Friday, January 31, 2014

manic up

well, that was interesting! the meat of the jiu-jitsu class was only half an hour, which kinda messed up our kickboxing timing. i tried the kind-of-rolling exercise everyone was doing in the interim, through which my ankle held out just fine until i found myself being dragged on my back - nothing was touching my ankle except the ground, it wasn't moved to either side, yet it suddenly spiked with agonizing pain. i called it quits and prayed it'd be alright for kickboxing, and i'm very glad that it was because kickboxing was really tough tonight and rather satisfying.

vfmp came over for dinner and fluxx; he watched an episode of family guy which i can't stand, and was forced to admit that futurama's better after a random episode proved funny for both of us (season seven opener).

he's left, and i'm now thinking that i should get to bed but i'm still hyped up on the general excitement of the day. maybe the trance radio station isn't helping. i'm pretty sure the half a bag of nutty chews we consumed isn't either.

linguistic enthusiasm

i'm working through duolingo with kularis - fruitopia in the background, it's hard to stop bouncing.

but that's not why i'm excited: here i thought "survivant" was going to be my word for the week... "over living". but coming across "somme" for the first time as "sum", and realizing that "we are" is "we sum" in french? ah ha! it's the little things, i'm amazed i didn't think of it / come across it sooner.

i'm feeling super nerdy right now. just sharin'.

---
epic dreams this morning, ending in helping the girl flee a tiger; a pussy cat in human form but mindlessly vicious as a beast, alternating between aiding her and hunting her.

...

after four days of mean winds... what a magnificent day! not exactly warm, but it might as well have been ^_^

aside from losing my new flash drive today, i spent a good chunk of it working on my comics with exciting success. it might have been even better had i not been sitting next to two girls who were ostensibly studying while sharing their incredible wit with the rest of us... sadly, they only left after i'd already done what i'd set out to do but i still managed to focus better at the starbucks than i would have at home. as long as i don't have access to a fridge and am sitting in a place with a purpose i'm far better equipped to avoid distractions.

afterwards i had lunch at subway while reading more harry potter, then shopped - suffering awkward checkout lady explaining how my sweater would help prevent my being run over - before returning home to read sherlock holmes, nap and study. aaaaaand now i'm off to the gym.

...

speaking of which, i spoke to wire today and he thinks he'll be back in training soon - i'm hoping that means i'll be getting my money back. i know i should probably write off the debt, but it bothers me because i gave him the money for a very specific purpose and that's not what it was used for :/

Thursday, January 30, 2014

sugar and spice

why do the heavy thoughts tend to weigh on me when i'm lying in?

my state of mind on my way to the gym this morning can be well described by informing you that i went in to the locker room to put on my cup and only then realized that i'd forgotten to put on fighting shorts. i kinda felt like kelso.

it was jiu-jitsu day, and vfmp taught me about single leg x guard. that's a lot of work! it wasn't just tough on my legs, hips and cardio, but there was an unfortunate moment when he was demonstrating something and torqued my busted ankle. so much for being careful :(

we ate lunch at basha; i don't see the excitement, it's crappy middle eastern food. it seems that the only place that gets it right in montreal seems to be la pantere verte...

i hadn't ingested caffeine all day, so i made myself tea before settling down with the wonderful copy of les aventures de sherlock holmes that vfmp brought me, each page facing its translation. the caffeine didn't have much effect, and i passed out for a couple of hours.

i woke up, read some more and then got ready for a date. i kept thinking about how unfortunate it is to be on a date; you have to play it cool, but not so cool they'll think you're uninterested. what a mission!
i arrived just on time, she was a few minutes late. the music was too loud and the old buzzard at the table next to me kept grinning and waving at me while shouting "pas de l'eau! pas de l'eau!" - so i ordered a glass of water and then my date rocked up before i could finish it and decided that we should try the bar across the street.

she's beautiful, and has such a wonderful laugh that i felt privileged to have been able to keep it going for a while! after drinks, we took the metro in the same direction for a couple of stops, and the goodbye was so abrupt that i'm not sure she's interested in pursuing :(
at least it was an enjoyable evening :)

downton abbey is making me emotional.

george carlin: back in town is, in my opinion, the best show he ever did.

i've had a serious case of the munchies all day. what the hell from?!

---
my feet may have looked better a couple of weeks ago, more civilized, but now they're hurting after training and winter dryness. my missive to my mom on the matter:
thanks a bunch for your interference with my hippie feet. i've been back in training for two weeks, my feet not only look "bad" again (i don't have a problem with them like this) but they're now perpetually hurting because my layers of protection have been ripped away.
[...]
i told you so.

forced to play

vfmp and i were debating suicide today, i felt i should share my little rant:

let's say that suicidal thoughts aren't healthy. aren't they? while actually committing suicide isn't normal, thinking about it can't possibly be outside of normative behaviour. i can't back that up, but i wouldn't trust any statistics that suggest otherwise either*. as medical notions of healthy, both physiological and psychological, are more concerned with "normal" as opposed to "suffering" when it comes to defining illness, it seems like a bit of a grey area. but of course we can define suicide and suicidal thoughts as unhealthy, especially for the purposes of this argument.

having said that, i believe that every person should have sovereignty over their being. for the same reason that nobody can tell me not to pierce my genitals or tattoo my face, nobody should be able to tell me what i can and cannot ingest nor whether or not i should breathe. see? that breathing thing works both ways.

i personally feel that anybody who attempts suicide is stupid - although to be fair i'm aware that everyone is stupid, including me - but them in particular because if you're already at the point of giving up then you've got nothing to lose! that's a perfect excuse to go on an adventure, say "fuck you" to the world as you know it and start from scratch. it's never too late, in my opinion.

let's say, however, that someone you know wants to off themselves. maybe they don't feel that anybody cares about them, maybe they feel under too much pressure because so many people care about them. once you've intervened, shared your opinions with them and possibly some wonderful advice that you were certain would turn them into you, what rights have you to take matters into your own hands? claiming that they're not of sound mind is ridiculous because there's a good chance that the reason that they're suicidal in the first place is because the unhappy people are the ones of sound mind in a world that has gone mad. which it has.

what intervention options are there available? well, putting someone on suicide watch is tantamount to imprisoning them. an asylum is literally imprisoning them. we're not talking about someone who might unintentionally hurt themselves, which i believe is a valid reason to protect someone. we're talking intention here. imprisonment - removal of a person from society - is a concept that should be reserved for anyone who presents a danger to society. so the person was suffering wanted to stop suffering, so we lock them up and medicate them to a state of complacence or apathy?

rehabilitation means getting them back into playing the game the rest of us have consented to even though it's a criminally crazy one! how hard do we have to work in order to... you know what? i'm just going to refer to a quote that's been doing the rounds lately: "normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."

so the choices become: be institutionalized, work really hard to find some semblance of balance, or struggle outside society. i suppose living in a commune is another option but with the way "civilized" society frowns upon "hippies" i wonder how many of those even exist. and with our pre-information age industrialized "education" system it's only a lucky few that figure out how to earn a living doing what they enjoy.

...

how is this case any different from a person with a degenerative disease who demands euthanasia? if it's about quality of life, and sovereignty or "freedom" to determine one's own destiny, then i can't see any reason to deny someone who doesn't want to live the right to choose not to.
but it's an indictment of our "civilized society" that so many people suffer from despair and depression.

hate the game, not the player. "before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

---
* i wouldn't trust them because by the very nature of the way that data is accumulated in psychology we're going to get significantly skewed results. you don't get asked if you have suicidal thoughts if you don't come to a psychologist with problems. and it's entirely plausible that you might lie if asked by someone you're not seeing professionally. like me answering the question in a profiling exam for the officer's course, for example. of course i've never had suicidal thoughts :P

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

what's for me?

i swear if i didn't so totally have my shit together i'd probably be schizophrenic.

---
the day began at the gym with vfmp. after much effort he can finally throw a decent hook! it was excitingly satisfying seeing him get it right.
it's the second time i've stood next to francis carmont while he works a punching bag. that is a BIG DUDE.

after putting my back out last night, the morning session did ease it up a bit and by the evening it was fine. hooray!

because all the other Big Dudes took over the mats, vfmp and i called it quits early (and agreed to do jiu-jitsu first next time, boxing we can do anywhere) and after a quick lunch i introduced him to fluxx. after he left i called my bank to opt out of printed bills for my new credit card, and was decidedly bored and a little annoyed by the service representative who talked shit ("i just want you to know that i appreciate your choice very much, it's so much better for the environment") and forced me to listen to a pre-recorded audio version of a consent form that, having already opted out for my previous card, i'd already agreed to :(

---
i finally reached the imperfect tense with duolingo today! i can't describe how exhilarating it was to realize that i have most of that shit down. i'm feeling so much more confident that i'll be taking the french exam soon!

i applied for a few more jobs today, then went out to print yesterday's reference letter and work on my comics at starbucks before kickboxing. only i brought the document in the wrong format (damn you, openoffice!) and left my netbook's adapter at home, so i resigned myself to drinking the coffee and taking notes on my phone for next time instead.

---
the kickboxing class was decent. i spoke to my boxing instructor afterwards about sparring and he told me that in his opinion i shouldn't be sparring at all. i heard him out and i appreciate his honesty, but afterwards one of the guys told me to ignore him and just start smaller... literally, not bang with the bigger boys who are preparing to fight. and then come back when i'm ready.

challenge accepted.

