energy for anything so i sat down in front of tekken and the rest of orange is the new black, the finale of which is incredible. what an emotional roller-coaster! what superb writing!

...

what the hell am i eating? i neglected myself all day, so i ran out to the supermarket to get my shit together. i stopped by the pharmacy to give back a whole bunch of meds i no longer need.
"i read that i should return these things to the pharmacy for disposal, but i'm not sure how serious i should take it. is this a thing?"
"yes, sir. it's a thing."

this evening has now been successfully destroyed by my obsession with posting, and i'm now about to make dinner and do nothing some more.

---
urchin finally got in touch with me a couple of days ago and i'm still floored: not only is her cancer now in remission, but she's been told that she can have kids if she wants and her on-off boyfriend appears to have figured himself out and they've moved in together. i am *so* pleased and pleasantly surprised ^_^

---
someone introduced me to a wonderful little comic by kostas kiriakakis called a day at the park. i humbly beg you to read it, it's beautiful.

---
phonebloks: take a look. once upon a time, about ten years ago, i pitched this EXACT idea to a couple of friends with money (i had none) and they were certain that the idea was doomed to fail. it's nice to be validated by the universe, but it would be even nicer if i'd be the one to capitalize on even half of the great ideas i've had. life and its priorities.

*sigh*

hibernation or bust - part i

well... damn. i haven't posted this whole time for a number of reasons, the prime one being that i've been feeling awful. i've been told that it's normal to be exhausted around this time, that it's a circadian rhythm thing because of the speed at which the seasons are changing. but i was sick. and then i trained. and that could have combined with a consistent lack of sleep (in part caused by last-minute apartment sale details) and motivation. whatever may be making me feel this way, i feel like i can self-diagnose with chronic fatigue syndrome and i hope that that's just the hypochondriac in me talking shit with a loud voice.

granted, i *do* feel a bit better now after a day of actual rest.

---
tuesday:

it was a cold night and i needed the duvet, but i had a headache and i was exhausted and i suffered a long, uncomfortable night for not sorting that shit out. then my lawyer got me up early with urgent tasks. i really, really wanted to call in sick, but i'd be taking a long weekend off and i didn't feel that that was the right thing to do.

...

oh, human bodies. i scratched the back of my head and couldn't determine the damage. it's okay now (days later) but for a while i was worried about infections :(

---
work: the cavalry arrived! a couple of executives came over to oversee operations; darn became super-enthusiastic and almost-cooperative in an attempt to impress them but there's a general sense that his little act is transparent even to the visitors.

i had a job to do on tuesday that would have been incredibly menial and time-consuming had notepad++ and its regex engine not come to the rescue. it's unusual for me to actually find regex helpful, so i was really stoked :)

little victories: the office provided a healthy, delicious lunch instead of the pizza that darn and megaman have been forcing on us, and everyone seemed pleased with the change! while we ate, my brain dropped through to the floor when i discovered that i'm managing a software developer who used to feature on the local pro-wrestling circuit. he has lots of funny stories to tell and explained a couple of fundamental things about the scene; it was fascinating!

the rest of the afternoon was kind of pleasant, but i was tired and feeling a bit chilly. i went home early enough for jiu-jitsu but napped instead, did some shopping and headed out to kickboxing. that was alright except for an odd moment when i managed to hit myself in the eye. my head was not in a good place :/

---
SO! once upon a time i used to play a lot of tekken (3), and a week or so ago i found a cheap copy of tekken 6 on ebay. i bid, i won, and on tuesday my copy arrived in perfect nick and with a sweet note attached.

in the days since, i have been playing a fair amount. i am impressed that 6's timing is consistent with 3's, and the scenario mode is, surprisingly, a lot of fun!

---
i had the presence of mind to sort out my duvet, i watched a bit of the adventures of tintin while eating, then crashed...

---
wednesday:

... or not. there's nothing quite like getting out of bed at 1.30am to argue with a mortgage bank hotline agent. so much for catching up on sleep :(

i got up early to catch pg and then returned to bed - it was sooooo difficult to get out from under the duvet on a chilly morning! i still felt terrible when i got into the office, the only positive was a (non-vegan) muffin to go with my coffee that kind of made me feel better.

---
oh, darn... you asshole. the previous afternoon i'd called a meeting with the entire dev team for fifteen minutes to ensure that everyone knew how to work with our build automation. after we all assembled and just as we were beginning, darn strolled up to cancel the meeting and let everyone know that he thought it was a waste of time. ignoring the fact that he didn't have the authority to do that, why couldn't he have said that at any time before the meeting took place? he really got under my skin. he made me so angry that even now while i'm recounting the incident i'm becoming agitated.

the awesome vegan pizza ordered for me for lunch would have tasted even better if not for that.

other fun parts of the day included fighting with the web developers because they don't respect our naming conventions (and they use "new" and "old", which is a pet peeve of mine), losing over an hour to a problem that had nothing to do with the code i was looking at, and being told "don't waste your time on the coke" right before having the can explode all over my white hoodie.

as i left for the extra-long jewish-holiday weekend, i had a quick chat with the cto that put me in better spirits. playing some more tekken when i got home completely the spiritual rescue, and i was ready to do the jewish thing.

---
it was an absolutely perfect evening, and i met up with aota and her daughter and we entered the sukkah. there were some awkward religious moments, but overall it was a pleasant evening. a couple of the guys had been in cape town recently, one has trained at tristar, and one is trying to go vegan for political / ethical reasons. i wasn't bored.

but i'll be damned if a little bit of alcohol didn't put me in the mood to relive my origin story while recounting it to aota.

on my way home i finished reading kill shakespeare: what a clever and entertaining story! i do declare that shakespeare himself might have been proud of this one :)

---
thursday:

i played tekken until i was ready to pass out. i actually got up at 7.30 and was already feeling a little better. it helped that one of the visiting execs sent me an email apologizing for not meeting with me before the holidays, it sounds like our appointment on monday might not be about me being out of favour.

...

how about that? it suddenly occurred to me that i'm celebrating sukkot (tabernacles) in quebec...

...

the first day of my extra-long weekend began with my putting pg in touch with my apartment's caretaker to try to pay the man. i cannot believe that i've been chasing after this guy for months to give him money. hopefully this story ended today, after much harassment he's promised that she'll get everything i need by the end of the day... which will essentially be on the day the contract is signed. talk about cutting things close :S

i replaced my headphones and had a quick subway lunch: falafel?!?! the employees are still having a hard time getting to grips with the different ways of pronouncing it. interestingly enough, it's apparently so successful that in one week they're far enough over their projections that they're running out of stock - vegans! changing the world one meal at a time :P

i did some serious shopping at walmart, the primary targets being a blender and frames for my comiccon art. i came away satisfied.

i played a little tekken and then hit the gym for a bit of sparring. fighting with reggae in the background was cool and weird at the same time. having said that, i was not having a good sparring day.

i returned home to do the laundry and unlock the tekken "arcade addict" achievement (ya think?!), and the dryer took such a long time i missed the wrestling class i wanted to go to.

