Wednesday, April 30, 2014

crossing fingers

okay, i'm feeling considerably less elated about the job offer i received because it sounds like the recruitment agency isn't happy with the permit application process. so while i'm hoping everything will be turn out alright, i'm also praying really hard that i get offered the job i finally finished interviewing for yesterday, because that company won't have any problems with permit applications and it's also a job that i really, really want.

---
monday:

i actually spent monday studying, which was my plan. then gd came with me to muay thai. it amused me to see the look on the face of the guy who knocked me off my feet when gd introduced me as her boyfriend; he also trains at h2o and knows her from there. ahh, pride :)

the muay thai class was primarily conditioning, as usual, and gd's back couldn't handle the suicide bear-crawls followed by suicide runs. after all the exercises we'd done before those, none of us were handling particularly well even without having back troubles and by the time i got to the running i was actually wobbling. even if i hadn't been planning on taking it (relatively) easy before the final interviews i wouldn't have been able to box after all that.

i continued studying while gd made dinner, and the salad was even better than when i do it. i got through some important stuff, but went to bed feeling the muay thai class. tense back + gd + tiger balm = falling asleep in a trance.

---
yesterday:

i slept really well, and woke up easily with no need to snooze. i began my day with an hour focused on the introduction to algorithms book, the one i bought ages ago and really, *really* should've treated as my primary source over the past few weeks. it's an amazing book.

i shouldn't have forgotten my kindle with the aforementioned book loaded onto it, but as it turned out i wouldn't get much time to read after leaving home anyway.

the final interviews:

i felt offline for most of the time. just... slower. it was a slow day.

the first interview was about system architecture, and i think i did well.

the second was on algorithms, and not only was it a struggle but it was only in the final moments when the interviewer told me what he was thinking that i suddenly realized that the problem was almost identical to one i'd read about the night before :S

lunch was spent with pulse's friend, the guy who put forward my resume, and was really nice even though there weren't any vegan protein options. oh, well. nobody's perfect. the conversation ran in all sorts of directions and i was comforted to hear that everyone feels the same way about the kid who made me nervous in my first interview.

the final interview was certainly not my best, but i definitely did what needed to be done and i appeared to satisfy the interviewer - although it could be that he was just being nice.

anyway, i walked out of the offices with a positive feeling and hoping that they feel the same. then i entered "what if" mode; what if they extend an offer? how do i delay them or turn them down without closing the door? that was really troubling me until this morning.

i got home, paid the rent, got a form from the bank for the recruitment agency, all of that was pleasant. then i printed out my tax forms, and couldn't make heads or tails of them. much, much less pleasant. that set off a serious headache that i took with me to jiu-jitsu.

i worked with a guy who's about 20 pounds heavier than me, and we worked really hard. i didn't feel particularly satisfied when we were done, just tired and itchy. i suspect that the latter is some kind of allergic reaction to the combination of training shirts i wear in lieu of a proper rash-guard :/

gd had eaten without me, so i went to p.m. and had their japanese tofu while reading the new wired. it was delicious and i ate too much - only towards the end i realized that it's a dish with egg in it so i'm not going to do that again :(
i couldn't find someone homeless to give the leftovers to, and then realized that giving someone something like that without utensils would be a little cruel anyway.

...

the "disruptive by design" ad in this month's wired disrupted my reading in the metro because it kept unfolding.

---
today:

it was a beautiful start to the day and i left gd's with electrified emotions. i ran into pulse on the metro, apologizing for putting her in the awkward position of knowing that i've accepted a job offer but not being able to update her friend. i mentioned her to gd later and it's now been made clear to me that the two of them are no longer friends after an incident last week. i'm disappointed to say the least :(

i spoke to the immigration lawyer who helped me with my previous permit application, and was relieved to hear that a) it's better that i haven't applied for the csq without the minimum year of work experience and b) a rejected permit application won't invalidate the current one.

so that's me breathing more easily and feeling less stupid.

then i got dressed and headed down to the recruitment agency to sign papers. no papers were signed, issues were raised and a bit of faith was lost. now i'm playing that all by ear, and i'm glad i didn't cancel the interview i have in forty minutes...

Monday, April 28, 2014

pains in the neck, on and off

where are my days going? a quick summary of the weekend:

1. muay thai sparring on friday evening was amazing, but it killed me, in particular my neck was completely buggered by the end and it's only kind-of okay now.

2. it looks like the permit information i got all excited about was incorrect. i've spent many hours trying to wrap my head around everything and it looks like i might well need to get a second job offer because these guys might not be ready to wait that long.

3. vfmp's boyfriend has done me an enormous favour by going through my tax return with me, and instead of me owing the government more than $3000, THEY owe ME a few!

4. my uncle who was on life-support has passed away. i'm more relieved for him than anything else.

5. i've met gd's big brother and introduced gd to godmother.

6. i've made it through to the poetry slam finals.

---
my toronto cousin called while i tried to go over my previous post, and i spent most of the conversation hoping that my voice was hushed enough. by the time we were done my netbook had frozen so i published without my usual typo-check and had to fix it up a bit later.

muay thai: i almost sparred with my piercings in. that would have hurt a lot. the second guy i worked with, one of the jewish crew, slipped a punch through my admittedly not-so-wonderful defense and hit me hard enough that i had to tell him to tone it down. he obliged, the rest was cool, and i was very glad that i'd leaned into the shot and not away from it. my third sparring partner was one of the taekwondo guys and while overall he got the best of me, i held my own a fair amount of the time and it was fun. the third guy was the one who trained us on monday, and he was so gentle with me i had to force him to up the level. as i said to him when the round was over: "i know kindness when i see it".
finally, i went up against the fridge. power-wise there was only one point where he hurt me (a solid kick to the back of my thigh) but about halfway through i was totally gassed and i could barely lift my arms. smelling blood, he rained punches down on me until i literally had no choice but to walk away.
"hey!" yelled the coach, "you finish what you started!"
i walked right back in there and continued to receive a (gentle) thumping until the end of the round, at which point i crumpled into a heap on the floor, exhausted. and with a very sore neck. i don't know when that began.

gd and i met at p.m. for a delicious dinner, then joined vfmp and his brother for his brother's birthday. cards against humanity. a different version than the one i'd played before, and not quite as funny. but good, nonetheless.

---
saturday:

i was half-asleep all the way home.

i woke up with serious neck damage, with clicking vertebrae. i spent most of saturday and sunday trying deep auto-massages. seems to have helped a bit, though gd's bed certainly wasn't doing me any favours so perhaps it's better now because we slept here last night.

i returned home, rested again and got up feeling a bit less sore, then spent four hours struggling to find details about my permit application. there's something i should've done the moment i received my initial authorization last year: i should have applied for a csq. but i didn't, and i don't have one, so the process might take longer than four weeks in which case my potential employer might lose patience. so i need to impress the guys in tomorrow's interview because i might need them as a backup... and anyway i wouldn't cry if i got a job offer from them.

i crashed while reading french harry potter - i still need to work on my french and i'm enjoying the books again. i dragged myself out of dreamland to join vfmp and his boyfriend for coffee and taxes. as i mentioned above, the difference is astounding! and we enjoyed the conversation, too. afterwards i met up with gd and we hit crudessence for dinner. gd had an allergic reaction to something just before we arrived, but fortunately it wasn't too bad and we could still enjoy the meal together. the food was delicious, although it didn't taste like its description: the blt sandwich didn't taste or feel like a blt sandwich, for example. they could have just called it something else.

their chocolate mousse was mostly excellent! i say mostly, because it didn't really work without actual flakes of chocolate and we ran out of those pretty fast. should've stirred it, i guess.

it was really cold by the time we left and gd was under-dressed. i convinced her to join us at the sports bar to watch the ufc fights, and a bit later vfmp and his boyfriend showed up. the fight night was really good; the two fights that weren't great were at least interesting to watch. and we're a fun group regardless :)

i managed to offend the taxi driver when we arrived at gd's by not taking the coin when he gave me change. whatever.