---
i came home to positive and amusing online dating messages (i've been told by one girl that i seem "so over it", but was then told to invite her out already), watched downton abbey (i'm going to be sad when i get to the end of season two) and got sucked into arbitrary links:

classic art animated. wonderful, and wonderfully chilling!

the assistant is a very cute and very short movie.

that's right. i'm posting a link to a cat video. it's called mailman battles cat while attempting to deliver mail.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

applying myself

every time i hear andy ling - fixation now i'm taken back to the ledhedz bus / afrikaburn fundraising party. and to tens if not hundreds of amazing house parties around the millennium.

*sigh*

---
yesterday:

yesterday was a better perspective day! though i'm not sure if my mom saying "great!" when i told her i was hit in the face repeatedly for half an hour in order to practice not closing my eyes counts as a part of that perspective. my forehead's a bit tender now :P (though my brain's definitely fine)

i left too early for the date, and there's not a lot to do in ndg on a cold sunday night. i would have bought a container of oreos at the supermarket had it fit in my pocket - i think i may have raised the security guard's suspicions when checking that.

the date was nice, the girl's not my type but we had a good evening nonetheless. i was amused to discover that she's friends with newk'd - but then, he does get around a bit.

---
today:

i woke up early, and was surprised by a visit from the caretaker. who wanted a reference from me, of all people. i didn't really want to write it but if he doesn't get another job i'll get even less preference if he's offended... so i wrote one that manages to be honest yet complementary and now i'm wondering how he expects me to give it to him as i don't have a printer.

while he was here he checked out the toilet which is still giving me grief. gorram presence effect! :@

i spent most of the day applying for jobs. if i apply for a job on linkedin do i need to send in a cover letter or a resume? one can only upload a single file so i went with the resume, but as they've already got access to all my resume's information through the linkedin profile that seems like it might not be the right choice.
why do these things have to be so complicated?! why can't i be hired based on my professional merits rather than my ability to seek work expertly?!

...

of all people to be writing comics, alyssa milano has produced hacktivism. i - am - impressed.

...

i went early to the french conversation meetup to enjoy the vegan pseudo-shepherd's pie at cafe juicy lotus while reading harry potter in french, and was pleased to find myself mostly comfortable talking and listening. confidence: level up!
the cute french volunteer and i were headed in the same direction afterwards and continued the conversation in french until she realized that she'd missed her stop :)

boxing: it was a tough class, and excellent. it was mainly tough because i was working with a guy who knows how to work well and is happy to push me past my limits. i'm fairly certain he's gay, which is why when he was being questioned by one of the girls as to why his gear that usually colour matches didn't i suggested that it worked perfectly because his orange shoes were matched to my training shirt. there was a lengthy and hysterical moment wherein the flabbergasted girl couldn't figure out if i was serious or not :D

army brat was a little more enthusiastic about getting back in the ring to hit me than i find flattering, but it was a good opportunity to discover that yesterday's drills were by far not enough. i did worse than before :(

---
one of the fighters was doing weights, he and i have talked a couple of times about psychology because he's studying it. he immediately got where i was going about the nature of reality (i think i've learned to explain it better over the years, perhaps i'll rewrite that post someday) and it inspired a thought: you know that worry that other people know what you're thinking when you think an embarrassing thought? or that concern that people will find out when you do something in private that you feel they'd disapprove of?

well, they do. and they already know, and they most certainly disapprove! because your personal representations of those other people are with you every step of the way! so while the "real" person has no clue what's going on in your head, the "spirits" you carry around with you have an all-access pass. how's that for a weird thought?

---
i've hurt my back a little - my back wasn't warm enough when i got into the ring - and i'm praying it'll be fine in time to work with the guy who punched me out on friday because that's happening tomorrow evening. it did make me take a hot bath, though; i'm thirty three years old, and training in tristar has finally brought me to an understanding of why hot baths are great :)

i've watched an episode of downton abbey, some ufc, and now that i've posted this i think i'm ready for a good sleep.

---
the american empire is proper-fucked: the anti-science brigade is winning their war of stupid..

Monday, January 27, 2014

to the face

"to the face" is the hebrew expression for "crazy" or "hardcore", but it's what i had in my head when i arrived in the gym this morning after a quick walk against the freezing wind and it describes the surprisingly hard punches i received during my time in the ring with army brat. i've been warned not to train myself into facing punches head first, but i really do need to get used to forcing my eyes open. i think this morning was productive.

what i didn't know until we left was that it was her first time in the ring! in spite of herself, she's now finally interested in sparring. very cool :)

...

apparently i'm scary when i practice liver shots to a punching bag. army brat tells me it seems like i have some pent-up aggression that needs an outlet, and i have to admit that giving a punching bag that kind of beating feels really good :P

---
after finishing this week's chem 181 lectures, i watched a bit of george carlin - life is worth losing last night, but stopped because some of his political rant was a little too close to home considering my previous post. but i did love his i'm a modern man poem!

and while i'm linking, nystire introduced me to horrorscopes that are so unkind that they break through my skepticism (and part 2) because i, like everyone else, like to believe things that are bad about myself. even if they're not true. at least, i seriously hope they're not :P

and he also introduced me to the okcupid hacking article. if this guy gamed the system and *still* had to go out on 88 dates to find love, i'm not sure that his "hacking" was worth it.

...

i woke up this morning freaking out, furiously trying to figure my way out from behind the bars of my little prison of fears. then i remembered something important: smile. smile, for real, and relax. i have a little time, *someone* will hire me and i will get my french sorted out regardless. where there's a will there's a way. and if there's no way, i'll still be okay. so instead of panicking and trying to plan for possible defeat, i need to keep focused on winning.

let's see how tonight's date goes :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

stories

well. i was on such a high coming back from south africa, but i'm on a total downer now... not the best state to be dating in, i'd better get re-motivated before tomorrow evening :P

my backstop - returning to cape town - seems more unreasonable the further away i physically get from there. the economy is crumbling, crime is perpetually rising but at the same time it's a place i'm happy to be, it's a magical place where people are mostly free even if you do have to work considerably harder in order to enjoy that freedom.

my alternative - returning to israel - would be spiritual suicide but at least i'd have better options. or would i? what's worth my general discomfort with the ever-present war and my subjection to a military state that i feel has betrayed me?

yet here i am, living in montreal, living off a bank account that's an hourglass with the coins slowly dropping down into the base. this country's not interested in me, regardless of the value i can bring; if i learn french then any potential employer would only have to wait two months for me, if i look elsewhere it could be up to six months and in that time i would be unable to leave the country... or work...

i'm standing beside my grave, as i have been for many years, eulogizing. was i the man who got his shit together to change his life and live out his dreams in north america? or was i the loser who returned after a year and a half with his tail between his legs to an angry existence amongst barbarians*? or to a happier, more relaxed world with a potential future to match zimbabwe? i don't want my children to be refugees.

and it's all here. right now. it's me writing my story, but severely limited by resources and bureaucracy that my personal ideology cannot and will not fathom.

* that's not a political statement, i'm not referring to how israelis behave in war. that's one sphere that they're too decent for their own good. which is ironic.

---
yesterday:

just before sparring last night i spoke to my toronto cousin who informed me that i need to "pull my finger out my ass"; on the one hand he's kinda right, on the other, well, i'm not in full control of my situation. perhaps i just need to believe i am? anyway, between that and my earlier test failure i wasn't in the greatest of moods when i hit the gym.

the first round of sparring wasn't particularly interesting. the second, though, was very exciting! i was working with the beast, and was in such good control of the ring that i deliberately maneuvered myself onto the ropes in order to test out the new technique i'd learned from badger. and i pulled it off! and she'd just walked in and witnessed it :D

there's nothing quite like the elation of stepping into the ring and getting a new trick right!

in the third round, after watching the dude i was up against sparring at full power and beating the crap out of the guy, i was a little more cautious. and by cautious, i mean scared. which is a terrible thing, because instead of moving in and keeping my eyes focused on his chest, i stepped back and blinked at *just* the wrong time. fortunately for me the right that landed was a setup for the left, because even with no power everything went black, i heard a loud crack from my jaw and felt my feet lift. the sensation of being airborne for a moment before landing in a heap was not a pleasant one. i was so shocked by what had happened that i had to roll out under the bottom rope and it took a while to shake it off.

there's nothing quite like being informed by someone's fist that you're doing something very, very wrong.

i feel really bad for bailing on the guy, and even worse because *he* feels so bad because he thought it was his fault :(
i wasn't hurt, just shocked and embarrassed, and i'm very glad that he's agreed to drill with me during the week because even the ten minutes of practicing facing the beast's punches afterwards couldn't be the same as working with the guy who put me down.

...

i felt stupid for the rest of the evening. stupid, and angry with myself.

