Monthly Archives: October 2007

Black Fence

We are rulers in our secret fort.

Thorns and yellow jackets guard the gate.

You with your delicate wreath of weeds,

I with my Tupperware crown.

We recieve word from our messenger:

“An army of orange and yellow are going to attack.”

They can’t take away our castle.

“We’re invincible.”

“You’re foolish.”

“We rule this province.”

“You’re being childish.”

“We’re strong.”

“You’re pathetic.”

BLACK FENCE

We scale the plastic border to reach our beloved palace

A steel dragon with menacing jaws

Uproots our castle and flys away,

Never to return.

For my childhood and Emily.

It’s only a first draft.  I just came up with it today because I figure if I want to become a musician, I better start writing again.  No better excuse to do so when it’s raining out and sickness is holding you prisoner in your house.

Time to go play some cribbage with Gaby.  Peace out! Real entry is in the mix.

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The Practice

Monday: I sang this song with la la la’s instead of the words today in the Lodge.  It went really well.  If I sang it in Japanese it would garner a lot of weird looks.  Plus the melody wouldn’t really be as noticeable if I played it on the piano like usual. 

Tuesday:I had a miniature recital with some of the old folks for 20 minutes while the staff had their meeting.  It didn’t go as well as I had hoped because I wasn’t expecting an audience.  I was only expecting myself and the keyboard.  I sang Feist’s Gatekeeper, but it sucked.  I also sang Emm Gryner’s Blackwinged Bird, which did not suck at all. 

Wednesday: I had a recital at 3:30-4:30.  I played a bunch of songs, sang Carole King’s So Far Away, The Carpenter’s Close to You, and I “la la”-ed this song.  All day I had no hiccups, no pitchiness (which isn’t a word but I don’t care), absolutely nothing went wrong.  Too bad no one recorded it.  I even saw tears well up in one of the resident’s eyes when I finished.  At the end of the recital, one of the seniors said, “Please thank him for us” so there was applause and a thank you from the activation supervisor on behalf of Woodingford Lodge.

I’ll be playing for Woodstock Woodingford Lodge later on in the month.  They have a baby grand that is calling my name.  I can’t wait.  The more I think about it, the more I want to be in entertainment rather than social work.  I feel like I’m connecting more through music.  That’s not to say that I’m not connecting at all through my job, but it’s a different kind of connection.  It’s an empathic and more vocal kind of connection.  You have to say the right words at the right time.  With music it’s more emotional and penetrating.  If I was to stab someone with emotion, my weapon of choice would be music over words any day.  I have so much fun with music which is evident to everyone that watches me perform.

This week my resident had a big smile on her face everytime I showed up to feed her.  For 3 out of the 5 days, she needed minimal assistance, which is fantastic because I can focus on other people who need my help.  However, on Friday I had a hard enough time focusing on one person, let alone others.  Since it was a beautiful day and we had a tea party scheduled, we decided to have the tea party outside.  No problem, I thought.  Last week’s tea had about 7 or 8 people present, so being outside would not cause any issues.  That day we were also short staffed.  So (without telling me or any of the people that were helping to run the tea) the PSWs decided to send everyone outside and let us give them a snack instead of going around and giving it to people in their rooms. 

Normally I would of been completely fine with this, had I been informed that I was going to have almost 30 people show up to an event.  I would of made more apple crisp, there would of been another container for coffee and tea, the co-op student would of made other arrangements to stick around a little longer (but she was a great help nonetheless), and the whole event would of run more smoothly.  We trucked on through anyway and everyone got a minuscule piece of apple crisp and a cup of coffee or tea.  I went home and finally relaxed for the day.

Starting on Wednesday, Gen and I have been going out and doing physical activities at 6:45 AM.  Wednesday we ran 2.5 km on the track (I learned earlier today that 2.5 km is nothing as Jeffrey had walked 7 km like it was nothing, but he’s a marathon man and I am not), Thursday we did length swimming, Friday we ran around the neighbourhood.  I’m getting exercises and I’m feeling more energized each day.  This week I’m going to start lifting weights so I can be toned and not just a skinny lanky tall guy. 

P.S. No one died this week either! So far the living count is at 2 weeks.  How exciting.

