Category Archives: Rants

The Post With Many Links

Contrary to what I said in my last post, I did not work until 6 today.  I was reminded by my supervisor and my iTouch that I was working until 9.  No big deal.  I guess my brain figured that I worked until 6 every day.  Tomorrow I am most definitely working until 6, no question about it.

I scheduled my physical for college, so all is well… oh! I gotta register for classes! Must save draft! … Well, I tried to register but my account isn’t functioning for some reason.  I shall call tomorrow morning and get to the bottom of things.  Tomorrow is also the day I perform for a bunch of drunk gay people! I think I’m going to play the following:

  1. Mika Nakashima’s FAKE (without vocals but with awesome jazz piano because no one will understand Japanese) Ohhh… I encountered a bad rendition of some poor cos-player “singing” it at a convention of some sort.  I should really go to one of those things to perform.  I would kick serious ass.
  2. Sarah Slean’s Day One (bad sound quality, sorry). Got to have at least one up-beat song, right?
  3. Emm Gryner’s Blackwinged Bird (with vocals of course) to close the set.  I’m going to dedicate this song to my Katima-people.

I’m looking forward to performing on a piano again which I haven’t done in quite a while.  Not only that, to have a microphone with the piano for once? Sweet jesus.  

Holy shit.  I actually felt that thunder hit something close to the house.  I didn’t mention it was storming outside but… it’s storming outside.  Now you know.  That photo post I talked about will come later on in the week.  Friday seems like a good day to do it as it is a day when I do not work.  To make up for the wait…

Here’s an -Ing Thing!

Secretly Buying:

A couple of days ago I bought (so it isn’t really buying at all.  A false -Ing Thing) 2 types of CK Underwear and a blue silk shirt (which I am debating on wearing tomorrow for the performance or for the party… if it’s nice out, it’s going to be worn at the performance… one of the new pairs of underwear too) from my work (something that fits?! WHAAAAAAT?!).  I know I’m not supposed to buy anything but I enjoy having underwear at my disposal (that sounds terrible, but what I mean to say is that I enjoy underwear the same way that women buy shoes or purses.  Maybe I should of applied at the CK Underwear store again and forced them to only interview me for there and not for the Calvin Klein store that is in a mall that I can’t drive to) and the shirt was cheap. 

Needing:

To work out more.  I need to up my reps in everything: push-ups, sit-ups, going to start these ab exercises (be warned, there is bad music afoot and a minute of a useless intro)… We’ll see how that goes.

Playing:

I’ve started to play Final Fantasy Tactics when I’m bored of everything else (which won’t be the case in a few days with all the lessons and whatnot).  I’m not a huge fan of strategy games, but I do like FF, so it evens out.

Listening:

Oh god.  I remember when I first read about this group I told myself I wasn’t going to listen to them because they’re just so… Perfume? I figured I wouldn’t enjoy them, but as I was working today, a song came on that was similar to one that I heard a 30 second clip of (you can even learn how to do the dance!).  Now I can’t get it out of my head.  I think I’m going to have to download their album now.  

However, if there’s one J-Pop artist that I don’t intend on listening to, it’s Leah Dizon.  I’m sorry, her voice is too soft and quiet (they drown her out with the backing track).  I’ve seen her live performances and they are just terrible.  Granted, it is difficult to sing and dance at the same time, but there’s better than this.  She’s trying to be the next Britney or something by impressing everyone with her dance moves and it’s working.  If a Race Queen/Model turned singer can make it big… It gives me hope for my music career in Japan (you won’t see me dancing though).

Loving:

Now I’m going to practice for tomorrow.  The best thing about not having anyone else in the house? I can perform in my robe and no one can stop me.

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Have piano, will perform

Katimavik has taught me one thing about volunteering.  If you volunteer at a function that is at a church, you can be sure that there will be a piano or a keyboard that isn’t be played during lunch or breaks.  That’s where I come in.  Today we attended and volunteered at a workshop on creating an edible landscape and growing an abundance of food in small spaces that was ran by Ron Berezan.  Here’s a little information on what was in the seminar today (I really just want an excuse to try out the Blockquote button):

What is an “edible landscape”? What are the benefits of including edible species in our yards and communities? What can we grow? This session will explore these questions and the many design principles for creating landscapes that are beautiful, sustainable and productive.  Using intensive organic growing methods, the average urban yard or community plot can grow a tremendous amount of fresh fruit, berries, veggies and herbs.