...

question: how is a monster energy drink a "natural health product"? oh.

...

jiu-jitsu: one over-enthusiastic armbar can mess up a whole evening... the guy i was working with had a height advantage (he's much shorter than me) and just couldn't control himself. he really hurt me, and it's taken two days for my elbow to go from frustratingly sore to merely uncomfortable :/

i followed that up with another sparring session, only the guy i sparred with was far more competent and all i walked away with was a severely bruised ego. i mean, shit, random people came up to me afterwards to try to console me and that just made it worse :(

at least after training i had my first great smoothie experience: either i have a latent talent for blending, or it's really that easy to make something decent :D

if finished watching the adventures of tintin and decided that spielberg did an excellent job of it. it's just as much fun as the comics and captures the attitude of the artwork in spite of the obvious differences.

---
friday:

another early wake-up to deal with the apartment sale. followed by a long discussion with aota caused by megaman making a fool of himself in an email. followed by a distinct inability to get out of bed. i needed a slow start to the day and orange is the new black's tenth episode ("bora bora bora") was a good option. it was so intense that i'm going to want to watch it again sometime...

the weather was nice and sunny, and i went shopping at the further supermarket. i shambled rather than walked. i returned - slowly - and made myself a lunch that could have been a dessert; it was healthy, yes, but it tasted so good!

after a little more tekken i headed off to starbucks to get some sketching done. i don't know why i can't be productive at home, i guess it's the distractions :$
anyway, i hammered out a decent page and returned to nap, play some more tekken and go to training.

now, i know that training while not feeling good isn't wise, but while i was exhausted i wouldn't feel any worse than that until later. so i can tell you that i am exceedingly glad that i went to box on friday night! our instructor wasn't around, but a couple of the guys were up for sparring. while i didn't exactly level up, i did manage to lose two levels of "cowardice" in the ring. confidence-wise, it totally made up for the previous night's little tragedy. hooray!

in fact, the first guy i sparred with confided in me that he could feel the difference each round :)

what started off as good post-training exhaustion soon became bad exhaustion, but i really wanted to play thunderstone with vfmp and co. i grabbed another subway falafel and a coke and headed on down.

[continued...]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

winds of change?

i was tired and sleepy today. at the beginning there was some good apartment sale news, but there're a few nagging things that need to be sorted out and it's a chore. i can't say i appreciated the surprise phone call from israel while on the can, all i could identify was the country code :(

there was also a response from the letter i sent last night, and it seemed positive. we'll see how things go, i hear that balls have started rolling in the office and wondered if the general sense of calm had to do with me simply being relaxed after making my peace with my situation. the alternative is that darn has heard that something's up and is being cautious.

actual work-wise: a successful hunt for an obscure bug made me feel pretty good, and i got some satisfaction by finding an elegant solution to an ugly problem. otherwise my day was consumed by management and coaching.

perhaps it was spending too much time indoors, or maybe i was suffering a post-pre-workout protein shake bellyache. either way i left for boxing unsure if i was ready to return. i knew i had to take it easy, beginning with the jog to the gym. first comment from the instructor?
"dude, you look like a retard."

i wasn't too offended because i knew what he meant, but he couldn't tell me what to fix. his only advice is to get a rubber rope, but you know what? the cord i'm using is making me work harder physically but it's cause for me to take more pride in the sets i get right. i stopped more times because i was tired than because i was tripping myself or hitting myself in the head - as i told one of the girls later, maybe... maybe i should just make my peace with looking a little goofy.

i wasn't a tough training, partially because i worked with a southpaw who's new to the number system so it took forever to get in sync on each exercise. by the end of the lesson we'd switched partners and i was working with a veteran. he's recovering from a broken rib on his right side so i had to avoid liver shots, but he had no such restrictions and i was pretty sure he was going to hurt me. boy, was *i* surprised when i had to repeatedly tell him to up the power! when he said "dude, you're like a wall!" i was pleased as punch ^_^

[yes, i couldn't resist.]

the girl that everyone's scared of and that scrapper fantasized about doing impact training with? i made a remark about almost being ready for her and was told that next time i'll be obliged. oh, shit... :P

i watched trigun - getting deeper - and then had a loooong chat with my mom (oh, skype, you world-changer you) while i made dinner. then i settled down to eat in front of orange is the new black that's keeping up the pace. you know that idiom that "work expands to fill the available time"? did it really take me a whole episode to eat my salad? and on that note, the night is over already.
*sigh*

...

godsdammit! darkside skittles are addictive. "the other side of the rainbow" for sure.

Monday, September 16, 2013

soul-searching - part ii

[... continued]

i smuggled in some beers for bnw and her husband and went to a presentation on the historical relationship between montreal and the wwe, but it was all in french so i returned and joined in with the drinking. after a very pleasant time with them i went to the george takei q&a (hah! it rhymes); the man is simply great. listening to him describe the depths of gene roddenberry's vision and sync that with elon musk's was a real treat!

that was it for the con for me, i met horseman outside and we walked around, then up the mountain, while he coached me on freestyling and a little french. the first is a lot more of a challenge, apparently, but after lengthy discussion (some of it freestyle) i understand why he wants me to get comfortable with it. we seem to agree that "cyberpunk-hop" should be a thing.

i started fasting around 5pm in preparation for blood tests, but i was almost home when i discovered that my tests require 24 hours without alcohol. that led me to the realization that the tests aren't actually going to be helpful and that i need to reschedule.
*sigh*

i had a long chat with my mother about the work situation and the email i was going to send, and she was precisely as supportive as i needed her to be. i'm confident i've done the right thing and it's now time for me to get a good night's sleep before facing whatever the new week brings.

soul-searching - part i

great scott!!! it's been an amazing weekend, and i've just brought it to a close by sending a fracking long email to the executives describing our situation and listing all of my complaints against megaman and darn. i have just officially and properly put my job on the line and the issues will either be resolved or i will be fired. and i'm totally okay with that. i guess i really did get into the spirit of "yom kippur" in the sense of soul-searching.