---
yesterday:

we went to bed watching bill hicks - sane man. there were pieces of it i'd forgotten about and loved again.

in the morning i discovered that my uncle has passed away. in addition to the relief - the poor man had been on life-support with a feeding tube down his throat - i felt utterly disconnected. i sent condolences on facebook but felt uncomfortable making contact "in real life". we were all fairly close when i was growing up but now i'm only interested in communicating with the two kids i've never really met.

how very sad.

apple tv's youtube interface is so bad that if *i* was working at apple i'd be trying to get someone fired over it. i managed to find some good music in spite of it, though, and we were watching grace slick interviews when gd pointed out that she was born in the year of the rabbit so it might be the reason that a lot of her art centers around a white one (in addition to the obvious alice in wonderland inspiration).

i got home, barely had time to touch the nda for mti and chug breakfast before leaving to meet gd and her brother at their mother's place to help them box up. my presence turned out to be unnecessary, the only achievement of the afternoon being my being approved by her brother.
"are your intentions honourable?" he asked me.
"not even a little," i quipped.
we're on good terms, now :)

advertisements for goat simulator followed us around the metro system. as well as ads inappropriately announced over the pa. that's not smart, stm.

we went to godmother's charity vintage sale, we had a quick chat and gd found something she liked. then we did some shopping, and the rest of the evening was spent awkwardly trying to figure out how we feel about aaa and what to do about inviting her or not to the poetry slam, as she'd been the one to inform me that i'd made the finals. weird facebook fail. whatever.

i've finally been made a couple of offers on the books i'm trying to sell in israel, and while trying to price them discovered that a lot of the out-of-copyright ones are being offered for free on amazon! since when were *they* so generous?!

my mom and i chatted on skype and gd was around, so they've finally (sort of) been introduced. that's cool :)

after making dinner, i tried to get some studying done while gd watched night watch, but i was so tired that i went to bed barely getting through anything.

---
today:

it was a beautiful spring morning (which has since soured), but it was tough getting up and that's probably because i'm not looking forward to dealing with my work permit application. the meeting about it was cancelled, so i'm waiting to see what'll happen with that. i've spoken to a government immigration agent and arranged a meeting with an organization that assists immigrants, and the only other thing of actual value i've done today is pick up new shin guards and unsuccessfully hunt down papers for my tax return.

...

the guy who sold me the guards? he told me to meet me at the gym at 10.30. i arrived at 10.30, and sent him a message. he told me to wait for him, he'd be there at 11am.

WTF?!?!

i was pissed, and his apology did nothing to calm me down. what incredible disrespect - i'm not dealing with him again. at least the guards are really, really good *and* exactly the right colour.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

oh, flip

i've just published my modernized version of narcissus and echo after deciding that it's good enough without my pretentiously ruining it with rhyme. i came to the starbucks intending to sort out an nda for mti but my netbook is seriously griefing me. also, i don't feel like doing anything else until i finish posting, it's been a crazy few days and the weekend's probably going to be interesting too.

i'll start with a quick summary of the things at the forefront of my mind right now:
(in no particular order)

1. job hunting. i interviewed yesterday for the aerospace job. it's not exactly what i expected but it's still an awesome entry point and it has room for mobility in the right direction if i play my cards right. long story short, i interviewed well and already received feedback that i'm their top candidate. my recruiter's pressuring them to move quickly in light of my final interviews for the other super-exciting opportunity on tuesday and while writing this post received a callback.

2. gd. i've been weird about things for the last few days, but it's more psychological sabotage than anything real. everything's fantastic in spite of skeptical me and feels right.

3. i retook the french oral comprehension exam this morning. my oral comprehension has definitely gotten better, but the number of "je ne sais pas" answers has increased noticeably. i hope i improved my score!

---
tuesday evening:

the gym experience was full of amusing faux pas (mainly with the kickboxing couple) but was primarily a good, solid training. the jolly moroccan has been implementing the diet and was eager to report that he was feeling really good on it ^_^

the dark, quiet and wet streets on the way to gd's felt like home. i love that sensation, it reminds me of misty middle-of-the-night streets in cape town. gd gave me a quick pre-interview haircut, after which i was totally bombed and fell into bed.

---
wednesday:

i slept amazingly well, though it included a long dream in which i needed to escape from brother bear and i felt like i'd done something illegal. waking up was perfectly comfortable, and i left with gd who advised me to go to winners to find a tie for my big interview. winners wasn't open that early, so i spent the forty-five minutes waiting with a cup of tea and half-heartedly trying to produce poetry.

ties are stupidly expensive. i managed to find a couple that i liked and happened to be "discounted", but i think paying $10 for a tie is ridiculous so when i see a scratched out $50 i just don't know where to file the information. as it is, i was on my way out when i noticed a loose thread on one of them and i guess that was the reason for the "good" price.

---
i came home insanely hungry, peanut-buttered a couple of slices of toast and was walking past my desk calendar on my way to my computer when i noticed that i had made an appointment with army brat's recruiter that was going to begin in half an hour and i'd completely forgotten about it. what absurdly fortunate timing! i hurriedly stuffed the food into my mouth while pulling on some smart duds, left the recruiter a message to say i'd be a little late and fast-walked to the metro.

when i arrived, fifteen minutes late, the receptionist directed me to a computer where i'd have to fill out a form. annoyed - wasn't this supposed to be a meeting with a recruiter who already had my resume? - i started filling in my details but stopped when they asked for my social insurance number and i couldn't proceed without it. i returned to the receptionist's desk and told her i wasn't comfortable providing that, which prompted her to call the recruiter and disdainfully inform her that i wasn't playing ball.

the recruiter came out and asked what the problem was. she then explained to me that i could simply enter zeros in that field instead, told me that the receptionist was supposed to have let me know, and that i could ignore all the fields aside from the basic personal data. i certainly wasn't about to spend an hour telling them what's on my resume... which they had already... so i entered null data as much as i could so that they could let me sit down with the person i'd come to see.

let's just say they didn't make the greatest first impression on me ever. although, to be fair, it's better than another recruiting company that took over a year to contact me.

...

the actual meeting was pleasant, and the woman seemed to have a vague idea of what i'm about by the time i left. although she did say something really weird: apparently she has a number of employees who had to physically leave the country in order to apply for permanent residence. nobody else i know had that experience and that's certainly not what the immigration site says, so i can't help but feel that somebody there's doing something very wrong indeed.

---
i had a big lunch (i was still hungry) and then napped with french radio in the background. the cleaning lady arrived and gave me some very helpful immigration info - a real-life contact that i can consult for free! hooray! i napped a bit more and then hit the starbucks. i got some studying done and was comfortable except for a weird minute or two when i noticed that one of the eyes of a creepy-looking dude with a squint was on me and i couldn't figure out if he was staring at me or out the window.

i went to the further supermarket to pick up sublingual b12 for gd, and the walk there and back was consumed by my working on the performance of my latest piece. it's one thing to remember it all, it's quite another to get the emotions right :)

i made it to muay thai, which wasn't a great class for technique (i partnered with a beginner again) but it was excellent for conditioning. he made us work really, really hard. i chased that with boxing, but skipped sparring because i'm *not* risking concussion before two important interviews :P

gd came over for another relaxed evening.

---
yesterday:

i slept well, and woke up slowly and pleasantly. once gd had left i called back a company i'd applied for and the woman i spoke to was really nice; the only issue is that halfway through the call she informed me that their bread-and-butter is adult content. i decided that i'll interview anyway, but i'm not sure i'd accept a job like that.

the big interview: the only real preparation i had to do was dressing nicely. i gave gd a chance to vet my clothing before she left, and i walked out feeling capital! as in, like a capital letter. irrationally presentable, and just as confident without the fancy dress. but confident i most certainly was.

which is good, because i didn't have a chance to pick up coffee on the way. i was comfortably anyway, and i'd done some research so i ended up demonstrating my skill-set by asking more questions than they had the answers to. by the time i walked out i was feeling really good about our hour together, although there were a couple of things that i wasn't entirely happy with. i'd referred to "remote terminal" as "remote desktop" on a couple of occasions and they'd asked me to quantify my customer-facing experience. on the spot, i didn't really have anything to go on and i'd only figure out a rough estimate in the evening.

i walked out exhausted, i'd drawn on a lot more energy than i'd realized. i was under pressure to get passport photos taken, print out my convocation and registration form for the french exam, pick up coffee and write a follow-up email before getting to morgan stanley for their recruitment event. the last two items didn't get done, the former because there was a long line at the starbucks and the latter because i'd only really figure out the numbers i needed to send later.

of course, when you're in a hurry and dressed nicely the street-cleaning truck has to drive precisely along the route you're taking to the metro :/
*and* a girl careened through a stop street and would've taken me out if i hadn't suspected that that was going to happen.
*and* running to get into the metro car and having the person just ahead of me *stop* as they stepped inside.

once i got to the right metro station i took a bit of a wrong turn, but by that stage i was a little more relaxed and less certain that the world was hating on me personally. as i met up with my friend* and we walked inside my phone rang. it was the recruiter, calling to let me know that i was the top candidate. that totally made our day! and gave us a good excuse to pick up some wine from the bar :P

* the name tag i'd been given said "totalwaste" with the title "friend" underneath.

we had a good time talking, i finally met her husband and we've made up some good excuses to see more of each other.

the first developers i met were a really nice bunch and we all hit it off. the guy who presented at the end made his job sound fantastically boring.

