Sunday, June 29, 2014

shit design

this is a call to all architects everywhere: toilet stall doors swing OUTWARDS, ALWAYS. public restroom doors swing OUTWARDS, ALWAYS, and should be operable by one's foot.

if you design yours differently, you're an asshole.

unprofessional expert removals

we met kgb at my apartment, but when he realized how little we'd intended to move today and that we needed a few minutes to pack things up he rushed out to a friend of his who could organize a u-haul van for us at a moment's notice and with far better terms than the booking i'd made. by the time he returned everything was ready to go and we wasted no time getting everything loaded, then hurried here to unload and take gd's couch back.

that damned couch. and our damned sliding doors*. everything else was quick and easy, but the amount of effort and frustration that went into removing the doors, fitting the couch through them and then replacing them was insane. it's a good thing we're both in good shape, and with our combination of russian removal skills**, solid physical condition and a bit of blind luck we managed to get all the major stuff out of the way and the u-haul back to the lot with five minutes to spare.

* gd didn't tell me who it was, but she knows who installed the sliding doors and threaded every damned screw. we had to use force but without breaking anything.

** kgb asked me early on if i'm sure i'm not russian when i did something a bit ridiculous but totally practical, which i found flattering. i told him that the first person i ever saw carry an entire fridge by himself was a russian.

i was SO relieved and grateful to have sorted all the heavy lifting out this evening! that means that tomorrow we can focus on all the little details and take it easy, especially considering that we've now got all the drawers we need to make space for shit.

except for the fact that i can't find my playstation. it *should* be at my apartment, but i'm troubled that it might have been with all the other stuff and was somehow stolen :(

kgb and i took our coffees outside and talked for a while, he's hatching an interesting (business) scheme and i'm hoping that i'll be able to get involved somehow.

i was tired and lazy, but i had to eat something solid. this steaming veggies thing is beginning to get comfortable, and what i produced was - according to both gd and my tastebuds - the best i've produced so far! shit's gooooood.

---
tom papa: live in new york city: we just finished watching it, and when he talks about vegans he shows that he's just plain uneducated and is happy spreading stupid sentiments for laughs. the other offensive bit was making a pirate reference as if the life of a pirate is a bad thing - entirely against my religion. otherwise, he was good. not the best, not a full five stars, but certainly worth watching.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

summer filing

yesterday:

i forgot to mention my knee hurting me before training, feeling better after warming up and then hurting again later... but it seems okay now.

i handled the most meaningful part of the move last night: my laptop. now i'm 100% moved in and the stuff that's left is stuff i can live without.

---
have i ever mentioned here that i'm freaked out by nail files? since i was a child, the mere sight or sound of them - no, the mere *thought* of them freaks me out and makes me shudder uncontrollably, much like nails on a chalkboard for normal people. gd and i have been joking for a while about obtaining chloroform so that she can knock me out and take care of it, but i cut my nails last night so i had a couple of sharp edges to deal with and we didn't have any on hand.

i put in my headphones, blasted dark trance (rev, to be precise) and squeezed my eyes shut while she filed my nails, trying to keep calm and not be there as much as possible. every scrape i felt was a battle between my body's need to spaz out and my ego's to keep control.

we got through it, but just the thought of the experience now while writing this all down is making me convulse. ugh!

---
neither of us had much energy last night, we watched a bit of tom papa: live in new york city. i don't agree with everything he says, but a lot of it is spot on and the man's pretty damned funny. freakishly clownish, i gotta say, but funny.

---
today:

okay, there's some serious summer action going on in montréal right now. perfect swimming pool weather!

...

i woke up at 5am from an epic dream, the tail end of which saw me and some others trying to climb over a hill that had been covered in velvelt.

i went back to sleep, straight into another long series of weird dreams; this one ended with a scene wherein i found myself in a bath, someone in the room freaked out and angered a hive of bees, one of whom stung me and the rest of whom chased me covered in a towel or a shirt or something across fields, and when they finally gave up i entered a bar in toronto where a reunion of ex-south african schoolmates of mine was taking place.

my third round also included amazing dreams and deep sleep, but i don't recall anything specific.

i've just returned from lunch with godmother, and am continuing the digital cleanup i began earlier before gd and i head to my apartment to move smaller items with kgb.

first waking

i've been up for a couple of hours, primarily for an opportunity to have coffee with gd and make sure that she has breakfast; she never eats before work and it's been bothering me that her body doesn't get what it needs prior to the long, difficult days she has, so i prepared her a vegessential to go.

the coffee's beginning to wear off, so i'm going to get some more sleep :)

---
it's a petitions day, apparently.

i signed a petition yesterday and i'm hoping everyone who reads this will too: high seas protection. the free-for-all is killing us pretty quickly.

amazon oil drilling screws up indigenous tribes? this story's been going on for far too long :(

and speaking of indigenous people... canada has problems too. the petition's closed, though. i don't know if that's because they got enough signatures or gave up.

neapolitan

i'm currently doing my duty by consuming as much of so delicious' neapolitan container that i bought by accident as i can so that i don't bring anything into gd's home that might accidentally poison her (strawberries). my wrist is hurting pretty badly post-boxing but i think the ice-cream's helping... no, i'm applying it orally, don't be foolish... boxing was fantastic, it's the first time in ages where i've walked out feeling tired and sore but *good*. i needed somewhere to focus my irritation about losing my ipod and my situation in general - i found my ipod when i came home, after a couple of days' frustrated searching - and the only thing tonight that worried me is that the timewaster was talking crazy tonight, including describing how amazing he is in judo and how he'll beat me up when he's bigger, and i couldn't help wondering if the kid's troubled and this is a cry for help that i'm laughing at* or if he's just as big an asshole as he seems.

* for me, this just gave a whole new meaning to "as funny as a cry for help"

it was a gorgeous, hot, sunny day so carrying my snowboard across (and in a packed metro car) felt a little weird. my pre-training meal was in front of the second episode of arrested development that i've seen, and i've reached the conclusion that it's a rubbish series, unfunny and not for me.

---
the more i think about gd's situation, the more i feel like this town runs on madness. but it's fun, and beautiful, and interesting, and getting started here is the easiest way to get started.

Friday, June 27, 2014

spreading thin - part ii

[... continued]

today:

last night i slept deeply, having a lot of odd dreams most of which i've forgotten. the last one was amusing, though: i was arresting batman after a really dumb accident involving the batmobile and a swimming pool, and was explaining that in addition to that i was arresting him because nobody could stand him.

after joining gd in being disgusted and insulted by her paycheck - she's worked really hard, she's one of their best and what she's earned this month is a very unfunny joke - i had a long chat with my mother. and a short chat with kc's mother, which was nice but a little awkward.

basically, my mother's reassured me that we'll figure things out if they go south, and i've been in touch with someone who i'd mailed months ago and who was shocked when my mother told him that nobody from his company has contacted me: it's a company that's based across canada and israel, so if shit happens i could use that as a relatively quick way to return.

...

i haven't seen any background check updates from my old university, my illustrators have all been silent and the company i'm hoping to work for is closed today so i can't get in touch to see what's going on. can i be forgiven for preparing for the worst?

---
vegan or not, daiya's cream cheese is one of the best spreads i've ever put on bread. if you can get hold of it, i urge you to try some!

spreading thin - part i

forgotten wednesday:

while i ate lunch i finally watched the rest of hancock; it's a fun film with an interesting premise.

yesterday:

after all the drama, gd recovered a little and the peaceful evening we'd been praying for actually came to pass. we watched the first half of detachment, it's gripping stuff and neither of us wanted to stop watching even though we were going to have to get up early in the morning.

