Posts tagged with "work"

so we beat on

Life at the comic book shop con­tin­ues to be the Empire Records fan­tasy every­one dreams it to be. Maybe that’s why some­one walks in every shift to hand in a resume. Even peo­ple who have no inten­tion of look­ing for a job ask if there are any open­ings as soon as they see the merch catered to every genre of geek.

The fact that there are only a dozen among us means the crew is tight. I get to play back-cash DJ and turn up the elec­tron­ica that’s come to define this period of recov­ery. Still, there are days when the com­puter breaks down on a night when I’m run­ning a tour­na­ment by myself, I have to do all the pair­ings man­u­ally, and get­ting home to a hot shower is the purest relief.

dog in snow

Having a steady stream of plans mixed in with work means I’m con­stantly wak­ing up to an alarm. It’s wear­ing me down, but my need for stim­u­la­tion is out­weigh­ing my need for sleep. For now, at least.

I don’t write any­more cause I get my val­i­da­tion through peo­ple. The right ones set aside time for me, lis­ten as much as they speak, and don’t treat me any dif­fer­ently cause of my past. I haven’t felt the need to sort out my thoughts — one of the main rea­sons I used to write — as much as accept myself. It’s a mat­ter of patience at this point, and weath­er­ing the rough periods.

Arcade Fire — Reflektor tour

Arcade Fire on their Reflektor tour, fea­tur­ing Stephen Harper as tambourine-playing box head.

That means I’m still learn­ing how to take care of myself. Still com­ing to terms with the fact that love is so rarely clean or tidy or in our con­trol, but real­iz­ing that’s okay. Still try­ing to believe that I shouldn’t be embar­rassed of any­thing I’ve suf­fered. Still fig­ur­ing out my idea of hap­pi­ness, what’s mean­ing­ful and what’s possible.

New Hampshire: Day 2

Thumbnail: Training

The train­ing is light and relaxed. I avoid wear­ing my name tag, but not the awk­ward round of intro­duc­tions every­one has to make around the class. We fin­ish early for the day, and I won­der if there’ll be a test at the end as part of my certification.

I vaguely remem­ber that Dave Seah, my online men­tor and per­sonal coach, lives in New Hampshire. We met four years ago when I joined 9rules, and imme­di­ately devel­oped a con­nec­tion. His writ­ing, ideas, and achieve­ments have always inspired me, and he’s been the only per­son to make a guest post on my blog.

I call him, and as fate would have it, he lives 10 min­utes from my hotel. For years, I’ve won­dered if he had a New Hampshire accent, and I finally find out he speaks just like me.

Thumbnail: Factory 99

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Thumbnail: No parking
Thumbnail: Mailboxes
Thumbnail: Climbing stairs
Thumbnail: Metal star
Thumbnail: Creepy aloe

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Dave picks me up and whisks me away to Factory 99, an open artist stu­dio con­verted from an old fac­tory, to meet Sid. Sid is a pho­tog­ra­pher try­ing to turn his pas­sion into his liv­ing. I see his pho­tos, and pick his brain about off-camera flashes, expo­sure, post-processing, back­drops, and light­ing for much longer than I should have. I can’t even explain how many ques­tions he’s answered. I feel like I’ve been through a work­shop, and leave with an urgency to try every­thing I’ve learned. It’s easy to see why Dave is such good friends with him, and the syn­ergy continues.

Thumbnail: Dave on brick
Thumbnail: Creep statue
Thumbnail: Factory
Thumbnail: Fence
Thumbnail: Triangle manhole

From there we take a stroll to down­town and onto Main Street. It’s only sun­set, and many stores are closed, a sign of the eco­nomic down­turn. It’s a small city we’re in1, and there’s almost noth­ing of note, save for the tri­an­gle man­hole covers.

Thumbnail: Dave's house
Thumbnail: Basement studio
Thumbnail: Daves drawing
Thumbnail: Jeff with cat
Thumbnail: Fortune

We make a quick stop at his house, nes­tled among ever­greens and a cosy part of town, to check on a turkey he’s been slow cook­ing. I finally get a chance to see his stu­dio in real life. I rec­og­nize the lap­top he pur­chased for his project. I see his hand­writ­ing. His gun vault. His OLPC lap­top. His cats. All the lit­tle details I’ve glimpsed from his pho­tos are in front of me now.

Thumbnail: Korean appetizers
Thumbnail: Unagi
Thumbnail: Bibimbap
Thumbnail: Kalbi
Thumbnail: Dave approves

We look for a place to have din­ner, and decide on some Asian food. He takes us to a Korean/Japanese restau­rant. I let him order every­thing for the both of us. Just from hear­ing him describe the unagi, I can tell he’s one of the few peo­ple who ana­lyze and study and appre­ci­ate food the way I do.

Over our steam­ing bowls of rice and tea, we talk as if we’ve known each other our entire lives. I real­ize just how sim­i­lar we are, how we’re at the same stage in life, both self-aware, emo­tion­ally intel­li­gent, won­der­ing the same things, fig­ur­ing out the mys­ter­ies of life, and try­ing to sus­tain our­selves on what we love doing.

I don’t feel so alone anymore.

  1. Compared to Ottawa, at least, at only one tenth the pop­u­la­tion []

Two (and a half) Days in St. Louis

Day one

At secu­rity, I’m selected ran­domly for a screen­ing. The guard asks my age. “Twenty…”, I begin, try­ing to remem­ber if I’m 27, 28, or 29. “Twenty. Okay.”, he says, cut­ting me off. Somehow, he believes I look nearly a decade younger than I am. For two days, I’m packed light, with no checked bag­gage. In my rush, I for­get to get some American money. This wor­ries me.

Ottawa airport

Plane in Ottawa

Continue read­ing “Two (and a half) Days in St. Louis”…

Turkey At Work

Free turkey

Yep, there’s a turkey roam­ing around the park­ing lot at work. And in sub-zero tem­per­a­tures, no less. People try to shoo him away, scared that he might get run over, but he just weaves in and out of the cars in cir­cles. At one point, he even perched him­self on the spoiler of one them. It was a lawyer’s car, so no one cared. Except the lawyer of course.

Free turkey

I remem­ber an online buddy dri­ving here to vis­it­ing me from Illinois back in 2002. It was his first time in Canada, and he remarked that the scenery was really nice, with lots of trees and wildlife, unlike the con­crete jun­gle of American cities. I guess I take Canadian nature for granted.

Free turkey