Friday, February 28, 2014

t minus zero days

omg omg omg. vfmp just left after a couple of hours of last-minute interrogation exercises, he gave me a lot of advice, some of which is sound and some purely speculative, and i'm now going to try to sleep a "normal" night in order to be prepared for the exam tomorrow.

---
today was a hazy day, possibly caused by the cloudy, despondent weather. i had difficulty concentrating, i did a few exercises and a bit of reading here and there but not as much as usual.

in the afternoon i went to meet with a friend of yang's, vector, who's a film student and is interested in working with me on something. i thought i'd left late, but arrived perfectly on time and in time to receive a message from him telling me he'd need another while. no problem, i told him, i have a book to keep me occupied. i went into starbucks, ordered my coffee and sat down at a table that would've been a great spot if it wasn't for the occasional whiff of faeces. you know that awkward moment when you wonder if it's you? that you check your shoes to see if you stepped in something? well, a few minutes later vector arrived and we moved to the other side of the coffee shop, where it didn't smell bad.

none of the ten or so people on the other side appeared to be bothered at all. i find that weird.

we sat for about an hour, i showed him what i want to work with and we discussed approaches - we seem to be on the same page, and he walked me back to the metro while we talked enthusiastically about how to proceed.

...

the metro was packed, and a bunch of teenagers jumped in to our car at the last minute and were offensively loud for two stops, even literally screaming at one point. dark looks from me had no effect. everyone else looked anywhere else. hmm :/

...

i spoke to my mother who wanted to wish me well for tomorrow's exam, but i was too tired and irritable [sorry, mom]. i read and rested for a bit, ate dinner while watching freaks and geeks and then vfmp arrived.

---
i've just heard about the mankind project, listened to wentworth miller and read the new macho. powerful stuff.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

t minus one day

the temperature in the apartment kept dropping last night, so much so that for the first time this winter i've actually needed my duvet. fortunately that was enough to sleep decently. mostly. at least the problem seems to be sorted out now... i can't believe it took them two days to take care of it.

i don't know what drove me to look at the featured apps page on itunes: pre-exam distraction-seeking when i already have tons of other distractions available? i downloaded stack rabbit, mini ninjas and another case solved. the first is a bit crap, the second is pretty and fun but the last is stupidly addictive - no, make that cleverly addictive! it's balanced perfectly so that the in-game purchases are enticing but if you want to keep it free it's not an issue. it's based on tile-matching, but it's so much more than that; the hints aren't enough to get the hang of the tools and tricks, but the more i've played the more i realize what i'm supposed to be enjoying. and it's great :)

...

dreams:
1. in a synagogue, realizing after quite a while that i hadn't put my "kippah" on. someone was making a noise and a crazy red-headed cousin of mine almost got physical with the offender trying to "keep the peace".
2. i entered a gym, the cheaper, shittier one with a dodgy locker room that reminded me of pub toilets that i suspect had been derived from another dream. i didn't feel like working out.
3. on a mission to break in to a nuclear facility. there were written instructions i couldn't carry and which i had difficulty memorizing; i was extremely hesitant to enter through a safety window (?), but a helpful japanese girl demonstrated how to get past the airlock system which involved getting naked. i was still uncomfortable.
4. standing in front of a mirror examining a visible upper tooth when it cracked. i slid it off an ugly rotten core that remained, and was quite upset.

i had trancentral five loaded up and listened to it while reading this morning. it's like a time machine: while it played i was nineteen years old and enjoying a sunny post-party afternoon with protoplasm at the apartment i lived in before emigrating from south africa. "was", not "thought about being" or "remembered being".

horseman's two hour chat this afternoon was smoother than yesterday's. we ended it with a couple of rounds of tekken, after which i continued reading before heading to dinner at godmother's. dinner was really nice (uncle hate's away), i watched a bit of gladiator with yang until it was time to leave. yang gave me a ride to vfmp's where we watched another episode of house of cards. a pretty good one.

when i left it was -13 and pretty darned cold. as in, it felt cold, i guess i've gotten used to being indoors... on the news earlier they were saying that this has been the coldest winter in twenty years. it doesn't seem *that* much worse than the last, though, which was apparently one of the mildest in years...

...

my thighs and hips are hurting from last night's training.

my junk food habit is expensive. i just did the math in my head. not good.

---
pulse's friend has officially referred me for a couple of jobs i'd like. *holds thumbs*

scrapper has invited me to join a small group doing collaborative world-building via email. so far, fun!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

cold note

oh. the temperature dropped during the night, and it appears there's an issue with our building's heating so it's been a bit chilly indoors.

suck.

t minus two days

it's been almost a year. if this was a movie, i'd be readying myself for a fight already! instead i'm still looking frustrated in the beginner's sandbox at the beginning of the montage sequence. if this were chess, i'd be playing with a timer and wasting each turn trying to remember how the pieces move instead of strategizing and thinking two moves ahead. in the ring, each time i'm told to use my brain i mentally put my hands up and shut down.

i will get better.

---
icing my toe didn't help very much. and my back's been giving me a bit of grief. i read and snacked the night away - snacking continuously is kind of how i read - until late and then woke up to continue where i'd left off. it was a slow-brain day.

facebook etiquette: there's a tel aviv poetry group i'm a part of, and i've been receiving notifications because some jerk has been posting entirely unrelated things. nobody's said anything and facebook tells me how many views each post has had. so i posted a snarky poll:
    has this page become a place for posts that aren't related to poetry in israel?
  • yes, you should leave it if you're not into random food posts.
  • no, but maybe if we ignore it the problem will go away by itself.
  • no, can we go back to how things were?
eight people saw the poll, one voted on the second option and nobody's said a word. huh.

horseman arrived early and we spent two hours chatting, some topics funny and some bleak, and my forgetting words i know when i need them is very frustrating. when he left, i detoxed on xkcd volume 0 (where did i get that? a humble bundle?) and then read some more before passing out for a while.

i was drawn out of my siesta reverie by a phone call, then proceeded to prepare for training. i met kgb and we worked flexibility, struggled a bit with kicks and pads, and then it was time for the next class. there were only two of us in advanced kickboxing and i asked the jolly moroccan if we could do sparring drills. both liked the idea, we spent the class working up to full (light) sparring, which culminated in (accidentally) trading kicks and knees to the groin that called an end to the evening. not including those, we've agreed that we could definitely use a lot more practice.

the first episode of freaks and geeks is super awkward and fun. i've been posting and half watching it, which probably wasn't the most efficient of ideas!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

t minus three days

i got up relatively early today, did some career research and sent a mail to pulse's connected friend, then went to pick up my jacket (which had just been cleaned, so it was too damp to wear immediately), find out about our building's parking and purchase tickets for friday night's boxing fights and the muay thai fights that the jolly moroccan is featuring in. i spent the next couple of hours reading before horseman came over, we talked for an hour or two and then i headed to the gym.

---
a couple of weeks ago when i rented a car and parked it outside? i'm now familiar with the town of mont royal's by-laws, and i'm bloody lucky that i didn't get a ticket. turns out one needs a special permit to park in the street at night regardless of what the signs say, and during the day, unless otherwise authorized, a car can only remain parked on any street for four hours at a time. they explicitly state that as long as your car doesn't remain on the same block for more than four hours it's okay - that if you move your car back and forth every four hours you can stay all day. wtf?!

anyway, the good news is that obtaining authorization is as simple as calling in the car's details to them, so as soon as i have the car this saturday i'll make a phone call and then relax about parking until noon the following day. awesome. especially as it's "white night" and i probably won't be getting much sleep after i get back to the city ;)

---
the muay thai class was taken by a substitute, and it was a really, really good class. by good i mean it was hellishly tough but productive in that we learned and practiced some ridiculously useful knee technique! the rounds really felt like they were going on forever, though, and for those of us who didn't flag or slow down it was a truly hardcore experience. later, when the substitute saw me leaving he commented on my good performance and that felt almost as good as finishing the last round had :)

the only bit that sucked was that i reset from a push kick badly and simultaneously felt and heard one of my toes crack. it's an ice night tonight :(

between classes i sat talking to one of the girls in french. everything was going smoothly until i mispronounced "comics" in a way that sounded like "designed penises"; everybody went into hysterics while i sat there, embarrassed, not understanding at all what was funny about it :$

i was paired up with one of the gym's veteran mma big boys for boxing, and that made for a very good class indeed! we worked well together and impact was just right for both of us :D

---
i've added another previously unpublished poem to my memorized collection (that makes eight in total): your first snow. this one's inspired by pg's first snowboarding days and has been idling on my phone until now...