...

it was a gorgeous morning, gd had something she needed to do at her work and i found a bank branch conveniently close to do some things i urgently needed to do. i had a lot longer to wait than we'd anticipated, during which time i caught up on emailing and discovered the humble dymamite bundle. which is available for the next twelve days and has a whole bunch of stuff i want.

we had an hour or two before gd's osteopath appointment; on our way back home we passed a traditional chinese ceremony with dancing dragons (or dogs, gd says they're dogs) being performed on the sidewalk. it was a beautiful ceremony, the dancing was awesome and the costumes were magnificent - they even blinked, which lent them a jarring sense of realism. the ceremony took up the entire sidewalk, and ended abruptly as someone pushed through them with a wheelchair. i don't know if that action cut it short or if i had been about to end anyway, but while it's not cool to interfere with wheelchair access it's also not cool to disrupt something like that. there are only losers in this story. just saying.

i had a sudden craving for freshly baked bread, so we walked past atwater market to pick some up; what we ended up with was delightful, but choosing was such a tedious process! why they don't label their breads is beyond me, and when you're not interested in dairy products it's rather difficult and frustrating to get people to list ingredients because most people don't even think about the butter or cream or cheeses that they put into foods as dairy.

i went with gd to her appointment and waited for her to go in, finding a copy of devra davis - disconnect on the waiting room table. a lot of people are paranoid about cellphone radiation, but i've heard enough from reliable sources to be suspicious. a brief search led me to an article on the author's disconnection from the scientific method, and if you care to look through it it should quickly become clear that the author is either unethical, or incompetent. science is NOT about fitting data to your beliefs.

the rooms were right next to gd's friend's tattoo gallery, so i went there thinking i'd plug in my netbook, charge my phone and get something productive done. the little dog is so irresistibly pettable, though, and so i ended up just playing with her while her owner worked on the most fantastic forearm tat! everyone who's worked with her knows how good she is, to the point where this guy is just paying for her to use his arm as a canvas in whatever way she sees fit. there's something pure about that, in my opinion, and the concept she went with was gorgeous.

gd arrived feeling significantly better, and we had time to talk a bit and play with a balloon - a very simple pleasure - after which we walked to the metro station and travelled to her doctor's appointment. well, we *would* have travelled to her doctor's appointment if the metro at snowdon hadn't shut down suddenly. from being on time to running late, gd began panicking and i convinced her that waiting for service to resume wasn't a good idea so we went upstairs to find a taxi. we still made it with a couple of minutes to spare, but adding stress to the day really hadn't been necessary.

i left her in the waiting room to go sort out subletting my apartment. printing the documents was as cheap as i remembered, which means that the girls who served me the other day were being assholes.

i met up with the new tenant and we entered the office. filling out the forms took a while, and it hurt having to pay $150 for a credit check when she's paying the rent in cash and she's only going to be there for a month, but otherwise the women in the office weren't unhelpful and on monday we're going to be handing over the keys. now i just need to stress about moving all my stuff.

and figuring out where my ipod is. it's gone missing, and i don't know in which apartment i should be looking :S

i returned to my apartment and received confirmation that pg's account had been hacked and accessed by someone in san francisco, so i spent the better part of an hour going through all our email to make sure no passwords or codes had been exchanged. passport and id scans, yes, but there's not much we can do about those :(

i came home and, in light of the previous experience, convinced gd to set up two-step verification as well. setting it up for an android device really isn't as complicated as it feels, for some reason nothing on her phone worked for a while after activating the security and then suddenly it did again, and i don't know if installing the google authenticator app made a difference.

a surprise call from kgb saw us hurriedly eating* and then walking to drinkerie to meet up with kgb and his fiancée. we had a pleasant evening**, leaving well after 9pm when there was still sunlight, and came home intending to sort out which pieces of gd's old clothing to get rid off. that never really happened, we were both far too tired.

* and finding a small stone in a commensal frozen meal. that was weird.

** except for the bit where kgb informed me that megaman's found another job and is looking for workers, i had to explain to him why i'm not interested. i was surprised that we hadn't had that conversation before...

[continued...]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

timing is everything

it's the tail end of a terrifying evening: gd's suffering agonizing pain, she's convinced me that there's no point in going to a hospital and we've got an osteopath and a doctor's appointment set for tomorrow anyway - but i'm feeling absolutely helpless and all i want to do is fix this somehow. at least the distress of the last couple of hours has calmed a bit.

the next few days i'm going to be under pressure to finish moving my stuff over because it looks like i've found someone to sublet for july! that's really cool, i'm now praying that she passes the credit check and signs the papers and that everything will be cool from that side of things. and to sweeten that, the guy i had coffee with a week or so ago has just informed me that he'll need a place in montreal for august, so that might lighten my load even further.

still freaking out about the job, the background check, the work permit. it never ends.

---
today was a disgusting day, and apparently it felt unpleasant for a lot of people. i spent it bringing laundry over from my apartment and doing it here, writing poetry scraps and working a little on my script. now i'm enjoying a fantastic salad while we watch another episode of the boondocks in defiance of the underlying panic.

i'm praying for a peaceful night.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

restart required

it's been quite a morning so far. it began with me going to bed last night and having serious difficulty sleeping; i got up in the middle of the night and saw what appeared to be those black things from blue exorcist sliding around and hiding in the shadows.

gd and i rarely argue, but when we do it's like a flash fire; this morning's was a continuation of the one on the weekend (a misunderstanding about something i wrote in last night's poem brought that back) and things got really crazy, but i think we've established rules that needed to be established earlier. it's really hard fighting with someone when you're both actually agreeing and phrasing keeps getting in the way.

it doesn't help that her back issues have worsened.

my toronto cousin sent me some files he needed converted for tonight's festivities in honour of kc's grandfather's 90th birthday... of course he'd only find out at the last minute that his computer couldn't play them, so i sat down at gd's desktop and tried to get it done as quickly as possible.

an hour later, and i still don't have a clue what i'm supposed to install on ubuntu 14.04 if i want to convert wma to mp3. and it seemed like every application was taking forever to load and switch. reading somewhere that this is a new issue, i moved to my little netbook, installed sound converter and had the desired files to my cousin in a matter of minutes. thank you, ubuntu 12.04. thank you.

and thank YOU whoever knows how to sort this out on 14.04 and has written instructions that include help instead of excuses and blame. </sarcasm>

...

i'm now off to my apartment to bring back laundry so that the entrance doesn't smell like a gym locker when the couple comes again tonight to check it out.
*still crossing fingers and praying they'll take it*

---
john oliver is a hero. a hero! could we add regulation to gmo as well?

rained in

oh, man - i just realized i forgot to replace my piercings after training and they're at my apartment :/

today was saint jean-baptiste's day, it's been raining almost non-stop since last night. it's a good thing i remembered what day it was *before* gd left for work! she had the day off and nobody thought to tell her.

---
we began the day with drama: gd's brother got a dog, and he's totally incapable of taking care of an animal. his pit bull has just become pregnant because he wasn't responsible enough to have her spayed. gd would've called the spca on him, but he's her brother so she's trying to convince him to have her litter aborted before a bunch of unwanted mixed-breed animals is born into a really shit situation.

you don't have to get a license to become a parent, but you need one to adopt. how come pets don't have at least the same level of protection?

---
we spent the morning cleaning, tidying and planning; i've reserved a u-haul for sunday and wire's agreed to help us with the heavy lifting.

we had plans for the afternoon, but instead i accidentally gave gd a piece of my favourite chocolate (torino mousse) without checking the ingredients and it contains hazelnuts, to which she's apparently deathly allergic. now i don't know if the quantities were small enough, or if the benadryl was taken quickly enough, but fifteen minutes later we'd stopped panicking and the epipen lay unused on the bathroom counter.

*PHEW*

so basically both sunday and today saw one or the other of us being unintentionally stoned and spending the afternoon in bed...

... we had a good laugh when she eventually got up, and i learned that she has this thing about preparing tea up to 24 hours before she intends to drink it - something about infusion - and i've been assuming they're unwanted and throwing them out every time i do the dishes. oops!

i made some good comic script progress, then went off to the gym.

...

for the half an hour or so before the kickboxing class started i worked on the punching bags, and i felt tired and sweaty and weak. i began the class anyway, and was doing alright until the end of my sets, when i was too faint to complete the last kicks. i stopped before i fell over, and got a minute or two to recover so that i could at least hold the pads for my partner.

once his sets were done i was feeling much better, and i completed the class comfortably. we did impact at the end, and while i couldn't take it because of my neck i could certainly dish it out. my partner learned what "on target" means, i hit his solar plexus and liver perfectly every time and he was most disappointed to learn that he wouldn't be getting a chance to find mine. while we were discussing the unfairness for both of us i noticed that the guy working with my yoga instructor was having no luck figuring out where to hit her, so i went over to demonstrate.

she now understands what a liver shot is all about, and i managed to knock her down without applying any force!

it amuses me no end how excited she was when realization dawned :)
after class i took her to a punching bag and showed her precisely what i was doing, how she can do it easily and how to protect herself for next time. i then wrote a rather disturbing poem on the topic, and i've published it on the assumption that it's close enough to being finished.

...

baudry is a metro station where one shouldn't attempt to exit if one is intoxicated. the angles are interesting but they make one queasy and they're a lot of work to overcome.

the guy at subway was shocked by the time he was done with my sub and realized that i'd managed to put together a delicious, healthy meal: nine grain bread, falafel, all the salads and salt and pepper. what shocked me was that after ordering in french, he couldn't work out if i was francophone or anglophone when he decided to try telling me a joke. and *i* thought i'd botched things up :P

so vfmp and his boyfriend have taken to calling the starbucks in the village sbg. i joined them there for coffee with another friend of theirs, and we had a good time. vfmp was super-awkward with his jokes about his boyfriend and i getting married. as in, if i'd said the same kinds of things with gd we'd have a serious problem...