...

i finally got home, had a quick chat with my mom, sent the email that needed to be sent, got all my exam stuff together and ordered indian to gd's place. i was completely braindead on the metro, and arrived just before my food did. we couldn't find any french movies that we agreed on, and ended up watching an episode from the first season of heroes instead before heading to bed.

---
today:

i barely slept, i woke up with a sore throat, a sore back and running late for the exam. fortunately everything was better by the time i arrived with coffee in hand, and just as fortunately the two degrees celsius wasn't particularly cold because i didn't have a sweater.

registration was efficient, there was a little confusion prior to the test but everything went smoothly.

i went straight home after the exam, lay down on the couch and resumed watching rebellion, a very clever french movie about imbecility in war. i fell asleep long before getting to the end of it, and when i woke up i came here to try and Get Stuff Done.

aside from this, though, that hasn't really happened. but i'm in "i'm a little distracted by the insanely good news and i don't care too much about anything" mode ^_^

Friday, April 25, 2014

flying high

i just received a phone call from the recruiter: i've been made an offer and they've accepted it on my behalf! i'm about to enter private aerospace for the first time, i'm not going to have to leave montreal any time soon, and i'm so excited right now my heart's thumping wildly and i don't know what to do with myself ^_^

i should care about things like compensation and vacation, but i don't. not a whit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

just another manic monday

sunday evening:

the time spent posting flew by, i was shocked to discover that it was 9.30pm and i hadn't prepared dinner yet! and of course, preparing food when in a hurry took longer than usual...

... between my salad and indian leftovers, i ate so much that my body pressed me into an early night.

---
yesterday:

a while ago a girl from the french class contacted me and asked if i'd be interested in going to a meet 'n greet for the big financial firm she works for, as they hadn't responded to my job applications and she figured it'd be an excellent opportunity for me to put my resume in the right hands. she promised to send me a formal invitation so i forgot about it, and yesterday morning she phoned me to ask if i was still interested. it just so happens that it's precisely between the thursday afternoon's stupidly exciting aerospace job interview and friday morning's french exam, but i asked her to send me the forgotten invitation and told i'd let her know.

still no invitation. that's pretty annoying.

...

rabbit sent me a message informing me that she'd taken the aspie quiz... and is officially an aspie. feeling like i'd done something positive, i shared the news with gd. so *she* took the test. the test took forever because every second question turned into a discussion, but eventually she got through it.

"$#@% YOU!" she shouted at the screen, "NEUROTYPICAL MY ASS!"

...

a friend of gd's came over for a haircut and we got along almost as well as her friend from the previous morning. this one teaches tai chi, though, and was excited to learn about my muay-thai / taekwondo experience and wants to trade lessons. sweet! i'm really liking this whole "barter" community :)

we had lunch at sandwicherie st henri, the vegan option was great and we had a really interesting conversation that ranged from crazy dreams to epic sci-fi. we also had an uncomfortable moment, but it was resolved before it could become an issue and what was interesting was the way it came up and the way in which it was resolved. we have this communication thing down, and we're so much on the same level it's a bit surreal.

on the way back i learned the story that had introduced gd to pulse: garbage bag fines. some idiot in her building keeps putting out his garbage after the truck's passed, and the authorities have decided that gd's apartment is the easiest to fine. if she goes to court to contest this there's a good chance that the judge will reject her appeal and that the fine will be increased. wtf?!

anyway, i've encouraged her to take action by alternative means and today she took the first steps.

*sigh*

our post-lunch nap was one of the greatest i've ever had, even though i learned that in addition to snoring (aargh!) i also twitch a lot, and not just as i fall asleep. gd informed me of this as i responded to a between-states dream in which a volleyball was launched past me and i dove backwards to reach it...

...

[tears of relief]

...

i returned home in tool / a perfect circle mode, a mode i haven't been in in a long time. it's still going, so strongly that i haven't been able to keep myself from humming when outside and singing along with abandon in private.

i chatted with my mum quickly before training, and was most amused by her (granted, predictable) response to hearing that gd has a facial tattoo. and then that she has most of her back covered. i probably should have mentioned that she's considering chest ink and that i've convinced her to try it out with a temporary tat (printed or henna) first... the context of the conversation with my mother was my wondering out loud which buttons of uncle hate she'll press if and when we're invited to godmother's :P

...

muay thai yesterday was AWESOME. the guy taking the class has just returned from a year in thailand and the exercises were all properly hard and interesting, and to make it even better i was partnered with one of the taekwondo guys and we had a couple of rounds of free kicking with thai pads so we not only worked on roundhouses and push kicks but on doubles (low / high), side kicks and outside / insides as well. we worked really hard, had a lot of fun and attracted a small group of impressed spectators :)

after the class mti and i went to the starbucks to work on the comics. we were both disappointed, first by the lack of soy milk (again?!) and then by the lack of seating, but the latter resolved itself quickly enough. the evening was productive and exciting, we appear to be on the same page (although i always get that impression...) but she's totally professional and that has to make a difference!

i got home late, worked on a few job hunting emails and then returned to gd's.

---
today:

in the middle of the night, as we prepared to go to bed, gd's phone went missing. i called it to hunt it down, and after finding it accidentally redialed the recruiter for the aerospace job, only realizing that my phone was calling after it had rung a few times. AAAAARGH!!!

gd laughed hysterically at my panic and my response to it, i sent him an apology by email and hoped this wouldn't upset him...

...

we enjoyed another wonderful, slow morning, made even better when gd's taxi didn't show up and she called her work to let them know she'd be a little late. they told her she could take the day off, and so we went to the hospital together. i was going for blood tests, she went to pay her mother a visit (she's being kept for testing for something). she asked me if i was okay with meeting her mom, and i told her i was up for it.

we seem to have gotten off on the right foot, her mom and i :) the mixture of french and english wasn't a problem, and it's actually the best practice for friday's exam that i've had in weeks!

at one point she made a comment about how strong i look. "i train five days a week," i said, and she switched to french to tell us that she'd be requiring my services because she's moving house soon. gd and i laughed, and i reassured her that it would be a pleasure. i'm built to carry stuff :P

later she introduced me to one of her fellow patients. "he's also jewish," she told him, "he's from israel. and he's a computer genius!"

between that and the previous not-so-subtle hints about grandchildren, i was both a little embarrassed, flattered and amused no end :P

my blood drawing had only taken a minute (i'd spent the waiting time with gd and her mom), so after saying goodbye we went for coffee before separating. it was a dark discussion about childhood traumas (and the funny things that came out of them) and scary siblings, of which we both have a fair amount in common. it moved upbeat, however, because that's what our conversations tend to do. and everything, good and bad, keeps us feeling like we were made for each other. it looks like we're in it for the long haul.

that's extremely gratifying.

i've had puscifer - rev 22:20 stuck in my head all day. it's kinda how i feel.

---
my phone rang a short while ago, it was the recruiter for the aerospace job setting up a meeting with a hopefully future counterpart. since the call i've had the syndicate "calm" music stuck in my head, and i'm wondering at the serendipity of my life turning around just after changing all my tones :)

---
nystire sent me a couple of strips to look at. surprisingly good is surprisingly good, but fight is totally winning the week.

Monday, April 21, 2014

long weekend goodness

we've been together for just about a week now, and already trying to imagine not being with gd seems impossible. this relationship is at a level that wouldn't seem reasonable if i were watching it in a movie. there've been so many weird little things that make it seem like the universe just wants us to be together, and it's kinda hard to ignore them even as skeptical me rolls his eyes.

just before he shrugs, smiles and silently approves. because it's awesome and fun and good and feels right ^_^

---
thursday:

i was so tired that i fell asleep watching guy steele on growing a programming language, which is unbelievably clever meta-poetry that you only start to *get* once he's built it up a bit. he's doing what?? using what?? anyway, it's awesome and deserves some of your time if you're a software developer. or into poetry.

i felt awful when i woke up, suffering that ugly feeling when you're forcibly dragged from a state of unconsciousness that your body desperately requires that you be in. gd came over with her kickboxing gear as we'd been planning on heading to tristar together, but she was also exhausted so instead we spent the night introducing her to firefly and enjoying pitaya, rum, liquorice and chocolate after ascertaining that she digs my salads.

that made for a good night.

---
friday:

i woke up with bon jovi - bad medicine stuck in my head after another sleepless night. i was so busy getting ready for the day that i forgot breakfast. what?!