[The growing an abundance of food in small spaces workshop] will explore a variety of techniques and strategies for increasing back yard food production while building healthy soil, conserving resources like water and energy, and creating habitat for other species. Models such as lasagna gardening, square foot gardening, bio-intensive raised beds, no-tills gardens, and perennial forest gardens will be presented. (from The Urban Farmer)

It was quite informative and it has inspired me to take part in a community garden when I get back to Toronto.  Or, to at least spend more time on green roofs and walk around in gardens.  While the rest of the group was serving food at lunch, I performed on the piano and sang on a few songs.  I pulled out my lounge material as I was only background music and played for an hour and during the break.  A woman came up to me after the workshop was over and said:

Your piano playing reminded me of when I was at a piano bar in Europe.  In the part of the town I stayed at, I couldn’t find a single good bar.  But as soon as I walked into this lounge that was recommended by my friends, I saw a grand piano and heard beautiful music played by different musicians.  Your music made me reminisce about that time.  Thank you.

Hearing someone say something like that is one of the greatest compliments ever.  I was told by other people that they had written good comments about me in the evaluation paper for the workshop.  I wanted to read them, but my head would of exploded from the ego rush.  I felt good about my performance, so I know that other people must of felt good as well.

A huge aspect of group living is communication.  At dinner tonight, I found myself in a situation that happens very often in our group (I’m a colon whore tonight): attempting to finish each other sentences (leaving thoughts unfinished), and miscommunications (which end up in people becoming very frustrated and short with each other).  We have had workshops on how to communicate in a group and it still does not seem to sink in.

However, tonight was a lesson for everyone.  It was like standing at a street corner waiting for the “Walk” sign to appear and seeing a car crash.  You know it’s coming but you can’t do anything about it.  People kept interrupting other people, and then the discussion changes entirely and people get lost, frustrations mount, and the tension becomes so thick that people have to get up and leave before something bad happens.  I think a part of the problem comes from the fact that we all have strong personalities and everyone is scrambling to get heard.

We have tried putting up our hands to speak in turn, having a mediator in our discussions, using little notepads to jot down ideas so that when your turn comes you don’t forget what you have to say, just to name a few solutions.  Now that this incident has happened, it will become more apparent and people will learn to be patient and let other people finish their thoughts before putting forth their ideas.  I hope that we find a solution soon in order to make the last two months of our Katima-lives less painful.

I love reading other people’s blogs.  It’s so neat to read about other people’s experiences and how they became the way they are, to witness their triumphs and failures, to read about the new love of their lives, or to read an ode to the SO that holds them together.  People are fascinating.

P.S. For those that are misinformed (I’m talking about you, room-mate!): The song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is not by Bob Marley.  It is by Bobby McFerrin.  Also, the cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” that was used for the movie Armageddon is not by Jewel (as Limewire users would like to believe), it’s by Chantal Kreviazuk.  Just thought I’d point that out.

Ha, WordPress has now changed the name of the “Show/Hide Advanced Toolbar” to “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink”.  Sweet.  I’m also a fan of the ability to upload music and photos straight from the computer (goodbye, Flickr!).  Although I do miss the Spellcheck function.

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An interruption from The Hills Watching Extravaganza

I have come to terms with my room-mate’s snoring habit. I figure that he gets what is coming to him because when I want to stop him from snoring, I have to get out of my warm comfy bed, take 5 steps, kick him (which prompts him to say “Ow” in his sleep), and retrace my steps and try to warm up my cold bed. Every 2 hours. It’s just a fact of my Katima-life.

On Sunday our group attended the Oak Hammock Marsh Parrot and Beach party. It wasn’t much of a party for the parrots because there was only 2. 2 out of 50 parrots showed up due to the grey skies, which later cleared up nicely. The day went on anyway and we learned how to Salsa dance. Just the basics with turns and the waterfall move.