Monday, February 24, 2014

ameliorating

horseman came over and we talked. a lot. then we went for a walk, for which i was slightly under-dressed, and stopped at starbucks to talk some more. then we returned to my place and played some tekken.

all except that last item was handled in french, and i'm definitely getting more comfortable... if not actually comfortable per se.

in french, horseman presented me with a psychological walkthrough that seems to me to be a lot more fun than analytically useful. there are multiple versions of the story, some including animals. horseman's included a forest, a key, a house, a body of water and a wall. *if* you've done the exercise before, you might be amused to learn that i saw a gingerbread house (witch included), i had two simple methods for crossing the body of water and i refused to make assumptions as to what was behind the wall. just sharing.

aota got in touch with me this evening to give me some odd job hunting advice; she sounds like she's doing a little better, at least. i spent my evening playing tekken, watching misfits and once upon a time, and am about to complete the ritual by reading until i'm so tired that making my bed is a chore. i don't know why i do that, especially consciously. that's just weird. maybe i'll just do that now.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

whoooo!

i *just* made the metro last night, arriving at the sports bar fashionably late. not fashionably enough, mind, because everyone else arrived about half an hour later, but i guess getting to watch decent preliminary fights wasn't a bad thing.

overall it was a good fight night for ufc, but the main ones weren't very satisfying.
*SPOILER ALERT*
we were rooting for rory macdonald because he trains with us, and we believe in his potential to be an evil bastard in the ring based on his previous performances (not including the last one). he may have won last night, but i don't see where he was being the more aggressive and, just like gsp's last fight, i don't understand why he never pounced after getting a good strike in. i do understand why he didn't want to go to the ground - for sure - but i think he could have and should have done better.
as for sara mcmann, i think her comments after the fight were on the mark. she needs to toughen up, and come back as a real threat. nobody expected a different result (okay, maybe the method of winning wasn't predictable), but i was kinda hoping...
*END SPOILER ALERT*

i stayed behind talking to one of vfmp's boyfriend's girlfriends - who i've met before - who's attractive in an odd way and quite interesting. early on she made a comment that i found both flattering and a little off-putting at the same time: "i'd marry you to keep you here! i could use a little money...". later on she accompanied me to the metro and i got the feeling that she's actually interested. my only reservation is the whole friends-of-friends thing.

fucking stm: their illogical night bus system requires using the app and when that proves faulty, it becomes impossible to trust that i won't find myself stranded on the wrong side of town in the middle of the night. i *just* missed the last metro home, and to add to the unnecessarily expensive friday night dinner i was then forced to take a taxi. that was an aggravating end to an otherwise enjoyable evening :@

i got home late and fell asleep really quickly, dreaming deeply until around noon. since then i've done laundry and caught up on a lot of my feed, and soon horseman's coming over and i'll speak a lot of (hopefully better) french.

---
linkage!

nutrition and health:

a new study on organic dairy shows that any dairy increases your cancer risk dramatically.

are eggs healthy or not? once you get about three minutes into the video things start getting ridiculous :S

interesting facts displayed beautifully:

frequency - randall munroe doing wonderful things as usual.

wearable style:

the pebble is out of the hobbyist box.

education and gaming:

this totally algebraic penny arcade moment made me smile.

comics:

a previously difficult-to-acquire mac hall volume has been made available for $10. excellent!

advertising and user experience:

google! youtube in particular! you could learn a thing or two from these guys. they've just demonstrated that their model works. IT MAKES MONEY. it doesn't annoy anybody.

reading over writing

thursday:

i spent the remainder of the night going through course material (mcgill's chem181), and went to bed wondering if strange markings on my right bicep were the beginnings of a rash. [apparently not, but they were pretty bizarre. and almost cool.]

i dreamed a very strange dreams that ended with a car not slowing down and careening through a red light, almost slamming into a crowd that had to jump out of its way; i woke up able to recall the license plate that i couldn't find anyone to report to.

...

i woke up thinking that regardless of second chances i had to explain myself, so i did. i spent most of the rest of the day doing duolingo lessons and reading harry potter. now that i have the dictionary, i'm almost reading at my regular pace and i'm absorbing new words at what feels like a pretty good rate! i hope it's not too late, my exam is in six days...
(O_o)

match.com gave me quite a scare! i signed up months ago to give it a try and quickly discovered, to my chagrin, that it's a sucky service and not at all worth throwing money at. not only was there a sunk cost for the initial membership, but they *automatically* renewed my membership with no warnings, options or permission! $100 to maintain an account i don't want? no thank you!
i was seriously stressing until i got through to an online assistant, who speedily organized a refund and apologized for the crappy experience. i deactivated my account immediately and i hope never to hear from them again.

in the late afternoon i went to get exam photos taken at the photo labs adjacent to walmart. i got out at the namur metro station and realized that i had forgotten my wallet, so that was annoying. when i got back home and picked up my wallet i saw that i'd left a half a glass of water in a cup and realized that i was thirsty, so i tried to quickly down it and ended up choking so badly that i threw up. that didn't improve my mood much :(

what did improve my mood was coming across a beggar with blue-streaked hair holding up the following sign as i left the station:
"jack sparrow stole my pirate ship - need gold doubloons"
the big smile on my face was totally worth a loonie - the golden single dollar coin ;)

the photo labs' picture taking service? it's a PORTRAIT taking service. like, for families wanting to do kitsch. they don't do standard sizes other than passport photos, which didn't help me. i couldn't stop the girl in time from writing their contact details on a flyer for me, i didn't want the damned flyer and i will not be guilted into taking one. why the hell aren't the contact details already printed on them? why do people have to waste so much frikkin' paper?!

i had less than an hour to get to the gym to meet kgb, so so much for getting the task done. fortunately, spending an hour working with kgb put me back in a good mood. kickboxing was really tough, so much so that one of the new guys almost passed out and had to be bought a powerade and have a friend called to pick him up. bummer...

most of guys in the class were francophone, so i hung around to listen to the chatter before going home for dinner and tekken.

---
yesterday:

i was in an odd mood before bed, and managed to burn more than an hour going through poetry that i'd like to use for slam and timing it.

...

the day was ugly: warm and rainy and icy. that meant slipping a lot and either getting soaked or having to carry an umbrella, which was most inconvenient :(

my morning consisted of heading downtown to get my exam photos done - this was handled in french from the moment they understood what the photos were for. i bought more of my breakfast shake powder and had a decent lunch reading, then paid a visit to the hairdresser. who was watching hockey, i suspect the meh-ness of my haircut might be related to my disturbing his experience.

i dropped everything at home and went to starbucks for coffee and more reading, printed out my "convocation" for the french exam (whatever the hell that is), did the shopping (thinking a lot about the discomfort of carrying said shopping with an umbrella in hand) and was disappointed to discover that my ski jacket wasn't ready to be picked up from the cleaners (i spilled the last drops of an energy drink in an inner pocket :( ).

i filled out a survey that could theoretically win me $5000 - any port in a storm, says the unemployed man.

i enjoyed a glorious, too-short nap and woke up to some pre-class harry potter with a cup of tea. it's totally sucked me in again! and this time i'm paying attention to the hectic foreshadowing...

boxing: my jump rope experience is usually partial, for various reasons, but yesterday i got the full one. i was impressed that i still had use of my arms by the end of it :P
the first round of pads was hardcore, the guy holding for me is a beginner and has no sense of pacing. this turned out to be perfect because while the round wiped me out, once it was done the coach pulled me out to work with the new (very cute) girl and teach her the basics. while i was distracted the whole class burst into hysterics because he said something funny about me, and later i'd find out that the laughter was mostly shock that he'd actually paid me a large compliment.

it was her first impact training, obviously, and so (after explaining what it's all about and how to manage the strikes) i began with punches so soft that i was sure she'd know i was exaggerating - nope! she improved noticeably, though, and by the end was handling most of my punches. then it was her turn, and when a couple of the other girls saw this they decided to step in and take turns demonstrating what impact's all about. one hit me decently, one flailed about pathetically... that was army brat. she's very "gangsta" when she punches - she makes a lot of effort and does very little because her technique sucks, just like when a "gangsta" holds a gun sideways and shoots all his bullets off the mark.

anyway, i couldn't figure out if the cute girl was apologizing afterwards for not hitting me or for actually getting the hang of it towards the end :P

the guys invited me to dine with them at canda, so i rushed home to shower and change and joined them soon afterwards. overall the evening was fun, although army brat got more boring and annoying as the night wore on, as did the shitty service and the fact that there weren't many vegan options, what they did have was iffy and nothing i had justified the insane $35 buffet cost. at least everyone else had brought decent wine and the company was mostly entertaining, though my enthusiasm for sitting on the french side of the table lessened as the time passed.