---
today:

i began the day by hitting the gym without any caffeine (there's pride in that statement!). i stalked there determined to do something about the previous night's situation, but there was nobody to work with so for an hour or so i drilled footwork on the punching bags instead. i even did some weights, which i'd almost regret in the evening when i had to carry heavy shopping home :P

i paid a visit to godmother, who warned me not to let things get me down, after which i headed to the french conversation meetup. there was a crazy wind blowing today, although it wasn't as cold as it's been the past few days, and it's been snowing a lot. on the way downtown i was waiting for the bus when a car drove past and covered a few of us with slush: i was not amused, especially as this was after we'd had to wait for a second bus because the first was full :(

the meetup wasn't bad, though my listening skills... not only was it hard for me, but i kept getting distracted. it's hard to keep focus when you're not getting the full details.

i had a great falafel at la panthère verte, came home, shopped, then sat down in front of downton abbey with chips and chocolate. the series is so ridiculously good! i've just finished the first season, and already i'm disappointed that netflix doesn't have the third yet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

not so hot

awww, man. i was invited to take a test for a company i'd love to work for; they're using this really cool online tool called interview zen whereby they can watch you code as if in real-time. no pressure. the questions they asked were interesting but not mind-bending, but it's been so long since i've actually done any serious coding that combined with the time pressure i simply crashed and burned. i made an effort to demonstrate my intentions and i really hope that my methodical approach and attitude to problem solving shines through, but i'm not expecting an enthusiastic response.

what a bummer :(

but my curiosity has been piqued and i just solved the final part (that i didn't get around to) for myself. i really should be playing more.

---

scrapper's been in touch and he sent me some of the texts he's been working on - it's really good! but i kinda expected that.

it felt like i woke up, had breakfast and then suddenly it was afternoon already. time is seriously on a mission this week - i can't believe it's friday already!

i'm very awkward about sending emails about work to people i barely know asking for favours that i'm neither certain they can perform nor whether i actually need them to.

i braved the extreme cold to go to the distant supermarket yesterday, primarily to pick up turkish coffee. which, inexplicably, they no longer seem to stock. nooooooo!!!

on the way i ate the very last subway falafel they're planning on stocking at the local branch. nooooooo!!!

after the perfect nap - and by perfect i mean not only that i enjoyed it, but that i woke up without an alarm and felt very, very good for a long while afterwards - i chatted with k-twang who had exciting news and rushed out to the closer supermarket to pick up two items i'd forgotten earlier.
i then met with badger at the gym and we did four drills, three of which changed my game and left me with a *lot* of practicing to do. moving forward and backward while striking, responding to crowding and fighting off the ropes or out of the corner is bloody exhilarating!

i watched a fair amount of television while eating and then went to bed. today was relaxed until i did the test... and now it feels like the day is blown. or the week. ah, shit.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

intellectual fists

it's not just that it's cold, it's that 10 degrees of the cold are brought by wind. it's not just the temperature that's a problem, it's that you're actively being hit in the face with it.

i'm very glad my mask is so effective. and just as glad that its orange goes beautifully with my neon green hoodie!

---
during the past two days, horseman has established a routine of french conversational immersion and personal tutoring followed by tekken. the yells and curses alternate between english and french, it's all rather amusing.

weather-wise, there's something special about it being so cold that if you forget to plug in your headphones and pocket your player before stepping outside the cable freezes too fast to be able to do anything with it.

health-wise, my leg's stiff and sore but has daily improved noticeably. my boxing coach called me out last night in front of the whole gym, telling me i'm an idiot for complaining about my ankle and then going to kickboxing; not only was i being careful and avoiding left kicks, but an orthopedist i consulted years ago told me that it's important to keep things moving while healing. badger agreed, and she's apparently an expert. unfortunately, while my leg, arms and jaw are all feeling much better my lower back's still got two painful, hard protrusions. if it doesn't chill out soon i'm going to have to assume it's serious...

training-wise, things are awesome. after all the boxing coach's abuse since i've been back, i walked into class today and was given a new student to take care of. just like i did on monday after training and on tuesday with vfmp, i instructed her in the basics - the coach was both impressed and grateful, he had nothing but praise for me and i've gone from "that f***ing guy" to "my man" in two days. i wonder if this'll last?

as for my own training, the kickboxing was probably more relaxed than would do me good but the boxing tonight was hardcore: i made up for teaching in lieu of doing drills by multiplying my efforts on the punching bag; considering how tough it was for me to finish the class i'm actually amazed that i'm able to lift my arms to type right now! afterwards i treated myself to my favourite chinese dinner to celebrate :)

speaking of which - my post-training appetite seems normalized. i don't think i should worry about that anymore. i do need to worry more about removing my piercings before class, though, i'm lucky we didn't do impact tonight...

...

i was so incredibly tired last night and this morning, but now it's 3.30am after a long day and i'm doing fine. what?!
granted, i am excited about the nutrition course that began today. after getting through a fair amount of the first week's material i can heartily recommend it.
to EVERYONE!
there are no obligations, you really should register and take a peek before deciding that you're not into it or that you don't have the time.

---
odds and ends:

friends (ze germans and study mates) don't force friends to commit crimes under pain of death and then hold them hostage while they throw big parties. that's my conclusion from a dream i woke up from this morning.

i tried to activate my pc plus supermarket card today, and after multiple fails on their website i installed the app. which failed once before i restarted it and finally sorted it out. if you're trying to establish brand loyalty, shouldn't you do some qa testing first? just sayin'.

the laser hair removal consultation: seems legit, but the cheap price turns out to be per session, not all-inclusive :(

newk'd and i met for hot drinks this evening during which we shared some inspirational game ideas. i ordered a soup and the bread had ants, which didn't really bother us so i was actually surprised when they refused to let us pay for anything. oh, and i discovered while there that white tea, for me, is wrong for me for all the reasons it's good for others: no caffeine, reduces blood pressure? no, thanks.

---
stephen fry, word hero. gosh, that man is awesome.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

return to the poutine routine - part iii

[...continued]

berri uqam station was filled with people on their way to igloofest. i was dressed for it, i had my board strapped to my back, and a part of me really wanted to join them! but partying while sore wasn't going to work.

---
sunday:

i woke up jet-lag early (why did i not think to use my melatonin tablets?!) to an email from the accountant informing me that it appears that i owe a large sum of money to the tax authority even without the fine for late filing. considering my status as unemployed and trying to keep everything together long enough to get a job offer and pass the french exam, that was quite unsettling :S

he asked for a couple of other documents and i was looking for them when i discovered a digitization of something related that i'd forgotten i'd made before leaving... he responded with an apology for such a bad start to the day and with an update that it now looks like they owe me a sizable sum. that just made my day!!!

i finished watching the first episode of downton abbey, and i now understand why everyone loves it so much. why can't all series hire good writers? the characters are wonderful and the plots satisfyingly subtle. nice!

a guy i went to school with came over to pick up something his mother had asked me to deliver; he told me he didn't have time for coffee or tea, but he apparently did have half an hour to stand with me in the foyer talking uncomfortably loudly. a part of my discomfort concerned bothering my neighbours, and another part his pride in generally being a bit dodgy.

i headed to godmother's to print, sign and scan what i hope is a final piece of the tax authority puzzle (hooray for technology! he says sarcastically), then met up with horseman for subway and starbucks. happily he's keen to speak to me in french, but that really did make things complicated...

on the metro to have drinks and play carcassonne with vfmp's brother (mustwin) who's recovering from an appendectomy, i sat across from a guy who looked familiar. i didn't recognize him even after he told me where i know him from, i was embarrassed... but not as embarrassed as when i exited the car and it all came rushing back to me - we trained a fair amount together, talked quite a bit *and* he's friends with gg :$

i beat mustwin. i was prouder of that than i'm proud to admit :P

i made an inefficient choice when taking the metro to the fight night, but it afforded me an opportunity to help a little old lady with some heavy lifting. i think i managed to hide my limp as i lugged her baggage up the stairs :)

the fight night was great! firstly, i didn't make the mistake of taking a date along so i got to really focus on what was happening in the ring. the guy i sparred with before i left was doing security, he took up a position next to me and so we shared running commentary. the guy i really went to watch, who lost his first fight, came out strong in his second and was deservedly ecstatic when he stepped out victorious. the guy i was sure would get knocked out was knocked down twice in the first round and the referee called a stop to it; he really wasn't ready. certainly not ready enough to be coming in with a nickname like "the hebrew hammer", you have to win a fight before you get cocky, bro...

our coach had accepted a fight last-minute the day before, and it was interesting to finally see him in action. i'll be honest, i kinda expected more but it was a good fight nonetheless and he had a tough opponent. exciting shit happened in the ring, overall it was satisfying.

vfmp made it for the last three fights, afterwards we went to aux vivres for dinner. the conversation went deep into zombie-theory territory, and i wished i'd been recording because he was playing devil's advocate and i couldn't keep track of all the questions that i should definitely answer if i do end up writing a book.

---
yesterday:

oh, couch, i love you! i was too tired to shower, i barely had strength to brush my teeth before flopping down fully clothed and waking up feeling like a new man in the morning. i spent the morning figuring out french exams and courses and things, then shopped, ate, and passed out for sleep so deep that i almost didn't make it to the clc french communication mix!

being half asleep combined with the temperature dropping ten degrees in one day (-12 not counting the evil wind) and walking in the shade was very chilly indeed. once inside and "settled", i was cornered by a bunch of strange women asking me questions in french and i cursed my subconscious for adding "sweating profusely" to my discomfort. what a stupid response! :(
once the initial wave had somehow been fought off - my french may be bad and horrifically slow, but it's at least understandable - my system calmed down and i (literally) chilled a bit. after an hour and a half i realized that some of my french is surprisingly decent, some of it shameful. i'll be back at the language center again next week.

i rushed through the freezing cold to get home. the first thing i had to deal with was an email from bell regarding an update to their terms and conditions.