---
thursday:

thursday began with perfect rain coupled with exhaustion; i didn't and couldn't get out of bed for far too many snoozes. the exhaustion didn't go away and was chased with a headache. i'm pretty sure i wasn't well.

that morning i received an email to say that my copy of tekken 6 had shipped, that afternoon horseman informed me that the online version is now free... i was upset until someone explained that that's only free on ps plus which i don't have.

in the evening i went on a date with a girl i met online. i waited for a few minutes outside the mont royal metro and enjoyed the general craziness. then a specific craziness joined me: a homeless guy sat down next to me and made awkward signals to passers-by that he wanted a cigarette, eventually some young punk came up to give him one but not without a political lecture. it was all in french so i only caught bits and pieces, but the whole ordeal was pretty surreal.

the date wasn't bad as far as dates go, though it was pretty clear from the beginning that we didn't share sexual chemistry. we sat for a long coffee and everything was amiable until we got on to the magic topic of the nature of reality. we spent the following hour arguing - sometimes positively and sometimes not - and eventually moved on. apparently we both enjoyed them evening overall, though, so i might've made a new friend.

i was completely wasted by the time i got home. so much so that i was in a zombie-state while making my mega-salad and thought it was tipping (i might have been hallucinating) so i tried to catch it: i upset the bowl and half the contents were on the floor. what a fantastic and refreshing moment that was :/

at least netflix returned the new season of community (in order this time), and trigun has become most entertaining.

---
friday:

i walked into the office to hear about intrigue: megaman has been doing some extremely dodgy shit and appears to have been caught out. the consequences are not clear, but it's certainly an interesting time for him to be taking a vacation (not to mention doing so when we're in a crunch he's dictating).

i went for a massage even though my neck and back were feeling pretty good: apparently i was so tense for so long i got used to them being locked because the minute she started working on me they got all sensitive and whiny. it was nice to shut off my brain for a half an hour.

i bowed out on the pre-fast dinner aota had invited me to when i learned that it was at the rabbi's: i really, really didn't need to be made to feel all awkward about neither fasting nor going to synagogue. having said that, i still wanted to leave work at 4pm so as not to make the other jews look bad ;)

isn't it amazing that when you're in a hurry and you hit the supermarket for just one thing (literally) ALL the slow people come out? not only the self-service lane, but the express lane too with coupons and shit. *damn* it was frustrating...

... i got home, threw in laundry and completed the new season of community. turns out with the previous ordering i'd already seen the final episode. at least now i understand my confusion the first time :P
what a great season! they definitely restored it to its former glory.

i don't know why but twelve years (to the day!) later, i had a sudden flashback to the induction base and experienced elation that i may never have to see that place again.

it was warm and cozy on the metro and i almost fell asleep with the empty energy drink can in my hand.

---
montreal comiccon! yeah, i totally geeked out this whole weekend and had a lot of fun. my con experience opened with a smooth entry and an excellent improv performance, i don't know what they call themselves but they used cards against humanity and hilarity ensued.

the qa with tahmoh penikett and james callis... even they were surprised when edward james olmos and michael hogan suddenly appeared on stage! they were all awesome and the audience had great questions and it was very touching ^_^

i sat in on a presentation about back to the future and was totally inspired. the personal story behind the to the future project is incredible and once i'd heard it i knew that i had to take a turn in the driver's seat. but not before fueling mr. compassion. those two people are very special indeed. i would get my turn the next morning and i gotta say... i'm pretty darn impressed and pleased and i enjoyed it just like a teenage me wouldn't have ;)

the night ended on a horrific note: cannibal diner. it was a decent b-movie gore-fest and the acting was not inappropriately bad, but the ending was a viewer's nightmare combo of shaky-cam first-person lost-in-the-dark footage that just... wouldn't... end.

anyway, totally worth getting the three-day pass! i was completely satisfied as i made my way home and sat down to clear my mental palate with another episode of orange is the new black. what a tough night.

---
saturday:

in the morning: shit that was a lot of queue. i don't know why they told me to go through it even though i already had my pass and band, i only discovered the re-entry point later...

i started the day with horror, watching a series of shorts some of which were absolutely inspired and some of which were utter rubbish. a chance in hell fell in the first category, baby-sitting fell in the second.

discovery of the day: kill shakespeare. bloody, brilliant and fun, and available on comixology :)

the biggest deal of the day: simon bisley was signing autographs. simon bisley is responsible for the horned god artwork which combined with the script to become one of my biggest inspirations - he's one of the few artists that really excites me. i arrived at his booth and realized i didn't have anything for him to sign. so i headed over to bnw's booth and commissioned a version of one of simon's slaine's with my face. less than an hour later i returned to pick up the watercolor and go over to wait for him to return from a break. simon was super-cool and friendly and was really impressed by the work! he happily signed it and told me to pass on his approval ^_^

...

while a waited a man with the head of a bird walked past and indicated that he wanted a hug. i obliged, and felt just as weird and amused as everyone who witnessed it.

...

it's one thing to walk around inside a portable tardis, quite another to dress up as a tardis. especially if you're a sexy female, it inspires awful pickup lines like "omg! i totally want to travel into the future inside you!" :$ [no, of *course* i didn't actually say that out loud...]

i was going home first but the metro cut out at bonaventure, so i took it as a sign and stepped out to pick up a gift wine for the "breaking of the fast" dinner. rain threatened me and my painting and i felt stupid for not taking the plastic bag offered...

i watched another episode of orange is the new black and napped in front of ted talks. i'm very glad i woke up in time for jane mcgonigal. you should watch that one. really. right now.

i dressed up and headed out to a pleasant evening with a few awkward moments but ending with a deep anime / cyberpunk conversation with a young 'un who's looking for guidance. :D

---
sunday:

yang woke me up at 5am as instructed to see if i was ready for a trance mission, but i was utterly bombed and there was no way i was getting out of bed. good thing, too, because later i'd have mortgage details to sort out.

one of the heroes of the north writers gave a presentation on the process of writing comics and it was fun to watch; it was nice to see that bnw and i are handling things in a similar way :)

[continued...]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

the cat in the rat race

i'm in such good spirits after almost thirteen hours in the office! decent rum is one way to take off the edge. after yesterday's drama i started the day in a much better mood in spite of still feeling out of sorts. it might have had something to do with the perfect summer's day that was taking place outside:
oh, man - am i really on my way to work today? the sun's out after the rain and walking outside feels like when you pull the blanket over yourself a little more on a cool sunday morning...
- standing outside the metro, hesitating
in the office, machinations seemed to be gearing up in all directions. i kept myself safely in the eye of the storm and actually got a whole lotta shit done.

i witnessed an attempt to tear our qa manager apart and didn't feel that i could say anything without properly antagonizing the monsters - more than i have been already at any rate - and when he responded calmly and reserved and rationally they reversed themselves and behaved as if he'd been making the prior claims. i wish i'd been recording the ordeal, it was really pathetic and i felt bad for not being in a position to stop them.

...

tuesday's "talk" has been playing over and over in my mind. that dodgy bastard, accusing me of not working enough hours when i was in the office, sick, the whole weekend and where the hell was he? how come he doesn't do the hours he demands of everyone else?