After dancing, we rounded up people for the fashion show and started to get ready. The fashion show theme was “What not to wear to the beach followed by what to wear to the beach”. So some of us wore tacky clothing to show what not to wear, and later on we walked out in our beach wear. I wore the following:

  1. Red Billabong board shorts with a white GAP (RED) hoodie
  2. Black and grey Billabong surf top with TYR surf shorts (oh Lycra, you are so comfortable)
  3. White Billabong board shorts with the same hoodie as before with white sunglasses

When the show ended, I was approached by the man who ran the event and he asked another participant and I if we were models. We looked like we had done it before (which was true in a way because of the Parade de Mode in Montréal), and we must of looked good. There were pictures taken, but we don’t have them yet. Although today we did receive a blown up picture of our group on the roof. Oak Hammock Marsh has a green roof that serves as a great observation deck, a fantastic place to have lunch when it’s warm, and a feeding place for the birds. Hopefully more pictures will arrive soon in a digital form.

Because of Spring Break for the schools, I get to work at Oak Hammock Marsh this week. On Monday I got trained on how to use the theatre and do slide-shows and movies as well as work with the day camp. The next day I did a slide-show, face painting, and story time with the children that visited. Today I showed a film, did an hour and a half of face painting, and just generally hung out around the exhibits and learned stuff about the wetlands. I really enjoy working here, but I’m glad that I get to back to the school in 2 weeks (I’m house managing next week). My face painting improves with each child’s face or cheek I paint. It’s pretty amazing that I can develop such a skill. Drawing is my only weakness in the arts. It just takes practice I suppose. Much like anything else.

On Monday night, my Dad and Brother Unit #2 visited. I was so glad to see them. My sister-in-law’s mother is a chocolate maker, and she gave the Katima-group a lot of chocolate (left over from Easter, but it was still good and very delectable). I also got my broken watch back from the Bay, a pair of shoes I can wear for spring, and a credit card bill (there has to be some business on the trip).

We went out to a Chinese Buffet (ironically named Goody Foody). It was definitely Chinese-Canadian style. Almost everything was deep-fried, and there was hardly any vegetables in sight, except for the two stir-fry dishes. The bus boy that was working there had nice hair, and it reminded me that I need to buy hairspray and wax. As we were walking out, we found a man passed out in the foyer of the restaurant. I’m glad we found him as we were walking out, not as we were walking in (although if we did, then we would of ate at Joey’s bar, which had a Cabana bar attached… can you say gay?).

After eating not so goody foody, we killed a little time at the hotel my dad and brother were staying at by watching television and drinking rye and cokes. We found a disturbing “art” dance show on Bravo! (Bravo! and Showtime are one in the same, I swear).  In one scene, there was a man pacing back and forth and a woman sitting on the couch. The man stops pacing and the woman tilts her head back and points her leg upwards. Blackout. Next scene there are two women wearing dance tights and artistically “wrestling”, complete with soft-core porn grunts. I wanted to change it, but my father and my brother wouldn’t have any of it. I am officially scarred for life. Thanks, Bravo!

We finished our rye and cokes and then went to Silver City to see A Superhero Movie, a parody of a bunch of superhero movies. Go rent it. It isn’t worth the price of admission, but I thought Leslie Nielson was fantastic as always. There are a few laughs, but it’s not comic gold. It was 9ish when the movie was done and my brother decided that we should go have some drinks at the hotel bar.

Our drinks were great, but our service was mediocre. People that sat down after us, had 4 drinks, 2 appetizers, and left before us were served way better than we were. We left no tip, and I’m pretty sure they complained to the manager in the morning when they left to go back to Ontario. We would of complained on the night of, but the manager looked like an idiot who knew nothing (that, and he fidgeted with his hands and kept wringing his fingers. Very sketchy). I was driven home and I decided that I would never drink in another hotel bar again.

I had had a drink in a hotel bar before, with Jeffrey, in the Best Western of Montréal. They screwed up our orders. I asked for a Cosmopolitan for Jeff and I, and I received a vodka and orange juice, while Jeff got a cranberry and vodka. Hmm. Not right. Are all hotel bar staff not competent in all aspects of their jobs?

