05 – Instant Crush

Photographer: Jean-Baptiste Mondino 

Someone asked me once if I get tired of walking around listening to music all day.The truth is, yeah. Sometimes I do.

Realistically? I have small ear holes, and after awhile the ear buds make my ears ache.

But aside from that, no I honestly do not. To me it offers a backdrop that mimics a double-hinged door capable of swinging both ways. On one hand it can serve my mood, whether it be a moment of self-pity or an aimless meander through the city. A fact especially true given that I am free and perfectly capable of picking my own songs. After all, I made the playlist – I can push the door whichever way I want. But then there’s that one moment where you forget that the door swings back, and you’re hit unexpectedly.

This probably just sounds like a load shit, but give it a moment to contextualize. Like any other normal easily impressionable person, shit happens and your emotional cues respond accordingly. In fact, what I’ve come to realize is that somethings are generalizable to the entire population, and it is because of this that people can write love ballads, create rom-coms (romantic comedies for all you abbreviating noobs), or talk about heartbreak in the same “demolishing-the-world-of-kleenex-with-a-tub-of-ben-and-jerrys” way. Everyone rides the love coaster, and everyone’s advice is nearly identical. So when dealing with depressing shit, you plug in to depressing music (cause that’s just what you do, just flip to any montage of any movie where the protagonist is dealing with some sort of epic lost love) – which to me has been ridden with the likes of death cab, the postal service and the XX.

So, you’ve picked your poison. You want to wallow? Go ahead. Push the door in that direction, I mean you’ve perfectly catered your playlist for that exact reason. Just be aware, that when it swings back you’ll get hit with the likes of track 05 – instant crush. And although this song is about some sort of demented love triangle, the name itself and the uppity beat of the song gives you a fleeting reminder of what it was like to have that moment of connection brought on by the slightest inadvertent brush of arm hairs, the childish but not so childish peripheral side stare; or that sudden increase in heart rate when  it feels like you only have five seconds to perfectly (and seemingly effortlessly) craft something both parts intriguing and indifferent to say. This is where you become an overplayed cliche, and know that everything will be okay while hoping it’ll come again: an instant crush.

Do my ears hurt? Yes. But getting hit by that door, damn can it be refreshing.

On a city gallivanting note – my thing this summer has been free outdoor films. Entertainment for those living under the poverty line. I think my love for outdoor films came to fruition during last years open roof festival which was a combination of a local band and a documentary (which is still on by the way). I must also be subconsciously emotionally sadistic in nature, because I have made it my thing to catch the romance themed TIFF in the park series at David Pecaut Square every Wednesday. The selection was just too perfect I couldn’t resist, with the likes of young Cher and Nicholas Cage in “Moonstruck”, the  classic Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks duo in “Sleepless in Seattle” and who could turn down Robert Redford in “The Way We Were”.

FYI: There are free movies playing almost everyday of the week (i.e. Sundays at Christie Pits, every second Friday at the Junction, Tuesdays at Yonge and Dundas). This Wednesday there will be a screening of “Triplets of Belleville” at Harbourfront, which I highly recommend and is a total must see.  Plus it’s pretty sitting outside, and the ambience is always nice.

Donnie Yen on screen @ Reel Asian Film Festival (there is still a free exhibit at the TIFF bell lightbox)

Donnie Yen on screen @ Reel Asian Film Festival (there is still a free exhibit at the TIFF bell lightbox)

Watching a movie with shoes on is so overrated.

Watching a movie with shoes on is so overrated.

TIFF in the park

TIFF in the park + CN tower

NYC in TO

NYC in TO

“if your not busy being born, your busy dying” – bob 

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The man with two different shoes.

My best friend sent me this, she knew I’d love it. One man, two different shoes. One world, two different brothers. The beauty of choice.

First hospital night shift, ever.

Want to know what a neonatal intensive care unit is like at 2am? Imagine the eerie hallways of a zombie movie (preferably 28 days later), with empty chairs and an overabundant amount of paperwork everywhere, and voila! Welcome to night shift. But seriously, the zombie apocalypse-ness of it all is actually kind of creepy.

I should be working on an assignment or something on my “downtime”, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s so difficult to find time to do the things that I want to do in between all the things that I HAVE to do. So this is it, hospital downtime used for life updates.

I helped hold a baby today. She was so light, it felt like holding air (which I can only assume because I’ve never successfully held air). Usually the babies and I are separated by the plastic wall of the incubator they are typically always contained in. Holding her in my hands, which was pretty much what it was because she was small enough to fit into it, I was able to scrutinize her features. Less than 500 grams, and extremely premature, she still had blondish red eyelashes and a bit of head hair, was still capable of smiling and letting out an inaudible cry only discernible due to her facial expressions.

Most people would plan their mornings accordingly if they knew they had a 12 hour night shift. Luckily I’m not like most people. Instead I used my morning to catch a 5 dollar screening of the documentary “Chasing Ice” (from the Planet in Focus film festival), focusing on the disappearing glaciers as photographed and publicized by James Balog. The movie focused on the Extreme Ice Survey, which placed a total of 25 cameras in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska. These cameras took a picture every hour for three years. After a few tries and fixes, a bajillion pictures of the glaciers showed them to truly be receding. In fact, they have receded more in the past ten years than in the last 100 years.