---
one positive part of the day was going out for lunch with newk'd and clearing the air after last week's mess. another was working closely and comfortably with darn's developers. the weaker one was feeling awful when i walked in because he was struggling with debugging his code... when the fault wasn't with his code. he's brutally overworked and i don't think he understood me when i told him to take a walk. i think he was shocked when i complemented his efforts - i don't think darn has anything nice to say even to his own crew. the stronger dude joined me and moonlighter for a technical talk in the afternoon and between that and the support i've been giving him of late i get the feeling that he's come to appreciate my attitude and the way i solve problems.

it's almost like trying to befriend a beaten dog. these are human fucking beings, and all their work experience is megamen and darns :(

---
even moonlighter and i got along famously today. it was a stupidly long day that began with meetings and ended with solid grind, and although i walked away satisfied i was also exhausted and had a bit of a headache. so much for getting personal shit done :(

---
while eating last night's leftovers (which i forgot to take to work for lunch) i finished watching reincarnated. aside from a bit of awkwardness it inspired to check out the album... snoop lion - reincarnated sounds much better in the documentary than off the album. bummer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

dramatuesday

holy shit. i can't believe today actually happened. it's now a dark and stormy night and i'm bombed, but i have to share.

the early day began with my finally getting back to the dermatologist's office to make an appointment. i overheard the guy in front of me wishing the secretary a happy new year, inferred that she's jewish and wished her as well. suspiciously, there's an opening early next week and not in a month's time. jewish mafia, i tell you. jewish mafia.

i sat down for coffee and serious thought collection, then headed to work. things at work seemed to be going well... until megaman walked into my cubicle and we had a talk that sounded a lot like a formal warning. it was a series of veiled threats that if i don't pull 60-80 hour weeks like everyone else then my credibility will be blown and i will have no added value to the company.

i'm kicking myself; i really, really, really shouldn't have told him that working under those conditions is illegal. that was stupid of me. the truth is that he was really intense and i was super-defensive, and only later my brain went "hang on, you've just worked an entire weekend of overtime and where the fuck was he?!"

the reality is that i'll happily do overtime if it's in the company's best interests. i won't do overtime if it's purely in megaman's or darn's interests. the more we talked the more despicable a character megaman became; a couple of things he said to me had some merit, but most of it just reinforced the image of him as sinister and conniving. he blatantly told me that if the cto's new tools would be so good as to render the past few weeks' efforts useless then we won't use them.

what the hell is wrong with these people?!

i sorted some things out and went to aota's who'd also had a dramatic day. we drank plenty of rum and she made the most delicious cous-cous i've ever tasted (and carried back home in tupperware). we talked things out (or as out as they can be) and i came home to work some more and get into bed.

...

workwise: it's time to shape up, big time. "you're only in competition with yourself," he said to me, and he was lying through his teeth. the two of them have been undermining me from dang's first day and i need to pull the team back into the real world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

dog-eat-dog

yesterday:

i tried to take my broken headphones back to source to take advantage of my warranty; the first door was locked and barred but the second was open. i checked the times listed and stepped inside. the girl behind the counter was really welcoming, but when i told her what my problem was she stopped me.
"i'm so sorry, but you're in the wrong store."

what?! apparently people make that mistake all the time, i'd actually walked into eb games.

"penny arcade?" she asked, looking at my hoodie. "nice!"

i appreciated that a cute girl had said that. then i thought about it a bit. i love penny arcade and have been a fan since forever, but i'm a little disappointed by the rehashing of the dickwolves in spite of the response. i expressed my feelings during the transgender post, like everyone else i was upset by the mass stupid but i kinda ignored the fallout. i understand why they made the shirts but that really was going too far and i didn't really think about it until now.

i'm still a huge fan, but a little less gushing now.

---
i was tired when i arrived at the office. so was everyone else. we spent a long day indoors which was only a thing because i went outside looking for lunch and it was an intensely beautiful day! perfect weather for anything except work! the supermarket was out of my usual frozen meals and the lebanese place was out of falafel (really?!), so i got to enjoy a bit of the afternoon as i strolled around looking for vegan food that wasn't what i'd had the day before. i couldn't find any, so i returned to the indian place.

in the office, i'd taken to playing my music loud as we were the only ones there. lots of rock, a little hip hop. before he went, most-likely-to-become-a-sex-offender played some of his playlist and he had some pretty good shit. then, as a goodbye, he played nirvana - rape me.

seriously.

...

by the evening i was done. "minimal" and "feature complete" were what i'd been instructed to aim for, but if you've spent a few minutes planning and base your software on an extensible design then all sorts of helpful features tend to creep in organically and effortlessly.
i called darn over to check it out, and he told me "i'll see it tomorrow."

what? when we're on a crazy deadline and need to be integrated and operational the very next day? i wasn't having any of it. i instructed him to come over and set him in front of my computer. he saw everything he and megaman had asked for. he tried to break it. he failed. he stood up.

"keep going."

nice one. just before committing my work and getting out of there i made a few changes and one of them introduced a bug that i'd only find today after a massive hunt; now that i know what the cause was, it *still* doesn't make any sense :S

---
i dropped my gear off at home and headed down to aota's for coffee and venting (hah! "venti"). that turned out to be a really good idea because i discovered a few interesting things about the office dynamic that i'd been in the dark about. after we'd talked a heck of a lot, she took me to visit her rabbi (it was really late already) to pick up two mezuzot.

the rabbi's such a sweet guy, i really wish aota hadn't asked him to justify a deceptively racist statement i'd called her out for making earlier. he almost didn't fall for it, but he didn't want to make waves so he tried to step around it - this resulted in him unwittingly arriving at an even worse conclusion. amazing what power words have...

i put them up when i returned home, it's been a while. mystical. i spent some time recounting my work hours and remembering that in my case overtime is never unpaid because i'm authorized to take it back whenever it suits me. i can't say the same for everyone else, though... not cool...

---
today:

i woke up feeling much better. spiritually. partially because of the conversation with aota, mostly because i managed to get through to my mortgage bank and the lawyer's given me a good feeling regarding the apartment sale. maybe the mezuzot had something to do with it? :P

i enjoyed a better attitude the whole morning and managed to keep a friendly face in spite of megaman and darn and their evil machinations. remember the "keep going" from last night? i was informed this morning that on friday they'd pushed back the deadline a couple of weeks. friday! so why did we all come in over the weekend?

when i asked when i should let everyone know, i was told not to say anything because it would be demoralizing if the devs found out they'd come in for nothing. so we should keep the pressure on.

those evil fuckers.

there will be Very Big Words soon.