Last night was physical activity, and my committee had planned on going to the school to play floor hockey.  When we got there, we remembered that the school was closed for Spring Break.  So we decided to do a Billy Blanks Tae-Bo video instead.  It was actually a work out.  The video itself was kind of terrible.  Billy Blanks was wearing a very unflattering blue Lycra leotard thing that emphasized his man-boobs (he had a wardrobe malfunction half way through the video).  For some parts of the video you could tell that they just repeated the sequence again.  The cheesiest part of the video had to be when they decided to do moves in double time.  Then the strobe lights would go on and the lights would dim and the music would get more “intense”.  When the group wasn’t laughing, we actually got a work out.

Now for 41-60 things about me:

  1. I enjoy reading with a glass of wine or chocolate.
  2. When I was a kid I used to stay up all night and read.  That stopped when I got to University.  I’ve taken up that habit again since Katimavik.
  3. I love looking for the subtle rhythms and melodies in music and studying the lyrics.
  4. My first exposure to Japanese music came from watching Clip Trip on Much More Music.  I watched Pizzicato Five’s Tout Va Bien and I was hooked.
  5. If I studied more in that field, I would love to run a show like Clip Trip, or The Loop.
  6. I have never toured the CHUM Building in Toronto, but I want to and plan on doing it this summer.  Some Torontoian I am.
  7. Synthesized strings in serious ballads annoy me and take away from the emotion of the song.
  8. I have so many things I want to do in life, I wonder if I’ll have time to do it all.
  9. I don’t do anything for April Fool’s or for Poisson Avril.  No fools or fish here.
  10. Spring to Summer is my favourite seasonal transition.
  11. I enjoy going to art museums and wandering around.
  12. I have yet to buy any souvenirs for my family.  It’s probably because they have all been to the same places I have been living in for the last 7 months.
  13. I try to find things to look forward to in life.
  14. Sometimes when I’m bored and listening to a song, I wonder what the artist is doing at that moment in time.
  15. I’d rather do something right the first time than half-ass it.
  16. I pick up random romance novels for fun and open up the page to see if it has any hilariously written love making scenes in it.
  17. Bad resumés make me wonder how those people got jobs in the first place.
  18. I’ve seen almost all of the Star Wars movies (except for the most recent one) but I couldn’t tell you what happened in any of them.
  19. I get more intellectual satisfaction out of reading a book than watching a movie.
  20. I have a soft spot in my heart for documentaries.

I decided on a set list for my Open Mic performance.  It is going to play out like a relationship.  Happy, sexy, romantic, sad, depressing, and hopeful.  Probably with some jazz and accordion thrown in for good measure.  The performance isn’t until the end of this month, but I love thinking about how fabulous it is going to be.

P.S. The title of the post comes from a few seconds ago, where 2 of my house-mates wanted the internet so they can watch more episodes of The Hills.   Just for the record, I do not watch that show.

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Tying up loose ends

I know that it seems a bit tedious to be writing about my life day to day, so I’m going to try only writing about interesting things that happen throughout the day rather than giving a long spiel about how I went to some class and nothing happened.

Last Friday the group went to the neighbourhood watering hole. It was as if they rounded up all of the high-schoolers that think they’re bad-ass getting into a bar when they aren’t legal and their parents that support them all in one place. I couldn’t complain about the drink prices though. $3 for a rum and coke? Hells yeah!

Our group definitely stuck out like a sore thumb because for one, I was the only guy in the group of 8 girls and two, a friend of a participant, who is gay as well, came down to visit her, making our table (sadly) the most diverse. A gay man, a lesbian, and two bi-sexuals at a booth, clearly over-dressed for the environment in which they sat.

Lastly, it was obvious that we were the new Katima-group in town. Some guys bought us all a round of Buds (oh happy day) and later introduced themselves saying, “You guys must be the new Katimavik group. We can tell because the last group sat in that exact spot. Plus you guys are probably the most attractive group here.” I know that was directed at the girls, and not me. By looking around the bar, I realized that it didn’t take much to be the most attractive group. All of the high-school people that could drive and fashionable people that have better things to do than be in a tavern were all in Winnipeg, being classy and complaining about the cold as they run from their cars to the club doors in their mini-skirts.