Bottom line? Some serious earth things are going down, and we need to make some changes.

I really liked the movie, I mean it wasn’t the best one I have ever seen (a few parts were pretty slow), and Scarlett Johansson performed a song or something (meh), but the pictures were pretty and it was informative. James Balog will be at the Bell Lightbox Theatre for the Sunday screening – for those interested.

This is the Breidermerkurjokull glacier whose home is in Iceland. It is said to be 500 – 700 years old.

Glaciers have these black cryoconite holes, which is a mixture of dust and all these other pollutants. They are so black, that they absorb the sun’s heat more than usual, contributing to the melting glaciers. THe bubbles, are ancient air previous frozen in the glacier, freed by the melting ice.

Although I hate the cold, this made me want to go to Alaska.

I ran into a man wearing two different shoes today. I don’t know his story, but I’m going to assume he just really liked both pairs, so he gave societal norms the finger; and decided to wear both.
Sigh, four hours to go.
Somebody wake up and talk to me.

Plywood, and other world intricacies.

I have an undiagnosed staring problem. I admit it.  I’m constantly looking at the people who pass me by, or over my shoulder, or simply scanning the room I’m in. So I’m observant, I don’t see what the problem is. Anyways, while scoping out my surroundings for potential safety hazards the other day; my stare grazed over a little boy sitting sideways on a chair, staring intensely at a wall. Although initially my gaze did not linger on him, I found it peculiar and did a double take. I looked at the wall first, trying to figure out what could possibly be so intriguing. I had nothing. Then I looked at him again, he was tracing his fingers along the differently coloured lines that made up the plywood wall.

Something simple and rather unremarkable to me, was complicated and intricate to someone else. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Perception here, is obviously the key. Everything is simultaneously simple and complicated, it really depends on how you look at it; which pretty much makes life one huge paradoxical oxymoron.

I was once quoted by a friend, it even made it to her Facebook profile (epic, I know). It was a statement made on what I can only assume was a completely inebriated night, as the details of it continue to remain fuzzy and on the periphery of my memory.

“The world is such a bitter place”.

But maybe, just maybe the world isn’t a bitter place at all. Maybe, I just needed some rose coloured glasses.

P.S. Does anyone know where I can find the poem: Love poem for no one in particular by Mark O’Brien?

 

My life in boxes

I am going to Nepal.

Four days away, and it still feels completely surreal. As the days fly by and my departure creeps closer, I find that I have mixed emotions – excitement interspersed with urges to vomit.

The latter case is best justified with the ever so popular quote – “so much to do, so little time”. A combination of poor foresight, procrastination and a series of unfortunate events has left my tasks of packing for my five week trip, moving out of my apartment, and tying up loose ends spread over the course of the weekend and the next four days. And here starts my life living out of boxes.

Those who know me know I never go anywhere without my Vogues

Did I mention that I’m still in school up until I fly out? If you take that into account, then I actually have something along the lines of 3 days… and that’s if I don’t sleep, and more importantly, if my subsequent reliance on energy drinks don’t kill me first.

And when I say loose ends, I mean imagine a shoe lace that is so frayed that getting it through a shoe hole is impossible. A total shit show. Four days before and I still need to get my vaccines (which technically should have already been done but there is some debate as to whether or not mefloquine is better than malarone for malaria). Long story short, I initially got mefloquine only to find out that potential side effects is hallucinations.

Um, no thanks.

I still need to exchange money, supposedly Canadian currency isn’t as widely accepted in Nepal. Grab my passport/indian visa. Buy a rain jacket. Hand out items to my silent auction fundraiser. Update my iPod. Compile some sort of school study package. Buy some sort of Nepal/India travel book. There’s that urge to vomit again.

Now this begs the question: why did I leave everything so last minute? Simple, I am a world class procrastinator. The problem is there are just so many things I’d rather be doing. Instead of packing last week, which probably would have made this weekend so much more efficient, I opted for the open roof festival instead.

Open roof festival (http://openrooffestival.com/about/):
A non profit outdoors film and music festival that features local artists and varying independent films and documentaries.

Located at the Amsterdam Brewery (21 Bathurst Street) every Thursday until August 23rd, the festival is a mix of extremely salty popcorn, locally catered food, great movies and beer. Local bands play at 8pm and movies starts at 9, but of course this is all tentative.

The movie this week was China Heavyweight, a movie I’d definitely recommend. With the same director as the chinese documentary Up the Yangtze, the movie focuses on the role and emphasis boxing can have on rural areas of China.

Although last Thursday’s forecast made for a beautiful, not too humid night; what really made the experience in my opinion was the location. Nestled between garbage canisters, tall condo’s and the highway, the eclectic combination of the surroundings and sound of speeding cars made for the perfect backdrop. There’s just something special about enjoying a movie in the middle of a big city.

Plus, the sunset was pretty awesome.

This is what I would consider one of Toronto’s many secret gardens. So if you’re free this Thursday, support your local film and music makers. If independent films aren’t up your alley, just grab a beer with friends, enjoy the scenery and kick it.