---
other than that, it was an oddly reasonable day. i left early and got home to find it right-side-up after the cleaning lady had done her thing - very cool! i had a chat with my mum and then rushed off to muay thai.

i thought i was better, and that the headache that was just beginning was standard sinus and nothing more. i swallowed a tylenol and downed an energy drink before training, and arrived feeling alright after an intense jog. it felt good to step onto the mat and the warmup began well... except that that didn't last. halfway through the warmup i was struggling. really struggling. when my muscles refused to respond and i was dizzy i stepped off to the side to recover my breath and focus. it didn't take long for me to realize that for me the class was over - i apologized to the instructor and went to drink some water and try to recenter. i hoped i'd be ready for boxing, but after about ten minutes i found that just standing (and talking) was tough and i returned home pretty bummed.

at least it was a good excuse to watch ted videos and fix the '99 pants i ripped. they're not dead! they're getting better!
i did some shopping, made a great salad and watched a large chunk of reincarnated. the documentary makes me take back laughing at snoop lion for his reinvention.

great, i had stuff to do but i needed to post. dammit.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

a "no" recovery

i tried to get some work done yesterday in spite of the holiday and began by synchronizing my code with the svn... which somebody had checked in to with broken code. when i got to the office today (yes, saturday, i know, thanks), one of darn's crew was there and he told me that's it's been like that for two days and nobody knows how to fix it.

in case that doesn't give you a hint as to the quality of developers i'm working with, let me say that the more hours i work with our code directly the more i realize that these assholes have either misunderstood or overcomplicated all of the solutions i've provided them with and i now understand why everything's taken so long.

"if you want something done right": well, i don't have enough man-hours in me. quite frankly, i don't think i have what it takes to get good code out of these guys. some manager *i* turned out to be :(

---
yesterday:

i tried to nap because i felt terrible and had the shivers and ended up just lying wrapped up and praying that i wasn't sick. i can't be sick. not now. unfortunately willing myself to health isn't really my thing. i dragged myself out of bed and took the metro to de la concorde, which is "across the border" in laval and is an absolutely stunning metro station. i sat waiting for bnw on a bench in the sun, which warmed me almost enough to offset the cold breeze. i don't know why i left the house without my sunglasses. i really needed them.

so: bnw. she's almost done with the convention circuit (next weekend is montreal's comiccon, we'll both be busy with that), but she's decided that she's in ^_^
i'll be paying a symbolic fee per page and we'll share the rights* and the profits. super-exciting!

* to the artwork, not the project. the project is mine.

she's colombian and she made really, really good filter coffee that tasted just how i'd expected it to taste - magic! after spending some time playing with the outlines for the first few pages we talked a lot, mostly about the social differences between quebec and the countries we come from but also about israel and the middle eastern conflict. always a sensitive issue :(

i was planning on returning home for dinner but we talked so much her husband came home; bnw wasn't wrong, the two of us have a lot in common. and all three of us have similar tastes in music and gaming, in addition to aerospace (he works for one of the big ones i'd like to work for). hah!

we would have carried on talking but he was hungry and they weren't eating anything i would have, so they forced their copy of bioshock 2 on me (even though i'm pretty certain i won't get a chance to play it) and walked me out.

it was cold, but in spite of my still feeling awful and headachey i was in good spirits.

---
flesh & blood is pretty cool. i wish i'd finished eating dinner before watching it, though. i usually have a strong stomache for gore but a couple of moments shocked me enough to make it hard to swallow. if the words "testicle piercing" have any effect on you, consider yourself warned.

---
i went to bed relatively early, and got up relatively early. i had breakfast and tylenol before returning to bed for a while. still feeling rough.

eventually i got up and dragged myself off to the office. it didn't really make a difference where i was (now that i have a keyboard at home) but it was easier to focus and i guess if i hadn't been able to talk to anyone i would've wasted more than just an hour or so on finding the last unbroken version.

i spent all day on my task, properly consolidating my opinions on megaman, darn, my team and my company. let's just say i'm not deeply satisfied with any of them, but as my satisfaction is not what they're paying me for i'm going to keep on trucking.
i got through a sizable chunk of what i needed to get done and then called it a day.

at least i'm feeling a little better.

i came home to do laundry and watch a bit of trigun and community, but the plan changed a bit because netflix seems to have removed season 4 of the latter while i was halfway through! not cool, netflix, not cool.

i watched most of in time instead even though it stars justin timberlake. he's not an unwatchable part of the film, for once, but the script is quite bad. better-than-mediocre idea with uninspired writing: i'm surprised i sat through so much of it.

i seem to be getting used to the online dating world and it looks like i might be going on an actual date soon. the worst part of this scene is not knowing how your date looks in real life...

---
shakespeare with a shakespearean accent? that sounds righteous!

Friday, September 06, 2013

it dawns on me

ah, i see. i hit the gym, and the gym showed me that everything i'm complaining about is related, and it's to sinusitis. it's been a while since i last suffered this bad boy.

i still managed a decent gym session, but was horrified when the jump rope gave me a splitting headache and i called it quits when working on slips and my neck started to stiffen up.

in spite of an irritated nose / sinus / throat and headache, i'm glad i went and i'm also glad to be informed that a visit to the pharmacy is in order.

---
i walked in to find the muay thai master sleeping in the corner of the ring. if i'd had my phone with me i would have had to take a video of that surreal moment when the bell ringing the start of a new round was followed by his loud snores. i would have gotten my ass handed to me if i'd been caught, but it would have been worth it.

restless

i just got up from a night of unbelievably bad restless leg syndrome aches and pains (neither tonic water nor gatorade helped) which kept me awake and miserable after a day of serious headaches that i believe can be assigned to a hayfever / sinusitis crossover that's in the works. i'm pretty sure that that's what made my vision go all wonky for a while yesterday, either that or far too much time focusing on digital screens is making my eyes strain to look further than two metres. not good.

i think i'm going to hit the gym now, i suspect my body might be upset with me for missing so many days...

---
dinner last night was delicious, and most of it was pleasant and interesting, but some of it was overshadowed by yang being his father. i've re-arrived at the conclusion that he's really not smart, he is possessed of zero self-awareness and he continues to speak thoughtlessly even after it should be clear that what he's saying is entirely inappropriate and uninteresting. or offensive: there was an admission he made about killing a hawk that made me want to attack him (verbally), but it wasn't the right time to be getting myself thrown out of the house for pointing out what a terrible human being he can be.

there was a moment when one of the others made a comment about our experiencing his stream-of-consciousness and what followed was about two minutes of absolute silence that was so awkward that it bore a sense of purity to it; we could all tell that we were all feeling uncomfortable, nobody had anything to say because we were all thinking about how we were feeling.

...

oh! and some of godmother's friends were helpfully discussing who they could fix me up with. it was decided that my age, ability to hold a good job and my apartment are in my favour but that not owning a car might be an issue, and there was this amusing "huh?" moment when i explained that i'm not interested in anyone who be concerned with any of those measurements...

de-stress

or re-stress. through a series of intriguing random links i stumbled earlier upon kelly mcgonigal's how to make stress your friend, one of the single most directly useful and important pieces of data that i personally need. you might well need it too. watch it!