---
right after impressing me with their #bellletstalk campaign, they sent out an email with new terms and conditions "as part of [their] ongoing efforts to improve [their] customer experience" to counter the aforementioned show of goodwill:
"To provide the Services, Bell may have to use, reproduce, adapt, transmit, display, publish, perform, distribute and create compilations and derivative works from your content. In accepting the Bell Services, you waive your moral rights, and you authorize Bell to perform these activities in relation to your content anywhere in the world, only to the extent that Bell needed to provide you with Bell Services."
please explain why i should be okay with my internet service provider taking full control of my content? the "only to the extent" seems just a touch ambiguous. i called the number listed on the email as being for inquiries, and after getting through the menu system and being put on hold for ten minutes i was informed that only online chat assistance is qualified to help.

well, shit.

---
i went off to the gym, eventually decided to test out my ankle by taking the boxing class. of course this didn't score me any points with the coach... i finally came up with a response to his jibes at the end of the class and i suspect i may have offended him because he got defensive. one of my fellow students made a snide remark to which i responded in a joking fashion, but i now worry that he may not have realized that i was kidding so i'm going to have to apologize to him next time i see him just in case :(

my ankle was hurting but not too badly; after the class i spent an hour or so instructing a girl in our class (army brat) in technique. it intrigued me that while we were working the pads she suddenly shrunk back and said "i'm scared" when i told her how to strike them - i wonder if she was responding to my officer voice?

after training i sat down to my traditional salad dinner and two episodes of downton abbey, then decided to call it a night.

---
today:

i slept with french talk radio in the background, and i think that was a good idea. i got up early and was going to buy coffee at the further supermarket before sitting down at starbucks to write these posts, but it was so insanely cold (-23, not counting the wind) that i stopped at the starbucks and decided to worry about the coffee another day. it was so cold that i didn't remove my super-warm sweater the entire time!

i stopped to go to the gym and meet vfmp for boxing instruction: the same thing i'd done with army brat, only he has even more unlearning to do. by the time we left we'd both learned some pretty cool things; i was rather excited because i'd been trying to teaching him what to do with his hips when he throws a hook and suddenly noticed that a cross had been taped on the floor right where we were standing, i figured out that when you throw a hook you're essentially just switching stance but without moving your feet. thank you, taekwondo, thank you :D

vfmp joined me for tea while i ate lunch and we watched total rubbish on youtube (projected on the wall, of course), and i got back to finishing this. horseman's now on his way for some more french immersion, and then i'm going head back to the gym and see how i handle kickboxing. i might not. i'm not planning on doing anything stupid...

---
over the course of the past few days, i have finally understood the correct way to eat skittles!
partially crush a few of them until they form a solid mass, then suck. it's stupidly enjoyable and each handful lasts at least five minutes :D

return to the poutine routine - part ii

[... continued]

i wanted to meet up with tpj at the sherlock holmes museum pub, but i'd forgotten that it wasn't on baker street. whoops! so instead we ended up at the beehive drinking stout that wasn't particularly good. it was nice to see him and we had plenty to talk about; it was almost too late when i left for the heathrow.

*and* i didn't know which terminal i needed to be in. i guessed 5 correctly, though, and i made it through security just in time. security was a breeze again! i don't know why they get such a bad rap.

there was a long delay on the ground, but as long as i was on my last flight i really didn't care. after watching world war z, i finally got around to seeing elysium! what a fun film, thoroughly entertaining... but i cannot fathom how anybody who's not south african could possibly enjoy it. i *would* have enjoyed it on the big screen, but i certainly wouldn't have felt it worth the price. maybe i'll watch it again when it comes out on netflix.

i got in a little sleep and some epic dreaming, breezed through the airport and came out on the other side of immigration feeling so ridiculously relieved! godmother had yang pick me up, which was really nice, and i returned to a clean apartment for a much-needed shower; i did some emergency shopping, gobbled down a frozen meal and was so jet-lag exhausted dropped out of consciousness in a heartbeat.

---
there's something queer about yang: he was telling me about an upcoming party that he'd previously sent me an invitation to. an open-to-the-public party in a nightclub downtown. the next day i mentioned that i might want to join him and he informed me that he hadn't actually extended an invitation, "not to sound offensive". wtf?!?!

---
friday:

in the morning, pg delivered the tax-related documents i needed and i put everything together for the accountant. she also invited me to see pearl jam when they play england - that would be awesome! i wonder if it's in the realm of possibility...

i sent in my resume for a couple of jobs, and spoke to bell regarding some worrying things on my bill. they explained everything and even reversed technically legitimate charges in good faith (they may have been legitimate, but were understandably unfair), i was well impressed :)

i had been planning on going to newk'd girlfriend's community center poetry slam event, but when i realized that i'd gotten the date wrong i agreed with vfmp that jiu-jitsu and boxing followed by glitter sounded like a good plan. let me be clear - the only reason i agreed to watch a movie like that was because every time i'm shocked by his boyfriend not having seen culturally critical films his response is "well, have you seen glitter?!"

i renewed my tristar membership for six months, hoping that i wasn't being too optimistic but satisfied that the difference in cost between three months and six months isn't really significant. i returned home to snack and nap, and unintentionally bit down on an unpopped popcorn kernel: i found the offending tooth! and it's *not* the one the dentist suspected, so good on both of us for not proceeding.

i walked into the gym and into a lecture from the top muay thai instructor who wanted to make sure that i'd been careful with sparring after he'd seen what the beast did to me. my boxing coach was right there, so i flashed him a grin and asked "are you hearing this?"

jiu-jitsu was good, i seem to have gotten a handle on a lot of stuff; the rolling afterwards, though, required all-out power and my partner and i kept stalemating. after him i rolled with vfmp, but by then my arms were exhausted and so after i gave up we practiced some techniques instead.

my return to boxing: i know now that after my christmas tale the coach had excitedly told others how impressed he was with me, but from the moment i stepped into the class we were back to the verbal sparring. it's kind of sweet, kind of annoying. anyway, the class was fun and he left us with so many exercises that the entire class treated it as a group effort. i think i was the only one who failed to complete the 400 sit-ups, push-ups, burpees and squats (100 each). but that's mainly 'cause i wasn't feeling well, jet-lag-wise.

i don't know why i got home so late. i also don't know how i'd managed to score skin irritation on my chest and arm from the jiu-jitsu when i'd been wearing long sleeves; i think i might need to wear a regular training top underneath my long-sleeves. i "hurriedly" showered and went to vfmp's; i write that in quotation marks because my body refused to operate any faster than slow-motion. it was like all of my muscles had turned to jelly, but i was feeling great so i wasn't complaining :)

i *did* need two beers to watch glitter. it wasn't nearly as bad as crossroads, and as far as motivation goes i now have currency with which to purchase vfmp's boyfriend's film-time for movies like the fifth element :)

forgetting that it was friday night, i arrived at the metro at a time that would have been fine on a saturday night... fortunately it wasn't too cold, the twenty minutes waiting for the bus could've been worse.

---
saturday:

i slept in, enjoying a slow and mindless morning. i went with godmother for coffee at the mall, after which she had stuff to do and took so long i worried i'd been forgotten and abandoned... she appeared just in time for me to be able to consume a quick lunch and head out for the slopes. i had a bit of a headache, but i really didn't want to miss such a perfect day - i was totally right! the weather was absolutely stunning and the snow conditions were excellent ^_^

...

that awkward moment when, after cringing and asking him to please be a bit more gentle with my board, the bus driver upbraids me for how i've been transporting it and explains why and what to do in the future. turns out he's a snowboarder. win!

(apparently the flat gets preferential care to the edges on bouncy metal surfaces. who knew?)

...

as i got off the bus an old woman with a heavy bag slipped on the ice, and slowly and awkwardly fell, softly (hopefully softly enough) hitting her head on a wall. i quickly dropped my board and helped her up, i hope she was okay...

on my walk to the mountain i couldn't stop thinking that the small voice that thought i should take the day easy is a dickhead - i would have missed the most perfect weather! we had bright sun and soft blues, it was relatively warm, very picturesque and absolutely lovely. i made good use of my couple of hours and my switching is getting quite decent ^_^

---
i returned from the final slope feeling so incredibly fortunate and grateful! i was almost sure that nothing was broken, but my right leg was really hurting after the worst wipe-out i've ever had. "the ones that hurt are the ones you don't see coming" appears to apply to snowboarding as well as boxing. that one could easily have hospitalized me: on the final section on my way down there were two people that i decided to go around, but what i didn't see until it was far too late was that they were standing in front of deep moguls made of solid ice. i couldn't slow down in time, and i bounced - probably three or four times - and when i finally came to a stop and had figured out which way was down, i realized that i could easily have snapped my neck. i didn't even notice until i locked up my board that my foot had completely pulled out the binding (explaining why my ankle's screwed), and until later that i'd suffered minor injuries to all my limbs, my lower back and my jaw.

no matter how fortunate i felt, the walk to the bus was an eternal half hour of grimacing and grunting in pain. i spent the twenty minutes waiting for the bus trying to keep things mobile and stretching, worrying about all the bones clicking that i'm sure aren't meant to click. the hour or so on the bus was all about stretching and flexing, and the walk through the stations and then home was agonizing. the intense relief of climbing into a hot bath was unbelievable, and i'm very glad i remembered to ice things for a while before limping into bed.