---
you know how when it's raining or has just been raining, and you drive past a pedestrian without slowing down and spray them with water?

you're a complete asshole. i wish every victim would suddenly and immediately develop superpowers, just so they could catch up to you, pry you out of your tin can and thump you until you never wanted to drive again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

happy saint-jean-baptiste day?

it's monday night, i'm feeling physically and emotionally exhausted; i skipped training and the only writing i'm managing to get done today is this. the past two days have been full of ups and downs and i've been brooding over the fact that after finding a job i was expecting a couple of quiet months wherein i'd get to do what i want to do... instead, during the past couple of months i've had relatively little focus-on-me time and i've been constantly stressed about whether or not i'm going to get to stay in this country.

---
yesterday:

we had plans to go out and enjoy the tams, but instead of an anti-histamine gd accidentally gave me a pill that totally knocked me out. i spent the next few hours flat on the couch or on the bed, it was all rather sad. in the evening we went to visit her tattoo-artist friend who owns the gallery where we met.

we drank a few glasses of wine (and i had a beer), we advised the owner on real estate, website development and marketing, and then i got into a long discussion about being vegan in which i think i became a friend of theirs' guru (a link to nutritionfacts.org and my training diet seemed to be enough).

gd had one of those memorable moments - she'd had a bit to drink, and gestured as if she was going to throw her phone in the air... it slipped out of her hands, and she was then forced to perform one of those amusing juggling acts brought on by almost catching it and having it immediately bounce back into the air. the impressive part was her successfully catching it on the sixth or seventh try, and we were rather grateful that we didn't have to add "replace phone" to the list of things to do today :P

the owner has the sweetest little handbag-dog. i usually can't stand those, and i don't consider them "real" dogs, but this one's like a cross between a dog and a hamster, like a tiny, sensitive toy designed to be petted. anyway, we all decided to go to p.m. for dinner and the poor little creature was sneaked in in the handbag and hidden until the table the entire time. phenomenally well-behaved, she only barked once and we all managed a most amusing cover-up; we were legitimately worried that we'd find ourselves banned, and that would totally suck!

p.m. was delicious, their dishes are designed to be shared and four of them between five of us was still too much to handle.

gd and i said goodbye and came home to watch the boondocks. i've seen a few episodes before but not in any particular order. damn, but that stuff's offensive. and it gets stuck in your head in the worst way...

---
monday:

i woke up still feeling tired but good nonetheless, however uninspired to write i might have been. aside from more of the boondocks and shopping, the main focus for the day was showing my apartment to a potential taker for the month of july. i will be very disappointed if she doesn't take it, she was asking about things that would really only matter if they were planning on renting it long-term and it's perfect for her needs...

on our way home i stopped by the building manager's office to give them a ball that some kid had landed on my balcony. the woman there began lecturing me about playing responsibly, then reminded me that if i do sublet i'll have to pay $150 out of my own pocket for the credit check they run on potential tenants.

she asked me if i'd told anyone i was subletting, and i informed her of the distinct lack of support i've received from her co-workers.
"well, you know we have empty apartments right now..."
"... and i'm living somewhere else and being forced to pay rent for an apartment i'm not using."

i walked out, updated gd and the two of us were steaming about the fact that they're worried about not making maximal profit and i'm worrying about not being able to afford food. what a bunch of greedy bastards, as soon as i'm out of there they won't be getting any more referrals from me - by that i mean to say that i'll be sure to spread the word of their attitudes through any channel available.

...

i walked past the park next door, and was pleasantly surprised to find that during the summer all of the kids' bars and decorative features turn into a miniature water park, with a fountain in the middle. the neighbourhood kids were out in force having a whale of a time :)

shane mauss - mating season: as he was describing the theory of how people walk on two legs because women like stuff, gd complained about the chicken no longer being edible and i found myself rushing off to the supermarket to buy some more. coincidence? it's a great show, what he lacks in execution he makes up for in wit.

we watched a few episodes of blue exorcist over dinner, and i read the wonderful tale of ahmed sadiq before making myself a salad. now there's a story of justice being served. powerful, painful justice.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

to let be, or not to let be

i just got off the phone with bnw, it turns out that for the past week and a half she's had no internet access from home and her telephone was bust. and this was precisely when she and her husband were experiencing severe marital troubles and they thought that everything was falling apart.

so apparently that's over and she'd like to be on the project. i spoke to her just after hearing from ff for the first time since the meeting, who also had a busy week.

i'm going to give everyone another week to make some more progress, because the past few days have been quiet, and if things don't leap forward then i'll consider reinstating bnw, but with a test-run first. otherwise, i'll put her on the second issue.

...

why can't everything just be simple and straightforward?

psychoses and psychopathies

it's a beautiful sunday morning, which we've begun by watching cartoons. trigun, to be precise ^_^

---
friday:

friday was a bit chilly.

in the late afternoon i headed to the starbucks across from gd's work to invest some time in my comics. it's a beautiful starbucks, but their power sockets are all impossible to plug in to. wtf? i had just enough juice to last me until a woman carted in her incessantly hacking little germ factory. she was apparently entirely oblivious to the fact that others were there, and after glaring hatefully at her for some time i packed up, held my breath and stalked past her and her poor kid to go wait at gd's work.

we went to p.m. for dinner; it was good, but not amazing. i don't think we were really in the right mood. we came home, and i put on elon gold - chosen and taken; gd enjoyed it, i enjoyed it for the second time. and then we were tired and went to bed. there's been a lot of that lately.

---
yesterday:

i slept well, did another huge load of dishes* and got frustrated with my iphone because it keeps pressuring me to update apps and then freezes halfway.

* they really seem to pile up with us. it's pretty much my only responsibility, though, so it's all good.

i had to stop off at my place on my way to yoga. i was quite tired and chugged down a mug of coffee. the park was great although there was a bit of a wind, a friend of my instructor joined us and the class was challenging but manageable. we were sitting and talking afterwards about our permit situations - they're both lebanese, and none of us wants to return to the middle east and we all have the exact same reasons...

my backpack - the one that served me on my post-army round-the-world and for the past year has been re-purposed as a sports bag - had acquired a severe gym smell and had been banned from entering gd's apartment. i felt awkward about stuffing it into a communal washing machine, stood around for a minute to make sure it wasn't damaging anything, and pulled it out twenty minutes later smelling really nice. so that was my household lesson for the day.

---
i spent the afternoon struggling with the laptop gd's brother gave her... not only is it a not-so-functional copy of windows xp, but it can't connect to any networks, it can't boot off usb, i cant install ubuntu using wubi and it can't read the original windows cd i inserted into the drive. to fix the second issue the only way to upgrade the bios is to install software that will download the appropriate files once they've been detected, so without internet access there's nothing i can do.

this is ridiculous.

---
i started watching great crimes and trials, the first two episodes about scary psychotic women, then when gd came home we enjoyed a double feature of blue jasmine and we need to talk about kevin, both deeply disturbing movies.

it was not a good time for me to be saying something that i really shouldn't have; i don't know what came over me but i shared something that was utterly inappropriate and brought about the darkest moment in our relationship that left us both feeling upset and insecure. for no reason, and with absolutely no added value, save to teach me a lesson about how dumb i can be.

we got over it, but i'm still feeling like an asshole.

---
other than a serious bout of rls, it was a pleasant evening and a good night's rest. and a long discussion wherein gd and i improved the way we talk about the nature of reality.

couldn't make this up

to continue the background check story begun on thursday, this morning i woke up to communication from the university.

    she sent three emails:
  • the first to both myself and the background check company, saying that i need to send her my id or passport if i want to change my name.
  • the second was a response to my private email saying that she doesn't know what correction i'm talking about.
  • the third was my grade transcript.

i decided to call the woman to clear everything up. first mistake, calling pre-coffee and not noticing that my netbook was on mute: there were about eight awkward seconds where she could hear me but i couldn't hear her. after that i introduced myself, explained how her emails made it seem like i'd changed my name and that they still didn't include my concentration, and she confirmed that she understood and would take steps to correct things.

second mistake, sending her a copy of my id instead of my passport, which doesn't include my name in english. easy to correct, made me look super foolish.

...

anyway, it turns out that the real error here is that somebody, after i graduated and received my diploma, went in to the university systems and changed my bloody name because they thought it had been misspelled. who does that???

Friday, June 20, 2014

looking back - part ii.2

[... continued]

---
wednesday:

i was feeling the pinched nerve a bit. i spent the morning re-installing, and was pleased to discover gd watching deathnote on netflix. i quickly picked up my french exam certificate, then took the crowded metro to my apartment. i was suddenly completely wiped out, and grateful for years in uniform because i crouched down in a corner and properly passed out without touching the floor.

a government envelope was waiting for me: immigration! i was so excited! but instead it was a cheque from the federal goverment for my tax refund. great, but not as great. i did some preparation for the job i'm praying i'm going to have soon, then got fantastic service at the bank. on my way out an exquisite beat hit my eardrums and i enjoyed a totally manic moment in spite of my pinching nerve.

boxing: breathless, and weak. our coach assigned me a new guy, and it was only afterwards that i realized that i'd been trying to teach a francophone who doesn't speak english using english numbers...
at least the pinched nerve was barely noticeable.

i walked out to a stunning sunset, watching contrails and wondering about something gd's conspiracy theorist friend had said. oh.

i was feeling particularly bad after training, and read that strep throat is contagious. did i have a fever?

i had no dinner plans, so i still had to shop before heading home. i made another amazing salad, watched death note with gd and slept the sleep of the dead.