---
yesterday:

i woke up from a lucid dream of fighting scrapper gladator-style in an arena with an evil and violent relentlessness and horrific self-awareness. i don't recall the context but it set a dark tone for the day. the darkness continued lightly with my "new" headphones breaking (the right ear's cable's damaged), and deepened when i found myself responding impatiently to a problem newk'd was having. granted i was stressing out about the work i was doing and was irritated by his imprecision in describing the issue, but darn's assessment and report the day before brought to the fore a level of intolerance that i was quite ashamed of after i settled down.

that led to even greater distraction when i tried to get back into my work and could only think of "the newk'd problem". i tried discussing things with him over messaging while getting some work done, which ultimately proved to be a bad idea. now that i've heard darn i'm a lot more sensitive to his petulance. trying to get past this and find a fix, i came up with a solution that i'm pretty sure offended him even though it's in his best interests; i need him to start investing himself in studying theory - data structures, algorithms, design patterns and alternative paradigms and methodologies. and then i need to coach him personally.

either way, i feel poisoned by megaman and darn. if we're going to add significance to the jewish new year then this has been an ugly way to begin it.

---
the end of the workday felt like an epic fail. while explaining to darn the situation i was leaving for the two-day holiday in, i thought about how i would hear the words i was saying if i was him, and as the words left my mouth i thought "credibility blown". it didn't help that he misunderstood my description of a bug that could be treated as a feature and was left with the impression that i'd been wasting my time implementing the "feature" instead of focusing on the core design...

---
on my way home i picked up wine for dinner gifts and added a bottle of rum, downing a solid splash on arrival the same way i used to do during my interrogations. it was through a light haze that i got dressed, feeling awkward about putting on nice clothes for the first time in almost half a year, and walked out to a mind-bogglingly stunning sunset, all bright yellows and pink clouds streaked across the lightest blue of skies.

dinner was great, if a little awkward. there were a couple of interesting conversations amidst all the regular smalltalk, a significant note being struck by someone telling me that it's somehow possible for me to begin the canadian citizenship process directly bypassing the quebec one. something involving interviewing across the border (the us border) that wouldn't require me to speak french.

i strongly suspect that that's not a relevant avenue anymore, and in any event i really need to learn french so i don't know if i'd care to add layers of complication to the process.

by the end of the evening everyone was sleepy, so the goodbyes were said spontaneously and quickly. i was, as usual, very uncomfortable with waves versus handshakes versus kisses, on the way out i thought i'd gotten it right for once but then suddenly realized that i'd kissed another guest i'd never met but skipped the hostess. aw, crap :(

---
today:

the windows are open and i'm sweating in spite of it only being fifteen degrees. during the night it dropped down to six, and while i pulled out my duvet cover i didn't actually use it. oh, canada: what have you done to me?!

i think i like it ^_^
as i walked around running errands today, i was struck emotionally by how the weather exposed a sense of spring that i can only connect to cape town on its best days.

...

i woke up to a chat with pg culminating in her holding up all my israeli clothing to the webcam for me to choose which to throw and which to keep. the video quality was terrible and some of the items were hard to recognize, but either way i sent most of it to be donated: we were both proud of my ability to let go. heck, of all my band / experience shirts and hoodies i think i kept only one. my claws shirt, because it's an awesome shirt and it's the fraternity that i will always identify with the most.

when she turned the light on at the end of the chat the video quality improved drastically...

*sigh*

it looks like we have another potential buyer for our apartment! i hope this all goes smoothly and quickly, may the best (first) man (couple) win.

i walked to the computer / surveillance store next door to discover that a simple, good motion-detection / video camera solution costs $150 (should i waste my time pitching it to the building manager?) and that their keyboards are *way* cheaper than what i'd find at walmart. on the way to walmart to price-check i discovered that there's another subway and it's much nicer and cleaner than the one i usually go to that's only marginally closer.

...

i tried to get something done at the post office and was surprised to hear the woman ahead of me explaining to the guy how to do his job. good thing for her she knew all the ins and outs of international postage, he was utterly clueless and wouldn't even admit that he was lost. he could easily have cost her the package she was sending! when i stepped up afterwards and asked for something simple, he asked me to come back in fifteen minutes when his manager would be around.

huh.

he was of middle-eastern origin with a heavy accent, i suspect there was an honour thing going on there.

...

i had a quick cup of coffee at the starbucks, did some serious supermarket shopping and then arbed around before napping an hour or so. i woke up with more of a headache than when i'd started...

---
i think i'm addicted to penny arcade: gamers vs evil. seriously.

...

i'm listening to the new nin album i pre-ordered. i'm not blown away :(

---
happy jewish new year, everyone.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

lucky 13

ah! the perfect snooze once again. it makes it very difficult to get out of bed.

my day began with an exciting email: it looks like we have a real buyer for our apartment ^_^

i sorted out an onboarding issue on the weekend so that it wouldn't mess up my morning, but walked in to find a new it guy... surprise! he didn't make a bad first impression, but aside from the onboarding distraction he walks around with a cloud of halitosis :/

---
"why wasn't i invited to the meeting?" i asked myself as i walked past a pow-wow that really needed my input. it was one of a number of things on my mind when i sat down with megaman to discuss the office discomfort. what he told me was very surprising, and while i didn't agree with all of it i certainly can see things from his and darn's point of view.

first, it's good to know that darn's issue with me isn't personal, and even though megaman understands what i've been dealing with on a managerial level he cannot justify my lack of direct, tangible contribution to the project. if i have to prove myself, and it's by neglecting my other responsibilities, then that's what i'll do. the cards are all on the table and while i'm upset that the two of them didn't think to explain the situation previously i'm happy to report that their behaviour following our discussion was professional and even comforting.

even darn came by at the end of the day - after 10pm - and we had a respectful and frank conversation which put everything in line. there are some big issues that concern me, in particular with newk'd, and i don't know how to proceed and i think i might've handled him badly in the afternoon. the insight into the office politics that are slowly developing wasn't enjoyable either - we're relying on moonlighter and competing with him simultaneously :(

at the end of the day i have to get *my* shit together vis-a-vis the current project and i'll be damned if i let that slip.

i didn't leave until i'd made serious progress, and i walked out enthusiastic and confident after almost exactly thirteen hours in the office, most of which were spent sitting down in front of my monitor. i'd forgotten what that feels like, and my legs had apparently forgotten too 'cause they were pretty stiff and sore.

thirteen is pg's favourite number, and after a couple of years with her i've pretty much adopted it.