...

the good friday crowd at the clinic wasn't too bad. i didn't have to wait for too long, but it was a bit uncomfortable being sent into a doctor's office only to have to wait for another five or ten minutes. the doctor seemed embarrassed when she realized that i literally only needed a minute of her time after i'd waited for so long.

while waiting i received a message from aaa, and i had time to finally put together a response (in french) that totally covered everything while not being offensive. she definitely *gets* it now, and i seem to have managed to rescue her ego: after she told me it was a bit of a blow, i explained that gd and me being more compatible doesn't have anything to do with her not being wonderful. did that really help? i can't tell, but that's the story i'm telling myself and i'm sticking to it.

i walked out of the clinic just in time to make it to my "poetry date" at cagibi with rabbit. the girl serving me at cagibi was very cool, and she even allowed me to keep a tab - i felt very special :)
their vegan treats were as good as they said they were.

rabbit and i spent the next hour or two talking productively, figuring out a collaborative project we want to do, and critiquing each other's works just like i'm used to from the wondering workshop. we really clicked, had a great time and will definitely be doing that again soon ^_^

newk'd and i had a bit of a misunderstanding, so instead of him meeting me at the designated time at the designated place, i headed to his area and we sat down for ndg bagels. the vegetarian options left much to be desired, and i ended up having to put vegetables on my vegetables on my bagel with a side order of salad. it was a lot, it wasn't bad but it's good that the whole thing was more about talking than eating. i'm excited for him that he's heading off to toronto next week to compete in game production!

i returned home, napped for an hour and went to the gym. boxing had been cancelled so i worked on the bags for an hour. it was mostly good, but i was feeling tired and had to take frequent rests. ugh :(

afterwards i went to gd's, we ordered indian and watched more firefly. she wanted to continue when we finished the train job but i simply couldn't keep my eyes open any more...

---
yesterday:

i slept much better than the night before but i still woke up sleepy. i thought i'd get some stuff done when i got home but instead napped for another hour, falling into that deep, black slumber that my brain so desperately needed. i woke up feeling much better but having snoozed so much that i didn't have time to draw cash or make / get coffee, so i pulled an energy drink from the fridge, hunted down a couple of bills and hurried to luna yoga.

i arrived *just* in time, and i'm now paid up for all-access for a month. i found myself positioned at the front of the class, which kinda sucked because the only person i could watch for cues didn't seem to have much of a clue either and the instructions came so fast they were hard to follow sometimes. the lesson was great, though. the instructor reinforced my sense of "living right" and basically had me grinning non-stop as i meditated on the previous week.

the only problem with the class, really, was that my arms felt soooooo weak. otherwise, everything was great and i was very satisfied.

i wanted to invite pulse out for lunch, but i didn't have my wallet with me. she was hungry and in a hurry to eat, but i got her to agree to meet me at vendôme station after she did some quick shopping. in order to make our rendezvous i postponed showering, but when i arrived i got a message informing me that she was being held up and would need another twenty minutes. i totally could've showered :/

instead, i waited in the beautiful sunshine and worked on the slam. i'm really pleased with it now, after minor updates suggested by rabbit and making some major strides in its performance. i can't wait for next month!

pulse and i took out excellent indian food and discussed the details of the previous week. i was a bit surprised to hear her complain that this isn't the first time she's successfully set up someone she's dated with someone else... i didn't need to remind her that she let me go, but something that she let slip was quite flattering and i told her how pleased i am that we're still friends. i kinda wish there was some way to help her find the right guy for her, but that's not how this stuff works...

i visited chez geeks and struggled to find an appropriate board game for vfmp's birthday gift. then i realized i could get him a gift card for them - ideal! while browsing i came across mr. card game. the guy at the store hated it so much he recommended i never try it. this guy thinks it's amazing.

huh.

---
thought for the day: "where / how do blind beggars relieve themselves?"
it's bad enough to handle toilets being blind, but blind and homeless? oh, man.

---
it was hard to stay conscious on the metro home, and on the metro to gd's, and the nodding off then was as close to siesta as i was going to get. we went to yuan for dinner to celebrate vfmp's birthday, our first social outing as a couple. after that we returned to manga-thé, again because getting into randalph's wasn't happening.

dinner was really good, though anything sushi sucked and there were no drinks AT ALL on the all-you-can-eat menu. it was bizarre coming to grips with the facts that almost all the items om the menu were vegan, and the fake meat items were mostly really good. the mint tofu was odd. just sayin'.
we played forbidden island again, had a wildly entertaining time of it, and called it a night once we'd won.

it was a good night. and i'm really glad that vfmp and co and gd all get along so well! :D

---
today:

we were both exhausted by the time we eventually fell asleep, but woke up feeling properly rested. on a sunday morning when we could sleep in. YES!!!

we tried to have breakfast at a local spot but it was closed for easter. on the way we discovered that we both love it rubs the lotion on its skin. so that was the earworm for the morning :)

gd barters her services as a stylist, and a couple of guys came over for haircuts in the late morning. the first was a friend who i've now adopted as one of mine, we've got a crazy amount in common in addition to the fact that he's looking for people to play arkham horror expansions with. we talked for ages about all sorts of things, and he might be a good work contact as well!

the second was one of the guys who runs her gym, he was pleasant enough but gave me an odd look of appraisal when he heard i train at tristar. i don't know what that meant.

---
while the first guy got his hair cut, i noticed a piece of art on the wall that's strikingly similar to f (including the textual overlay, although the theme's a little different).

"hey - who painted this?"
"i did."

jaw on the floor.

---
we returned to midi 6, had way too much food and talked non-stop. i'm fascinated by how different we are on some things and how similar on others. sometimes it's quite jarring to switch from one to the other, but there's mutual respect even when we disagree and it's effortless. we argue with the same intensity and the same intention, and that's not only rare but it's extremely gratifying!

i went to godmother's for tea and a long chat. suddenly it was 5pm and i *had* to come home, because aside from posting this and tending to my apartment i'm on dinner duty so that my salad ingredients don't go to waste :P

Thursday, April 17, 2014

odd bits

i left late yesterday evening, but the universe was still playing nice and even the previous metro was delayed just long enough that i'd make it downtown on time. i arrived at gd's work - she's a stylist - and meeting her co-workers was pleasant and amusing and could have been very embarrassing had i been at all self-conscious :P

we went to p.m. for a delicious dinner, and went back to her place having both eaten far too much.

...

i didn't sleep too well, something about my limbs was uncomfortable the whole night. not in an rls way, i suspect it was something like exhausted relief after the whole pinched-nerve ordeal.

the morning was super-slow, and when i eventually got home i contacted the recruiter that army brat had referred me to. it was super-awkward getting through to her and her not having a clue who i was talking about, i was convinced that army brat had been using an alias or something :P

i finally went to get laundry coins from the supermarket, which took forever because the girl miscounted and i had to wait for a particularly slow customer before i could get my last 25c. *sigh*
at least i wasn't in any hurry.

---
i'm amused: a lady at starbucks gave me a lecture about how risky it is to leave my jacket unattended. she then proceeded to question me on my accent, and after making sure that i'd had places to go for passover she and her husband are now making inquiries through their networks to see if they can help me find employment.

oh, canada.

---
i've got a couple of hours to be productive before gd comes over and we go to the gym together (she does kickboxing in another one, so she's checking us out). before that, there've been links accumulating and a short family rant brewing. i'll begin with the latter:

i have an aunt and uncle who live with their family in los angeles. i haven't been in contact with them in many years, and to be honest i'm not particularly driven to be so but that's neither here nor there. a few years ago my uncle had a stroke and his quality of life obviously hasn't been the same since, but he was kind of okay and that's cool. recently, though, he fell very ill (i don't recall what specifically happened) and he's now in a situation wherein his family is keeping him on life support and they've just inserted a feeding tube because he's no longer with us.

there is nothing, absolutely nothing good that can come of this. they're keeping him alive for the most selfish of reasons, and it's totally inhumane and cruel. even if he does wake up, he's not going to be able to enjoy the rest of his life. pull the damned plug. life support without a good chance of a meaningful return to health is cruelty.

---
the idea of vat-grown vaginas may sound weird, but i find it unbelievably cool tech and it's awesome that these guys are doing such a good job. i'm also impressed that they managed to keep their mouths shut until they had real results to present!

between lifehacker explaining why all our passwords suck and hearing about the possibility that the nsa knew about heartbleed, i'm left feeling deeply uncomfortable about the state of our privacy and security.

i saw "the hebrew mamita" ages ago, even a couple of times, but watching her again yesterday made me emotional. i don't know why.

montreal's getting a vegan grocery store? awesome :)

the first instagram from space is a selfie by an astronaut wearing a firefly shirt. that's frikkin' excellent :D

i don't even. part iv.

[... continued]

---
today:

everything took so long with my back the way it was that my planning meant nothing and i ended up running late. not by too much, and when i arrived they didn't notice, but *i* noticed. i also discovered, too late, that one of my really nice shirts from last year is now too small. training, huh? it does that shit.

as my train passed gd's metro station and the doors opened, my phone somehow acquired a signal and i received a message from her wishing me luck. wtf?!