[continued...]

return to the poutine routine - part i

it's been an intense (almost) week since i left cape town! i guess i got used to being on holiday. the weird part of being on holiday from unemployment is that it was still, in all senses, a holiday. huh?

regarding weather and snowboarding, it turns out i had absolutely perfect timing! after i left the weather became (relatively) warm and rainy, and the first snow opportunity was on the day after i returned. thank you, montreal!

---
last wednesday:

after posting, i went upstairs to pay my uncle a visit. he's really ill and uncomfortable, but he was only too happy to talk and so we did that for a while. it was interesting to receive support for what had only just become my backup plan; later over drinks with my aunt and tgtbt at the winchester mansions my plan would be received just as warmly. so far the only person who hasn't thought much of it is my cousin in england - he had very valid things to say about it. the decision won't be made lightly, though. and life is funny, there really aren't right answers so i can only do my best. and right now, my best is to not need any damned backup plans!

packing went smoothly, there was no pressure and after drinks my mother drove me to the airport: the sunset was achingly beautiful with a full moon just showing over transcendent purples. it's usually hard to leave cape town, but this time? after three glorious weeks of full-being massage?

my mum and i had just enough time to talk and eat (though the wimpy service was so slow we almost scrapped the eating part), and laugh about the woman who appeared to be smuggling jewelry by disguising it as a boot decoration.

...

the first thing i saw on the plane was a guy reading maus, which made me smile because tgtbt and i had been using it to explain to her mother why my "comics" don't need to be funny :P

what a difference being able to read my kindle and listen to music during take-off and landing! i can't believe the rules have finally changed, and now that they're official i'm far more comfortable :)

note to self: never again, given the choice, book a seat that isn't near the back of the plane. i had to share four seats with a man on the other end, and he passed out before we even left the ground. that gave me three seats to myself and i made full use of them ^_^


---
thursday:

i watched the fifth estate, which wasn't bad - it's a decent story and didn't feel overly treated. it's also very, VERY relevant. we're in trouble, people.. as i've said many times before, internet access and privacy are the weapons of the 21st century; "the right to bear arms" that the americans are all excited about has nothing to do with antiquated bullshit like guns.

i started watching world war z, which i'd finish on the second flight. it's really not a bad zombie movie, but it's Just Another Zombie Flick. what the hell does it have to do with the book of the same name?! it's a completely different take on zombies, the story isn't even similar to *anything* in the text. whether or not you enjoyed the film, if you're at all interested in humans, zombies, humanity in the face of apocalypse or zombie mythology at it's very cleverest you should read the book. the book is brilliant!

...

changing clothes in london was easy enough. i was asked loads of personal questions coming through immigration, just like before, but again i played nice and they let me through. the long tube ride was just more reason to keep listening to the techno protoplasm had provided me with - that would keep me going for days. it's so good!

it was a beautiful day in london! it did rain a bit, but mostly it was sunny and not very cold :)

the helpful guy at the station didn't know how to get to the specific place i was looking for, but he directed me to what he thought was the right area (turned out it would have been far quicker to walk than take the bus). i loved the fact that he seemed to be caught off-balance by my obvious tourist demeanor and my suddenly british accent. my south african accent may be off, but at least i still have something not-americanized :P

i found myself at a bp station (having just been in one in cape town to fill up the rental, that felt odd) asking for directions, and the guy working the shop was really nice but couldn't find my destination using google maps. fortunately the shop had map books for sale, and he had no problem letting me grab one for a minute - i found the place in a second and thanked the man profusely before heading out. while there, an israeli came in to buy chewing gum. it seemed the most arbitrary place to hear half-asleep hebrew...

i had coffee with my cousin and his son; it was great to see them and we talked until they had to get back to work. i walked back to the subway, decided i needed a bathroom and entered a subway; i'd already ordered my lunch when i realized that they didn't have washrooms at all :(
my brain was mostly offline by that point, i was embarrassed when i realized that i'd asked the guy behind the counter if the veggie patties were vegetarian when i'd meant to ask if they contained any dairy. no matter, he probably wouldn't have known anyway...

[continued...]

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

farewells

since sunday's trip up platteklip, my legs have been as sore or more than my attempt on the elliptical. so i'm feeling like an old man and i'm satisfied with myself simultaneously :P

the "saying goodbye" phase of this visit is both depressing and comforting! my head's spinning with all the last-minute information, such as a job offer and connections i've received which would cushion my fall if i had to leave montreal, the rediscovered family and some exposed familial skeletons that have fallen out the closet; on my way here i was consumed by thoughts of mail-order husbandry, on my way there it'll be by thoughts of french and work and backup plans.

monday:

getting lost in obs treated me to an excellent vegan sandwich and good coffee. protoplasm's workshop is very cool indeed, i know he's not in full swing and profitable yet but it's great to see that he's on his way :)

he completely blew my mind when he informed me that he was recovering from food poisoning - which he'd gotten before the party on saturday! he was horribly sick and had to be so in chemical toilets, but he wouldn't leave or say anything because he didn't want to ruin our fun! that's insane, even if he did manage to enjoy himself and the music in spite of how he was feeling. i will never be more impressed by a designated driver in my life.

neil gaiman's commencement speech which i watched on airplane's insistence - okay, he didn't have to insist too much - is brilliant and funny and validating; he's saying what i've been saying for years but in a much better way and with more authority :)

my mum and i went to say goodbye to my niece and her husband, my sister's husband and kids and the new sisters-in-law, then returned home for dinner with my aunt and uncle puberty. i then headed off to visit an old friend i haven't seen in years, met his wife and glimpsed his daughter before settling in to chat until it felt pretty late.

---
yesterday:

i went to the cape quarter early to look for a specific piece of jewelry for shadowslight's mother's birthday, and walked in to a store manned (or womanned) by a girl i went to school with and who claims only recognized me because of facebook. it's funny, she wasn't good-looking at all as a teenager and has become quite attractive; we chatted for a while and then i left to meet my mother for coffee and be introduced to two of her co-workers.

there's something deeply entertaining about hearing my mother referred to as "battle-axe" :D

i filled the car with petrol and returned it, then walked to the comic / game store to spend some time with another old friend before hyperviper picked me up and we went to the wellness center for lunch. i thought we were going to eat together, but he disappeared and i ate alone. the food was really good, anyway, and i ran into a guy i knew from the dance crew who i'd seen on saturday night.

i went to rick's for a couple of drinks with hyperviper, who then drove me back to sea point to have coffee with my brother. i walked hom from there along main road, my mother picked me up and we went to the golf course (metropolitan is gorgeous) for shadowslight's mom's birthday party. i was introduced to a woman who's apparently my first cousin once removed, who was very excited to meet family she likes. i jumped in on a conversation about psychology not knowing that the woman speaking holds a chair in a psychology department; i told her about my zombies thesis and she was so excited she invited me to teach a seminar. hah!

after a great dinner and more alcohol, we went home and my sister picked me up and we went to call-a-pizza. the pizza was delicious and the music was great (though i expected to purchase more than one disc, but whatever), and we talked about a couple of things that really upset me.

1. my niece's new husband did and does things that are deeply disturbing, and unfortunately my niece is so stubborn that nobody can advise her. all we can do is hope for the best, or at least that if she gets hurt that it's not too badly, and support her as much as we can. i really, really hope that our fears aren't realized and that they're happy together.

2. my brother's behaviour has been even worse than i thought.

in other news, my sister's had some interesting paranormal experiences since her mother's passing that are inexplicable, i don't know how much is coincidence and charlatanism or how much is for real, but if it's the former nobody will ever be able to prove it and if it's the latter it would destabilize my world view. fortunately for me i don't need to worry too much about that right now.

protoplasm rocked up and we went to rafiki's for drinks after deciding that heartache & vine wasn't the place to be. amongst the other topics of discussion he proposed a stupidly simple way to get around the infuriatingly silly laws about working for compensation without a permit*, so if things get interesting i might have an option to earn.

* working for entities outside the country, that is

---
today:

languishing in bed, enjoying my last proper sleep until i get back to montreal. walking to my niece's mother-in-law's salon for a pedicure after which i barely recognize my feet, they're not so hippie anymore. getting a cheap (R45) haircut at adelphi center (not very professional, but decent enough) and then lunch at xiang yuan (what an insanely dodgy place!). i shaved my beard for the immigration officials, showered and am now about to make a couple of calls and pack my bags.

aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

reset, re-rooted

how do i describe the indescribable? this weekend was defined by magic, an introduction to the ledhedz bus, a small subset of the afrikaburn community and what's apparently called techno but doesn't sound anything like what i thought was techno. i'm officially a convert!

chasing that with a hike up to the top of table mountain on a gorgeous day only served to reinforce my reconnection to this city's power.

the past couple of weeks have been incredible, i feel reset and reconnected, and i'm quite bummed about the fact that there're only another couple of days left before i'm out of here. i love montreal and i know i can't stay here, but i really don't want to leave!