---
today:

i got home around midnight and spent the next two hours reading and eating skittles. then i went to bed and dreamed. in the second-to-last dream uncle puberty suffered a third heart attack [out of zero, weird] while driving just ahead of the post-party bus where my nice and only nice clothes for work the next morning had been hanging but disappeared. the last dream was an overly-detailed dream about dreaming. very inception.

...

i stayed down for a long while enjoying that glorious feeling when you're so comfortable lying in that the last thing you want to do is get out of bed... and you don't *have* to ^_^

...

i got up after a phone call from horseman and an email from pulse. the former was an invitation to meet and practice french, the latter was to let me know that a friend of hers in a well-known company has seen my resume and will happily put in a word for me. very cool!

i spent some time catching up on my rss feed - i've been neglecting it for the longest time - accumulating some crazy linkage (but i have to go now, you're spared for the moment), then met horseman on the plateau. the day would have been stunning if not for the wind, so checking out parc lafontaine was a mistake. we went underground for the next couple of hours, then came back to my place for tekken before i kicked him out so that i could post, do laundry and eat before going to the village to watch ufc 170.

it's time!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

attempting to clear up misunderstandings

i woke up stuck on pulse getting me all wrong. i put together an explanation, not to a potential partner but to a fellow human being, and here's most of it because it's a fairly good summary.

first and foremost, i think human beings are amazing and wonderful, mostly individually but with the potential for unimaginable greatness on a large scale. i don't think we'll ever be perfectly peaceful and loving, but there will always be enough peaceful and loving people to keep the angry ones in check. our current age of extreme individualism is a perfect example of how much kindness and care exists even in a society that's wired for self-absorption and consumerist greed. that doesn't mean that i don't believe it's possible for us to achieve perfect peace and harmony, and i certainly believe that we should strive for it!
i may at present only be an armchair activist (i'm not proud of that, but i'm not too clued in on what's going on here and i'm quite frankly concerned about jeopardizing my ability to stay in canada by being vocal against authorities here so i limit my endeavours to increasing awareness and debating with people), but i have been protesting-active in israel regarding human rights (like freedom of speech, including for groups whose actual speech i don't appreciate) and social justice and no matter how disappointing the results may have been i'd never stop fighting for what i believe..

...

when i used the word "conflict" i used it in an academic sense, what i meant is that we're wired to make things narratively interesting. if you're complacent, you wouldn't get anything done, and a prime example of that is actively trying to right wrongs. we could never be truly happy without overcoming difficulties and adversity; that doesn't mean that we wouldn't be able to get everyone playing the same game by harnessing and redirecting our narrative energies for good. equality and environmentalism is a good place to start, but perhaps ultimately we'd take our narrative needs into a virtual plane, or direct them in artistic endeavours. but that's just, like, my opinion :P

exploring space is something that i feel is a critical part of our evolution. when we talked about it it was in a rather specific context; in a short-term view, it's important for us to maintain a pocket / pockets of humanity living off planet, even in orbit, just in case. not because i don't have hope that we're going to sort all our shit out down here, but because we don't have any guarantees that we'll sort it all out. and the potential for species-wide destruction doesn't only come from humans, we have environmental risks (such as global warning, or asteroids hitting the planet) and even if they're relatively small (no need to panic just yet) i strongly believe that humankind, with all of its incredible discoveries and rich history, including all of our little lives and the things we do that we believe give us meaning, is 100% deserving of surviving whatever the universe can think to throw at us.

and all that is just the short-term view. in the long term view i think it's our destiny to explore and create and populate the universe. my comment about sending off ideologically different groups in different ships was cynical and snarky, i suspect it might happen to a degree but that's not how i envision us evolving! what i see is the different groups, however they're formed, developing in different directions as they travel through time and space, and in my opinion that's a beautiful thing!

there's a reason i self-identify as a hippie, even though i'm philosophically in a very meta space. as i told you when we discussed paranormal things: i don't have answers to everything, not even how i personally feel about everything, but i want to understand everything because i'm philosophically and psychologically curious.
i don't judge others' realities unless i consider them harmful (ask me why i get upset if someone uses "the secret" to explain that a girl who was raped is to blame because of her negative thoughts). and i love being exposed to ideas i don't necessarily agree with because if there's one thing that will get us all on the same team, it's cognitive contamination :)

principles

so, like, wow. firstly, pulse: she sent me a long, obviously well thought-out missive explaining her position, the only real issue being a complete misunderstanding of my views regarding some fundamental things. i'm surprised and saddened by that, but not shocked because i realize precisely what the source of confusion is and i accept that it's my fault. which kinda sucks. so here's hoping for a redo...

secondly, i feel like i'm back in action regarding my training. i did muay thai and boxing this evening, it was tough but i powered through and feel totally solid. unfortunately, along the way i banged my ankle (not too seriously, but it's aggravating), managed to slam my wrist into somebody's elbow and i think that during the first (of two) impact training one of my ribs got slightly bruised :/

there was some serious weirdness with the girls; i think i made it clear to army brat that i'm only interested in her as a gym buddy but then the girl i gave the valentine's day chocolate to gave me a vega chocolate in return. anyway, they're both good for my french, and while we were talking i met a palestinian who runs a software house here and is looking for talent. cool :)

---
i've now watched a couple of episodes of the good wife, and i'm enjoying it. it's kind of formulaic and kind of not? whatever.

i played a lot more tekken last night than i'd planned. shit's addictive.

...

i woke up from a dream in which i was watching tv outside in the rain, some kids came through and stole all sorts of shit... i caught them, beat them enough to get their attention and then lectured them.

i've been reading harry potter using the kindle app and not my actual kindle because the french / english dictionary i found was no good. but the kindle app's only french dictionary is french / french, so if you don't read french it's really tough to make heads or tails of things. i have a good french / english dictionary app as well, but switching between it and the kindle app causes a resync every - single - time, which is insane, so reading has been particularly slow going. and also not particularly good for my eyes, but anyway.
then i suddenly realized that i can read the book on my kindle and use the dictionary app simultaneously - that worked much better but was still far from comfortable. so this morning i decided to look again for a better dictionary for my kindle.

merriam-webster's french-english translation dictionary, kindle edition has some shitty reviews, but i couldn't find a better-looking option so i bit the $8 bullet... and lo! it's an excellent dictionary and now reading in french has become a pleasure. nice one!

so that's mostly what i was doing today. in the afternoon i took my kindle to starbucks for a change of scenery, but that's about it.

when i got home from training it was to a message from newk'd about an art evening at foufounes électriques, so i hurriedly gobbled down my super-salad and headed out there. they have a weekly competition to produce large pieces, and voting is done by placing sponsored beer cans into provided bins. very clever... out of about six or seven pieces, there were two really good ones and one had better finishing, so that's where my tin voice went. there were four of us and we all had a great evening :)

---
be wary of unnecessary x-rays: i'm now even less happy with the trigger-happy dentist who fucked up my mouth, but at least i know better for next time!

the rekindle candle is absolutely brilliant. i want a couple of those.

there's a kickstarter happening for a kill shakespeare boardgame. i didn't know there was a third volume out, so i'm thinking of backing at the $15 level as i'll probably buy it anyway.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

hard body

i went to the gym early to work with kgb. he can't make the beginner classes so it's up to me to get him ready for the advanced ones; we covered a lot of ground today. he has a problem with one of his shoulders, which he can use but cannot rotate, so a couple of the strikes needed a bit of improvisation. when i took him to work on the appropriate bag, one of the professional teachers came over to correct the improvisation, apologizing profusely when we explained the cause. what was extremely gratifying is that the exact expression he used was "look carefully at what he's showing you, you need to be doing that."