---
thursday:

definitely sick.

---
how lucky to be included as a recipient of an email from my alma mater to the company doing the background check!

the idiot representing my alma mater not only mispelled my name, but she forgot to mention my concentration. i can't believe i actually might lose my job because she's typically-israeli unprofessional.

optimism be hanged, gd and i started discussing worst-case scenarios and i talked to my mother about them too. hopefully everything will work out soon, because gd and i don't want to go anywhere. but if shit does fall apart, we're going to have to choose whether to go to tel aviv or to cape town. get married there, and then hang around for up to a year until we can come back and i can get a job.

that's really the long way around :(

---
weak and weary, i lay down on the couch and put on the 90's animated x-men series. the horror! the writing was so bad! it made me think about how much shoddy writing we accepted before the interets, even movies that i absolutely adore from that era demand a healthy does of suspension of disbelief. like the back to the future series.

gd gave me an excellent haircut. we had some serious shopping to do but we planned the evening terribly *and* were surprised by a message from rabbit informing me that i was late to a team meeting that i hadn't been aware of. gd flipped and that was the beginning of the second fight. the resolution was wonderfully cathartic and we watched the making of bad grampa before going to bed.

---
i've finally gotten all this down, i have a ton of dishes to do before i can have lunch and then i'm going to get busy with my list.

*phew*

looking back - part ii.1

alright, we're down to this week. i can handle four days in brief, right?

---
sunday night? this part's a little confused:

bad boys (viking) -> starship troopers (sgt. zim) -> john dies at the end (dr. albert marconi). i guess i've gotta see that last one, i'm glad i've read the book.

gd and i had a fight about one of her pet peeves. we had another major one last night. it's amazing how worked up we can both get and yet still end up resolving things in a way that we're both happy. we're both intense but we both stay rational in spite of our emotions, and we both keep finding ourselves surprised by the results.

---
monday:

waking up at 5am with a pinched nerve making my butt hurt.

taking gd to the clinic, accidentally pantsing her in the waiting room.

having coffee with godmother at atwater market, joined by gd. we all agree on the fact that us looking for another apartment before i start working is a bad idea, but that my moving in to gd's apartment is a good one. godmother was shocked when gd sat down on a bench she'd thought was higher and yelled "omg, i just swallowed my vagina!". by the time she found another way to express the sensation it was too late, and after saying goodbye we found ourselves giggling uncontrollably.

we did some shopping and while i did the dishes we discovered that we both love shpongle. awesome!

i accompanied gd to studiotec where she trained with one of her bosses and his boyfriend. there was a woman waiting for her turn who kept saying "i don't think i can handle that", looking at me and laughing as if i would obviously agree with her. i don't know what kind of support she expected, if you're too unadventurous to try something new then i have no respect for you. i wanted to ask her how long she'd been merely surviving but i bit my tongue and did my best to ignore her.

i was tired and gd's quick shopping took too long for me. suddenly it was 5pm and i'd done precious little, it was too late to pay l'artère and i went home to knock items off my task list before another team meeting.

you know when you're trying to make an online payment and you worry that at some point something's going to go wrong? well, my payment to revenu québec crashed my browser as i clicked "submit". i'd have to wait two days to make sure that it hadn't gone through before trying again...

i lost time on the couch, got up to write character sketches for mti, packed perishables to take to gd then rushed out late for the team meeting. it was a good meeting. there was an awkward moment where someone was discussing hallucinations and i was worried i was the only person who could talk about hallucinogens positively, but then the moment was broken as two of the others shared their opinions on the subject. we'll be fine.

on the way to the metro with rabbit and her boyfriend they convinced me that fisher king is a good choice.

i ate junk-food for supper, then went to bed.

---
tuesday:

after a mixed bag of dreams i awoke with gd at 5am to a nightmare situation. i may have mentioned before that the working conditions of a stylist in montreal are pretty close to those of a sweatshop, and she was sick and they don't get sick leave. a lot of what she described made me angry, and we argued back and forth until eventually she agreed to call her boss and explain that she couldn't get there.

apparently, she made him feel so shitty about his no-illness policy that he didn't want to speak about it, so she got a day off and the morning was perfect* after that.

* well, it could have been better if she wasn't sick, but it was as perfect as could be aside from that.

i was slow on tuesday morning, trying to knock off more items from my list. obviously, being in a hurry to print something at the ups store *demands* being held back by old ladies who can't handle credit cards and are so useless they have to have their pin codes written on their cards.

i was shocked by how expensive printing a single black and white page was. i think the girls behind the counter were offended by my expression.

on the metro, an old, creepy guy playing games on an ipad complimented me on my bugs bunny shirt.

as i left the metro, i was feeling strong, suddenly energized and walking tall. i met with an ex-co-worker for coffee on a nice side of mont royal i'd never been before. i was shocked to learned how he'd been fired - they'd called him in for a project meeting, so he had to ride his bike through horrific weather for most of an hour, only to surprise him by letting him go. that's ugly, until tuesday he still had no idea why they fired him and i explained to him the political climate and why his actual work had nothing to do with it. i also offered to give him a reference whenever he wants, he's a professional and a pleasure to work with.

i returned to l'artère to pay the big bill, and mindlessly occupied myself with another case solved until i got home. i then tried to help my mother with her phone. i then renamed myself.

i skipped the first kickboxing class in order to get something done. i carried my microwave to gd's in my hands.
of course, the only person to offer her seat on the metro would be an older, larger woman :/
and of course it would start raining as i stepped outside. fortunately it was a only a few drops before i got home and the skies opened.

i had excess frustration to train off, and walked out of the gym after an hour feeling good about a dude stealing some of my taekwondo moves and me almost getting my left wheel kick sorted out. i wasn't feeling good about the fact that it's sweaty season again, nor that my breathing was strained again. although i suspect that that might have been caused by my starting to get sick.

how nice to be rained on when carrying groceries with a flash drive and a charger in my pockets. i'm so glad gd had left an awkward little umbrella at my apartment...

dinner: an incredible mix of steamed veggies, a regular salad and quinoa. this steaming thing is great! and cooking with blue pilots project - flight for everyone just made the whole day better.

[continued...]

supertongue montreal introduction - part ii

[... continued]

we picked up lunch at la panthère verte, then walked up to the mountain. we didn't get very far, but we did get to enjoy a bit of a trail, the larping and an incredible hippie stage at the tams. the vegan brownie we'd picked up earlier was orgasmic, and distracted me from my sore feet.

we arrived at l'artère just in time for the workshop, the sound man was watching r.a. the rugged man - definition of a rap flow which i think is cool. the workshop was primarily for two kids horseman brought along, but halogen and rabbit's boyfriend participated too. it was kinda fun, and we got one kid to overcome some serious shyness which made it all worth it.

we needed fifteen paying guests in order to break even, we had almost forty who'd promised to come. of those, only about four or five actually arrived, so instead of fundraising we lost a lot of cash. apparently the choice of location was a mistake; it would have been nice had someone mentioned that BEFORE we proceeded.

#$@%.

it was a fun evening regardless, we used randomly generated scores and everyone had a good time. i disappointed myself by going up with a piece that i hadn't prepared on a microphone we were all struggling with after having had half a beer on top of my exhaustion. i could and should have done better.

a particularly amusing moment: we'd arranged the slam so that every poet would get six minutes to divide between the two rounds however they chose, and the pretentious guy decided to use all six minutes on his first piece. AND HE WENT OVER. so for his turn, our host decided that all the other poets would go up and slam for the 46 seconds he owed us. genius :)

a few of us discussed my choice of a pseudonym, and fisher king was proposed. i initially rejected it, and so they just called me by my surname. that felt strange.

on our way back to gd's to pick up supertongue's gear i asked her why she'd declined to participate in the workshop. it turns out she doesn't take criticism well, and instead of making or ignoring the corrections i'd sent her she'd just given up. that sucked.

we didn't really have time for dinner, i accompanied her to the bus and let her convince me to leave her in the line and take myself to bed. we'd survived a crazy three days and our next mission is finding her a job in montreal so that she can move to a place with a bit of soul.

supertongue montreal introduction - part i

so we didn't get her montreal bagels or smoked meat. and the poutine apparently wasn't all that.

the itinerary:

friday the 13th

x 6.40am pickup
x home, shower, food
x keys for duplication
x underground downtown
x plateau / mont royal record stores
x boxing
x party

saturday

x blood donation
x brunch
- foufounes électriques
x the village

sunday

x atwater market
x old montreal
- parc la fontaine
x mont royal
x tam tams
x l'artère

the details

friday:

i knew it was going to be a rough weekend, but i'm pretty sure it didn't need to start with four hours of painful restlessness; my brain as much to blame as my restless legs.