...

the meeting... was awesome. the guy's really nice, we seem to have clicked, and after going through all my experience i was thrilled to hear that i appear to be exactly what they're having trouble finding.
*crosses fingers*
this is a REALLY exciting opportunity. the other employer that i'm interviewing with? if i have to choose between these two, big-life-decision-wise i'll have no choice but to go with today's. and i'll be seriously bummed about the other one, because i want that one as well. i'm praying that i'll have that problem. i can't imagine a nicer problem to have!

...

i came home, posted and went out to a local java u that i didn't know existed to meet the illustrator i do muay thai with. at some point i discovered that if i walked with my toes turned out in an exaggerated fashion my back wouldn't hurt as much, so getting there and back was less trouble than before. i ran into a friend from the gym who's almost done with his psychology degree and has decided that he's turning professional as a boxer, which impresses me no end. there was a lady occupying the seat next to the only available power outlet and i was very pleased that she was obliging enough to move over :)

the meeting was excellent, but unfortunately she was pressed for time. we'll definitely meet again, probably on the weekend, and she seems like the real deal in every respect!

i closed the door to my apartment on my way out to the supermarket and felt and heard something in the middle of my spine click, and as quickly as it began the nerve issue was over! i'm taking things easy, though, and i hope that this is properly resolved. it's such a relief to not be feeling so much pain!

on the way i completed memorizing (and tweaking) my new work. awesome! i ate at subway, shopped quickly and returned to make a phone call.

the recruiter, after hearing about my c / c++ / c# / java experience, informed me that i'm "underqualified" for the job. he then told me what the job requirements are, and i'm OVER-qualified. i didn't try too hard to mask the offense in my voice when i explained to him that that was not the case. he then asked me for my salary expectations. i told him the same thing i tell everyone - that i refuse to give it - and after telling me that he understands he informed me that without a salary expectation he wouldn't be able to proceed.
"well, that's unfortunate." i told him. he quickly wished me a good day and put the phone down.

...

what i'd *like* to have said was "sir, you appear to be underqualified to represent me."

---
damn, i just answered a telephone survey that i think was for a national broadcaster, but after giving them some basic demographic info they asked my name and my address. that was when i realized that it could totally be a scam, and i might have already given them too much info. i declined to continue and i hope there's no damage done :(

i don't even. part iii.

[... continued]

monday continued:

i left gd's when it was time to get ready for the first night of passover. i walked in a semi-daze, completely high (on life, and it's been mostly sustained this whole week) and utterly distracted.

not the best time to receive a series of messages from aaa telling me she didn't *get* it, apparently she changed her mind at the slam and still wants to date. i gently chided her and put her off, hoping she got the message this time...

...

the spring rain would have been more welcome had i not been dressed well. just saying.

---
the first night passover dinner was insanely tedious. if it wasn't for the fact that i won't let my family down, it was so bad that even if it wasn't the last time that our hosts will be hosting (for a while at least, they're not going to be here next year), i'd say i'd never go there again. it's not that they're not nice people, and the food was good, but it was like nobody cared enough to participate in the seder AND they went through every single page of the damned haggadah anyway. it's okay if it's one or the other, but both?!

and the company. oh gods, the company. not only did i want to be spending my evening with gd, but i was surrounded by people i have absolutely nothing in common with and who amongst themselves couldn't keep a conversation going for more than a minute unless it was about sports, and that conversation lasted about five minutes and was entirely composed of random facts and completely unfounded speculations being thrown across the table.

damn.

DAMN.

and yang, who i usually can at least have some kind of entertaining interactions with even if they're negatively entertaining, was being even more of a yanghole than usual so i didn't want to talk to him at all.

...

for some reason, in my head i can summarize the experience with "we had to keep our shoes on at the table". the only positive thing about the seder being so bad is that it was the primary cause for certainty that i wasn't simply hallucinating those 24 hours.

---
gd was amused that i was considerate enough to carefully floss and brush extra-well before heading over to her place as i'd eaten something for dessert that she's so allergic to that micro-contact would send her into anaphylactic shock. pulse and her had both warned me about this; i had this horrifying vision of having to call 911 in the middle of the night...

i ran into vector as i walked into the metro, and it sounds like he and i are going to be able to get to work on our collaboration in a couple of weeks - so that's cool.

---
yesterday:

i came home in that same state as after a long night of hard partying, happy but in an altered state of mind caused by a combination of excess happiness and sleep deprivation.

and i thought that when i got home i'd post, and call people back, and otherwise be productive. boy, was i wrong!
i received a phone call from a recruiter i'd never heard of with a contract that urgently needs to be filled and that, quite frankly, is PRECISELY what i'd consider my ideal re-entry into aerospace! what terrifying serendipity! what freakishly good fortune!

i cited aota and my last commander as references, and was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from aota a short while later informing me that she'd provided me an AMAZING reference and inviting me over for coffee. what?! how awesome is that?!

...

that was when the universe decided to give me a kick in the backside. literally. i was on my way up the stairs at aota's metro station when my nerve pinched again. sciatica, apparently. it began by bothering me every few steps, and would proceed to get progressively worse as the day worn on...

...

i spent hours at aota's chatting with her and her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend until i realized that i was really hungry and that i needed to get going anyway. i was entering the metro when the morning's recruiter called, hoping to catch me in time for a quick face-to-face introduction, and after i decided not to put myself in a position where i might be late for dinner i realized that i'd dodged a bullet because i wasn't exactly dressed for success. rule: don't meet potential employers or recruiters wearing street clothes.

on the metro: a bag isn't a person, and doesn't require its own seat on a packed train. but the dude didn't need to give up BOTH seats in order to let me have one.


by the time i returned home my lower back was in agony every few steps. so much for grateful positive vibes, huh?

the second night's seder was suuuuuch an improvement! both uncle hate and yang disagreed, but that was purely on grounds of them being assholes. we skipped bits that weren't imperative, everyone was friendly and positive and joined in, and even the elderly italians across from me were very sweet and we had fun chats about the most arbitrary things.

also, it was far quicker than the previous night's. and the food was good.

---
by the time the seder was done my sciatica was constant and extremely painful, i was limping and wobbling occasionally, struggling to sit or stand. i called gd when i got home and discovered that she suffers from it too, not only did she have advice for me but she talked me through finding appropriate meds. they helped a little, even if i woke up with cotton wool between my ears...

[continued...]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

i don't even. part ii.

[... continued]

---
sunday:

i enjoyed a good wake-up, though it was a rainy day and i went through it to the walmart to pick up a yoga mat. pulse had been talking about the importance of colours, and i was amused to hear that if i want to focus on my upper back i should go with green. i have a thing for green, so that's no biggie. there was a single yoga mat left in stock. it was green, odourless (i'd been warned about chemical mats) and apparently eco-friendly. so that was easy! as i walked to the check-out i received a message informing me that pulse had gifted me a $25 discount on yoga supplies from some online source.

why was the world making it feel like my birthday?

there was a problem at the check-out with the card reader. i was so offended when, after a couple of failed attempts, the cashier grabbed my card and began rubbing the chip as if we were in the nineties. i *told* her it was the reader, not the card. before she could do any damage i thanked her for her efforts and found another counter. my card passed through first time and i left with an image in my head of the first cashier as a kid blowing into a nintendo cartridge.

i went supermarket shopping, forgetting to make change for the laundry, then hit the gym to train. i was specifically going to meet the guy who joined us for yoga last week because i didn't have his number and the instructor was coming in later than we'd agreed. he didn't rock up at all, and instead i worked on the punching bags. i worked really hard, really well and for a long time; so long, in fact, that i didn't leave myself the time i'd intended to return home, shower quickly and return with my new yoga mat. suddenly the instructor had arrived and i'd only had a few minutes' rest. we began the yoga class.

my arms and legs were kinda tired after all the work on the bags. that made the exercises particularly difficult, but i pushed through and was as satisfied as i was sore by the end.

i had a short time between yoga and horseman visiting, really just enough to shower and eat and maybe rest a bit. instead of the latter, when i got home i found a message from aaa waiting for me. oh, i thought. we're going to have the talk.

i called her up and was surprised when instead of the talk, she was inviting herself to the slam! oh, shit. i couldn't think of an inoffensive way to end things in that context, so i remained polite and unenthusiastically told her i'd see her later. i started stressing about the potential drama, already planning to take gd out for a drink after the slam to explain everything, and was discussing the situation with supertongue who's a bit of a drama expert. she told me that i *had* to call aaa back, and i'm really glad i listened!

because i took a moment to compose my thoughts, called her back and told her how i feel. i was relieved to hear her say that it wasn't just me - so i wasn't being an ass! very sweet. we agreed that dating isn't working, but that we both like each other and hanging out is cool. it was actually the nicest "we're not going to date any more" talk i've ever had and we were both laughing for half of it. that was cool, i immediately felt much better, and just then horseman arrived for a tekken session.

we played the new tag tournament, it was a lot of fun but not as competitive as usual. both our games were off but it didn't matter :)

as we left for the slam i stressed about getting dressed, and halfway there i recalled that i'd intended to shave. shave! my beard was looking a bit scraggly. and pulse's comment about presenting my poetry with respect still ran in my ears. but there was no time for that. there was just time to grab a quick bite at la pantere verte and arrive to sign up.

i'm sorry, said my buddy as he greeted us at the door: we've changed the way registration works this week... didn't you get the memo? all the slots are taken, the only thing open is the open mic.