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The Adventure to Toronto

Saturday Sept. 29th:

Early in the morning we packed our sleeping bags and clothes into the Katima-van and then went out to volunteer.  5 of us volunteered at an Art Show, and the other 6 of us volunteered at a Car Show.  I volunteered at the Art Show and it was awesome.  We made sandwiches out of hummus and grilled veggies, then plated some more sandwiches and set them out on the table.  I noticed there was a piano at the Church and I asked if I could play it.  The coordinator said sure, so I played music for the whole event, which was 3 hours long.  I received a standing ovation at the end of playing All I Can Do by Chantal Kreviazuk, which was the end of the event.  After that we went to the Car Show and helped take down things.

Two wasps decided to attack the van/us and they kept pestering everyone while we were taking down things.  I hate wasps with a passion (not to be confused with the derogatory term) and I’d hate to be stung by one.  I got stung by a bee when I was 5 years old.  I was playing in the backyard and this bee just landed on my hand.  I didn’t know what to do, so I flailed my arms.  Big mistake.  The bee stung me on my hand and I ran crying into the house towards the arms of my mom who got some baking soda and some water and fixed the sting immediately.  So in order to not experience the pain again, I try to avoid yellow jackets as much as possible.

After a skirmish with the evil yellow army of two, the art show crew and the car show crew formed together and defeated the evil car show take down.  Shortly afterwards we piled into the car again, went home for 10 minutes to change outfits and then drove down to Toronto.  We had a stop at the Milton McDonald’s and I had a Swamp Sludge McFlurry.  The best way for me to describe this concoction would be to take a Smarties package, separate all of the colors, crush up the green ones, and then add ice cream as usual.  So it’s a Smartie McFlurry Lite.  I wonder if they have M&M McFlurries over in the US because Smarties are a Canadian thing.  Anyone know? We all had our food and then went back onto our road to Toronto, making a stop at Brampton to drop off our stuff at the house we were staying at. 

Our whole group stayed over at one of our participant’s houses.  They had a piano there and it was in tune and fantastic.  They had Feist’s The Reminder playing, so I played along to My Moon, My Man, Sealion Woman, Limit To Your Love, and 1 2 3 4.  Gen sang along and it was so much fun.  The group and the father of the family came to play Ultimate Frisbee at the school field nearby.  My team won the game (for 2 matches out of 2 so far), we went back to the house to have quick showers and get ready for Nuit Blanche in TO.  Before leaving, we all gathered around the piano to sing Hallelujah.  It felt like it was out of a movie.

The drive down to TO went fine until we got to Lakeshore and Gardiner Expressway.  I knew that construction was going on since the summer but I thought it was over by now.  I was so wrong.  Gay wrong.  Derek was like “Lakeshore or Gardiner? LAKESHORE OR GARDINER?!” And I was all, “Go Left! LEFT! GARDINER!” and we were heading towards Lakeshore… so he drove over the yellow line, narrowly missing the median.  I called my Dad to get proper instructions to Nuit Blanche/Eaton Centre (Some Torontonian I am, I can’t even find the CHUM Building) after we paid $20 for parking.  No free parking for Katimavik people.  No green P signs to be found.  We walked down to the CHUM building where we met up with some Woodstock participants finishing up a late tour of the Much side of the CHUM building.

From there we walked to the Eaton Centre where they had a mass of balloons.  The whole point of the exhibit was to tie them all together to make a giant cave or something.  Or so we thought.  From there we had free time to explore TO.  So we walked up and down Queen Street and checked out the street performers and stuff.  It was pretty fun.  Then we decided to go to Hard Rock Café for some drinks and appetizers. 

I’ve been to the Hard Rock Café in Ottawa before when I was in Grade 8 on a school trip (it’s a trip that all schools in Ontario seem to get or a trip to Québec, coupled with a graduation trip to Canada’s Wonderland) and I had no concept of how much things cost there because it was all “free” (thank you School Board of Waterloo) and I remember that we were having pancakes that day and I accidentally poured maple syrup into my glass thinking it was Iced Tea.  That whole trip was not a good experience for me.  I got no sleep and I had a huge headache from being a loud barn with bad country music the night prior.  Plus it was elementary school and that whole experience also wasn’t the greatest, but I digress.  We got a table (surprisingly) for 8 and we ordered our drinks and appetizers.  I got a Purple Haze, which is a bad attempt at a Kelsey Special.  Basically vodka, sour mix and sugar.  Also comes with the colour purple in it.  Oooooooh, so special.  But it was crappy.  Plus it was $7 for it.