On Monday I started work at SCI. The teacher who was supposed to be there to give me my schedule was absent (I later learned it was due to her child having strep throat), so I shadowed Courtney and got to know the teachers and the ins and outs of the school.

That evening, Courtney and I were invited to record the high-school performance of Guys and Dolls (we got in for free, the rest of the group paid). I ended up recording the whole thing due to my hands and their ability to arc around a camera and zoom in and zoom out at appropriate times. Next week there will be a viewing party. I want to go and see how my work turned out. After watching that play I remembered just how much I missed theatre. Perhaps I should try out for a community theatre when I return home, or maybe see if there is a dinner theatre that could use my help.

I struck a deal with the music teacher and I now get to help out in his band class, troubleshooting, working on tricky parts with sections, and maybe conducting when he is absent. I am so excited to be back in my element, I could not contain myself as I squirmed and tapped out times and rhythms to a troubled trombone player.

Every Tuesday the Special Education (or Special Me. Bad joke) class goes to the local bowling alley and plays a game of 5 pin. I missed bowling so much and scored 187. I’ll be able to track my progress as I accompany them each week. Maybe I will surpass my 15 year-old self’s average of 175. I think I may join a league when I get back to Toronto (there is so much I want to do when I get back, it shall be a post of its own).

I help out at an art class once in a while, and on the second day I heard a student say, “That’s so gay“. I had heard the term be tossed around a few times that class in a derogatory way, and I decided at that exact moment to do something about it. I was going to reclaim a little piece of my high-school self and never feel more proud of my sexuality in my life. I turned around and said to the student, “That’s so gay, huh? You know what else is so gay? I am so gay.” He was taken aback by what I had said, so I repeated myself: “I’m gay.” “Uhhh, what?” he said, still in shock. “I am a homosexual.” I said, emphasizing the last word to it’s full effect. “When you say, (in a mocking tone) ‘That’s so gay‘, I feel that you don’t realize that there may happen to be a gay person in your presence. For all you know, there could be someone in your class that is gay and not comfortable with themselves. Think about what you say.” Later on in the class I took him aside and apologized for calling him out in front of the whole class. He apologized to me as he had no idea and he had a friend that was gay and he was afraid of him. I explained to him that just because someone is a homosexual, it does not mean that they are going to come on to him. He understood that and I think I made an impact.

It’s funny because a similar situation had happened before, in my first year of University. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

We went back to my res for a second, Kate had to use the computer for a quick second. As she’s signing in, some frat boy from my res and some chick are sitting there, having a bit of stuff to drink, they’re buzzed… and I hear the frat boy whispering loudly something like “I hear that Joey’s gay, he denies it, but I think that he’s the biggest fag ever.” I don’t know who Joey is, but I was pissed off that someone would say that about him without him knowing. I’ve been through it before, and it is really annoying to have someone spread rumours behind your back. It’s like the drunk guy had this big issue with it. So, in reply I said, “I’m gay. Get over it.”

Instantly his face turned to complete shock. He was just there with some drunk girl on his lap and his mouth made a giant oblong “O”. I left with Kate to my room, used the computer and washroom, and as we were about to leave, Lucas knocks on my door. He tells me that what I did took a lot of guts, and he’s impressed that I did something so courageous. He said that the dude was totally shocked, it was awesome. I said thanks, and we went to St. Clair College to go play poker.

So there you have it. History repeats itself, and I feel that this will happen many more times in my life. Every time, I will be more than happy to correct the homophobia and fears that people have about people with a sexuality that is not the norm. I will fight for the rights of diverse sexualities everywhere.

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Katima-post!

Drugs.  It’s like S&M fetish parties.  If you don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist.  Unfortunately, I know that there is a certain person in the household who is enjoying a little toke now and then.  This person was outside last night at 1 am with no shirt, just “chilling” (in the snowy cold, spitting on the ground, probably clearing out their throat so they can walk back into the house like nothing happened.  The Project Leader wasn’t awake).  This situation has happened before (I was even asked if I wanted any.  I’m in a government program and I don’t want to jeopardize* myself.  Plus, alcohol is the only thing that enters my body), and I’m going to do something about it before it gets out of hand (and someone else leaves the group).