DAMN! i was so disappointed! i signed up for the open mic and made sure he understood that if there was an opening for the slam that i wanted it instead. a slow hour would pass before he could inform me that someone had dropped out, which was an enormous relief :)

we sat down with pulse and gd, were joined by bnw and had a really good time! i was really excited when pulse gave me some insider information that the guys at the company i've been interviewing with are just as excited to have me join them - i don't know if she's exaggerating because she's being super-nice but i'll take it ^_^

we enjoyed ourselves until aaa showed up, at which point things started getting a little weird. i was sitting between everyone and the stage and pulse, gd and aaa were sitting in a row with aaa next to me; i kept thinking "past, hopefully future and present" and both myself and gd, who was being respectfully considerate, were having trouble deciding where to look at any given time.

then the evening began. i was wearing my syndicate shirt, amusingly showing "follow me until you die" to the girls because my back was to them; i was uncomfortable specifically because i couldn't keep an eye on things.

some of the open mic pieces were pathetic, one of them was a surprisingly dramatic improvement by the guy who i hated on the open mic when i judged. still not amazing, but he's at least heading in the right direction :)

...

the slam began. the first guy up was someone i quite like, though his piece left a bit to be desired. my name was announced, and i whisked my bundle of nerves up onto the stage.

1. i should've raised the height of the mic. i'm an idiot.
2. i needed more confidence. my piece deserved more confidence, and now i feel like i let it down.
3. in spite of my shaking and lack of power, i blew the first dude away, was received with heartwarming applause and the mc was so impressed he joyfully fist-bumped me as we passed each other.
4. the judges seem to like it! certainly better than last month.

everyone at my table was thrilled when i sat down, and i turned to look for the scores. as i did so i felt a pair of hands on my back - i stiffened, knowing that it was a victorious "pat on the back" from aaa and sensing that it was a lot more sensual than it should've been. that was our first physical contact after three dates and an ending, and it was totally unappreciated... especially with gd right there! after that i noticed that something was going on between gd and pulse, and a few minutes later they'd disappeared. my phone began to vibrate with messages from gd and there was far too much for me to say in such a short space - as soon as the first round was over i phoned her.

when i heard her voice i was both touched and terrified; i apologized profusely and we agreed to have coffee in the morning to talk it all over. on my way back to the table aaa passed me to say goodbye. her work was done (she didn't say that, obviously), she needed to go.

#$@!. couldn't she have left first?!

...

during the break vfmp and his boyfriend showed up to take the girls' place. much less dramatic :P

mc june went up as the feature for the night. his hop-hop's all french, but even though i could barely follow the words - never mind the poetic meaning - the man was enthralling. the performance was amazing, powerful, obviously clever, and his beatboxing partner who joined him at the end was just brilliant.

moments before the feature, i was informed that i'd made it through to the second round. score! i was thrilled ^_^

i'd prepared the quebec immigration song for the second. i'm really, really, REALLY lucky that i was called up towards the end, because after hearing the first two poems i knew that it wasn't nearly strong enough. fortunately, i still have advice memorized and i decided that it would have to do.

about a minute before my name was called i felt something in my chest harden. it was something akin to anger; a sense of purpose, and rightness. my nerves were blasted away by it and i jumped onto the stage, reset the mic's height and cleared my head.

oh - my - gods. i have never commanded an audience before, but i now know what it feels like. i stared into the darkness and emptied myself into my words, each one flying out precisely. there were laughs in the right places and finger snaps, and the response when i finished was overwhelming. what unbelievable elation and pride! what a reward for finally getting my shit together on stage!

i took fourth overall (when that was announced there were actually a couple of boos, and not from my table ^_^ ) and a couple of the established poets not only made an effort to catch me to introduce themselves but one of them was excitedly talking about us hopefully going together as a team to the nationals. i hope, i hope, i hope that i've made it into the finals next month!!!

...

it was pouring with rain when we left, bnw and i headed to the metro together and stopped halfway at a cool bar to dry off with a couple of drinks. we had a fun time telling hysterical stories and discussing the evening, and when the rain relaxed and we'd finished our drinks it was time to go home.

---
from the moment we said goodnight, i couldn't stop thinking about gd. i was practicing speeches in my head and fretting about all the things that could possibly go wrong, planning apologies and explanations well into the night.

all this was wrapped in ecstasy, a very real high off the evening that was so strong it was shocking!

---
monday:

sleepless before a date with destiny [i wrote that on the way there]. i picked up my laundry, it was the most beautiful, warm, misty spring morning that would turn into a hot - over 20 degrees hot - sunny day. a fantastic day for extremes, i thought, and i couldn't imagine how right i was at the time.

gd's name is the french version of a character out of greek mythology; i wasn't sure if looking up her story was a mistake or a treat, but it was definitely educational.

...

we met at her metro station, and walked and talked for a while until we found a good place to eat. a sweet, cozy diner-type deal, there wasn't anything vegan on the menu but the waiter managed to sort out a huge, delicious off-the-menu special anyway. the coffee was good and we were having a lot of fun, though a lot of our discussion was decidedly inappropriate and the waiter wasn't embarrassed to chime in every now and again because he could hear everything we were saying. i would've been offended but the attitude was totally good :)

we took a semi-romantic walk down to atwater market and around the area, then to her apartment. we talked for ages there too, culminating in a first kiss that,

quite frankly,

i will never forget.

[continued...]

i don't even. part i.

i'm actually high right now. actually, properly high on life to such a degree that this morning i found myself wondering - on a couple of occasions - if perhaps i'm dying and this last weekend has been a final hallucination in which i imagine what heaven is like.

...

i suddenly recalled the couple of unpleasant things that prove that this all has to be real, and that drew me out from my reality-anxiety reverie in a fit of giggles.

---
friday:

firstly, i have to mention an amazing piece of software that's really exciting: it's called firechat, and in a nutshell it allows android / iphone users to create ad-hoc networks when there's no connectivity. the first, most basic use i could think of was to chat with people on the metro; it's an environment with lots of people avoiding all forms of contact, and i think the ability to communicate with people in the same location and situation anonymously could have really interesting potential.

...

i wasn't going to be able to make boxing in the evening, so i went early to work on the bags. i did some good work, but then i became frustrated as my shins got tender and i managed to hurt my ankle (slightly) on a side-kick to the wrong bag (like kicking a wall, that one). at least i finished feeling looser, and while resting on the pull-up bar i realized that after all this time i'm actually able to hold it with my feet flat on the floor - stretch success!

i went to the tattoo parlor opening that pulse had invited me to. it wasn't too difficult to find, i'm not familiar with the area but it was a beautiful evening and on the way the view of the city was stunningly dystopic. i arrived... on time, and pulse was going to be fifteen minutes late. hesitant to enter alone, not knowing anyone and being pretty bad with strangers, i looked in at the window and decided that i was rather under-dressed. this was no regular tattoo parlor! shit, they'd turned the main area into a gallery and the tattoo artist's paintings were on display, there was a table with wine and cocktail-y stuff and my first impression was that it was packed with pretension.

i opened the door and a beautiful woman jumped forward to welcome me, i automatically assumed that i was talking to one of the proprietors and politely introduced myself before attempting to enter the throng. a small room, packed with people, it was a throng. and everyone was standing and talking in such a way that it was practically impossible to squeeze through to see what was further inside, i was even uncomfortable approaching the table with the refreshments.

i sneaked between the lines-of-sight of the snap-happy photographers while i inspected the artwork: the pieces were all fantastic, the artist has a really cool style and some of the work was really gripping. so there was that.

just as i was staring at a particularly intriguing canvas, i felt a tap on my shoulder and whirled around to find pulse standing beside me. what a relief! she introduced me to her friend, and then re-introduced me to gd, the girl who'd greeted me earlier. the curtain was drawn back, the crowd regained a level of reality and we all proceeded to enjoy the evening together.

there was something special about gd and she basically told me what it was* when she eventually caught me alone; she left with us which gave us an opportunity to chat on the way to the metro. it was immediately obvious that we were going to be friends and we swapped details as we agreed to meet up sometime.

* no, not sharing.

i got home to a message from her that ended in a chat in which we discussed the fact that we were both attracted to each other and the fact that aaa and i were a potential thing. she was happy to respect that and still come see me perform on sunday, and everything was cool. very cool. that is to say, our chat excited me in a way that i haven't been excited in a very long time.