it's nice to be appreciated ^_^

after spending an hour with kgb, i did jiu-jitsu and then kickboxing. we had a guest jiu-jitsu instructor who said some very interesting things and gave us some fun (and very difficult) exercises to do! the girl she demonstrated on had a beautiful tattoo on her foot, which i was under the impression was a tricky thing to get right - perhaps my idea for a second (and third, i guess) tattoo isn't so far-fetched after all? anyway, both the instructor and the girl are sexy enough that i had to keep checking myself so i'd know what was going on :P

afterwards i rolled with vfmp for a round, which was tough, and then with a stranger which was even tougher because the guy had good technique AND was heavier than me. i was completely worn out after that, i'd expended so much energy it was ridiculous - but i definitely learned a lot from the lesson and overall i've improved dramatically after the past few months. as physically demanding as it is, it's even more of a mental game and i'm at least starting to think right.

it was not a good night for the gym: someone took a hard knee to the nuts without a cup during sparring, and a real fight almost broke out between one of the big boys and a fiesty beginner. a lot of us would have happily watched those two get in the ring together, but actual street-fighting is totally uncool :/

kickboxing was great - it didn't really matter that it was beginner's and not advanced. the girl i worked with learned quickly, i taught her how to hold the pads for me and she worked me hard. the coach added a few crazy exercises to the usual ones and wouldn't let us quit, and considering the workout i'd gotten prior to the class i was well impressed with myself for not being dizzy at the end. i was exhausted, but feeling good!

---
the day was spent reading harry potter and doing french lessons. and napping, at some point i just couldn't keep my eyes open. and it's not like i'm not sleeping full nights. hmm :(

this mornimg i prepared a farewell email for pulse but decided to save it and see if she really wouldn't get back to me. when i returned from training i sent it as an sms, to which i got a response that was positively indecisive [ambiguity intended]. i don't know how i feel about that, so i'm not thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

broken valentine

as i mentioned last night, i ran into pulse on the bus to godmother's, and she was polite. polite. that's not at all what i was expecting. i didn't know what to make of it, but this morning she sent me a message so i figured things might be fine... but then she ignored my response (which included a question). later i wrestled with an email letting her know how i feel (i put way too much effort into it not coming across too heavy), and since then i haven't heard a word from her. i feel like i deserved something back, at least. even something negative. i don't know what i did or didn't do, but this is obviously not working. which makes me sad, because aside from whatever the hell's going on (or not?) she's awesome. but not so awesome that i'm okay with being ignored. nobody's that awesome.

---
the hours flew by pretty quickly today, i spent most of them on french and some on random shit. including reporting a phishing attempt to bell that's apparently been driving them crazy: an sms with a link to a legitimate bell.ca url that's been hacked to steal account data.

i spoke to somebody today who seemed positive about employing me... that felt good.

i went to the french conversation meetup, and was far more confident! i also learned some helpful things. and that i have lots more to learn and practice.

i took my frustrations with pulse into boxing class with me, which i knew wasn't cool, but managed to offload them quickly enough. or put them aside, at least. i worked with army brat, and we did impact at the end of the class. she seemed to be hitting me pretty hard, and expressed shock at how much tougher i am, but i didn't really feel much even when she hit my soft spots (solar plexus and liver) and i can't help but question if it's me who's tougher or her who's weaker. and then i felt super embarrassed when i hit her so hard that she apparently peed a little.

*sigh*

i chatted with her and the girl i gave the chocolate to on friday after class, mostly in french. i suspect that the girl who got the chocolate might actually have taken it as a serious romantic gesture. that would be awkward!

i've been working on memorizing the first two poems that i posted last week, and i'm quite pleased that they're already feeling ready to be shared on stage ^_^

i chugged a protein shake and went to vfmp's to watch another episode of house of cards. vfmp, his boyfriend and his brother are all 100% vegans, and it was most validating to hear them enthusiastically agreeing with me in response to their reading my vegans unite! post. it seems we are united!

episode seven of house of cards is a clear improvement and i feel like the season is almost back on track.

---
scrapper has introduced me to the idea of chess boxing. certainly not for me, but interesting nonetheless. hmm. perhaps if tekken replaced chess...

this video gives a little perspective on the bds movement.

Monday, February 17, 2014

on endings and potential endings

well! i've completed the tekken six scenario campaign. the good news is that all of the (regular) locations are now unlocked, because i thought i'd have to start from scratch after everything disappeared from the map, but i have to complain about the final levels: what the hell?! by putting all the levels into one long chain they basically force you to complete them all in one sitting. so if i don't want to do that, or don't have time to do that, then i have to keep discarding my progress until i do make one long run. that's totally unreasonable. i must have tried about three or four times to kill kazuya, ten or so to kill azazel, three to kill alisa and twice to kill jin. what a load of shit. i was so irritated that i couldn't care less about the cinematics...

anyway, it's over now. mostly. i'll figure out the hidden character locations some other day.

---
on the way to dinner i found myself next to pulse on the bus. we were weird. i get the feeling this week's merriness has come to an end, either that or we have some serious communication issues to work out. assuming it's the former i'll be quite sad, because i really do like this girl and i haven't a clue what the problem could be :(

full moon valentine

friday:

finding electric universe on grooveshark had me bouncing around my living room while doing french lessons, which must have been a treat for any neighbour who happened to look in the direction of my apartment. i did the valentine's day shopping i had to, picking up a single red rose as well and hoping that it wouldn't be damaged by the cold that was really hurting my fingers.

boxing:

one of the girls who'd told me i need to bring chocolate was ecstatic that i had, the other didn't show up. i almost gave her bar to another one, but then that girl turned out to be entirely undeserving. i was upset by the whole incident for quite a while after class :(

as for the class itself, my arms were still strained from the night before and the guy i was partnered with made me work really, really hard. i wasn't ungrateful, mind, but it was really tough! i'm rather pleased with my slipping, though.

i quickly showered and headed to resonance in the hope of finding a table for two. i arrived before pulse did to find that they had a band playing. there were three wind instruments and they were so bad and so loud it was unbelievable! valentine's dinner torture? i don't think so. i mean, these guys were aggressively bad, intentionally discordant, and they'd only just begun... fortunately i made this discovery in time (and i mean, we're talking seconds here) to get outside and hop on the bus pulse was arriving on. we tried all the indian restaurants near jean talon and parc but they were all closed or closing, and took a chance on p.m..

perfect! we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, it was delicious and i may have overeaten a little. on a different note, we were both quite conscious of the full moon :)

[whiskey sleepover]

---
saturday:

i woke up in the morning happily unrested and in a fog of stupid. an hour's nap before going snowboarding didn't really help much, either, but spending the hours on the buses there and back slipping in and out of consciousness made enough of a difference.

the p.m. leftovers sorted me out three times during the day, that was very cool. even cold. i'm so lazy :P

i *just* made the bus to saint sauveur in time, which was intense! skittles made my walk from the village to the mountain that much more pleasurable, the weather wasn't beautiful but it was beautifully comfortable, and i was delighted when i arrived to discover that my choc / rum / coffee blend was perfect :)

i didn't stay on the slopes for very long, only a couple of hours, but the runs i did were so crazy and exhilarating that i felt dangerously high on adrenaline. by "dangerously", i mean that i was certain that i'd do something stupid, so when i saw that the lift clock said 6.05 i made a differently crazy decision to take the 6.40 bus back. i managed to change and pack up very quickly, and made the walk with a few minutes to spare to be entertained by a guy in his forties sitting in his car listening to classic epic house tracks.

my gods - a large proportion of the exceedingly groovy people i went clubbing with when i started out are now approaching or are in their forties... holy crap!

i got home, had a hot bath which i sorely needed and napped for another hour before jump-starting with the remains of my thermos. it had been a crazy weekend, and i was off to complete a hat trick with a psytrance party!


---
sunday:

yang was there, aside from a dodgy introduction to someone that made us both sound stupid (instead of just him) - and reminded me very much of his father - we chatted amiably a few times and it was pleasant seeing him. i got about four or five hours of partying in before the cops showed up to shut us down... of those, there was one hour during which i thought that i was finally out of gas for the day because i could barely lift my legs. then the next dj came on and made it clear that it was the music that had been sucking, because we were all re-energized and out of control until the end!

i had so much fun! i so needed that! the only downer of the evening was my own thoughts about pulse, wondering if i was doing the "pushing" in the relationship and if i should back off a bit. i'd like to think that we're above those simple forces, but unfortunately that's not how these things work :(

the night buses to get home were actually quite convenient, though i let myself get distracted by skittles and an odd humming sound that the bus was making that could have been lifted from one of the tracks i'd heard earlier and i missed my stop. fortunately, i registered where i was before i'd gone too far, and i shambled back home against bitterly cold wind to a quick hot shower before falling into bed.

i slept well for about four hours, then it was on / off for a few more. i was finally woken by a women calling to find out if i was going snowboarding today - she called too late to catch the bus herself, and was disappointed that she hadn't known that i was going last week or yesterday. umm... when she hadn't gotten in touch before, and i'd given her my number before the end of last year? anyway, she sounds particularly unintelligent so i very patiently explained her options. maybe she'll join us next time we rent a car, but i don't really want to spend hours alone with her on a bus.