On that same note, a participant left the group last night because he was tired of group living (not because of drugs).  He left this morning and I’m sad to see him go.  It’s a shame he did not find motivation to stay in the group, but if he wasn’t happy, then he did the right thing to leave the group before it affected the group dynamic in a bad way.

Then there were 9.  7 girls, 2 guys.  The next Project Leader in Stonewall will be a girl as well.  A 4:1 ratio.  I’m not worried about it in the slightest.  I have a lot of experience in dealing with women (Hello, gay man here).  Just for a little tangent, my very first job was at a Dollarama.  I was only holiday help, but every single employee there was a female.  I fitted in nicely, even though I wasn’t out yet.  I also got my first taste of what too much estrogen does to women.  Can you say back-stabbing and gossip to the extreme? Meow.

To add even more to this Katima-post, I got an e-mail back from the Katimavik Ontario office (see Feb. 2nd in this post) about my PL (Project Leader) position and they told me that I am a great candidate for the PSO (Project Support Officer) position.  This is definitely something to consider for the future.  I will now explain what all of these Katima-things mean (because I have been writing this blog since September and I have yet to explain myself).

Katimavik is a government-funded program for Canadians between the ages of 17-21.  It lasts for 9 months.  During that time, you stay in 3 different communities for 3 months each during the program.  The program starts in either September or January (depending on when you apply).  There are communities all over Canada that have Katimavik participants living there.  Just look for a large white van with this symbol on it.  There are 11 participants in a group and 1 PL.

A PL is basically like the don of your residence floor, your supervisor, your parental unit, etc.  They get to drive you around to places, find work placements and billet families, and give you your weekly allowance ($21!).  On top of that, they do a lot of paper work, act as a social support and a leader for the group.  A PSO is someone who assists the PLs and does counselling with groups when they are in dire times (for example, when the group is falling apart, or everyone is losing the will to stay in the program).  They also travel around to schools to do presentations, run workshops with groups, and promote Katimavik.  The PSO position is my kind of job because I love public speaking and helping out others.

The reason why I called this blog Katima-what? is because when I first mention Katimavik to someone, they always say, “Katima-what?”.  Katimavik means “meeting place” in Inuktitut.  After Katimavik is done, the blog might get a name change and a makeover.  The future is a mystery.

If you ever have any questions about Katimavik, me, or anything, feel free to ask.

* = Here’s a rule in Katimavik: If you do any illegal activity of any kind, you are dismissed immediately.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  There has been stories of participants who got kicked out a mere 12 hours before the program was over and they did not recieve their $1000 or reference letters.  Wonder why… oh right, it’s because WE ARE IN A PROGRAM FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT.  Don’t screw with the system.  Save the illegal stuff for when you’re done the program and back in your tiny little town where no one gives a damn (or British Columbia).

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Sleeping alone in my room AND slowly affecting someone’s health? Score one for Edward.

I was awake at 3:19 this morning.  But it wasn’t because of my room-mate.  It was because of my coughing.  So I walked upstairs and got my trusty bottle of Robitussin and downed two teaspoons (I bought Nyquil by the request of Dr. Jeffrey).  My room-mate has migrated to the moldy storage room, which is a pretty sweet arrangement if you ask me.  Not only am I alone in my room now, but my room-mate will slowly be growing spores in his lungs as he sleeps.  It’s a win-win situation.  Now that the Snoring Saga is officially over (until next week when the group moves to Manitoba), here are some -ing things:

Loving:

Matrix Biolage Shampoo and Conditioner.  One good thing about Katimavik is that when you live in a group of 11, you can use other people’s products and test them out on yourself.  Reaching back in my memory to days when I was a cosmetician in Shoppers, Biolage cost approximately $19.  That’s pricey for shampoo, but now I understand why.  These products are very good quality and they make my hair feel like I just had a wash at the salon.  Love it.

Listening:

Hey Rosetta!The Shins and The Ditty Bops (not to be confused with The Doodlebops) are all fantastic.  Very indie.  Very awesome.  Go listen to their stuff right now! That’s another great thing about Katimavik.  Not only do you get to share hair products, you also get to share music.