---
saturday:

i slept better, but that wasn't difficult to achieve. i read an article on sensory deprivation that sounded suspiciously like using technology to achieve the goals of a yoga exercise pulse had been describing the night before, then went to old montreal to join her for yoga.

if one of the aims of yoga is to relax, then i was halfway there just by walking through old montreal on such an incredible, sunny morning! gods, that area is gorgeous.

the yoga class: pulse had been going about how amazing her instructor is, and while at first i was a little skeptical i really warmed to him over the course of the class. some of the things he says are a bit preachy, but considering some of the conversations i overheard from the other members of the class it was probably quite necessary. speaking of which, the class was completely full and we had to play a form of yoga mat tetris in order to squeeze everyone in...

... the class was awesome, extremely challenging, mentally stimulating and shamefully sweaty for someone using pulse's spare mat (of course i cleaned it afterwards, but still).

pulse and i had a great time visiting atwater market, the highlight being my finding a large tub of marmite. hooray! on the metro, pulse made a comment about using the poetry slam as an opportunity to vet aaa. i thought that was pretty amusing.

after a good lunch, i went to a java u to meet aaa for coffee before going to hear the university of montreal's orchestra. i was trying and failing to speedily learn the slam in the hope that it'd be ready for the following evening. yeah. not so much.

the date: coffee was nice. we travelled to the university, which is pretty impressive, and found our seats. i wasn't sure how i'd feel about a classical performance, but here goes: the first piece was composed by a man in the audience, it was interesting. the second piece appeared to be showcasing a very talented dude with a flute, it was pretty cool. then there was an intermission, and then the main piece.

dimitri chostakovitch, symphony no. 11. ho-ly crap. there were parts of it where i felt like i was in class trying desperately not to fall asleep, and parts filled with heady, powerful stuff. i guess i could say it was equal parts thrilling and somniferous. i couldn't believe how long it was, my mind was reeling trying to fathom how everyone, from the conductor to the guys on the bells, were keeping it together. when i described the experience to my mother i told her that it felt like i was watching the soundtrack to a movie, and felt quite validated (and cultured :P) when she read back a review that basically said the same thing!
the experience was also similar to some of the more advanced psy-trance pieces where the dj brings in recurring themes in different contexts. it was mind-numbing, intoxicating stuff. i was left speechless and a little shocked by the time it was over.

now for the other side of the experience. the entire time, i found myself comparing between how i felt spending time with aaa and how i felt spending time with gd. i'd spent mere minutes talking with gd, and there aaa and i were on our third date with no spark apparent and not even an indication of a desire for physical contact. i felt like a real heel, thinking like this and comparing between the two, and i continually wondered if i was unfairly letting gd influence the way the date was going.

the word for the evening was "dispassionate". i wasn't interested in continuing the date and i gallantly waited with aaa for her metro, during which time a very strong nothing happened. i hopped on my metro thinking that that felt like a "no".

marmite, then bed. i had a big day to prepare for.

[continued...]

Friday, April 11, 2014

light stepping - step ii

[...continued]

kickboxing: one beginner (why was he in the advanced class?) and a spanish dude, both of whom are training to fight. the jolly moroccan invented a new set of gruelling exercises and i was most pleased to find myself the only one totally handling everything :)
in spite of my butt. and my back that's still not 100%.

when i got home i sent the jolly moroccan photos of all the foodstuffs i have and an explanation of my routine. he's decided to try vegan but i had to explain to him that just cutting out non-vegan foods is NOT healthy. we'll see how he handles my lazy take on things.

i ate a delicious salad (the medium-firm tofu is still excitingly good in my salads) while finishing antz (ugh. it's not a great film). while preparing dinner i watched katt williams: kattpacalypse and sleepwalk with me. the former is amusing but i really don't appreciate what he's saying to the point where i simply had to stop watching. the latter? i don't know. it's not as funny as i was expecting. it's not really funny at all.

---
i woke up in the middle of the night having wrenched my finally-healing back muscles again, and proceeded to spend the rest of it miserably uncomfortable. my butt's still aching, too. this sucks.

...

right. good coffee? check. internet random? check. posting? check. now for lunch, and to get serious for the rest of the day. there's a horse i need to get back on.

---
another reason to like the french: they regulate after-hours electronic harassment. i don't know if they're doing it right, but they've definitely got their attitude sorted out!
an article on how we're waking up wrong adds a good argument for it, too.

...

most free-to-play games are done wrong. here's how to do it right!

light stepping - step i

before i begin, it appears that the heartbleed crisis is mostly over. that is, let's hope that no real damage was done and change all our passwords. here's a helpful list from mashable: which services do you need to change your password for?

---
wednesday:

i had some passover shopping to do so i went down to westmount where i'd heard things were available. it was perfect, perfect weather and every step and breath was enjoyed to the max! of course, an emotional overlay of karnivool - new day helped a bit :)

it was amazing until the wind came up, and then the rest of the day was just kind of nice with a sprinkling of annoying.

a homeless man in the metro reminded me that i hadn't taken any clif bars with me (i prefer to give those instead of cash), so i stopped at the health store to pick up a box of vanilla almond, then stepped into starbucks for my first coffee and some wired time. as i placed my order, the guy behind the counter asked my name to identify the cup.
"name?"
totalwaste.
"number?"
confused, i squinted suspiciously at him and then registered his grin; he was flirting with me.
"umm..." i began to stammer.
"ah! you're awake!"
"... yeah, that doesn't happen too often," i smiled and then proceeded to the next counter.

i was simultaneously amused, and flattered, and embarrassed - and i'm still laughing about it two days later!

...

i read about the midi fighter twister: 19 year-old me really wants that!

...

godmother had told me where to obtain marmite, but apparently they can't bring it in because regulations have changed. disappointed, i entered the supermarket and perused their passover wares. the experience was sucky, 'cause that's how i find most shopping experiences, and the only thing that seemed "gift-ish" were these tacky boxes of chocolates that i needed a second opinion on and was unable to obtain.

---
while i was there i became offended at the stupid things that are imported from israel for passover. kosher-for-passover TEA?! tea doesn't need to be kosher for passover. it's TEA, not bread. one of the finer principles of being jewish is questioning things, and the religious have obviously missed the boat on this point. it's like they're all drinking the kosher-for-passover kool-aid.

---
so i skipped across the road to the saq to pick up wine instead. when i'd found what i wanted, i stood between the check-out counters which were all unmanned. i stood there looking foolish for a short while, until the woman at the "info service" desk asked me if i needed help.

"yeah," i said, holding up the bottles, "i'd like to pay for these"
"what do you think i do here?!" she shouted derisively.
"i don't know," i admitted, "the sign says 'info service' and yours doesn't look like the other counters."

...

everything after "i don't know" was said under my breath.

---
i got home and read the rest of the shadowrun online short stories, which are a lot of fun. i called up the israeli consulate and was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and the fact that they're actually open before and after the holidays. then i was tired, so i rested.

i was deliberating between joining pulse for yoga or boxing sparring, then suddenly remembered that i was supposed to go to godmother's for dinner. good thing i remembered! dinner was really nice, after which i was tired again in spite of the coffee.

i watched a few ted episodes on neuroscience (or was it neurology?) and then watched antz in french until i passed out.

---
yesterday:

after a good night's rest i woke up incredibly comfortable. i didn't move for a while just so that i could enjoy the sensation as long as possible, and i'm glad i did because apparently i've somehow got myself a pinched nerve in my butt and one side has been hurting with random shooting pains since i got out of bed.

my first task of the day was to take my israeli id to the embassy to get the address updated, only i'd neglected to consider and explore my options before arriving and as i walked into the building i realized that i didn't know what to change it to. feeling silly, i turned right around and went to vasconia, where i'd been informed (by bnw, who has a vested interest in helping her friends out) i'd find good colombian coffee.

it's a great little bakery, the coffee (oma) really is good and i enjoyed a cup while continuing to read wired. that was when i discovered wickr, a messaging service i'm rather impressed by.

...

while doing laundry i occupied myself with random, then messed around with git (or is that gitted around with mess?) in an attempt to look at a project that i have developed cunning plans for...

i did a quick walmart run for creatine and tonic water. my supermarket doesn't do tonic water any more. this is not cool. i suspect that they're beginning to empty their shelves and then i'll have to start shopping a little further from home - at least the weather's going to be better for it...

although it's already sticky warm, and to be honest i'm not so fired up for the sweaty season.

i finally completed the slam, a poem i started writing a couple of days ago out of the frustration caused by my more traditional rhymes not making the cut. i'm decidedly proud of it! i'm considering attaching a low-quality recording because my ironic inflection intentions aren't reflected in the text.

