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