---
no more vegan at l'artère?? i ordered what i thought was couscous, and a chicken pie arrived. i knew it was chicken because i looked at the board and realized that i'd read the salad section instead of the meal section when ordering the meal of the day. i figured it was my bad and decided to eat it, but was upset when i took a bite and tasted cheese.

i went up to the counter to ask if it was cheese, which wasn't listed on the board, and the waitress said no. i returned, wondering suspiciously as i slowly raised another piece to my lips... what is it, if not cheese?

the chef jumped out from behind a pillar to inform me that he'd overheard my conversation with the waitress and that she'd misunderstood. he said that in french, actually, so i had to ask him to repeat it, but he then offered to replace the pie and he did so with gusto. gusto being the couscous i hadn't ordered. so i had a salad with my salad, enjoyed the coffee, and listened to the chef explain that the vegan menu isn't gone, it's just being overhauled. overall he made a good case for returning soon to find out how that goes.

---
good on you, boulder! sounds like a good fight for a green economy, and there's time for us all to pitch in a little.

colin stokes discusses education in culture and is nothing short of inspirational. give the man a few minutes of your time.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

labour day-intensive

damn it takes a long time to clear out a macbook. at least an hour of going through all the apps to clear sensitive data and sign out etc. i could've just done a "factory reset" but then the next luser would have had to reinstall all the software that was already there...

... a part of me is now wondering if maybe i shouldn't just own my own computer. aww, heck, i'll worry about that another day.

after doing laundry (finally! back to normal) i went to godmother's for coffee as an excuse to pick up fruit that my uncle had bought for me (he has to buy things on special even when he doesn't want them). we talked about apartment ownership and she reassured me that the guys i'd spoken to were talking shit: it's always a good idea to invest in property, and montreal taxes are no different from any other country's.

so, that was positive. i came back (playing a lot more penny arcade: gamers vs evil - the more i play the more i enjoy it) and followed that up with junk food on the couch watching community. they've really brought it back to its former glory!

so i've done very little today, which i guess is what labour day is all about. and i'm surprisingly comfortable with it. i know what i have to do going forward, things might not be how i want them to be but they're certainly a lot better than they could be.

and i even did a couple of french lessons.

Monday, September 02, 2013

inflection point

so i tried to get back to bed around noon as i'd been woken early, and instead of passing out i lay there with my eyes closed feeling miserable. i thought and i dwelled and then suddenly understood what's happened...

i've been working for this company for half a year. at the beginning it was tough because it was too lax and we were working with C-players, now it's tough because megaman and darn have brought in a slavedriver culture and behave as if they're A-player only even though they're only B-players. so from one imbalance to the other, only this side of the scales is unfriendly and stressful.

it's not just that it's demoralizing and demotivating, i just realized that i'm properly depressed. the only thing that really gets me going is training, and i think i can explain my addiction to training as it being the only form of endorphin release i get. not that it wouldn't be exciting and awesome in any event, it's just that work occupies the rest of my neural activity and it's exactly the opposite of satisfying.

as i said to my mum after the revelation, this year is a sacrifice and a means to an end. also, i was willing to take any job in order to get here and just because i was enjoying this one doesn't mean that i shouldn't slog through after it becomes undesirable. i have half a year to go and i need to put learning french at the top of my priority list: if i can't get permanent residence then this will all have been for naught.

so i don't like darn and darn doesn't like me. i don't have faith in what he and megaman are doing, i don't like their management style, i don't like the office politic that's been developing. but i need to make this work, and if that means putting on a happy face and playing possum then that's what i'll have to do. as much as it pains me to say this, i'm going to start picking my battles and try to make things as bearable as i can.

---
on a completely different note, godmother prepared a great dinner last night and we all ate it under the stars while enjoying perfect weather to close a perfect day. it really was great, even my uncle was surprisingly pleasant.

i went straight from there to see the world's end, and i thoroughly enjoyed myself. what a clever, funny movie! a great finish to the cornetto series. i caught the last metro home and read until i passed out.

...

i was woken up early by a phone call from the real estate agent with good news; i'd spend the next hour sending emails and trying to get my thoughts straight. as i sat down at the computer i received a request from a fellow student who's been tasked with taking over my webmaster responsibilities - i was so excited that they finally found someone i had to sort that out first :P

community season 4 is on netflix, so i've now watched a couple of episodes - they're on form again :)

---
i've spent a ridiculous amount of time with the online dating sites. i've gotten more comfortable sending messages, at least.

a week to reflect - ii

[... continued]

pg called last week and it was really nice speaking to her. she's decided she's done with england and resigned herself to being israeli... oh, well.

---
dating:

i've been keeping an eye on the dating sites; i've so far seen a couple of profiles that were worth trying to communicate with. most of the girls online are either totally unattractive physically or entirely uninteresting.

last week at ju-jitsu i was paired up with a sexy, large girl with a great attitude and who's so naturally flexible that she's practically impossible to submit. i was almost too attracted to her to focus on the task at hand, with jiu-jitsu things get pretty intimate...

a really cute girl "claimed" me in boxing friday night, and i'm kicking myself for have missed two perfectly good opportunities to ask her out. dammit!

---
training:

hayfever makes for difficult training.

our boxing instructor made me feel like shit last week, but this week he made it clear that the grief he was giving me was actually his way of saying i've established myself. when i realized that my enthusiasm returned even stronger than before. so much so that i've been happily working through my jump rope issues: my new rope needs to be whipped down on every stroke and it's an insanely tough workout. by the time we've warmed up my arms are already strained and then i add actual boxing... i'm already feeling a lot tougher after just a few days of that!

one of the guys was sweating profusely the other night and our instructor was giving him shit for it. i couldn't resist:
"oh my god, that's disgusting! i've never seen anyone sweat so much!"
as soon as everyone realized what i was referring to we all had a good laugh :)

i was surprised to learn that the beginner mats' jiu-jitsu instructor's jewish - i heard him talking about the birthright program with another guy and felt like i was in the twilight zone.

i'm gonna miss boxing with scrapper. there's a noticeable difference working with a friend who you know you can push and who knows can push you. one embarrassing incident, though - he was talking to the substitute instructor and i thought he was done. i made as if to strike him and then realized that all eyes were still on him...

...

friday night a couple of the guys invited me to spar with them after the class. the primary objective was for me to learn to defend myself. i didn't really get that far, but it was a bloody good start. i gotta say that it's terrifying to see or almost-see a punch coming for you and it's really hard for me to keep my eyes open and feet grounded. every moment is breathless anticipation of being tagged, and with these guys tags are pretty jarring.

even more upsetting was taking an opportunity to beat up on one of them and realizing too late that i'd thrown all my technique out the window and didn't have my hands up. shit!