...

i have spent my day posting, doing a couple of french practice sessions, chatting, and eating healthy junk food while listening to music. i've been thinking about having lunch for over an hour now and just realized that i'm leaving for dinner soon, so so much for that idea.
in summary, i think it's safe to sat that this weekend has been totally awesome, and that i have enjoyed my finest valentine's day ever!

life is good ^_^

Sunday, February 16, 2014

vegans unite!

on friday night i discovered that one of the girls who trains with me is a vegan. only, she's a "real" vegan, an "angry vegan martyr" vegan. she told me that i'm not the first person to whom she's called "bullshit" when he's called himself a vegan, and that real vegans would never compromise.

she became progressively more agitated, eventually storming out in a rage yelling furiously that i'm personally responsible for non-vegans getting the terminology wrong and that i should be calling myself "strictly vegetarian" instead, whatever that means. i was trying to explain to her that you can't "own" language and that if most of us think that "vegan" is a dietary choice then that's what the word means. she compared my abuse of the word to my calling myself a buddhist when i'm not 100% buddhist or claiming that i have a belt in jiu-jitsu that i don't, both of which are fallacious comparisons. she then attacked me for disrespecting her by continuing to claim to be a vegan.
i'm disrespecting you? by calling myself a vegan? FUCK YOU. and that's my response before pointing out that there was absolutely nothing respectful about her statements from the get-go nor the way in which she threw them at me.

there were two other people in the room with us, and what they bore witness to was a vegan behaving really badly towards - get this - a fellow vegan. we're on the same damned side, asshole. you're not helping your cause by antagonizing people who believe in it, and you're certainly not helping it by putting off people who otherwise have no interest in the discussion.

earlier i watched gary yourofsky actually being civil and collected, and remembered that even though my decision to go vegan was predominantly a health choice (thanks, nutritionfacts.org!) his famous talk (here) was a positive influence. in spite of the bullshit a lot of vegans talk, the basic premise is absolutely correct and we really should be good to animals. but there are ways to achieve this end, and getting people on your side with rational discussion, mindfulness and a little bit of compromise is a lot more effective. yes, it would be amazing if everyone stopped consuming animal products immediately, but it's far more productive and practical to get people thinking about the issues on their own terms and accepting that the change we're asking for is a big one.

---
the foundation of the argument was watson's definition of the word "vegan", that she claimed means "refusing the use of any animal products". how very interesting for me to now find the following excerpt from the summary of the vegan society's wiki page:
watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs.
[...]
the society now defines veganism as "...a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose."

Friday, February 14, 2014

ambience

after posting yesterday, my day only really began 2.30, which was lunchtime. so it began with lunch. i visited the bank and confirmed that the money they locked up last year for my first visa has been released (very cool), and then i went downtown to pick up gifts for godmother's birthday.

the crazy wind and the metro's butterfly doors conspired to make strangers interact in funny ways. it was damned-near impossible to open them, or to hold them open for those behind you...

there was a little bit of confusion with the gift cards i was looking at because it wasn't clear that the different colours were simply different colours. picking up a bottle of wine was easy enough. watching someone try and fail to pick up wine and run off without paying was painful to watch.

---
some of the french words i've been working on lend a decidedly feminist bent to the language:
control: masculine.
discussion: feminine.
problem: masculine.
solution: feminine.
victory: feminine.

at least "fault" is feminine. but "lie" looks like "men - song" - c'mon!

...

during the warmup for kickboxing some guys were talking in french, and were pleasantly surprised that i was not only following along, but able to participate! that was a serious confidence booster ^_^

---
kickboxing: i worked with a guy about a foot taller than me, and holding heavy focus pads up for him was killing my arms. after five rounds of that, i was pretty much done and about halfway through my sets i could barely keep my gloves in front of my head; and the guy was making me slip and protect constantly, for which i'm grateful but it made it much harder. i fought through the exhaustion, and even though it wasn't my best performance i'm quite proud of the work i put in.
i'm not happy about my ankle, though. it's still tender :(

vfmp showed me some jiu-jitsu techniques afterwards and we both used the sit-up machine before calling it a night: that machine is brutal!

instead of eating at home or out, i headed over to vfmp's and we watched another episode of house of cards. i really hated episode six, primarily because i now think less of the protagonist. that's not what drew me to the series, and i'm disappointed.

after the episode we had twenty minutes to kill before my bus so vfmp put on street fighter vs tetris. what a frustrating game! i took me so long just to get the basic idea... at least i won a couple of rounds, but i was *not* satisfied.

...

pulse and i haven't been on a second date yet but we've been communicating non-stop as if we're together, so i was flip-flopping about texting her a goodnight message because i was thinking about her but i don't want to be too forward. i was quite relieved to receive an unrelated email late enough that i could use it as an excuse :P

...

i left in the middle of a gorgeous snowstorm, and it's been snowing on and off since. i get the feeling i'm not going to be snowboarding this weekend, though, which would be disappointing if it wasn't for good reasons.

---
i slept a lot, and have been focused on french and emailing. at some point i need to do some valentine's day shopping: special chocolate for the date, but also something for the girls in the gym. even if they are joking about me bringing them gifts, i can't not play along!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

warm chills

i woke up this morning to a flood of positivity!

the first were messages from pulse, tuesday's date after whom i cancelled all the others i'd had lined up for the week. we've had multiple conversations going on at any time since before we even met and in person it was actually a psychological effort to not try to cover everything possible in the short time that we were physically together. we have plans for a romantic valentine's day date and i'm strangely comfortable with the fact that i've already been introduced to friends and been invited to ottawa with them.

airplane and i talked a lot when i was in cape town about a project he wants to do that he'd like me to write for. the project will only really begin in a few months but for a couple of weeks now i've had an idea rolling around that i shared with him yesterday morning. he was so inspired that this morning he shared a first draft image concept and it's so good it gave me chills! he was my first pick for illustrator and he puts the ones i've worked with so far to shame... the thing is that the underlying premise is very similar to the one i'm already working on (it's inspired by shakespeare), even if the mechanics are completely different; i'm praying that once his work is out he'll be convinced to invest time in mine. either way, this one is going to be a lot of fun!

...

i received a call back from the french class friend, they've received my resume but the permit wait time might be a problem. have i mentioned before that the bureaucracy here is not helping resolve the skills shortage? aota actually contacted me earlier to tell me i'm wrong, but i called the number she gave me and there's an automated message that specifically states what i thought :/

...

i'm still doing the running-nose-man a bit, but i'm definitely much better than i was this last week. it was a rough week!

---
the poetry on sunday inspired me to scribble the quebec immigration song and my first throw poetry collective lie as i entered the metro. after minimum tweaking i'm already quite satisfied with the results :)

while going through those i decided that a poem i wrote a few months ago is also ready to be posted. it's been a good week for poetry :)

---
monday:

vfmp made a great dinner, gave some of my poetry pretty constructive criticism (his english minor totally qualifies him) amd we played a couple of great games of fluxx before his boyfriend got home and we resumed watching house of cards. it's still fantastic, but watching the downward spiral of one of the characters is utterly unnerving and disturbing. the only downer of the evening was enjoying an amazing smoothie that vfmp's boyfriend made and dripping a purple drop near the top of my white hoodie :(

---
tuesday:

my running-nose-man was already not as severe as before but still tough. i focused on french all day with nine inch nails in the background, and for the first time became certain that the caretaker - who i wrote a nice enough reference for - was fired, and lied to me to get the reference. so much for describing him as honest! though it's what i believed when i wrote it, if anyone does contact me about him now i'm not sure what i'll say.