the cruel, wet friday morning saw me yawning while i waited at the bus station, sitting with everything i needed to be productive except motivation.

introducing supertongue to my place, non-stop debating.

a phone call from revenu québec informing me that my file had been processed, which i already knew because they'd sent me the amount owed.

going to gd's work to pick up her keys, making copies for myself.

trying and failing to walk downtown because a horrible downpour forced us underground.

jugo juice shake fail. supertongue speaks french fluently, apparently the guy working there doesn't.

both exhausted, we headed back to my apartment to rest. and watch 20 years of ufc, so it was only a kind-of rest. it's a must-watch!

i was disappointed to see that instead of the weekend being a shitty day followed by two decent days, it would be two shitty days followed by a decent day. not cool.

i went to gd's apartment - now dubbed "home" - to test my new keys, and passed out on the couch. a nap becomes the deepest slumber when there's a time limit! i woke up still in dream-space, with reality seeming distorted and in a distinctly altered state of mind. so much so that i questioned my own sense of self as i made my way to the metro.

i was upset by my kickboxing coach posting the following:
"how a female dresses is her advertisement. if a female shows half of her body, she's asking to be disrespected."
really? if you think that, you're an asshole. what i really wanted to ask him was if his wearing fighting shorts is his way of asking to be disrespected... unfortunately, i can't say anything without messing with our instructor / student relationship so i have to keep my disrespecting his opinions to myself.

gd was going to join us at the fights, and she'd told me she'd be done in forty five minutes so supertongue and i went to her work to wait for her. forty five minutes turned into ninety minutes, and then gd became impatient with our impatience and it was supposed to be a fun evening. if i had known beforehand we would have gone straight there and asked gd to join us, and she probably would have bailed because until we were almost there she didn't actually realize that we were going to see live fights and not just watch something at a sports bar :S

we struggled to find dinner on the way, experienced taxi drama because the cab we ordered didn't arrive even though his gps signal said we were on the same intersection and eventually arrived after intermission, having missed three of my gym buddies in the ring.

$%!@.

at least there were some good second-half bouts.

saturday:

supertongue and i went to hot sauce, a lesbian party, to introduce her to the scene. the bouncer was a short, dumpy angry girl who tried very hard to keep me out in spite of the fact that i was accompanied by a woman and had paid entrance. the music was eclectic and eardrum-damaging loud, but overall the party was good and we spent a fun hour or two on the dancefloor.

the nightbus was simple enough, we ran a stupid-a.m. poutine mission (i picked up deliciously greasy salt and vinegar fries) and we crashed at my apartment around 4.30am.

...

at 9am i got up half-asleep. i was excited to see the first pieces of work on my comics, then woke supertongue up and we took a long metro ride all the way to radisson. napping well along the way.

jesus, the toilets are badly situated! the designer of the mall should be seated on the sherbrooke end, fed fast-acting laxatives and kicked hard in the shins as he gets up to go.

my first canadian blood donation on behalf of vfmp was friendly and pleasant. and i was so pleased that i didn't pass out! the point of the donation was to be part of an effort to convince the canadian government that screening sexually active male homosexuals is stupid.

there was some awkwardness with supertongue and the guys, but not too much. we headed out before them to meet up at aux vivres, and we'd almost boarded the metro when i realized that i'd left my jacket behind. that was close!

we visited a record store on mont royal that gave me the wanna-buy blues.

aux vivres: the food was delicious as always, supertongue and i went halves on blueberry pancakes and chana "sandwiches". there was decadent overeating, funny chatter and a gorgeous blonde waitress who seemed quite into me; i wanted to wingman for supertongue and see if i couldn't refocus the waitress' attentions but i don't think i have what it takes :P

we went to jean talon market, milled around and then decided to split up and rest because we were both exhausted. i woke up just before gd's station with a start as the metro jolted sharply before stopping, otherwise i might have missed it :P

i didn't exactly rest, but i did end up feeling much better. hummus on top of chana on top of supertongue's mother's amazing home-made hummus seemed like a bad idea, but i only thought that through after eating :(

it took a while to wake supertongue up by phone, and we agreed to meet up at berri-uqam. when i left i realized just how tired i was and worried that my lightheadedness was caused by too much post-donation exercise. it was a gorgeous post-rain dark-blue dusk.

we visited a really cool little live acts pub across the road from the station, then walked around trying to find a cash machine. the village was disappointingly quiet, so that sucked, but we got to see a bit of a great performance that was part of les francofolies. we walked all the way up st laurent, seeing rory macdonald win his fight along the way, and arrived at mont royal quite late. plan b (the bar) really was our plan b.

and that was the end of our night.

*my* night ended with ice cream and chocolate before bed.

sunday:

in spite of sleeping well, i was still buggered. gd and i had a good, late morning while supertongue didn't answer her phone - i was just about to go over and check on her, worrying that she hadn't made it home or something, when she finally responded.

my mom and i had a fight over skype - i think it was over how i'm dealing with my employer's silence over my papers.

i carved up a watermelon but had to abandon it to pick supertongue up from the metro; it was a glorious day, and the spores kind of made it feel like it was snowing. we demolished the watermelon when we got back.

supertongue and i had an argument with gd's friend who'd come over for a haircut, who's an anti-vaxxer. gd kept to the sidelines and although things got pretty heated i think it went okay.

i took supertongue for a walk along the lachine canal and through atwater market before we headed to old montreal, where she decided that she does, in fact, want to move here. it was a great day to visit the old port, and we caught a bit of a science show for kids that was a lot of fun. and made us both feel good about our french :P

[continued...]

looking back - part i

(last week) wednesday:

of course it was chilly and wet when i rushed out of starbucks to join gd in looking at some apartments. we saw three really nice ones, then returned to my apartment for my meeting with the illustrators.

i'd set the meeting up based on bnw's availability, so i was really angry when she messaged me to say that she wouldn't be coming because she'd already made another "more important" plan. i've realized since that trying to work with her is a mistake, and it's better that we just stick to being friends.

otherwise, the meeting was great! we came up with a good plan and we all seem to be on the same page.

...

i apparently wasn't feeling well at all on wednesday night.

---
(last week) thursday:

after a good, late sleep, i woke up to a video chat wherein i was introduced to a friend of gd's who's a bit of a recluse and a total conspiracy theorist. nice guy, but a little out there...

i put together the infrastructure for our comic collaboration, then went to look at a beautiful, far-too-expensive apartment next door to gd's. gd and i had an argument on the way back, ff kept rescheduling our meeting and i was already stressing about the looming weekend, so i was irritable and frustrated and incapable of coherent thought for a while.

i decided to try taking a nap, and i did feel a bit better afterwards.

i called up my building manager and was totally disappointed by how callous they are towards good tenants who need to leave before their leases are up :S

it was miserable and tense and hot and rainy when i left to meet with ff, and two stops before hers - about 100m or so before the second stop before hers - our train ground to a halt and we'd be forced to evacuate the metro.

seriously, if you're going to evacuate? DO IT QUICKLY. we were stuck in our dark, hot cars for about ten or fifteen minutes, which gets pretty claustrophobic when everyone's impatient and it's hard to breathe. even harder when some idiot farts. they evacuated from back to front, so we got to witness a line of smartphones lumbering past, filming the rest of us as if we were a zoo exhibit.

i stepped out into the pouring rain with no sense of direction, and eventually sat down in the subway across from the metro and waited for ff to bus it.

our meeting was good, she was happy with what we'd all agreed upon the previous night, and her sketches were excellent! we didn't need to sit for too long to cover everything, and then she was off and i returned to pick up gd from her gym.

i went back to my apartment for dinner and to sort out some papers. gd was on her way home from shopping and we were talking about something on the phone when the scariest thing happened: mid-sentence, i heard her suddenly gasp and then the call dropped. it would take a minute before i could get hold of her again and she'd inform me that she'd simply dropped a whole bunch of things, including her phone, but i was imagining the worst and that was terrible :(

the slam team was meeting at casa del popolo, and the weather was cool and cloudy and dark; with no wind it would have been perfect! it was too loud there, so we went to halogen's instead and our first meeting was quite enjoyable.

---
(last week) friday:

i arrived home late, and went to bed early in order to be ready to pick up supertongue at 6.40am for a wild weekend.

of COURSE i'd spend the next few hours suffering from rls, it was a sleepless night and i eventually got up feeling pretty wasted. and walked out into a miserably rainy morning, not quite ready to face the day.

more than a week's worth

i'm not sure if i'm going to summarize, use bullets or separate into different posts, but this past week it's been impossible to update and i have to somehow merge my compulsion to put all my details in writing with my need to Get Other Shit Done. here goes...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ubuntu: non-wubi, non-unity

i want to thank the easy linux tips project for these tips for speeding up ubuntu! i spent the morning re-installing gd's machine because i discovered, to my surprise, that wubi is a VIRTUAL installation.

oh.

so i downloaded an iso and used the startup disk creator on my flash drive, feeling quite relieved that gd's computer's modern enough to boot off of usb. i tried installing chrome, but the package was flagged as not having passed muster; so it *was* chrome that was messed up on my last update! firefox it is, then.

the most important tip on the aforementioned list was actually the most gratifying: switch from unity to gnome*. i haven't used gnome in forever, but not only is it more friendly and customizable** but the performance difference was dramatic. now i'm going to do that for my netbook and live happily ever after ^_^

* switch to gnome after modifying the startup programs. but only because gnome-session-properties isn't mentioned in the document.