---
friday:

i was going to go shopping but decided to spend the stunning sunny afternoon on the beach with sagirl instead - a much better idea! after an incident a few years back when i got burned during a really quick beach visit, i was a little concerned in spite of having put on sunscreen. after a while lying on my belly facing away from sagirl, enjoying the sun on my back, i suddenly felt like my skin was tingling and just at that moment sagirl piped up: "totalwaste, are getting paranoid about being burned? well you can stop, i'll let you know when you need to worry."

whoa (O_o)

...

granadilla lollies cost R20, which is ridiculous. they're also a little smaller than i remember, even if they're just as awesome.

...

my aunt and her kids came over for drinks and debate, which was a lot of fun, and on tgtbt's recommendation my mother and i went to takumi for dinner. firstly, the place is beautiful and the service is excellent. there weren't any vegan options but everything looked really good so i decided to do the sushi experience properly: boy, am i glad i did! everything was absolutely delicious and well presented, by the end my mother couldn't eat any more and i finished everything only because it tasted so good. win!

---
saturday:

dreams of airports after america enforces anti-modesty laws to filter out the religious, and about staying in a small community in a generically foreign country.

...

my mother and i went shopping in town. from the parade through grand central and golden acre, we managed to find a pair of shorts for me. it was only when we hit st george's mall that i found a hat i liked, and we did a full browse of greenmarket square before i figured out what beads to buy.

---
i hate markets and i hate bargaining. i hate the fact that a conversation about price begins with an outright lie in an attempt to cheat someone out of as much as possible. the whole experience offends me... but somehow, in spite of my feelings of disgust, i seem to have picked up a thing or two while in israel. apparently i've become a tough negotiator, because i walked off with what i wanted at only slightly more than my initial shock-value offer!

the moment that most entertained me was walking away after telling a seller that i wasn't interested in arguing and that i'd give her two minutes to consider my proposal. she changed her tune when i returned.

i can't say i enjoyed doing that, but at least i'm not feeling jipped about my purchases.

---
on the way we saw some amazing artwork in the area! we would have gone to crave for lunch but they didn't have vegan options and the guy behind the counter was totally disinterested, so we went to kauai instead where the food was great and the staff pleasant.

the sailors were barbequeing on the beach but that didn't really fit with my other plans, so i decided to go with protoplasm to the party in hillcrest quarry. that didn't actually fit with my other plans either, but i didn't really think about it properly and in retrospect i'm rather glad i didn't :P

---
i'm not sure where to begin with the ledhedz bus party. i hadn't thought to bring a sweater and when we arrived the wind was up and it was too chilly to swim, so i'd worn boardies under my shorts for nothing. fortunately we kept warm on the dance floor :)

the subset of the afrikaburn crowd was something i couldn't get a handle on the entire afternoon / night, every now and then i'd register that the only odd man out was me because it was my first event. the crowd included people i went to school with and my niece's new sisters-in-law, which was quite funny and cool.

the music when we arrived was terrible, and the dj after played a lot of empty beats which was boring. after that, though, things got real. the fact that i had deeply entered an alternative state of mind made my introduction to what techno has evolved into an insane experience, i simply could not get a handle on what i was hearing and i've been informed that that's more or less the point. there's something so incredibly strange about dancing to a beat that changed two seconds ago but in such a subtle way that you're not sure why you're off, and something very cool about music that involves such a wide range of electronic that within a single minute you can be standing and nodding your head, dancing like it's disco and stomping like it's psy!

my hippie feet served me well the whole night, i'm extremely glad that i've maintained them so nicely :D

using the public toilets barefoot wasn't too bad - they were kept pretty clean - but there was a moment towards the end of the evening when i was standing by the urinal:
i was in the act when an arm shot across my vision in a most disturbing manner. the guy next to me was trying to settle a can on the sill of the window above us, and i was certain that it'd fall on me the second he let go. eventually he got it right, though, but i still kept an eye on him - peripheral vision only, of course - and was horrified when i registered that he was swaying wildly and struggling to unzip. once he got that right and started to pee, he was too far away from the urinal and swaying too much to not miss at some point.
urinal etiquette be damned, i thought, i'm not having this guy wet my feet!
i told him that i would be very grateful if he would just take a step forward. i was so relieved when he obliged - i was so worried that in whatever state he was he might get aggressive - and i walked out of there with dry feet.

there were only two upsetting moments at the party:

the first was when a dj dropped a tune with a religious sample about jesus' second coming, there were a lot of people on psychedelics and that's *so* unfair whether it was done in jest or not... it actually ejected me from the dance floor for a while :(

the second was me telling protoplasm that i didn't know how i'd feel about the music if i'd been sober. i realized as i said it that it was the stupidest statement of the night because i'd feel exactly the same way, but he suddenly disappeared before i could take it back and i stressed about it for about five minutes until he returned and laughed at me :$

there were plenty of fantastic moments to more than make up for those, though, so that's alright :)

---
yesterday:

i was most amused by the sexy german girl we'd gone with passing out on my shoulder while we waited for protoplasm with the car keys - you'd have to be pretty tired to find it comfortable enough :P

i was still high when i returned home at 4am, and only a little concerned about how i was going to get up four hours later to go hiking with airplane. i knew i needed to eat but the peanut butter on toast i made was far too sticky. my mother introduced me to coating it with marmalade, which i'll definitely remember next time as a bloody good idea! we talked for a bit before she went to bed, and it was then that the penny dropped that i only have a couple of days left to say goodbye to everyone...

... how did three weeks pass by so quickly?!

i got into bed but my subconscious was too busy turning imagined white noise into techno for me to sleep; i plugged in to my ipod and that drowned me out of consciousness pretty quickly. good timing, too, because in the morning the battery was drained so i finally remembered to charge it for the flights :P

...

i had no problem waking up, it was an absolutely stunning morning! i drove to airplane's and we headed out together to table mountain. it's cardio up (heavy breathing) and skeletal down (stressed knees), we didn't stop talking the entire way and had a really good time. we went to hudsons for burgers (their veggie burger's good even if it's crumbly) and drinks afterwards; about halfway through the meal the past day caught up with me and my system downshifted. we said goodbye and i drove home, showered and rested for fifteen minutes until my mother came home and we went out for drinks with cousins.

twice, with different cousins. and lots of drinks.

by the time we got home i was completely broken. i had just enough energy to eat my mother's first attempt at cooking tofu - not bad - and lie down on the couch, but suddenly i realized that i needed to brush my teeth and get into bed. i'm so proud of myself for not passing out on the way, i was that exhausted that i was sure that might happen!

---
regarding david foster wallace - infinite jest: the whole marijuana addition thing is ridiculous, and it bothers me that people who read the book will have their understanding skewed. tgtbt is a case in point, i had to explain to her that even in such an extreme case, the marijuana is not the culprit. it's psychology, the person has a problem with or without it, and blaming a herb that isn't addictive is irresponsible especially when the world is finally beginning to wake up from the nightmare that the war on drugs and its disinformation have kept us in for the past forty years.

to be fair, the book was written in the nineties, but it still upsets me.

---
listening to the news always bugs me. i think america should conquer syria, set up a puppet government and slowly turn the country into another of its states. considering the country's instability they wouldn't need to pretend to be doing anything else, like they are in iraq and afghanistan...

Friday, January 10, 2014

infinite rest - part ii

[... continued]

---
yesterday:

the virtual breakup continued. i went to my brother's place for coffee with him and his elder son - the one i don't like - who in addition to appearing to have matured somewhat (which i would hope for from someone who's just made the dean's list when finishing his law degree) actually apologized for the shit he gave me during my matric year and admitted that i hadn't hurt him*.

* this was important for me. the only time i ever completely lost my rag with him i picked him up by his armpits and held him in the air against the wall until he agreed to leave off. he then convinced his little brother that i'd kicked him, and many years later this had turned into a "real" memory that he recalled when we saw each other.

---
my brother took me to nü for breakfast, and later in the day i'd hear that my sister is feeling decidedly betrayed because we're spending time together. i'm conflicted, because on the one hand i know she's right and on the other, well, i don't know. i certainly don't trust my brother and i still think he's an asshole, but i'm also pretty sure that he simply doesn't know any better and i'm trying to figure out if i should be shutting him out, or if there could possibly be something worth rescuing. i really don't know if there's an answer, but he is my brother even if i have mixed feelings about him. the only thing i'm sure of is that i wouldn't invite him to my wedding if i got married, that sort of thing, but i'm not sure how that translates to one-on-one interactions if at all.

my sister's currently trying to get the rest of the family to stop attempting to reconcile them; i do feel that it's my duty to stand up for her regardless of my relationship with my brother, what he did to her and her family is totally unforgivable and the rest of our family needs to know not only that but also that he's still keeping inheritance money from our younger sister who's apparently been clean for a couple of years now and will never be capable of taking care of herself.
apparently he doesn't have a clue where she is or how she's doing, though. does that make it better or worse?

