Saturday, September 26, 2009


I have always held close the belief that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. A corollary to that is when bad things happen to you, good things will happen too, just to balance it all out. This may be why I'm a little (shamefully) relieved when I don't win on my weekly lotto ticket; I mean, can you imagine how much bad luck you'd need to even out a thirty million dollar jackpot?

So, almost three weeks ago, when I got rammed by that drunk bitch, I had thought I was evened out at the scene, what with being able to walk away from that complete wreck with only bruises and nerve damage and no life-threatening injuries. But no. In a strange parallel, yesterday, it was made official: I am now the Senior Librarian of the Unkillable Branch. This location has been threatened with closure for the past fifteen years, but the community is too strong and they simply will not let it go. As a result, they're looking for someone to come in there and convince the City to leave them alone, once and for all. How are we going to do that? No one knows just yet, but they're hoping I'll be able to come up with something.

That's a lot of responsibility for a newbie. Generally, positions like this (senior librarians in a location with no manager on site) are reserved for the veterans. I'm thrilled people think I'm up to the task. I'm also nervous as all hell (in a good way, mostly, like the first day of school). And it didn't really help that before they officially offered me the job, they sat me down for an hour-long debriefing of all the "challenges" I would face upon arrival. "We want you, we really hope we don't scare you off" they kept saying, and they didn't… but they did scare me, if only a little.

So! Here's to new challenges! To looking at problems as opportunities! To being mistress of my domain!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Now Playing: 9

I don't really know how to review 9 ... it's ... different. But in that good, creepy, exciting way that Tim Burton has a knack for bringing out in himself and, apparently, in others.

Spoilers abound, dear readers.

Okay, the premise: post-apocalyptic world, where a war between humans and machines have resulted in every living being destroyed and the sky to be permanently blackened. If that doesn't sound familiar enough to you, the machines themselves seem to be kissing cousins of those other machines. There endeth the parallels. Instead of humans, we have rag dolls (that look hella like a certain game) fighting against the Beast, which seems bent on their destruction for no good reason I can think of. The beast is easily disposed of but not before it awakens its master, a mono-red-eyed monster which sucks the soul out of each of the dolls and just keeps coming at you, in terrific movie-monster fashion. Five of the nine dollies die, but it's okay because 9 finds a way to release them from their machine prison. The end, which confuses me even now as I type this, is vague to say the least.

I don't know what all this means. When in doubt, I will fall back on my Lit Crit / Religious Studies roots and start dissecting. 1 is a thinly veiled religious figure, complete with pontiff-esque hat, who originally leads the dolls to "sanctuary" (sidenote: the sanctuary is none other than the Notredame, complete with famous stain-glass windows and Quasimodo's bell tower). They are mercilessly pursued by the Beast, who is working to raise his master. 1 continuously berates 9's path, saying his "dangerous science" will "only lead to catastrophe". And while 9's initial action does awaken the Master/Machine, it is his actions that also bring about its destruction and the redemption of his friends. Sort of like every Grecian epic ever written. Then there's the penny over the dead 2's eyes, which is clearly an allusion to the Charon's fee for ferrying the dead over the Styx. So, clearly there's some deep imagery here. I just don't know how to connect it all together.

What's the message? Beware technology? I can hardly believe it, considering the movie itself is a result of some amazing technology, at least in terms of visual rendering. And the visuals are stunning, with each frame just dripping in detail and minutiae. Is it the dependence on machine to perform inhuman acts, thereby quashing our innate sense of compassion? Perhaps. The invention of the Gatling gun made it easy to decimate dozens of men in a way that hand-to-hand combat never could, save only for the nightmarish consequences of guilt and remorse.

In the end, I don't know. But it was still a fantastic movie. Isn't it enough that I'm even pondering these questions? 4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a little help

Things I've learned in the last 13 days:

1) Shock is a powerful numbing agent. Also: always go to the hospital if you find yourself in an ambulance.

2) Anti-inflammatories + muscle relaxants = twelve-hour death-like sleep.

3) I do not own enough stretchy-pants.

4) The opposable thumb - you know, the digit that separates us from 99% of the other species that inhabit this planet - is truly the wonder behind our evolution. Try, if you can, to live one day without using one thumb (just one) and marvel at the inability to do the simplest of tasks. Never has a juice bottle seemed so daunting.

5) The measure of your friends is found in your times of need. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the amount of work and time people have put in for me. Thank you for taking out my garbage, putting away my dishes, making me food, taking me grocery shopping and, most importantly, keeping me company.

6) Mom can still wash my hair and then put it into braids as efficiently as she used to when I was six years old. She can still cook the best "sick" food and never forgets which pills I should take when.

7) Dad always comes through. Always.

Friday, September 11, 2009

for what it's worth

...Quinn had over 11K in damage done to him. As the insurance adjustor succinctly put it: "no wonder you feel like crap."

I'm going to miss my little car. We had some good times. This is such an ignominious end.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

screaming tires, busting glass

How I hate being a statistic.