Hating:

This persistent cough needs to die a horrible death.  I’m talking pushed into a ditch and shot horrible.  I’ve been taking drugs and drinking liquids for almost a week now and it still won’t die.  If it persists until the end of this week I’m going back to the doctor.  This is a shitty thing about Katimavik.  One person gets sick, then it spreads faster than a drunk college girl living in a dorm with mono.

Tonight the group is going to the YMCA for our physical activity.  I haven’t used a machine to work out in 2 months.  We will see if all of the push-ups and sit-ups I have been doing since New Years have made me stronger.

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If I ran 5 km, I don’t think anyone would see it because they would be too busy laughing.

How difficult is it to miss a flight of stairs that are right in front of you as you are running? I didn’t dare pose this question to the runners that were in the marathon today as I probably would of received a roundhouse kick to the face.  Then they would of kept on running because they are ambitious like Lady Macbeth. 

Today the Katima-group volunteered at La Fête du Montréal Intérieur et Souterrain (if you call running 5 km a party).  We were given volunteer t-shirts in a stunning I’m-a-volunteer-screaming neon yellow color (size Garbage bag) and then escorted to our stations to direct the runners around the course.  The beauty of this marathon is that it is all underground, just like the PATH system in Toronto. No dying of the cold for me.

My job was to direct runners up the stairs.  What it basically came down to was me pointing to the stairs and saying, “Monte les escaliers en au s’il vous plaït, please take the stairs up.  You’re doing great.  C’est bon! Woooooo.” for an hour.  I guess when some people get into their stride as they run, they don’t realize that stairs exist.  I got a few people trying to run into the security office behind the stairs and having to redirect them.  Some of them grunted and let out little screams (of agony?) as I was at the last part of the stairs.  Whatever gets you to the end of the finish line. 

I also got quite a few questions about where the washrooms were and how to get to the metro station.  I felt like a walking information desk.  All told, it was pretty fun and my soul felt better after volunteering.

The high point of my day had to be when we returned from volunteering and the whole group had a 2 hour nap, me sans room-mate disturbance (I learned this morning that I was not the only one who had a terrible sleep).  Earlier on in the day when he had woken up, I told him that we needed to reach a solution with the sleeping arrangement before I decide to smother his head with a pillow with the motive to stop more than just his snoring.  The solution? I’m going to sleep in the next room with my other male housemate for the next week until we move to Stonewall.  If another post at 3am shows up tomorrow, you will know how that turned out.

After the nap, the group went over the final presentation.  We finalized the song, practiced the Poutine Dance, and performed the presentation for our Project Leader.  I think it’s going to go really well.  It’s short and sweet, and it has variety.  A bit of talking, a slide show, a song and to cap it all off: the Québeçois Macarena.  It all goes down on Thursday.

Tommorow I go back to work, with or without the sickness I wear like an over-sized volunteer shirt.

P.S. Thank yous go out to Alex Chee and RJ March for adding me to your blog rolls.  I look forward to reading your blogs as I hope you look forward to reading mine.  If anyone knows any other good blogs I should be reading, let me know.  I loves me a good read.

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The Snoring Saga

My boyfriend said something very interesting in our phone conversation last night.  He would unknowingly contribute to today’s (or is it still night?) post.  Thanks babe.  You’re fantastic.

He said: “The time between 4 and 6 is the worst time to wake up.” I’m going to have to disagree.  The worst time to wake up is 3:22am, which is the time I woke up this morning.  If you remember reading in my last post (which I only posted 5 hours ago), the group has to be ready to leave the house at 6:10, which means waking up at 5:30.  Why am I up so early? Because of my lovely room-mate.  I don’t think I have mentioned it yet, but just so the whole Internet knows, he snores.  Loudly.  Constantly.  With no end in sight.

He has told me that he has tried Breathe-Right strips and they don’t work.  My brother told me to tape a tennis ball to his lower back so he can’t sleep on his back, thus stopping his snoring.  This won’t be effective.  He just doesn’t snore when he’s laying on his back.  He snores all the time.