---
i underwent an emergency beard trim with clippers, then picked up a bottle of rum and headed out to clifton for volleyball. the weather was strange, cloudy with a bit of sun peeking through, big rolling waves and a slight breeze that couldn't make up its mind as to where it wanted to go. the large group on the beach was comprised of a wide variety of people all connected through the years, who were only too welcoming when i arrived :)

in spite of the rum, which did make things a little more hardcore, i played really well despite not having seen a volleyball since 2008; the main difference from the last time being that here, instead of struggling to teach my team-mates about team-work, i was joining a bunch of people who understand the game and we were all having fun and playing decently.

the only bummer was a bit of knee-on-knee action when one of the sailors and i both went for the ball at the same time...

i went into the atlantic twice, and both times it really wasn't as tough as it's been the past few trips. i was concerned that maybe it was just an age thing, because i still fondly recall swimming out to the boats with hyperviper and staying immersed for ages, and the past few visits i've barely been able to walk three feet in without exiting in pain from the cold!
so that was a relieving experience :)

springer arrived with her family in tow, and even though we couldn't see the sun setting we all stayed way past it sitting in a big circle talking, even the threat of rain couldn't detract from the perfectly pleasant sea air and being surrounded by lights in the darkness.

when it eventually did start raining, we all packed up and hurried up the stairs back to our cars to mission off to dizzy's in camps bay. it wasn't just dark and raining, there were odd swirls of mist floating eerily across the road's surface. it was a surreal drive that i thoroughly enjoyed!

how odd running into my niece's new sister-in-law again! the cheeseless pizza was decent, the company was great and the pool was surprisingly decent. when we arrived the guy who had the table beat our first challenger in a way that made me sure that he was bad or that he was a hustler, and either way i wanted the next shot. i discovered that the latter was the case, i made him sweat visibly and was *so* close to winning... but i screwed up a critical shot near the end and gave the game away :(
the rest of the games were a lot of fun and by the time we left we really didn't care that we'd never had the table to ourselves.

i drove home just fine, but i was halfway back when i realized that not only might i fail a breathalyser test but that i'd left my driver's license at home. whoops! :$

---
today:

the virtual breakup is now definitely done. this posting is done. i have found my clif builder bars, which my mother had tidied away - out of sight, out of mind, and now it's clear that i over-bought.

the weather is beautiful and i'm really looking forward to the weekend!

infinite rest - part i

it's friday! it's a beautiful day, and i'm pretty sure that after posting this i'm going to head into town and try to get some gift shopping done. and perhaps a little drinking with friends if they're around.

a quick summary of the past week before the details:

1. it's been an extremely relaxed week, the weather was mostly cloudy and cool so it was very indoors and reading or napping or vegging out in front of the telly. which, mind, had so little to offer that it was mostly set to classic music videos. i did see the fifth element again. at some stage i'm going to try to count how many times i've watched it.

2. except when it was outdoors, on monday my mother took me and my london cousins out to our friend's farm and me to visit my second mum in paarl. yesterday i joined my new friends, "the sailors", and springer and crew on the beach for an incredible afternoon / evening of volleyball followed by pizza and good pool.

3. sq and i are definitely not happening. it started with her sending me cooler-than-lukewarm messages, escalated to very unpleasant miscommunications with no sense of humour, and then calmed down with friendly explanations of why this can't work. it's been three days of this, actually, and it's felt like a very real breakup.

oh, well - better virtually than pushing on to a real date and having that fail.

---
monday:

the whole day i was tired and perpetually needed to pee. i don't know what that was about. we picked up my cousins and drove through to spice route, which is a beautiful farm with a magical view of the valley; their coffee is terrific, their variety of chocolate is great, their beers are top notch and the brewery-visit experience very cool, their pizzeria is excellent even though they were struggling as they'd hit capacity, and their preserves store had some very interesting items. we then moved on to fairview, but only to drop off my cousins before heading out to paarl.

my second mum's looking good, i hear she wasn't doing so well when my mother last saw her. we didn't talk too much but it was nice to just spend time with her, her family seems nice (it's the first time i've met them, really) and it amused me that i had no problem understanding all the afrikaans even if i wasn't totally comfortable speaking it.

i don't know why her niece's husband kept referring to us as "so-called whites" (the quotations are his), that was kind of awkward.

by the time we were ready to leave the skies had opened up and it was pouring with rain, we were soaked by the time we'd gotten the cousins in the car and the drive back felt cosy and protected and involved a lot of chatter and just the right amount of chocolate tasting.

a braindead evening ensued. i was suffering from restless leg syndrome and it hasn't really let up since.

---
tuesday:

in spite of the sore legs and feet i got a good night's sleep, had good dreams and woke up feeling right! i went to the dentist to have my sore post-incompetence tooth sorted out, but after much detective work we couldn't figure out which tooth was actually giving me grief so we decided it was better to leave it :S

i was intrigued when i went in to find a young dentist who's good-looking and looks like a serious sportsman; doesn't quite match the stereotypical dentist in my head. after i left i was informed that he was my niece's first serious boyfriend, which i found quite amusing.

i milled around the health store downstairs, finding a couple of things i wanted but getting stuck at the fridge: what the hell does "flexitarian friendly" mean?!?! after much discussion and googling we all decided that it was a particularly bad marketing idea, the products are vegan and the company's not doing itself any favours by not labelling them as such.

i had a powerhouse wrap (sans cheese) for breakfast at nü, then spent the day on the couch reading infinite jest or napping. when i read the preface, which states that nobody could read this book unaffected, i thought "challenge accepted!"
i failed, this book really is crazy and crazy good! i just got through reading a footnote that's so large conceptually and such brazen use of mise en abyme that i'm having trouble wrapping my mind around it.

i bought the first harry potter book in french, but i'm going to need a lot more focus than i'm currently capable of in order to get through it...

in the evening i took my mom out for chinese, the place is great and the food was good, and i was ready for bed by the time we got home.

---
wednesday:

horrible dreams of sweating sewerage and being chased by a hippo with a grudge. then waking up to a breakup message. i remedied the morning with a day of doing very little, eventually heading out to mr price to try to buy shorts to replace the ones i destroyed over new year's... i was severely disappointed by their lack of cool :(

i was thinking of heading to town, but found myself taking a walk on the promenade instead. what interesting timing! as i walked past the mini-golf wondering about the variety of people playing on a random overcast afternoon i recognized the sailors that i met at the festival! we went to newport deli for drinks and tapas, i tagged along to town to meet a couple of friends of theirs and we went through to cavendish to meet a sister, eat dinner and watch 47 ronin.

the movie is beautiful, but it's long and a lot less action-packed than the trailer suggests. we were all looking for a fun ride, and about halfway through we were doing the wave with yawns. to make me uncomfortable i'd developed a rather nasty bellyache that made me pretty bleak.

at least overall i enjoyed the evening in spite of that!

[continued...]

Monday, January 06, 2014

post-parties

for the second morning in a row, cape town is blanketed in mist and the fog horn is sounding. i've always loved this, ever since i was little, it's like the world is wrapped in a cool blanket and we're all being sung a lullaby :)

---
friday:

i woke up from dreams of adventure, vengeance and personal justice that made me ashamed. they involved my father, he had cronies, and although i felt that they deserved what they got i was not happy to be in any way involved.

we got up early, dressed nicely and went to the cemetery for the unveiling of my aunt's father's tombstone. it's really not a pleasant place to see loved ones for the first time in years... my other two aunts, uncle puberty and i visited my grandparents' graves, my late uncle's and my late great uncle's. it got emotional.

---
i was introduced to a man i'd apparently met at kc's brother's barmitzvah in 2010, but i couldn't remember him at all. though he remembered me well, which made me uncomfortable as hell :(

we saw him again as he crossed to the other side of the cemetery (where my father's buried, we felt no need to visit that side), and my mother drove off with her sisters leaving me with her car.
i was still recovering from the festival - meaning i was feeling a little slow - and was focused on not getting lost on my way home, as i've never been familiar with that area; that doesn't excuse the fact that there was an old woman in the parking lot who'd been waiting for the man in question for half an hour and who was terrified to be waiting alone, and instead of staying with her (i had nothing better to do, really) i told her to rather wait in the shade of the buildings.
i was right in the sense that there are security guards there and less heat, but once i'd driven far enough to be unsure of my way back i became certain that i shouldn't have left and spent the whole drive home beating myself up about it. even if she had nothing to fear, she *thought* she had something to fear and i shouldn't have left her alone :(

---
i spent the afternoon getting in touch with most of the people i'd met over new year's, applied for a job in the states with an old friend of biggles who i hope still remembers me from way back when, did some shopping and tried to post using a browser that keeps hanging. this computer is totally screwed! it took me too long to figure out that i should type things up using notepad if i want to retain my sanity...

we went to my aunt for drinks with her boyfriend, wp, tgtbt, their little brother, godmother and yang. the new boyfriend seems like a good guy, and he gave me some interesting advice when he heard about my immigration issues.

a simple misunderstanding had everyone thinking that wp was defending the assailants in the killing of a man holidaying with his family that had taken place at midnight on new year's - phrasing is everything :(

---
from there we went to dinner with my brother; after all he's done i always feel uncomfortable about seeing him, but it really wasn't so bad. it's weird that although i no longer care much for him we still have a lot in common, and the table conversations were interesting. especially considering that i would have thought them wholly inappropriate in light of the rest of the family there, our uncle and cousins who are a bit on the square side and our cousins' teenage kid...

... that kid is freakishly wise and educated for his age. he's also a really good kid, and talking to him makes me proud!

...

the apartment - which freaked me out once upon a time when our father died and we saw it for the first time - still looks like a recreation of our home before my mother and i left it. the name on the apartment listing downstairs? it's my initial followed by our family name. wtf?!

