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