My annoyances with him do not stop at snoring, oh no.  He doesn’t know how to close a door, only how to leave a door ajar (especially the molding storage room door, which is open constantly).  He chews with his mouth open.  I can hear the smacking noise he makes when he talks or when he has food in his mouth.  He has no volume control when it comes to talking on a phone.

He leaves his laptop running all night, which causes it to overheat and crash, thus loading Windows Vista and making me hear (I shouldn’t be hearing anything because I should be asleep) the opening sound over and over again.  Last night I kicked his mattress (we sleep in bunk beds.  I’m on the bottom) and said, “Take your laptop out of this room, please and thank you.” Apparently I can still be polite when I haven’t gone to sleep an hour after he had (and I even had a head start tonight.  Jeff can testify to that).  Much to my happiness, he didn’t come back into the room after he took out his laptop (this is rare).  He scratches his back with a back scratcher (which means dead skin in the bedroom.  I told him to go scratch in the bathroom, where dead skin belongs).  He breathes very deeply and loudly.  I could go on.

Just so I can put this into perspective for you, let me break down a usual night in my room: It will be around 11ish and I will be done talking on the phone with Jeff.  I set my alarm for whatever time I need to be awake at the next day, plug it into the charger, and lay my head down for sleep.  My roomie will arrive in the room 30 minutes or later to go to bed (he does yoga exercises to help his sleep).  I hear him open the door, his feet shuffling into the room, take off his shirt and then shuffle back out the door (left ajar), to go to the washroom to go scratch his back, use the toilet, and sometimes wash his hands (this house has great acoustics). 

Some nights he won’t even return to the room until 20 minutes after he has last entered it.  That means 20 minutes of a door being open and sound entering the room.  That means 20 minutes of light flooding the bedroom.  That means 20 minutes of me without sleep.  So I shut the door with emphasis to let him know that I do not like the door being open.  When he finally does come back into the room, he takes off the rest of his clothes (save his underwear), gets on the top bunk, and sleeps. 

Within 5 minutes of hitting his head on the pillow he is snoring.  So I punch/kick the mattress to get him to stop (he has given me verbal invitations to do this if I hear him snoring) and for a brief, shining moment, he does.  Then I will hear him mutter something in his sleep and feel the bed shift as he changes his sleeping position and the snoring resumes once more. 

Sometimes it will start quietly with a whimper and a clicking (How do you click in your sleep?) and then build up to a full on train-passing-through-a-tunnel loud snore.  Sometimes it stays at a volume of only loud breathing.  Sometimes it starts at forte and decrescendos to a mezzo-piano.  Either way, it’s certainly dynamic, and it’s certainly annoying. 

I have told my room-mate about every single one of these habits of his, and if you know me, when I tell you something, it is not subtle.  That’s just not how I roll.  Despite my efforts I am sleep deprived and really fucking pissed (pardon my french).  Maybe I can get a Katima-sabbatical for my sleep deprivation? I will admit that I am a light sleeper and I hate the feeling of ear plugs.  But I am a veteran when it comes to dealing with snoring (my parents are long time snorers as well), so what’s a guy to do? Write a blog post about it at 3:39 am.

Good morning.

P.S. I can’t even sleep on the couch tonight because we have another Katima-group over sleeping in our living room and french room.  This shall pass.

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Noise in order

Let it be known: Planning = Pain.  Especially when you have to plan something with a group of 10 people that you have lived with for 6 months.  We always end up jumping down each others throats when we mean well.  We also interrupt and get frustrated and angry.  All of the communication workshops in the world can’t save that from happening.  In the end of it all, we have a final presentation planned out and ready to be presented to a group of people that have seen many final presentations in their day.  It should be good.

Tomorrow the group is volunteering at an underground marathon thing of some sort.  None of us entirely know what it is about.  What we do know is that we have to leave the house at 6:10 in the morning.  I’ll bet people are pleased about that.

I’m looking forward to stepping off the plane and embracing even colder temperatures in the land of Winnipeg.  I’m looking forward to ending a volunteer placement that has taught me that I do not want to be a janitor.  I’m looking forward to the finish line.  I’m looking straight ahead.

P.S. Sleep that is laced with cough medicine and then followed up with a fantastic hot brunch is the best medicine for an illness.

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