Sunday night, 10pm. LilBro and I are on our way to meet up with Nish downtown. We're on the road for less than a Linger, when we get smashed into by an SUV. My little baby goes sliding, almost into the cars who were waiting for their red to turn green. I was driving through a major intersection, I had a green. The SUV was driving on the same street, opposite, waiting to make a left. She decided she could beat us through the intersection, gunned in through and plowed right into me. Good thing I caught her in my periphery and braked, or she would have hit me square on my door (and not just taken off the entire driver-side front of the car). Pain, blood, hard to breathe. LilBro asking me if I'm okay. I watch as he gets out and starts going ballistic on the teetering blonde who gets out of the SUV. I try to ask ask him to get back here, but I can't catch my breath. I put my arm out of my open window and grab his forearm. She attempts to get back in her vehicle and move her car; LilBro tells her in no uncertain terms to get her ass on the curb. I tell him to call 911. Before we can tell the operator where we are, a police cruiser is there and an officer is telling LilBro to calm down. Fire show up next and ask if I can move my legs; I say yes, I think so. They ask me to climb out the passenger side if I can; my door is too mangled to open, but they will cut it out if they have to. I climb out and the fireman says I'm lucky, a half-second further into the intersection and I wouldn't have walked away. I'm still digesting that when EMTs show up and scoot me into an ambulance. The officer asks me for my ID and stuff; I hand it over and ask about the other driver, I can't see her. He says not to worry, he'll get all the info from her and give it to me.

Mike the Russian, as he introduces himself to me, asks me about my injuries; I tell him my head is sore (but no headache), my right-hand thumb hurts and my stomach really hurts. He says: "head's fine, you just bounced it off the door frame, no blood; thumb, you probably dislocated and relocated it, it will be very sore, ice it; stomach, bruise, seatbelt burn, no internal injuries. Your left arm has a lot of glass, but we'll remove it, you won't need stitches ." ..what? Left arm? I look down and I can't see anything wrong, except that the pan below it is a dark, sticky red. He pours a gentle saline solution and the pan becomes a diluted pink. He tweezes a few of the larger shards out of my arm and fat drops of blood pour into the pan. All on the other side of arm, the side I can't see. Then I remember I put my arm out of my window... and I hadn't had it rolled down when we left. All that glass was somewhere in my car or on my person. That's when it hits me and start to cry. LilBro says I'm done the worst of it and now's not the time to start crying. It's a verbal slap. I stop. Mike asks if I'd like to go to the hospital: I have no concussion, no life-threatening injuries, but if I want to speak to a doctor, they can take me. I say no, it's okay (I'm remembering another trip to hospital, and I want to avoid that). They drive us to the police station, which I suddenly realise is right at the intersection. No wonder the officer had been there in less than thirty seconds!

We wait for almost two hours at the station, give our statements twice. I keep finding bits of glass everywhere: in my hair, on my clothes, in my mouth. They let us go and we go out to the parking lot, where my wrecked car is hooked up to a tow truck. I'm a little nauseated by the sight of my blood coagulating into stiff rivulets on the driver's door. He says we have to pay him $210 in cash to take the car in; I don't even have a my bank card with me. He drives us to my place to get my wallet, to a bank to get money and drops us off at my place again, before heading out to put my car at a collision place. LilBro sits me down in the bathroom to tweeze the last of the glass out of my arm before he applies polysporin and reapplies the bandage wrap. Little splashes of blood drip into the waste-basket. i still don't know what this arm looks like. Sleep.

I feel awful the next day: bruises like an upside-down seven cross my entire torso, my neck, left shoulder and back are too stiff to move; my right hand has swollen to double its size and is a mottled purple; an accidental brush with the pillow to the bump on the left side of my head results in stars exploding; my feet are bruised; and the lacerations on my arm are clearly still bleeding, I can see spots through the wrap. I'm taken to my parent's place, where I get to see the extent of my injuries for the first time. it's not pretty. Mom checks over all the injuries, applies appropriate salves, plies me with anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and painkillers. I sleep a lot.

Next, we have to deal with the administrivia of injury: insurance, doctors' reports police reports, lawyers, work, ... *sigh* I plan on sleeping a lot over the next few days.

BTW: this post took over two hours to type.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

je ne sais quoi

How to spend a random weekend, à Montréal.

1) Travel by train. Not only is it a green way to travel, it's much more luxurious than a bus AND you get better leg-room. If you can finagle free tickets, all the better. Travel express and take a good book. If you happen to take a bad book by mistake, write a vitriolic review and at least save someone else the displeasure.

2) Get picked up by one your favourite people. Spend the afternoon in their kitchen while they fuss about and feed you to bursting. Visit more favourite people. Perhaps even put together some furniture while your hostess takes a well-deserved nap. Get serenaded by a twelve-year-old playing Mozart and play Scrabble into the wee hours.

3) Meet your bestie at the Gare-Centrale, but not before you receive an exasperated "Ontarienne" remark from a local. Check in to your five-star hotel, with its luxury bed, on the 22nd floor. Stroll about downtown, taking in the campuses, stores, and random events. Is it drizzling? That's okay, stroll about anyway and build in some chatNchill time. Just be careful not to get too comfy, or the night will slip right by you.

4) Go to a bar, order pitchers of sangria for really cheap and drink the night away! If you can make friends with the teenagers sitting next to you, that's great; if they think you're only 21, even better. Stumble back to your hotel and chat until you fall asleep, mid-sentence.

5) Get picked up for brunch in a BMW convertible, thumbing your nose at the supposed-VIPs who wanted you to move for their tinted Chrysler. Eat a delicious salmon concoction before spending the afternoon strolling about Rue Saint-Denis, drinking hot chocolate, eating poutine and buying vertical plants. Get dropped off at the Gare-Centrale, fresh bagels in tow, and double-kiss your way to the platform.

6) Board the train, buy a Caesar and toast your way home.