---
the date: i was not at all confident about this one, a combination of her style of questioning that seemed overly exuberant and her profile pictures that were attractive but left room for doubt. well, one look at her in real life and the latter worry fell away, and about two minutes with her and it became evident that i can drop "overly" from the former - she's just full of positive energy! and it's balanced by a sharp and highly-educated mind. it was really awkward being introduced to close family friends even before we'd got drinks in our hands, but i guess that's what happens when you agree to go to a performance where the singer's practically family! it was fancy ghetto, and while i barely understood what they were singing the music was excellent and the overall experience was pretty powerful! and pulse can do simultaneous translation, which is bloody impressive.

the performance was shorter than anyone expected, so we spent a while afterwards talking and we all like each other so that was cool. we then went looking for a good place for dinner / drinks, ending up at l'artère but deciding it wasn't quite right (it was empty, and their options weren't enticing) and moving along to the first bar we found. it was a real dive, but it didn't matter as we sat chatting and nursing whiskeys while the clock hands jealously kept spinning until it was time to head home.

i've gotten used to ending dates disappointed, and to be facing a beautiful girl saying the words i was thinking was actually a bit of a shock. in spite of the fact that my nose and chest weren't 100% - i must have been discrete enough in keeping that under control, i guess :P

---
wednesday:

i focused on french all day, watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary on the habs and doing a lot of duolingo.

i went to the gym for boxing, but the coach abandoned us so after warming up and shadowboxing for a while i hit the punching bags and did a lot of good work. there's a fifteen year old kid who's been training with us for a few weeks and he's full of shit, he talks a lot and has very little work ethic. what's funny is that everyone in the gym takes turns babysitting him, and last night a few of us were entertaining ourselves for a while as we forced him to do proper push-ups and sit-ups and i introduced him to full pull-ups.
"you mean to tell me you can't do one single pull up, pyle?"

my shins were tender when i was done kicking the bags, but then i haven't actually used them in a while...

i got through most of downtown abbey's special: behind the drama before realizing that i was bored, so i switched to her. thank you, spike jonze, thank you! it's a great movie, and it reminded me of ruby sparks in a lot of ways.

i spent some time going through a list of songs pulse had compiled for me on grooveshark - i'd forgotten about grooveshark - and put together a modern-day mix-tape in response which appears to have been well-received :)

and then the day was over.

---
linkage:

kenichi ebina: i'm pretty sure i've never seen this before. it's amazing! so this is what dancing to dubstep should be like...

52 amusing activist pick-up lines

facebook fraud: i think it's time somebody created a proper alternative to facebook. one that doesn't manipulate how we view each others' posts!

dallas sportscaster's response to michael sam coming out as gay: well said, sir, well said.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

vigorously groggy

shit, i was feeling fine aside from my sinuses and chest, now that i've been medicating (off-the-shelf) they're slightly better but i'm exhausted and half-stoned. come on! s'not right. i'm actually doing nothing but being sick today. that's kinda weird, being employed and taking a sick day.

---
friday:

some of the night was peaceful, some unfortunately restless and frustrating. i didn't have far to go to get up for early training, but my chest was still buggered. i worked with vfmp for about an hour and a half on uppercuts, which to my great relief and satisfaction he eventually got, and then he started drilling me on the jiu-jitsu moves he'd shown me the last time. the progress i'm making is *so* slow! and it's such a head game. towards the end we rolled a bit, and were treated to zahabi himself stopping us to give us pointers and make sure that we'd internalized them. that - was - AWESOME ^_^

i got home to face job hunting stress... i had some emails and applications to sort out, and felt so overwhelmed by it that i sat down to watch a bit of comedy and learn some french instead. a bit later i received a call from one of the girls from my french class whose husband had recommended me for a job opening, and after investing an inordinate amount of time re-entering my data* i made a point of applying for a bunch of other jobs there as well.

* why can't all the companies using taleo's hr system let me use the same account? it's such a ridiculous mission filling in the same damned forms with the same damned information every single time :/

...

i have finally registered for the french exam at the end of the month. there's a lot of work to be done. i'm a bit nervous.

...

evening boxing: my chest was much better until the end of the class, and my ankle was mostly fine. i was partnered with army brat, who took her dancing / boxing crossover technique to a new level when she unwittingly shot her right foot into the air for a half-pirouette in the middle of a punch. i was laughing, but tears were actually streaming down her face from the combination of laughter and shame!

my previous assessment about the boxing coach not liking me any more proved wrong. he was giving the beginners in the class a lecture about sparring and when it was over he made it clear that we're cool. i managed to get a smile out of the guy, which undid the inadequacy i was feeling for having disappointed him.

...

everyone who was supposed to come for the house of cards marathon either cancelled at the last minute or arrived late, so i had enough time to shower and eat after getting home late myself.
that show is unbelievably cool and clever. just like downton abbey, it's excellently written and the finesse is greatly appreciated! we got through three episodes and i'm totally into it now.

...

after everyone had left and i was about to get into bed, i received an email from the accountant. the amount of money the israeli tax authority owes me wouldn't even make a dent in the more than NIS 20,000 they're demanding in late fees! this horror show keeps getting worse...

...

if i'm flossing and can taste the hand soap flavour, did i just wash my own mouth out with it?

---
saturday:

i read wired's zappotopia article before trying to sleep. privately funding a tech / burning man scene in vegas is really interesting stuff! i turned off the light, and instantly the rls nightmare started. it would be over an hour of suffering before i finally passed out and slept well, and a few hours later i got up to a sore nose and dry hands.

happy days :/

it was a gorgeous morning, my health notwithstanding, and i met army brat and the guy from the week before for light sparring. the guy discovered that there's an all-levels sparring class every saturday morning that's precisely what we need, so now that i've initiated army brat we'll be joining them.

---
i didn't leave myself much time to eat and rest before heading out to pick up the rental car. i drove home, prepared my gear, then went to pick up k-twang's friend and go through to mont saint sauveur. relying on google maps on an iphone when driving to saint sauveur for the first time was a big mistake! and the province has a sardonic sense of humour when it comes to highway signage.

driving in quebec in winter: the other drivers are not a problem. the weather conditions were fine. but what the hell, quebec? not only are the signs utterly unhelpful on the rare occasion that they exist, but the road lane markings on the highways are practically invisible at night. wtf?!
aside from getting quite lost on the way there, taking two hours instead of forty five minutes*, the weather was just fine for driving. i'm really not comfortable driving in quebec, i had a couple of embarrassing incidents that would never have happened in cape town because i'd have been more focused on actually driving. the first was going too fast over a speedbump that had been partially covered over with snow, and the second was hurriedly switching from reverse to drive before coming to a complete stop. fortunately neither of those did any damage to the car, but they did make me feel stupid.

* still faster than the bus. but not easier.

anyway.

saint sauveur's late-night skiing special was excellent! the slope conditions weren't fantastic but they were still fun, the dj's they installed at the lift played funky beats and the only thing that wasn't great was that my ankle limited me a bit. it was fine for regular stuff, though it took me a few runs to relax, but the first time i attempted to switch i felt the torque and knew that i really shouldn't try anything demanding.

...

the slopes closed around midnight but we were done by around 11pm. the ride home was uneventful, though it took forever for the windshield to defog, and i got back too late to use the metro. there was a trance party happening downtown that i really wanted to go to and i was feeling up for it, but i didn't want to take the car*, a taxi at that hour was way too expensive and the night buses would have been a mission. i must have deliberated for over half an hour before finally deciding to call it a night.

* i thought that finding parking would be difficult. i've been informed since that that's not the case.


---
yesterday:

i don't know what the hell tilt got a parking ticket here for, but before going to bed i walked up and down the street to try to find some sign that didn't suggest that weekends are cool. i finally decided that rather than risk it i'd get up super early and return the car instead.

...

a coughing fit in the middle of the night was so bad that i felt my jaw unhinge. that was ugly and scary.

...

my alarm freaked me out when it went off, but i'd been so deep in my dreams that even after returning from dropping the car off i fell straight back into them.

thought for the morning: being allergic to kleenex would really suck.
[or blow, as moonflake kindly suggested]

---
i got up later feeling better but sounding worse, and went to godmother's for a chat over great lentil soup and a delicious bagel. one of the things we talked about was my joining the british airways frequent flyers program, and what a pity it was that i didn't do that before going to cape town. i was bummed that they hadn't kept any of my flight data on their systems... i spoke to my mother who'd kept my boarding pass stubs and was explaining to me how between the one stub i did keep and the luggage tag i should be able to reclaim the miles, and was becoming disheartened when i couldn't find information on the website explaining what to do with them.

but lo! suddenly, as if by magic, a form appeared before me asking me for an e-ticket number. which i located in my email, entered, and suddenly had all my points. so they *do* store previous flight details! i wonder why they wouldn't let me view my history, then?

anyway, i'm rather glad i didn't have to do any more.

