Fear and Hatred

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/college-student-removed-from-flight-after-speaking-arabic-on-plane/article29654837/

This is what fear and hatred does to people.  I bet that person who reported the student is feeling like a hero.  I don’t know what else to say.

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Contrasting Dinners

I went to my usual Saturday night dinner with J.  We tried a Chinese restaurant that we haven’t eaten in awhile.  It was packed and they squeezed us in one of the 2 remaining tables.  Nearby was  a table of 12 with a ton of food and wine on the table.  The folks were toasting each other regularly. A few of the guys were already red faced.   We got through our soup and waited for the  first dish.  The service slowed down considerably.  The big table was still having fun toasting each other but one person was starting to slow down.  After awhile, another person had his head down on the table.  Our first dish shows up with my beloved bowl of white rice.

After we were almost with the first dish, we waited for the 2nd dish.  All the tables around us are looking for the serving staff. A couple of tables got up to get hot water to refill their teapots.  The big table has slowed down their drinking but people were still filling each other glasses.  The guys paired up to go to the washroom as they had to support each other.   One person stumbled on another table knocking over a chair.  The only sober person on the table helped his friend get back to his feet and offered apologies.  4 other people were slumped over on the table.  One guy held his head in his hands.

Our last dish eventually shows up.  It’s a steamed sea bass in sweet soy sauce with green onions.  The meat has been separated out prior to steaming.  The meat was so tender and it wasn’t over cooked.  It was worth the wait.

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By the time we’re finished, the big table is leaving.  Most stagger off in pairs again.  The sober guy kept going back and forth helping his friends.   The last guy took about 20 minutes before he could stand up.  As they were leaving, the waitress came by with their last dishes … noodles and rice.  She looked at them and put them in styrofoam containers.

Those guys wasted their night.  They probably don’t even remember what their meal was like.  I don’t have a problem with people drinking too much.  But seeing so much food not being appreciated and wine left over on the table was disappointing.  They were out to celebrate some event.  This morning, most will just remember the hang over.  But I remember that yummy fish meal very well.

 

Chomp, munch, slurp… *burp*

I’ve been trying to eat better for the past few months.  I eat less rice although I do binge every so often (congee, fried rice, rice noodles…. all in the same meal).  I try to eat more veggies and fruits.  For breakfast, I’ve switched to primarily to oatmeal.  Sometimes I’ll add some bananas, fruits and nuts to it.  Other times, I’ll add an egg into it to give it a bit more protein.  I’ll usually sweeten it a bit with honey or maple syrup.   I don’t use milk since I can’t handle the lactose.  One day I didn’t have any fruits or nuts.  I looked around and added peanut butter.  It may sound odd but it actually tasted fine. But then again, I like peanut butter.

For meals, I eat more chicken and fish.  I still have pasta but I try to watch the serving sizes.  I still eat beef and pork but not regularly.  I sometimes will have pasta salad but I add veggies, chick peas, tomatoes, shrimps and a basic oil and vinegar dressing with mustard.

I’m not going to be on the cover of Men’s Health magazine anytime soon.  I still give way to cravings when I eat out.  I still make fried rice and congee from time to time. I really try to avoid late night snacking.  Now I brush, floss and water pik after dinner.  It’s a pain and I don’t want to do that again if I snack.  Plus when I want to go to sleep, I don’t have to go through all that at night.  I can just hit the sack.

So far I’ve lost about 10 lbs in about 5 months.  It’s not the greatest but it’s progress.  I now have to work on increasing my cardio, strength and flexibility.

 

Looking Out

I’ve forgotten how hard it is to look for a job.  I remember chatting with my colleagues several years ago.  They had updated resumes ready to go in case “something” happened.  They found time to network and to keep up with the industry.  Over time I stopped doing a lot of this.  Now I’m kicking myself for not carving out some time to do this.  Maybe I got too lazy.

But I can’t change the past so life goes on.

My sister lent me a book on resumes (she writes resumes for others as a sideline).  I compared some of them to mine and was aghast at how horrible mine was.  It wasn’t too long ago when I was the hiring manager reviewing resumes.  I spent about 10 to 15 seconds per resume.   I’m pretty sure most people spend even less time.  So I’m rewriting it again.  I think I’m going to have 2 basic versions.  One that focuses on transferable skills as I want to keep my options open.  And the other one with a focus on IT management skills.