** if you remember that you have to hit alt and right-click on a panel to modify it.

familial tech support screams

so - my mother's been having difficulty getting her mail working from her iphone, which i mentioned last week. yesterday afternoon we tried again.

we were talking over skype, and i was giving instructions and waiting for her responses before continuing. after a few minutes, though, something didn't seem right and i began to suspect that we weren't on the same page. every time i asked her a question she'd talk over me, or outright ignore me. then she'd say "yes", or "okay", and i'd have no clue what she was responding to.

aaaaand that's when tension rose. i was frustrated, because when i'm trying to help and i'm feeling like i'm talking to myself while hearing the other side doing the wrong things because they're taking my silence for confirmation i might not become the calmest person in the world. when she heard me get angry, she got angry, and then suddenly i was obviously uninterested in being helpful. which i found even more frustrating.

realizing that we weren't actually talking to each other, i hung up and skype-called her landline. result! only a bit too late. we got everything (mostly) sorted out, but the bitterness remained and i'm still irritated just thinking about it.

almost out the closet

holy crap, a lot's happened this past week - but right now i just wanted to make a note of the fact that i've just outed myself as "fisher king", the name i'm about to assume as a slam poet because my real name is simply too darned popular. you might observe that i've updated both this and my poetry blog, although i don't plan on changing the urls anytime soon.

the process of choosing a pen-name was quite annoying, but after going through all sorts of strange ones i've settled on one that references both my identity and the wasteland in an appropriate fashion.

so i've gone from total waste's total waste to fisher king's total waste of a journal and totalwaste land to fisher king's wasteland. if you know me personally, you'll see why i find this all very amusing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

on the offensive - part iv

[... continued]

i became quite agitated and aggressive during the hour or two of tech support, and some of that was caused by our mutual frustration, some of it by the universe not conforming to my expectations. that's been happening quite a lot over the past few days, all of my aspie qualities have turned me into a bit of a ticking time bomb. the sensation is that of something crawling under my skin, setting coils of wire around my heart and tightening.

i'm very, very lucky that gd loves me and can somehow empathize.

---

more discomfort followed, as i rushed off to meet gd at her gym having not had a chance to do desperately-needed laundry, not having drawn cash for the cleaning lady and having received a suspicious email about background checks. visible allergens filled the air: how wonderful :/

i called godmother, and was surprised to discover that she's started a new job without mentioning it to me. how very odd.

after picking gd up, we walked towards the place we'd be looking at and she decided that it's a terrible area. i've got no problem with that, and i told her to cancel the viewing but the landlord was apparently quite insistent (i could only hear gd's polite side of the conversation) and suddenly he'd pulled up next to us and we were clambering in to go see the apartment anyway. after extricating ourselves, we walked back arguing and not-arguing at the same time, which was strange and uncomfortable and pleasant all at the same time.

when we got to gd's place, i opened the background check email and it said that the company i've signed with is using their services and that i need to complete a short survey. gd needed to shower, and so i figured that it was a good time to spend the fifteen minutes the survey was supposed to take. apparently it wasn't, mainly because the survey demanded that i complete a long form with a whole bunch of details about my education that i don't have on hand - nor would anyone, really - and suddenly gd was ready to go and impatient to eat while i was trapped filling out something i had to do for work and unsure that i would be able to stop and resume later.

this turned into our first proper fight, which was terrible and awkward but - and this is a big "but" - we were both listening to each other and after a fair amount of shouting we found ourselves on the same page and calmed down, talked out the couple of points we hadn't covered and went shopping. shopping was quick and painless, i made dinner with gd teaching me about steaming vegetables, i lectured her about eating crap food post-training (the fried chicken didn't agree with her anyway, which helped convince her to eat with me) and the result was us both enjoying a delicious, healthy tofu / mushroom / brussel sprout / spring onion / cucumber salad that was dressed just right.

i managed to rescue the survey and completed it, and at the end of the process was informed that this was for my consent to be checked. in other words, the company hadn't even begun the check. cheeky bastards! that's at least two weeks completely wasted, and if i wasn't so desperate for work i'd tell them precisely how i feel about their hr department's lack of professionalism. fortunately, i've heard from ex-employees and their development division shouldn't be as frustrating. even if it is, it's a big company so i won't feel like i have everyone's futures riding on my performance - the lack of that stress means i'll put up with a lot of shit, as long as they let me do my job i'll be happy there.

after all that i found myself struggling to organize a meeting with all the illustrators and vector was having trouble accessing the materials i'd sent him... i really, really needed a hug and was very, very grateful to get one.

...

over the past few days my heels have cracked extremely badly, and they were hurting me more than ever last night. gd actually wanted me to see a podiatrist and if i hadn't been so tired i would have soaked my feet before bed.

---
today:

it's a good thing i waited until morning, because while running the bath one of the taps broke. i sat soaking my heels in half an inch of water while gd and i laughed at how ridiculous the situation was, and after scrubbing with an emery board kind of thing and applying cream my feet already felt better. wearing shoes has helped, too. we left the apartment in a great mood, giggling the whole way to the metro about the most random things, and split up there.

i've spent the day doing errands, and now that i've covered all the posting and my apartment's been cleaned i'm heading off to see another apartment with gd. please, please, please could somebody sublet my apartment!

on the offensive - part iii

[... continued]

---
i posted an ad for my apartment in the morning, with gd's guidance for the french translation, and contacted the office to hear that they'd finally sent off my permit application. at least i'm finally waiting on the people i *should* be waiting on...

i met up with rabbit at midi 6, had lunch before moving to a nearby coffee shop while we planned and schemed. i've got a good sense of what's been happening and i've pushed her to be a little less compromising on her role as captain. we talked plans for sunday's slam and then merch ideas into the ground.

the "god shot" espresso was interesting, but i won't be drinking it again.

we did a little bit of poetry crit, and then rabbit had to leave - just as gd was returning from studiotec.

...

someone had suggested to gd that she might be pregnant. she's certain she's not, but neither of us would be unhappy if that was the case. that's a great place to be, i think :)

...

hannibal is a good series, and i think so even though i'm not invested. it's dark and sneaky, most of the characters are pretty convincing and in general it's fun to watch and think about.

i posted pre-boxing, then hurried out to make the class on time. warming up felt like being in a sauna, and i worked as hard as i could but halfway through my arms started failing. we ended the class with a really tough session on the bags and conditioning... it was all i could do to muster enough strength to finish the conditioning, and i was so weak and dizzy that i sat in a corner nibbling on a clif bar until i could get up without wobbling.

i did a quick shopping run, washed some dishes and had the full salad alone for the first time in a long time. i returned to gd's and vegged out in front of loads more hannibal, and then we went to bed.

---
yesterday:

what's up with the sexism here? is it just more noticeable than elsewhere? gd was telling me an aggravating story about a stupid taxi driver she'd encountered, and i was as upset with her for not reporting him as i was with him for being an asshole.

i ran into a friend from the gym on the metro, and she convinced me to copy my ad from kijiji to craigslist if i want to find a replacement quickly. so that's what i did when i got home... instead of getting some sleep, which i needed because i was still pretty tired. also in lieu of sleep was my running off to print flyers and take them to l'artère. on the way i'd manage to wash my feet with rain water... flip-flops. not so good for my arches, not so good for keeping my feet clean, and not so good for keeping dry.

i had a tasty but not-so-protein-y lunch while trying to clean up my netbook, finding a whole bunch of things that i need to expose gd to before trashing. i stepped out into a gorgeous, sunny afternoon to meet up with vector and introduce him to my comics. some of the introduction was simple, some of it difficult, but he's suggested a little rewrite to the beginning that makes a whole lot of sense, and he's really excited to be a part of the project. even if i just end up with him, things are looking up!

after a couple of hours with him, i went home and chatted to my mother. after settling on a plan to keep me afloat while i wait for my permit to be authorized, she made a comment about wanting to switch back to blackberry because her iphone's emailing is screwed up and i decided to give her some support.