---
i did laundry, and was inspired by a lone sock someone left on the machine: laundry rhyme.

i went to the pharmacy to pick up cold medicine, quickly ate at subway and did a super-fast shopping run. somehow that took me an hour, which meant that i was late for my date! and then i just missed the metro :(

no matter, i arrived before she did. and it wouldn't have mattered much if i hadn't! i cannot imagine what could possibly make a girl think that using someone else's photo for a profile picture would be a good idea. i promise you it's not something that goes unnoticed. she looks nothing like the picture, which put us on extremely odd footing, and the more we spoke the less i felt that this was the same woman i'd spoken to online. although making the mistake of having a first date with our attention focused elsewhere had concerned me at first, in this case it turned out to be a blessing. she's not unattractive, mind, i'm just blown away by the attempted ruse and simultaneously amused by the fact that there's not going to be a second date and we're probably going to see each other once a month now.

...

my introduction to the throw poetry collective:

"are you going to compete tonight?"
"no, i'm just here to scope out the competition."
"great! you can judge, then."

that's certainly one way to do it! i had a lot of fun. whenever i gave low scores and everyone shouted "higher!" i just wanted to shout back "stop judging me!", but overall i think everyone agreed that the judging was fair. there were some awful attempts, especially the open mic, but there was some great stuff - one of the better poets (in my opinion) happened to be a particularly sexy girl, so there was this perpetual internal debate over whether i was really scoring her performance or if it was just her...

anyway, there were some wonderful surprises. but the guest poet? AMAZING. titilope sonuga projected a stream of beautiful works into my consciousness and left us all in stunned silence. she has a couple of pieces on soundcloud...

i'm very glad that my coughing wasn't too bad. i only needed to cough twice and i managed to suppress it until there was an appropriate moment.

...

i left absolutely inspired. i needed the fix! i'll definitely get up on stage next time :)

---
today:

i got home at a reasonable hour to go to bed but felt an urge to play fallout instead. a couple of hours flew by and i thoroughly enjoyed them!

i medicated before going to sleep; i slept well, but woke up with tender, stuffed sinuses. i spent an inordinate amount of time responding to dating messages, played some tekken, and did very little else. i'm off in a bit to vfmp's for dinner and more house of cards.

---
love 'em or hate 'em, this month's wired article on monsanto is a must-read. fascinating stuff!

norway's olympic response is awesome.

Friday, February 07, 2014

breathshort 2

i started reading about the 80-10-10 diet this morning, got bored very quickly and began looking up critiques. some of the critiques are downright uninformed. some make sense. the diet itself doesn't sound reasonable at all.

in contrast, the new canadian immigration laws publicized today do seem reasonable.

when the cleaning lady arrived i headed to starbucks to be out of her way, stopping in at the pharmacy to pick up ephedrine tablets. i do feel a bit clearer for them, but i'm still having surprise fits of coughing and i easily got short of breath when i tried working the bags in the gym. i've *done* that shit, it's *so* 2013. let's not do this again, huh? kthxbye.

i spent my coffee reading sherlock holmes and attempting, in vain, to eavesdrop on the french being spoken at the table next to me. i walked out as soon as my coughing became uncontrollable. i didn't want to be that guy.

the fit was over by the time i walked past subway so i decided to take my pre-training meal there. i felt particularly judgemental standing behind a mother with her two kids, secretly frowning upon their choices of meats and cheese. what have i become?

as i said, the training didn't work out so well. kgb's joined us, though, which is cool, and i'll teach him kickboxing until he's ready to join the advanced class because he's not able to make the beginner classes. on another note, i'm pretty sure the boxing coach doesn't like me any more. i was most interested to discover that my progress has been marked by instructors in the gym that i didn't realize were at all interested...

anyway, lots of tekken, now dinner, then french.

oh. and i received a message from the company i was applying for. i'm not surprised that it was a rejection letter. oh, well.

---
oh, canada. not only are some of the city halls flying gay pride flags in defiance of sochi, but there's the greatest olympic video of all time that's just been released.

and on a slightly more personal yet no less political note: a band is suing the states for using its music for torture. rock on!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

excess screen time

thoughts when going to bed last night, reading the wired article on internet surveillance: people who wed are sometimes referred to as "lifers". when you're designing and building your marriage home with surveillance measures in mind, you're probably marrying the wrong person.
america has undoubtedly married the wrong person. is marriage really the right option? i mean, we're talking about a government that takes taxpayers' money to fund secret, unaccountable projects that aren't in the nation's interests. wtf?

...

t'was a night of chills, spilled water, and sweats. and amongst all that some lucid dreaming involving snowboarding and riding a motorcycle a very long way. i woke up thinking: "my sinuses are all up in my face". i think i'm feeling a bit better now, but not by much. it's been two days already, body. come on! i'm going to spare too much detail, but the cough is driving me nuts and i really want to be able to train tomorrow without risking making myself seriously sick. i had bronchitis recently enough, thanks, and i've only just gotten over the resulting shortness of breath.

i've spent all day* indoors, alone, with my eyes glued to screens. well, i think my wall counts as a "screen". i've gotten through a fair amount of french but probably not as much as i could have or should have. i've come to the conclusion that facebook's movies suck. arnez j: racially motivated had me laughing hysterically, he's fantastic! the season two pseudo-finale of downton abbey (unless the christmas special counts) was a proper roller-coaster and not at all satisfying. watching bits and pieces of ufc 83: i just saw kalib starnes spend fifteen minutes running away. it was mortifying.

oh, and a little bit of tekken. i've decided to try to get comfortable with new fighters.

* i was expecting to go out when the cleaning lady came in, but she didn't arrive. so that'll happen tomorrow, i guess.

---
duolingo:

1. phrase of the day: "leur chair est délicieuse"

2. sometimes duolingo doesn't understand me when i read something. but why is it that when a coughing fit begins mid-sentence and i give up, i get "correct" every time?! perhaps, in the exam, i should just fake coughing fits whenever i'm asked a question i don't know how to answer. according to today's experience i'll pass for sure :P

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

fluid discomfort

i judge myself unfairly sometimes. tonight, for example, i was trying to open a new jar and the struggle shamed me: i'm naturally strong, i've been training hard for most of a year, and *i'm* having difficulty? sheesh! how can i possibly call myself a man, when that's one of my two prime directives?

...

i've spent the past twenty four hours most unhappy with my body. my sinuses have been overworked and my throat and lungs have been paying the price... good thing i don't actually have much to do these days, right? :/

i slept in as long as possible, drank as much tea and water as i could, halfheartedly studied french, played tekken, watched trigun, bits of rocky iv, and maz jobrani: i come in peace. and, of course, an episode of downton abbey with dinner. hardcore stuff. not exactly focused.

i have to say that maz jobrani surprised me. the beginning didn't seem like my kind of comedy but some of his bits were brilliant and brilliantly executed. i'd just seen a couple of minutes of anjelah johnson: that's how we do it and was utterly confused as to why members of the audience were laughing. i even skipped around a bit just in case, but no. no clue to be found.

oh, and WHY THE HELL DON'T ANY OF THE BOXERS IN THE ROCKY SERIES COVER THEIR HEADS? like, *ever*. and they don't weave or slip either. now i understand that there're plenty of famous brawler/sluggers, but my favourite quote from a real fight?
"utterly without boxing skill"
(while looking for somebody to have said something... i found this gem. not quite what i was looking for, but anyway...)

...

i spoke to my mum earlier, and while things aren't bad for her they've become unstable and that displeases me greatly. 2014, could we please go back to the positivity we shared when i was in cape town? thanks ever so much.