And finally, I do get anxiety attacks – relatively mild.  I just take a few deep breaths and face them head on.  I started to freak out about my financial situation.  Then I took a good look again at my finances and assumed what would happened in a worst case scenario, best case and most likely case.  I felt better after that.

I still have a few weeks before they kick me out.  I better make the most out of my remaining time.

I’m not ready for a sugar daddy… yet.

Uncertainty for Certain

There were many thoughts floating around my head last night.  Should I be happy that my time at my workplace will wind down in a few months?  I should be since it’s a large source of stress.  But what about finances?  How long can I hold out?  What can I cut back?  What jobs should I go for?  A voice gleefully shouts “Boy Matt, you got a lot of worries ahead.”

But one called out a bit louder last night and urged me to go for a walk.  I looked out the window. A fine mist was coming down.  I needed some fresh air anyways so I bundled up and went out.  The fine rain became tiny ice pellets but it melted quickly when it landed on my eyes and face.

I passed the homeless guy who sits in the streetcar shelter.  He’s a regular there.  Sometimes I see the cops talking to him but it’s all friendly chit chat – mostly checking to see how he is doing.  At the community centre, I see a couple of worn out sleeping bags piled by the door.  The mattress is a large piece of cardboard.  The other mattress is a wooden skid.  At the McDonald’s, I see a guy sitting inside with a large soft drink cup.  His face looks defeated.  There’s another guy counting the change in his hand before going in.  I round the corner and at the cheap coffee place, there’s another person who glares back at me when I look in.  I only see the small coffee cup on the table.

The fine mist has returned and chased away the tiny ice pellets.  I head back to my place.  Everything was quiet.  All is good.

 

 

 

Run River North

I saw Run River North on April 6th at the Horseshoe Tavern.  This LA based band was touring to support their second album Drinking From a Salt Pond.  Aside from a couple of songs, I wasn’t that familiar with their new album.  The band wrote in medium  about the anger and frustrations they felt after their first tour.  In the midst of confronting these feelings with each other and trying to work through them, they managed to write a lot of the songs for their second album.

It’s a harder sound, less folksy than their first album.  Songs like River and Growing Up that were so sunny and touching are contrasted with this lyric from Anthony

“I’ll be leaving with the coffin open
Tell your mother she could sleep inside”

They came on stage to the music of Jurassic Park (I think…) and played a lot of their new material.    The acoustic guitar that lead singer Alex Hwang played so much in their first tour only show only showed up a couple of times.  The other band members such as drummer John Chong and bassist Joe Chun took turns at the mic with some audience banter.  I don’t remember this when they played here last year.

Despite a grueling tour schedule, they were energetic and had fun.  The sweet harmonies are still there.  But they’ve got some new muscles and are flexing it.  Run or Hide bristled with energy.  Other numbers that I liked from their new album are 29 and Salt Pond.  Note – Salt Pond is available only on vinyl.  Some of the older songs from their first album such as Monsters Calling Home still resonated a lot with the crowd.  They closed the show with Growing Up.  Here’s a video of that number.

Video Credit:  Bosco Tung

The show was opened by The Lighthouse and the Whaler from Cleveland who are also toured with them in 2013.  They recorded a new album Mont Royal (in Montreal).  I picked up their new CD as well.  Their music has this summery feel.  From what I can tell, the audience enjoyed them too.  You can catch them performing here for  KEXP on YouTube.

Lead singer Alex HwangIMG_0876_2

drummer John Chong talking to the audience

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John Chong and bassist Joe Chun in the encore Growing Up.

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Need to tame my brain

I think my brain is wired differently.  I was cleaning my home office desk and rearranged all the wires so it would be less cluttered.  The pile of junk that was on my office desk is now on my dining room table.  But that’s another story. I have a desk protector that I purchased from Ikea years ago and I figured now would be a good time to finally use it.

When I opened it, one side has a texture and one side is smooth.  Which side is the top?  I Googled the product but couldn’t find out.  But somehow I meandered through Apartment Therapy, Doc Marteens shoes, some site on dusty homes, someone’s Instagram, Amazon, CB2 and played a few rounds of Pacman before calling it quits.  This is quite typical.  I’ll see something that sparks my curiosity and then I’m off checking stuff out.

My brain… you’re such a pain.