...

i began today with an awesome sparring session; it was my first time in the octagon and while we started with boxing we ended up with muay thai.

i do not have what it takes to stare down a spinning backfist.
i do not have what it takes to stare down a spinning backfist.
i do not have what it takes to stare down a spinning backfist.


---
last thursday (august 22nd):

it appears that the metro braking system isn't automated. i witnessed a train stopping too late, and all the people waiting to get out got to watch us for a minute before continuing on to the next station. what a bummer!

...

how 'bout that? all it took to make a shitty day great was an early happy hour, great jiu-jitsu and killer kickboxing, and a stupidly delicious chinese meal out.

---
friday:

waking up: muscles relaxed, brain relaxed, window fan whirring, the perfect combination to make me want to just lie in bed and slip in and out of consciousness. but alarms. and crunch time. and reality.

i left very late on friday night, picked up scrapper and took him for indian on the way to vfmp's with thunderstone. the meal was delicious, and thunderstone was brilliant. we played until 3 or 4am with vfmp and his buddies, great beer and games, fun attitude and non-stop funny commentary.

the pre-dawn air was wonderful! it was a little chilly, though, and i was ready to crash. on our way home the taxi driver tried to gas us (he closed the windows before letting rip with a most offensive fart) and drove so fast we were sure he was suicidal.

---
saturday:

scrapper and i went to see kickass ii, which was especially cool because we'd seen the first one together. we both enjoyed it immensely, although it wasn't quite as wonderful as the first one. i was surprised by how great jim carrey was and it makes him even more of an asshole for hating on the film.

we went to sports experts so scrapper could pick up some things and i saw a lumogreen hoodie from under armor that was so brilliant i wasn't sure i could pull it off. it would take some mulling over later before i decided that i had to have it.

godmother told me that things were happening on monkland and we decided to check it out, very fortunately running into newk'd. we enjoyed the little street festival, then went to maz for a night of booze, awesome pool and air hockey, breaking to have dinner at shaika across the road (nice place!) and to catch the tail end of a pretty good hip hop performance.

newk'd's girlfriend was defeated in pool by a psychotic dude who took himself way to seriously, and they asked me to please avenge them. getting the rules sorted out was a negotiation, and at one point he became certain that newk'd had talked shit about him and i needed to calm him down. i kicked his ass in spite of large quantities of alcohol and my focus difficulties, and walked out feeling like a hero.

...

i'm not at liberty to share who scored the quote of the day:
"my ex-girlfriend, who was black - i mean she's still black but she was my girlfriend..."

---
sunday:

waking up late and hitting starbucks to Get Shit Done without disturbing scrapper or being distracted by him. we did some major shopping at loblaws where i managed to piss him off (my reaction to his not hearing me wasn't particularly considerate), and we proceeded to saint laurent which was supposed to be like monkland the day before but it kind of sucked. i picked up dodgy indian food as we entered and i regretted it almost immediately - the experience of it, not after-effects. to make up for that we went to aux vivres which was awesome.

we walked through la fontaine, sitting down to chat for a while, and i was surprised to see it actually filled with water :P
on our way to piknic electronik scrapper had an epiphany relating to a philosophical point we've been discussing for years now, and he took that with to the party. piknic wasn't great, something about the crowd was a bit weird, but dj bliss was bloody amazing and we enjoyed that.

we got home late, watched devilman: the birth and then passed out. the movie was entertaining, but it's totally weird that the biggest action sequence was boring.

i went to bed feeling the purest exhaustion i've felt in a long time.

---
monday:

morning: "beauty snooze" - i was very lucky to wake up on time without my alarm...

after training: it was great training and weather that made me feel good. the indian place was closed so we did chinese, i burned my mouth and was pretty upset with myself because it would have tasted even better otherwise.

we spent the evening discussing biological technological applications and capped it with a reading from ryan north - to be or not to be. it's genius!

---
tuesday:
epic dreams of revolution. wearing wednesday socks threw my sense of what day it was out of whack.

there was a dinner fail, we didn't find anything to watch on netflix and closed the day playing a card game scrapper'd picked up that was pretty good.

---
wednesday:

a sense over the whole night that i wasn't quite sleeping, just waiting. i woke up hurting badly and exhausted, and dragged myself to the office to meet with moonlighter and then escape. the meetings took longer than expected, but i returned home and napped for about forty five minutes and that made a world of difference.

even so, i attacked the code that i was supposed to be manipulating and after hours of struggling still couldn't figure out if i should write it from scratch or just keep trying. i was most unhappy.

boxing: sweaty yet relaxed, practicing defense. i need a lot more of that.

we just made it in time for a big and delicious indian dinner, then went downtown for an uninspiring beer before returning home. i was properly tired and even fell asleep on the metro...

---
thursday:

scrapper's alarm failed so it's good i was planning on seeing him to the airport. i'd discovered a taxi iphone app and organizing the ride there was nice and easy. we had coffee, said goodbye and i went straight to the office.

three coffees and i was still feeling weak. i left late and was feeling wasted, i was on my way to kickboxing and i simply couldn't understand why i was still going... i must be seriously addicted. most of the lesson was disappointing, but some of it was useful and we had a good finish so we i left it was with a sense that it had been worth it. my evening disappeared in the internets and i went to bed relatively early.

---
friday:

i woke up feeling pretty good.

happy hour: excellent lunch money game! i'd bought it based on a vague memory, the kinds of things that came out were a lot of fun.

there's something magical about walking in the rain all the way to get food at subway and finding it closed. i learned about twerking and hurriedly finished my application to mars one.

i watched the second episode of black mirror on scrapper's recommendation and was blown away by it.

---
saturday:

i began the day realizing that nobody cares about my laundry problems. and i'm not the only one with them. and the dryer doesn't work again.

i posted the previous entry, took a slow meandre downtown with a decent cup of coffee, and bought the luminous green hoodie i'd seen with scrapper the week before. apparently retail therapy doesn't work if you don't like shopping. i'm glad i got what i needed, but that's as far as it goes...

i ate a crappy tofu meal, and between the ride downtown and back played plenty of penny arcade: gamers versus evil. i love that game.

vfmp and his boyfriend came over for thunderstone and lunch money, i made a quick salad dinner and we headed to the village to watch the ufc fights live at a sports bar. it was a pretty awesome night.


---
today:

i'm now hurriedly finishing this before heading to godmother's for dinner. i woke up early for sparring, and walked out of the gym into the most beautiful, hot summery day of blue skies and pleasant breezes. i had a quick subway lunch and am proud of myself for not getting involved in the ridiculously uninformed bible debate between two women sitting near me, then took my snowboard to poubelle du ski for renewal.

in retrospect, i should have bought the board but it was too late by the time i realized it. in the meanwhile, i'll enjoy another year of any damage being their problem. i got groovy new boots - bright orange with "nitro" written across them. so my new boots tell me "memento mori". how appropriate...