---
online dating: there's a girl i was "meh" about from the beginning but she was being so friendly i didn't feel right not responding. now i feel like i've been leading her on, even though i don't *get* why she hasn't noticed my tone going from chummy to extremely bored. i definitely do not want to meet her in real life, and i think i've learned a lesson about not breaking my own rules.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

red flags

i was running for the metro yesterday evening when i got caught with a red light as i passed my card. "oh, no!" i said, as i watched the train pull in. i hurried to the counter, agitated, and slammed my card on the reader. the assistant - obviously having read my expression - tersely responded to my request to let me through. as i began removing my earbuds i realized that she had told me that my card was empty. because february. dammit!

dinner at godmother's was very nice, her friend brought an israeli relative who's here to learn english and who was only too happy for a linguistic break. i had a date planned at la casa del popolo but the girl hadn't responded to my confirmation message, however considering that it was the site's messaging i figured it possible that she hadn't seen it and i didn't want to stand her up; fortunately, my new israeli friend was interested in going out for a drink so i took him to the same place just in case. we had a good time and as we have a surprising amount in common talked non-stop until the last metro took us past his station.
just before we left the pub i received a message from my date (who'd apparently been feeling under the weather) apologizing for not being in touch sooner... i gave her the benefit of the doubt and told her we can do thursday instead, either way i'd had a fun night.

my ankle was feeling just fine for the first time since the accident, at least until someone in the pub managed to trip over it :(

...

oh, and whatever yang's problem was is a complete mystery to me. he was friendly enough last night. whatever.

---
today:

the weather was gorgeous today,very cold but sunny and bright. i did some supplement shopping at walmart*, sorted out my rent and settled in for lunch. skipping through rocky ii highlights to jog my memory while eating. i spent some time remembering that i'm a tekken addict and playing online. beating faceless strangers is awesome, being smashed by faceless strangers is not so awesome.

* i don't know what skittles have to do with the chinese new year, but i took three packets anyway.

i studied a bit of french, and went off to the weekly conversation. i spent most of it talking to an iranian in a similar situation, and when i learned that he's planning on returning to serve in the iranian military in the future i was glad about him not understanding my answer when i told him where i'd worked before :S

anyway, i feel a definite improvement. i'll register for the exam tomorrow.

...

i got some tekken in before boxing. our coach is in full abuse mode but i don't care - i've decided to let my fists do the talking. unfortunately, i wasn't on top form because my arms were buggered from the jump rope at the beginning of the class, but i still worked hard and did fairly well and the rather large dude i was paired with seemed impressed during conditioning both by how much punishment i dished out and by how much i took in return.
hitting that man felt like hitting a hard bag, dude be crazy.

...

it's been an evening of cute comedy, downton abbey shocks and horrors, and tekken.

---
thought for the day: "i'm over the moon! so over it."

Monday, February 03, 2014

occupation

good heavens! i haven't felt this attached to on-screen characters since battelestar galactica: downton abbey just keeps driving at the same pace, the unexpected twists and turns are subtle and in character (except for one tiny thing that's annoying me but which might just be my memory and that i can't be bothered to go back and verify), and emotions fluctuate so rapidly that it's all i can do not to let netflix load the next episode each time!

speaking of memory: i'm a little concerned about mine. on the one hand, i try not to stuff my brain with too much trivia, on the other, there're details that keep getting lost and that frustrates me. for instance, we were watching ufc live last night and renan barao was being introduced immediately after uriah faber when a cute girl behind our table asked me who i was rooting for.
"the other guy," i said stupidly.
"why?" she asked, letting my inability to produce proper nouns slide.
"it's his chin," i responded with a smile, "i have to support the chin."

---
friday:

the two missions of the day were locating my lost flash drive and getting to popeye's to use the gift card vfmp got me for my birthday. the first mission was entirely unsuccessful, though i did get free starbucks for my troubles* and ran into kgb for a quick chat.

* i believe the girl felt bad for me for having lost my drive, but she claimed it's because i'm there so often. nice, either way.

on my way to popeye's i stopped at nudo for lunch. i love the way they prepare the noodles in front of you, but i'm left extremely suspicious of their tofu being tofu. it wasn't bad, but the sensation was of boiled chicken or beef and the guy's flippant "of course it's tofu" was not reassuring.

the helpful assistant at popeye's convinced me to try vegessential. now that i've experimented with it, i think that vega one should be renamed "half". the latter has an inconsistently better texture, the former has a better taste. i'll stick with the new shit.

not wanting to be spammed, i declined to provide my email address when registering the gift card. the assistant quipped that it's amusing that we're so easily convinced to give up our home addresses and phone numbers, but not email - i wouldn't provide anything if i felt i had a choice! that brings ungrip to mind.

i read french harry potter all throughout the day, which was a significant factor in my being so extremely tired when i arrived home. i thought i was going to go to the gym and was contemplating how much nap time i could sneak in when i suddenly realized that it was the end of the month and that i'd agreed to attend a community center poetry event organized by newk'd's girlfriend! in addition to my plans to meet with bnw and her husband for drinks, i was totally worn out with planning anxiety by the time i finally got out of the apartment.

the poetry evening was a little awkward at first but overall was a lot of fun! i was surprised and disappointed at how nervous i was reciting... my breath kept catching :(

i hadn't been able to contact bnw as planned and so newk'd, his girlfriend and a cute girl who happened to be leaving the centre when we were decided to grab dinner together. there's a vegetarian-friendly spot called cafe-i-ching right next door so we gave it a try, surprised to find ourselves at a rather nice yet reasonably priced restaurant. dinner was delicious, and in my head became a double date as the girl and i seem to have a surprising amount in common. she took my contact details when we parted and i'm a little bummed that she hasn't gotten in touch...

i headed out to berri uqam a little late, but we all arrived at the same time so it was fine. we went to a really groovy bar with awesome live world music and somewhat odd vegan snacks, drank a lot and talked a *lot*. i was made a little uncomfortable by the gifts i received from their visit to colombia: first, because i didn't get them anything. second, because while the coffee gift is awesome, the beads that i have aren't really my style and i'll feel bad if i don't wear them at least when they're around!

*sigh*

in our at-least-tipsy states and our rush to make the last metros bnw forgot her bag, so we parted ways at the turnstiles and i went home.

...

there's something special about shaving and showering before bed when obviously under the influence.

---
yesterday:

it was a slow morning - i've done this weekend properly! - and the colombian coffee over sherlock holmes was a great start to it. i went in to the gym and ran into one of the guys i was told not to spar with because "he hits like a truck"; i've actually learned to put in my mouthguard when working with him in class because his softs are hards. he was complaining about being lazy and we talked a lot about attitude and sparring - he agreed to spar "lightly" with me after my scheduled sparring introduction with another guy i've been doing classes with for a while.

it may have been light, and i'll call it "drilling" instead of sparring even though a lot of it was the former, but i handled more than six rounds and walked out feeling like i'd properly earned my weekend!

horseman and a friend came over shortly after i'd showered and had lunch and we spent a couple of hours playing hardcore tekken; from there horseman joined me downtown for dinner while i waited for vfmp and his boyfriend to join me to watch the ufc fights live. we had some very interesting talks about dreams...

... when vfmp and his boyfriend and i arrived at our destination metro station they decided they needed to go for dinner, and after waiting with them for the bus in the snow for ten minutes i decided that as i'd already eaten i'd go on ahead and they could join me after their meal. this turned out to be much smarter, as i didn't feel like i'd interfered with their "date night" and i didn't miss the best fights of the evening :)

sitting in the warm sports pub nursing a guinness next to a window onto the snowstorm street outside was superb.

varner vs trujillo was an amazing fight to watch and made my bar tab totally worth it!
*SPOILER ALERT*
i'm a big fan of frank mir, and i've decided that i don't ever want to watch him fight again. the past few fights have been incredibly uncomfortable to watch as he's made an unfortunate habit of being beaten up.
*END SPOILER ALERT*

the guys made it for the final fights, which were a little disappointing but we had fun anyway. they'd rented a car for the night and offered me a ride home, the conditions were absolutely terrible and it was pretty scary. well, i guess we all kind of accepted the risk so it wasn't *really* scary, but the possibility of having an accident was very real.

---
today:

after a perfect sleep-in, i spent the day relaxing. i failed to get through a french movie horseman brought and i played a lot of tekken instead. i played online. that's a hardcore experience! when it's not frustrating because of lag. it amazes me how many people are playing at any given time. that there're enough that i've never waited more than twenty seconds to start loading a fight. or maybe i'm playing ghosts too? it's all magic.

it was only an hour or two ago that i realized that my phone's been off all day. the girl i'm supposed to go out with hasn't contacted me, i hope that's not the reason...

... now off to godmother's for dinner. and hopefully a date afterwards, but if that doesn't happen i'll find ways to occupy myself :)