[continued...]

a lazy man's training diet

when i got home last night i sent the jolly moroccan photos of all the foodstuffs i have and an explanation of my routine. he's decided to try vegan but i had to explain to him that just cutting out non-vegan foods is NOT healthy. we'll see how he handles my take on things. in case you're interested i'm posting it here, and because i might want to look back on this list one day in the unforeseeable future.

if you have any comments, criticisms, questions or suggestions, leave a comment :)

  • progressive vegessentials as a breakfast shake. this has almost all of the stuff you need for the day. vega also makes one, vega one, but most of us prefer the taste of progressive
  • fruit. kiwis are very healthy, and bananas and apples are an easy source of important stuff.
  • there’re plenty of tasty breads with all sorts of grains and seeds. avoid breads with sugar (country harvest, for example) and keep in mind that the whole gluten-free thing is utter bullshit.
  • hummus. and peanut butter. they're both good for putting on the bread when you want to snack. although if you want to lose weight, choose the hummus and leave the peanut butter alone.
  • milled / ground flax seed. flax is VERY important. not a lot - just a spoon a day - but it's very important, especially if you stop eating fish (it's a great omega-3 source). The “milled” or "ground" part is important, our bodies don't digest whole flax seeds.
  • commensal's frozen meals. about 20g of protein in the chinese stir-fry and thai delight (the mexican three-bean chilli’s good too), they're vegan and they taste good. they have other options, but they're not as high in protein and they use tofu. you don't want to eat a lot of tofu because you get soya in almost everything and more than five servings a day is bad.
  • trail mix - in particular, joe's indulgence mix. there're many different kinds. as long as there are plenty of nuts it's good: all nuts are healthy and will make you burn fat even when you're not moving. even peanuts, which are technically not nuts - go figure.
  • vega sport: great-tasting protein shake with all the amino acids (not the same as a breakfast shake!). if you're eating everything else on this list you probably won't need this, but for days when you're really training hard it's a good idea.
  • vitamin B12 supplements. SUPER important. if you don't take any your brain will start doing strange things. taking 1000mcg per day sublingually is the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to get it. preferably methylcobalamin, but b12 is b12.
  • vega protein bars, or clif builder bars if vega’s aren’t available. an enjoyable way to inject 15-20g of protein on the run.
and then there's the main meal, which should include vegetables and protein. i usually steam greens like bok choy, broccoli, spring onion) and add some color like tomatoes, pickled onions and peppers, and olives, then add tofu or beans. don’t forget, salt is important if you’re not consuming animal products.

and, because i'm a junk-food addict, a fair amount of dark (70%) chocolate, wasabi peas, skittles and kettle chips (it's disturbing how many brands of chips have milk products in them).

primary source: nutritionfacts.org. because science.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

heartbleed update

wow, half the internet has been known to be vulnerable for at least a day and i only just heard about it?

what to do about heartbleed. the lastpass service is really helpful, and i think this one might be even more reliable. here's hoping not too many of us get hit...

... xkcd shows a bright side, at least.

double post

ugh. i just re-applied for a job because i was sent an "exciting new job posting" that the hr systems didn't pick up that i'd already applied for. and of course there's nothing stopping me from sending twice, and all the damned postings look similar or the same because they're all looking for the same type of people. and so... now i need to cross-reference every post i apply for with those i've applied for already?

why does job hunting have to be such a drag???

---
i'm trying to clear up my workspace by going through all the unimportant things that i've got open and waiting for "the right time"; i have a moment to breathe right now, so i guess this is it.

i don't know why this is on upworthy with a misleading headline, but this selflessness commercial is really, really clever!

here are two interesting points on reducing sugar intake and signs of iron deficiency.

...

on ADHD: i came across the "ADHD is a fictitious disease" image, but it appears it's not accurate.

having said that, the video that the piece linked to is quite disturbing.

...

the shadowrun online short story "harbor heist" is pretty good. i'll check out the rest later.

...

these photos are all amazing.

---
i've updated all my phone ringtones and alerts to syndicate sounds. i don't know why i never thought of this before.

quick turns

today was coloured by the phone call that i received in the afternoon informing me that i've been cleared through the first interviews and will be invited back for the rest. that - is - AWESOME news ^_^

so i've got more studying and preparation to do for those, but it's so nice to know that it's working for me!!!

---
after posting yesterday, i went to take all my tax documents to vfmp who's going to hand them over to his boyfriend, the tax expert. on my return i waited for a while at the wrong bus stop, and some mentally handicapped dude saw my hesitation and wanted to help, and he was so sweet (he was telling me how he got lost, and how he cried) that it was hard not to take his advice when i was sure that it wasn't good. after missing another bus i *did* cross to the one he was suggesting and it turned out to be the right choice.

after my last experience i decided to skip the french meetup and instead put on puss in boots in french with french subtitles. it appears that animated kid's films are the way to go.

boxing last night was really good, and i was pleased to find that after the last week or two my legs are already back to being tough enough to handle the heavy bags. my ankle's good again and i guess the fact that i've been cautious about using it is why i softened up...

my yoga instructor offered to pass my resume through to her boss, and after i sent it she suggested that considering her company's policies i might want to play down my military experience. i told her that if her employer has a problem with my military experience, i'd have a problem working with them. there's no room for discussion on this.

aota contacted me out of the blue for a chat, which was nice, and i was surprised to hear her speaking well of darn who has apparently begun to shine since megaman left. i'm glad to hear it. a little disappointed to hear that they finally moved into decent offices *after* i left, which they'd been promising to do since before i joined them...

i made an over-sized, delicious salad and watched the rest of puss in boots before lining up a bunch of other films. and then it was late and i crashed.

---
today:

i began the day trying to figure out how to sell my books that pg's keeping for me. this isn't easy because facebook won't show my posts if they're not engaged with and the only second-hand website in israel isn't open to use from outside of the country. that's kinda dumb.

i took a pair of pants to the dry cleaner, trying to sneak in some recycling by carrying them on two dry-cleaner hangers covered by dry-cleaner plastic. i was so pleased when the woman there actually put the hangers with a bunch of others :)

i headed out to fcmg's new place to discuss the comics for the first time since before she gave birth two months ago. the metro was experiencing some serious issues and in addition to the crazy congestion that caused, someone in our car was freaking out every time we came to a stop and the lights went out. this happened in between stops, and i had my earphones in so i didn't hear what was said but i noticed that everyone around me was giggling...

rain + metro issues = CRAZY packed.

so fcmg's pad is awesome, her daughter's really cute and she has a couple of very cool cats. the difficulties with working and tending to an infant quickly became apparent, and so everything was stop / start but we got through whatever we needed to get through. i walked out of there uncertain of where we're going but sure that we're going somewhere.

i'd read 18 ugly truths about modern dating that you have to deal with in the morning and i'd been thinking about the mixed messages from aaa that i'd been receiving over the previous couple of days. i became convinced of two things:
1. that she wasn't really interested in me and that it was time to call it.
2. that, like the japanese, i'm done with all this dating shit. it's bullshit, and lots of it.

on that note, i sat down at la panthère verte for their meal of the day, a delicious vegan stew, then returned home to watch pirates of the caribbean dubbed in french (eh, not too bad) for a bit and wonder if my back could handle the evening's training. that was when i got that phone call, so i was super stoked and relieved :)

i was pretty tired, so i downed an energy drink and headed off to the gym. i don't know if it was the drink or something else, but as i walked out i developed a bellyache that wouldn't go away until halfway through the class...

[holy crap, i just saw (finally!) weidman vs silva 2 - it doesn't matter that i knew what was coming, that was absolutely insane to watch.]

... so there's this girl at the gym that i've been friendly with for a while and who just joined our kickboxing class for the first time. we were partnered up and everything was as usual until the final exercise, about ten or fifteen minutes of kick / check drills. i gotta admit, at some point i found that i was concentrating less on kicking and checking and more on checking out because she's quite sexy and between her movements and semi-transparent training outfit my brain's wired to stare. i didn't miss a beat, though, so that's cool. i guess that was actually good for me because i was checking unconsciously :P

...

aaaaaaanyway, after all the negativity surrounding aaa i got home to find she'd called and left me voicemail... so i called her back and we had a good, positive chat for half an hour. so i guess she *is* interested, and i'm just a little girl when it comes to relationships. that's okay, i can deal with that.

well, time for bed, and an exciting couple of days ahead. things seem to be moving in a good direction and if i play my cards right, they may just become awesome! if not, they'll be shit. so i'd better get it together.

---
so, québec - the liberals have won the elections. while everyone's jumping for joy, i'm hoping that this means that things will stabilize (apparently they've already stabilized, and it's only been one day) and remain stable for the next four years. because that's just how long i need to become a citizen, assuming i land a job soon. after that, i'll be happy to vote and pray like everyone else :)