$%#@!!!

she's had a very frustrating time with her iphone because the professional idiots providing tech support for her isp are utterly incompetent. their antiquated mail servers are incompatible with iphones, and so i helped her configure her gmail account so that she can use it and still keep her old email address. setting up gmail for that wasn't a problem, but connecting her phone to her gmail account?

firstly, an alert saying "network error" is NOT the same as one saying "device not authorized, use https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha". i would love to find all those responsible for that special little gem, grab each one by the collar and slap them silly.

secondly, iphone's inability to allow gmail users to send using aliases is stunningly backward and primitive. we only found this workaround today, and between skype screen sharing and talking my mother through each iphone step the process of setting up her email has been a long, drawn-out and rage-inducing nightmare. it might have taken five minutes if i had her phone and passwords in hand, but at the end of the day i want *her* to be able to do this shit herself and iphone, famous for its simplicity and ease-of-use, has failed abysmally.

so we've taken a break and we're going to try again tomorrow or something. in the meanwhile, at least she can receive and reply to emails correctly. that's something.

[continued...]

on the offensive - part ii

[... continued]

the woman working the metro counter was visibly in need of a verbal pat on the shoulder, the elderly woman ahead of me was driving her crazy. she's either demented or has never been in a metro station before... after i got through, she waddled back towards me from someone who couldn't help her.

"do you know how to get to the casino?" she asked, in french.
"not a clue," i responded. and proceeded to ponder casino ethics. only stupid people gamble, in my opinion. it's just not a past-time that makes any sense to me.

...

the plan had been to see godzilla, but neither gd nor i were up for it. we went to p.m. instead, where i found my stomache to be bigger than my eyes. it's kinda scary how much i ate, especially considering the belly ache after having eaten too much that afternoon.
we finished dinner at yeh! again; the insane crowds and impatience on grand prix saturday night were unsettling. shit, i hadn't even realized it was time for that yet!

i was so absolutely exhausted that i had difficulty maintaining balance, and we went to gd's where i shuffled into bed as soon as i could.

---
sunday:

i woke up feeling marginally more human, and would incrementally feel better as my sudden sinusitis slowly went away. i spent the morning trying to repair gd's ubuntu installation and update mine while she gave private haircuts. she doesn't have a sound system in her cutting room so the telly was turned on eardrum-burstingly loud, i didn't even realize how bad it was until it hurt and i grabbed my netbook and ran to the bedroom. it wasn't even a case of turning the sound down: psychologically it was such a brutal experience that it would take a while before i was ready to go back in there :(

i couldn't fix her system - chrome displays in funny colours and flash doesn't work, so i eventually left flash uninstalled and told her to use firefox instead - but i at least sorted out mine. my netbook thought it was in israel and was unsuccessfully trying to update from middle eastern servers.

not that that should have been a problem :/

i did some work on my comic script, gd's brother arrived and we all went shopping. we had a good, cold-salad lunch and relaxed on her balcony for a while, and while she cut his hair i missioned to the pharmacy to pick something up for her. that way we wouldn't be stressed when we went to meet some friends of mine.

or so i thought.

---
we were in good spirits as we arrived at berri-uqam, and were on our way out (approaching some police officers) arm in arm when some guy walking in the opposite direction closed in and shouldered gd as he passed. we stopped, shocked, and a few other people behind us stopped and stared as well; i thought he'd misjudged and simply not apologized, which in retrospect would be super weird for a canadian.
gd started saying something angrily, and i told her to let it go... which she did, and *then* told me that he'd actually hurt her.

*then* i was pissed, but by that time he'd disappeared around a corner. i spent the next while beating myself up over the incident and have been brooding on and off since. as we walked out i said to her, without really being convinced myself, that it might have been for the best. as the days have gone by, i've thought longer about the correct response and i can't decide between my first instinct - to run after him, hamstring him and drag him back by his ear to the police - and taking a "wonderfully nice guy" approach and trying to talk to the man.

either way, that shit's never gonna fly with me again.

---
we met with my friends and did a serious ice cream and alcohol mission, twice each. at first i wasn't sure that we were all vibing, but an afternoon walking, drinking and sitting on a terrace quickly sorted that out.

weird note: mcauslan's griffon is not a proper griffon. i find that quite jarring.

gd and i came back to my place so i could shower and change, and we ended up having a long talk about the paranormal challenge. you see, she's apparently got a bit of a gift that i haven't mentioned because she's an obvious not-a-loony and she doesn't really talk about it. i'm not dismissive, but i am skeptical; i also believe that regardless of whether she's got second sight or not she's not irresponsible or harming anyone; i'm staying perched on the fence. what i have borne witness to is incredible sensitivity and intuition.
what we were discussing is how to go about setting up a scientifically valid test, if we get anywhere i'll be sure to share it here.
[otherwise, i'm not looking to argue with anyone about it. this is my journal, and i'm not interested in debating gd's powers or lack thereof. i am, however, happy to discuss possible, reasonable scientific methods to test for paranormal abilities and what would be considered a satisfactory demonstration.]

i had her in hysterics when i told her the story of my experience reporting a broken window while high in a charge office, i really need to remember to repeat that here sometime! it's been fifteen years, i guess i don't need to keep those days in the dark any more :P

we went back to her place, she put on hannibal and i sent lengthy criticism to supertongue on a draft of a slam poem of hers.

---
monday:

it was a long night of weird dreams. i've heard from ric, who returned to south africa with his tail between his legs, and i'm extremely pleased to report that he's finally found a way to merge his i-was-pushed-into-law-by-my-parents profession with his desire to be a musician: he's created a record label and opened up a law firm specializing in music and the arts. i cannot begin to describe how proud i am of his progress! and how proud i am to have been a part of it.

[continued...]

spiders

i'm exhausted, i'm trying and failing to sublet my apartment and i've just discovered a spider infestation.

i've also just learned that my new employer thoroughly wasted the two weeks after i signed because they're only beginning the background check now, with a dodgy company, and if something goes weird there (which it might, considering i've lived on three continents) then i haven't got a job and i've lost a month of job hunting. my bank account's uncomfortably low as it is.

i have a meeting tonight with the illustrators and i'm still putting together a plan of action.

i just pulled a heap of still-damp clothing out of the dryer.

my heels are badly cracked and are hurting me at every step.

i wanna start today again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

on the offensive - part i

i'm finally sitting down to blog, after three rather full days wherein i've been operating mostly on autopilot. today's been a day for getting stuff done, and i'm planning on finishing this and then heading off to boxing.

---
friday:

friday began with a big, important nap after which i spent some time clearing my virtual desk by reading articles i'd had sitting in open tabs for days, weeks and possibly even months. i achieved an important comic script milestone at the starbucks, which i'm really excited about! i'm also excited about the fact that i found an excuse to mention comic illustration to vector and *he* was really excited by the prospect, so we're going to meet soon and see if he likes what i'm planning.

i did some quick shopping and returned through a breathtaking sunset, hurriedly made dinner and tidied up my apartment, successfully finishing just before bnw and her husband arrived. soon after we'd be joined by vfmp and his boyfriend, and we decided to play zombies!!!. what a great game! although it could have been better, i suspect that a couple of the guys were offended a bit by both incompatible playing styles and the tone of my voice when i get into explaining mode.

there's nothing more upsetting than hearing the words "stop yelling" when i haven't raised my voice. i felt like dave in the opening scene of anger management.

at least everyone appeared to find my ocd behaviour amusing.

other uncomfortable moments: not having any food nor any take-out menus for bnw and her husband, who'd arrived hungry. not hearing gd's phone call and making her wait outside after a long day at work. discovering that humm!'s roasted pine nut hummus has cheese in the listed ingredients. that's not mentioned anywhere else, as if it's perfectly normal to put cheese in hummus. it's a brand for which potential allergens like gluten are usually boldly labelled, so that's just weird and offensive. and to make that all worse, i accidentally picked up so delicious' neapolitan, which has strawberry in it and gd's allergic to strawberries.

F#$%.

*and* vfmp's boyfriend's on a highly restrictive diet. i don't get these people, they're always on weird diets instead of just working out and eating well. and they're vegans, they should know better.

---
saturday:

we finished what i hoped was an enjoyable game for everyone, and gd and i must have gone to bed around 3am. at 6am she needed to be up to get ready for work and i was so tired that i was incapable of so much as raising my head for another hour or two. i felt bloated after the previous night's junk-food orgy, and barely had time to down a breakfast shake and go meet my yoga instructor in outremont park.

the buses were a bit off schedule but it was a delightfully beautiful morning so there was no place for stress. i walked past groups doing tai chi and yoga, and we set up in a quiet corner and did a really good hour ourselves. the exercises i did were relatively light but very focused on my neck, and i left the park feeling wonderful.

i had a simple plan for the day: purchase a gift card for bnw's husband's birthday, work on my comics and then go to the birthday barbeque. getting the gift card was simple enough, though as i paid for it two things happened. the first was the card reader informing me that i need to pay up on my visa, which freaked me out and i had to call the visa helpline and have them reassure me that everything's in order. the second was me realizing that i was getting bnw's husband a far bigger gift than i'd given her, but i made that work because it's for a game shop and she'll be enjoying the gift too.

starbucks on st denis: i tried to plug my netbook in but the sockets were all messed up. all of them. when i complained to the girl behind the counter she responded with "yes, we know".