---
my mother was exhausted even though a couple of us were deeply engaged in a discussion about the magic of software development and the failings of industrialized education, so we cut that short and returned home.

where i began my suffering: ingrown hairs on my throat. i'd forgotten why i abhor shaving with a razor so much! it's been three days and the situation hasn't improved much, i'm now seriously considering laser hair removal. i was considering it before, to be fair, but because the last time i actually had to deal with this was so long ago it wasn't really a priority :P

---
saturday:

i was too tired for anything, really, so i went to bed. i woke up to post, spoke to sq instead, then met with dirk diggler and we had breakfast at the new health food place. the quinoa porridge i ate for breakfast really wasn't bad, we had tons of stuff to talk about and i'm well impressed that he's got his shit together even if it's not in a way i would ever consider practical.

we shared a supremely uncomfortable moment talking about mistakes of the past and how they shape us. just thinking about it now, even, is pretty overwhelming...

...

i got into my car and found a cigarette butt on the floor - i couldn't figure out where that came from, and my hackles rose as i remembered the break in i had in 2000 before i left where the thieves had enough time to smoke while they worked. when i got out the car i found a cigarette box stuffed into the door handle, and understood that some asshole had simply stuffed the butt through the tiny gap i left for air circulation.

wtf?! why would somebody do that???

...

i went shopping for vegan food to toss on the braai. i started at woolworths: nothing. checkers: nothing, and the guy i asked for assistance looked at me like i was properly mad. i ran into some cousins, one of whom tried to explain to me how to make some vegan dish or other - not helpful - and then finally found myself at the spar.

win! they had a freezer fully stocked with fry's, which has a range of products that all taste pretty damn good!

the directions hyperviper sent me were really easy to follow and i soon arrived at his home in plattekloof. he's got himself a proper, middle-class home out there and i can't say i wasn't impressed :)
he told me that we'd be joined by a dutch friend of his, for some reason i thought he meant "dutchman" (a derogatory term for dutchman, which would have been funny coming from an afrikaner) but the guy and his wife are actually visiting from the netherlands. we all had a great afternoon, the food was good (even the skeptical carnivores tried the vegan sausages and were pleasantly surprised), we talked and laughed non-stop and chilled with our feet in the pool until it was time to go home.

stuck behind brackenfell and bellville cars all the way home, then failing to find parking anywhere near my mom's apartment because in addition to the minstrels locking up town the cape to rio race had just started: i was a little frustrated. i parked in a terrible spot just so that i could get the frozen goods home quickly, and fortunately when my mother returned someone had just left a space so she held it until i could bring the car around...

after dinner i crashed, and when i woke up a couple of hours later i decided that a trance party with yang was not on the cards for me. i joined my mother in watching jeff dunham's very special christmas special, posted a little and went to bed.

---
yesterday:

t'was a day of nothing. i posted, i began reading david foster wallace - infinite jest (tgtbt's recommendation), had coffee with my mother and godmother when she came to visit, and went to my sister's for a braai with her ex-sisters-in-law, a couple of our cousins and my niece's in-laws.

i went with my nephew to pick up a couple of things from their local spar, and he wanted to take a plastic bag that we really didn't need. when i called him on it, he asked the cashier if she wouldn't mind taking me off his hands because he'd had enough... how very disrespectful!

the evening was excellent, swimming, eating way too much, talking non-stop and compulsively playing with the two insanely cute boxers.

now that i'm awake, we're off to paarl to visit my second mum. i've been looking forward to seeing her!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

ushering in 2014 - the festival

[... continued]

getting to rezonance wasn't difficult at all, which was only a concern because the last time i went we got lost and ended up in a township. my cute little fiat rental wasn't happy at all with the farm roads, though, and i had to drive extremely slowly... good thing i hadn't forgotten my cds so i could at least sing along and enjoy the ride :)

i walked in carrying my tent and blanket expecting to run into my cousins immediately, but after a short mission i returned to the car to leave them behind and go hunting with my hands free. a good reason for not being able to find them? they weren't there! i thought we'd be doing the full family vibe but only two cousins were there at all, one leaving before the other arrived.

walking in past the third dance floor i heard a bit of george daniel, i'm almost sorry i didn't stay for more, he was amazing!

i found yang on the main dancefloor, we talked for a minute and then springer walked past. it was so cool to see her! she dragged me off to meet her mom and her fiancé, and a couple of minutes later i returned to where i'd met her and yang had already left, not to be seen again. in the minute or two that we had seen each other he'd managed to annoy me by boasting about the quantity of drugs he'd taken in a way that assured me that he'd done nothing at all and didn't realize that that was okay.
okay, then!
the next day one of my new friends would make a comment about how she can't understand how anyone could be stupid enough to leave before the last day, and i kept thinking of yang doing just that...

springer introduced me to her campsite and i set my tent up with them. the wind came up just as i began and subsided soon after i was done. of course :P

i finished just in time to catch the goldfish performance - brilliant! - and then we hit the dam for a swim. i sat on the bank because my boxers weren't appropriate for swimming :(

i was disappointed to find that there were precisely two options for vegan food at the festival, but fortunately the indian food was a very good option indeed. what was super weird was that the stuff they warned me was really hot and spicy wasn't a problem but what wasn't supposed to be spicy burned me :S

the night session didn't impress me too much, the dark psy and full-on were mixed and a lot of the music was loud and crazy but boring: no groove, no clean beats, boring. the few tracks that were good were really good, though, but not enough to keep me out there. i must have gone to bed around 11pm, which in retrospect was a sodding good idea :)

speaking of good ideas - my hippie feet! i've been given some grief about them, most notably by my mother who thinks that i should go for a pedicure, because they'd make a khoisan proud. they're rough and tough and made for stomping, even if they're not the sexiest feet around. i was very glad for them when i discovered an exposed piece of metal on the dance floor in the dark, not by walking on it but by stomping my foot down on it with full force. it hurt, and for a minute i was worried that i'd punctured my sole, but there was no damage done and everything was fine.
in fact, the worst thing to come out of the festival was a splinter in my left foot, i'm not sure if it's still there or not :P

i slept on the ground with a blanket and some clothing piled to make a pillow, and aside from waking up throughout the night to reconnect the tent cover which had been blown off by the wind i actually slept quite well. i woke up feeling rested and, surprisingly, with my body feeling aligned. nice!

i walked down to the dam for a wake-up swim, the water was lovely but drying off was extremely chilly, then headed to get some coffee. as i stood waiting for my order an old couple - and by old i mean somewhere in the range of 50s to 70s, it's hard to tell - stood next to me and were deliberating over their own order. when my coffee was presented to me the gentleman looked over and asked, quizzically, "green coffee?"
his wife (presumably) turned to me and made a calming motion with her hands. "it's the mushrooms," she said. "if you find liquid mushrooms, you really shouldn't take more than one or two drops."
i walked off with the silliest smile on my face!

the music from the second stage was waaaaaay better suited to mornings than that on the main one, so i took my coffee there. talisman was playing, he's a groovy old dude with amazing progressive and there must have been about ten or fifteen of us in total enjoying a perfect session!

when the stage shut down i returned to the tent where my neighbours were just waking up. i convinced them to join me in some rum, but i accidentally pulled out the southern comfort instead. should've labelled the bottles! i brushed my teeth, then returned to the main stage to hunt down tgtbt and her boyfriend. i knew where they were supposed to be but i couldn't find them! eventually i almost walked over them and laughed at them for thinking i'd see them if they were sitting down :P
tgtbt and i talked for a while and it was really cool to get some catch-up time :)

i picked up the bottle of southern comfort, put my boardies on beneath my shorts and hit the dance floor for some quality crazy time. it was getting hotter, too hot for spirits without ice - one of the guys i gave a sip to actually threw up - and eventually i gave up and returned the bottle to the tent. i'd developed heartburn myself, half a bottle of the stuff is apparently not a particularly healthy breakfast.

the vegan place made me a strawberry, banana and apple smoothie that was good, but had precisely one strawberry in it. i found that strange. when i went back for lunch and couldn't decide on quantity, i was called an emasculating name by a very pretty girl and told to take more. i told her i was fully confident in my masculinity and did not succumb to her taunting, and i'm glad because it actually would have been too much for me :P

the afternoon was absolutely wonderful. broken toy were excellent and gandalf finished the day with an amazing set, whoever was in between was good most of the time. there was a lot of mud to splash about in and everyone was having a jolly good time - though there were a few groups of people who weren't quite playing with the rest of us - and the only difficulty was trying to keep in the shade and not get too burned. i'm rather proud of myself for managing to limit the damage so well, big props to my mum for giving me a fantastically silly cowboy (cowgirl?) hat which helped a lot :D

i ran into one of my niece's new husband's sisters on the dancefloor, confirming my original suspicions of her being a bit of a hippie too ;)

my new friends (met through springer) were so much fun to party with and only to happy to share goodies, after the festival was officially over we all spent some time at the dam before heading back to the tents. the wind came up while everyone was striking camp and died down just as soon as the site was clear. of course :P

i stayed with them until i felt ready to drive safely back to cape town, and then a little longer because they'd arranged dinner, and the hours together were spent most joyfully.

after a beautiful, spiritual day and a half on the farm, i got in my car and drove back super-cautiously because cute cars and farm roads don't mix. days have passed, and i'm still feeling wonderful - may the new year bring us all light and love and continue in the vein in which it began!