When I started to drink my overpriced Jimi Hendrix inspired crummy excuse for a Kelsey Special, it hit me.  People don’t go to the Hard Rock Café for the generic food and the moderate drinks; they go for the fact that they can stare at Madonna’s bustier and look at the Edge’s guitar.  Plus the non-Ontarians wanted to check it out.  We still had fun… until the bill came.  Did you know that Hard Rock Café charges 18% gratuity on your bill? No, not 15%.  18%.  I was pissed.  But I paid for my drink and I made a vow never to come back to that establishment again.  Even if they are people in my group that want to go, I’ll take them somewhere nice at a reasonable price with way better service.

The rest of our group merged together with us outside the CHUM building and we drove back to Brampton not hitting any medians along the way.  We arrived at 1 AM and promptly went to bed, planning on getting up at 7 to leave for 8. 

Sunday Sept. 30th:

I woke up at 6:55, turned off my alarm, and then had a 5 minute nap.  No one else had their alarm on, and when the next time I woke up, (which felt like I had closed my eyes for 4 seconds and I had opened them again) it was 7:40.  I was thrown into a weird head-space, thinking that I had only closed my eyes for a few seconds, not for 40 minutes.  So I quickly woke everyone up and we all piled into the van late at 8:20.  For some reason at 8 when we were supposed to leave, people decided to start eating breakfast.  If we have to leave at 8, even if we are late, we LEAVE AT 8.  Some people got feedback for that I’m sure. 

At 9 we arrived in TO once more with a twist: we got free parking! Woodstock’s PL was waiting for us and we walked to our meeting place, which was a Starbucks.  We got some lattés to wake the group up again and we went to the Ontario University Fair Expo ’07.  There were 2 other groups helping out at the fair: Welland and St. Catherine’s (I think?) and the people that were in those groups seemed alright.  I didn’t get to know them well at all, but Welland is in our final rotation in Manitoba, replacing London (or Woodstock, I can’t remember).  For most of that day I handed out pamphlets about the University fair.  While I was handing the flyers out, I ran into Rachael, the RA Academic from my first year! I had run into her on the streets of Toronto the previous night, and she told me she was attending a conference the next day.  Turns out it was the very one Katimavik was helping out at.  We caught up while a flurry of activity around us grabbed pamphlets from the table.  I also helped promote Katimavik at the booth we had set up, describing my experience and what Katimavik was, etc.

The fun part of that Sunday was that we got to go around and get free stuff on our breaks.  The Student Expo was happening above ground and we stopped in to visit the Woodstock group (who had a booth and was handing out free issues of FLARE magazine for October.  Fergie’s on the cover, being fergilicious as usual.  Or is it glamorous now? Definitely not about her humps anymore, that I know for sure.) The Trojan booth was present, handing out condoms, and there was the mandatory Trojan model handing out condoms, being a warrior (or modeling fetish wear, hard to say).  There was also an HPV booth which gave us “Sex with Ed” tissues as well as HPV Lip Butter in Coconut and in Mango.  Some energy drink company was handing out chocolate bars.  Eating one chocolate bar was the equivalent of an energy drink.  Not only that, they tasted pretty good too.  Rogers gave us some free pens.  Shick had guys dressed up in all black with pink suspenders and aviator sunglasses handing out free disposables.  I used one a couple days later and they suck.  It’s like taking broken glass to your face.  I like Mach 3 for their moisture strip. 

After getting a bunch of free things, the whole group helped pack up for the day and then the Ingersoll group trekked over to Pizza Pizza and we celebrated our hard work with 3 twin pizzas.  Then we drove home and had a house meeting that lasted 45 minutes which was pretty nice considering they usually last 3 hours.  Once the meeting was over I went to bed early so I could get a fresh start on work tomorrow.

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