*awkward pause*
"you know?"
"yes."

...

i was walking away, aggravated, when she called after me that they're moving in three weeks. and??

after doing some more work on my script, i went to bnw's. on the way i read this month's wired article on the oculus rift. awesome, i can't wait to see how things roll out!

it was a warm, sunny day with a cool breeze and puffy clouds making interesting shapes as they crossed the sky, and i arrived at their apartment about five minutes after the designated time. i pressed the button, to which i got no response. i then pressed it again, and again got no response. i called bnw, and got through to her voicemail, then called her husband, and got through to his voicemail. by this point i had become quite irritated; it's bad enough when people invite you for a certain time when they mean an hour or two later, but it's even worse when there's no way to know that that's what's happening. about five or ten minutes later, while i was thinking of saying "screw this" and returning to gd, bnw called back and informed me that they'd been at the supermarket and were on their way back.

what - the - hell??? that's really rude.

in spite of the offence, the afternoon was very pleasant. i ate way too much, drank a fair amount and talked a lot with some surprisingly receptive friends of the birthday boy. overall, it was a great day and the only thing that brought me down was leaving with a rather severe belly-ache.

[continued...]

Friday, June 06, 2014

net neutrality, patronizing arts and security news

john oliver on net neutrality: this is an explanation that's not only NOT super-boring but it's clear enough for everyone. the video's really funny, some of the comments are hysterical, inspirational or both.

patreon makes it easy to be a patron of the arts - what a wonderful idea!

i can't say the man inspires confidence, but the fact that things are moving forward with lavabit is exciting nonetheless :)

vegan ice-cream soothes aches and pains

oh, man. my upper arms are sore, i think i may have strained them. i've trained twice this week, and both times i was tired before i even began. i've been careful about my caffeine intake, so i don't think that's the problem...

---
wednesday:

i sat at starbucks and worked on my comics for an hour, making interesting and satisfying progress. i did some shopping and was on my way home when i passed a house where the dog was standing at the gate barking incessantly. there were neighbours around, and none of them were doing anything about it. i walked up to the gate and proffered my hand. i tried to make myself as non-threatening as possible, but the poor dog continued barking and slowly backed away until he disappeared around the corner, at which point i got up and left. if i'd been one of the neighbours that would have been the point at which i walked up to the front door and hit the buzzer with the same frequency as the barking.

*bzzz*
*bzzz*
*bzzz*
*bzzz*

until the owners came out, at which point i'd ask

"can you hear that?"
"can you hear that?"
"can you hear that?"
"can you hear that?"

and then shout at them for neglecting their dog who's in obvious need of some attention. your dog is outing you as assholes. you should see to that..

---
boxing was high powered in spite of my feeling weak. i bowed out of impact and beat the crap out of the bags instead - having to be careful with my neck does inspire a fair amount of frustration that needs release, i'll admit - and watched as the big dude from two weeks ago took weak-ass punches from some new guy. why a new guy is allowed into the advanced class is beyond me, but i called the big guy out for not telling his partner to go harder. while he manned up with a sheepish grin on his face, the assistant coach saw what was going on and walked over to demonstrate; i don't think he'll be messing around again anytime soon :P

one of the guys bought my sparring headgear, so that's done. at least someone's going to get use out of it, and the extra cash in my pocket certainly doesn't hurt.

---
yesterday:

i awoke in the middle of the night with my neck at an unfortunately awkward angle, i got up to stretch it out and returned to bed with a strange, itchy little welt on my left bicep. i was half-asleep and decided to deal with it in the morning, by which time it had disappeared. what the hell am i supposed to do with that experience??

there were odd dreams, some about normal experiences, then an exhibition of augmented reality tech followed by standing in a line for a club playing "fringe" with the bouncer saying "i hope you guys like country music"; a bald black man put on a an amusing fake afro ruby-rod-style and then i woke up.

...

i accompanied gd on her first steps to getting her divorce formalized: she separated from her husband years ago and he's remarried since, but that's in a different country and none of her paperwork here has been filed...

[arguing about the weather with montrealers requires safe words]

we went to several places, and on a number of occasions i experienced the weirdest phenomenon: strangers walking straight towards me only to go around me at the last moment... when i wasn't standing in their way. what the hell is wrong with people?!

i had a meeting with vector scheduled, so gd joined me for yeh! (i took too much, but their sorbet is so good i handled it like a champ) and we milled around a book store for a little while. i find myself in book stores lamenting the senseless waste of paper and the immense stupidity of selling digital copies at similar prices. can we 2014, please?

vector and i had a good meeting, we went over what we'd already discussed and refined a couple of ideas. later he'd send me his sketches - the dude is talented! shit, if things with the present four illustrators don't work out i'm going to propose he works with me on my comics!

speaking of comics, i'm excited because airplane's finally ready to start scripting his own comic. this is going to be awesome ^_^

---
i was thinking about the angry girl from last week's sexism arguments and something that gd suggested: it makes sense that she's a man-hater if she approaches every man with suspicion, brutal judgement and penis-shrivelling tactics. self-fulfilling prophecy, the only guys who would sleep with a girl like that are desperate or callous, regardless of whether she's physically attractive or not.

---
the afternoon reminded me of a poem i once wrote about feedback. only it was very different.

kickboxing was decent, though i was sore and tired and at the end was dizzy and slightly nauseous. i learned that my shoulders are positioned badly when i kick and that my feet are badly aligned for anything other than side kicks. that's not good.

for the second night in a row i felt dehydrated after training. i was going to meet with the slam team but only rabbit and i were ready... we talked about it, and it seems that the team is in dire need of leadership; i'd happily take on the mantle if i wasn't the last in and therefore the most likely to rub everyone the wrong way. we're going to have to be tactful. not my strong suit.

...

rice dream's cocoa marble fudge just joined so delicious in making an unbelievably strong case for non-dairy desserts! they're not good substitutes for dairy ice-cream, they're better than. if you like ice-cream, you need to try these brands!

---
we got a decent night's sleep last night, and i woke up with alter bridge - zero stuck in my head. i showed gd my high school yearbook photo, and found myself retelling the story of the only time i've ever classically bullied someone. who was a real bully himself, so i don't feel so bad about it.

two of us ran into him in the washroom, dragged him into a clean stall, grabbed his legs and dunked his head into the bowl - only bumping him once accidentally, and fortunately not too hard. i flushed once or twice, we laughed nervously in the face of the absurd, and escorted him back to his class. the top half of his body was soaked, but before the teacher could say anything i gave him a very serious look and said "please excuse him, sir, he's having a very bad day."
which did the trick, and the incident was never formally addressed.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

superheroes?

superheroes is like a cross between kick-ass, watchmen and community.

i think it's cool. i also think that there're a lot of things i'd do differently. i wonder if they have a superhero forum or something?

down the line linkage

yesterday afternoon was hot and sticky; at least today has chilled a bit. i went to gd's, we rested, then headed to the weekly kalmunity event at les bobards. some of the first half was very cool, and some... well, let's just say we didn't make it to the second half. a couple of the performers really sucked, one of whom recited an angry, somewhat incoherent #YesAllWomen piece over chilled reggae.

ugh.

on the way back home, gd and i discussed details of our living together, figuring out what we want and how we'll manage everything. once i'm earning again things will all be pretty trivial.

...

it was a decent night's sleep with only one incident of us being all elbows and knees - fortunately nobody got hurt :P
we looked at a few apartments advertised online this morning, and i've taken photos of mine to sublet, and now it's linkage time.

okay, let's do this.

---
fails

instagram's latest update is horrible, too many options and too much control for simple users like me.

top ten reasons your api sucks and what you can do about it

why working as a programmer can be trying sometimes

cool new stuff

twelve ways to teach kids coding sounds like a very good idea!

live skype translation sounds brilliant! only, if it's using bing will the accuracy be comparable to that of facebook's translations? 'cause those are totally crap.

tile is shipping - neat!

graphene? the new silicone? it sounds pretty sweet.

plaster casts are a thing of the past.

security

end-to-end gmail encryption? quite frankly, it sounds to me like we should simply avoid writing anything that might be sensitive in an email.

peter sunde has been arrested. the old world is still beating us with a very big stick :(

environment

here's a thought: an environmentally responsible supermarket that also handles curation. nice!

reactions to obama on carbon emissions: fifteen years? can't we go faster?

there's hope for solar power yet! according to this article, and the fact that solar roadways drummed up enough interest to keep their campaign open for another month and they've already raised double their initial target.

living architecture being thought about seriously? that's very, very exciting indeed.

astronomy and aerospace

ooh! a discovery about a new class of potentially habitable planets: mega-earths.

the dragon v2 is a very cool step forward :)

xkcd's self-fulfilling prophecy: hacking old spacecraft

sex

the dark art of seduction? you mean, the dark art of sexual predation? this is ugly and psychopathic.

at least victims can buy a wearable panic button now.