For the locals (Halifax).

For the locals.

Probably the most popular image I’ve ever made.

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Ever have that thought that just rewrites your childhood?

My mother, sister and myself moved around quite a bit throughout my early years. I spent my preteens in a small farming community and before that I lived in a trailer park for a few years. My teens were spent entirely in one of those tiny fishing villages that Nova Scotia is frequently associated with.

Growing up I never felt at home. Somehow I was a city kid trapped in the countryside despite never having actually lived in a city. The slow paced rural life always bored me, and living in a fishing village with an ever-increasing higher percentage of homes being owned by those who only intended on living there in the summer didn’t exactly help to create any illusions of excitement. Once I turned 18 I set about fixing this as quickly as I could which resulted in me living in a nearby town for a couple of months before moving to The Halifax Regional Municipality.

A year and a half or so at the age of 24 I was living with a couple of friends of mine in Halifax. It was the first time I had lived in a full-sized apartment building with a double-digit number of floors, balconies, shitty superintendents, etc. One day I got off the elevator on the eight floor and was walking down the hallway back to our place when a thought hit me and I stopped dead in my tracks to ponder it aloud.

“Wow. This single building has a larger population than my entire hometown.”

It took me a couple of days to get over that one.

***

Funnily enough a friend of mine who is from the same village sent me several pictures last night. I’ll start with this mspaint bee straight from my nightmares. Thanks Danny!

Here’s the story of a shitty day I had in January of ’08.

So here’s the setup: Basically I was underemployed going on unemployed. I had three jobs, but two of them ended due to seasonal issues (Yay for my Travel and Tourism degree! >_>) and the third was a mere 12-16 hours a week. Since I was nowhere near making my bills I put in my notice so I could job-search full time.

Right off the bat I applied for and was hired on full time for a dishwashing position at an Indian food restaurant. A more tactful person would probably leave the name of it out but fuck it the place was the Taj Mahal in Halifax close to the Westin Hotel. I was to work five evenings a week, 8 hours a night. The pay was bad but that was to be expected really. The owner of the place mentioned that he had a lot of people take the job and leave after a single shift. He said so in a bragging manner. That should’ve set off some red flags but I was too busy being relieved that I finally had full time work for the first time in half a year.

Showing up for my first shift I could only find a single server who was getting ready for the evening. It took me awhile to find him even after walking around both levels of the restaurant. The upper level had a small room behind the bar with a small mattress with pillows and sheets. Weird.

After meeting the gentleman who was setting up, he led me to one of two kitchens that I would be cleaning. One of the two kitchens that I would be expected to keep clean. By myself. On separate floors with no way to move between them without moving through the dining areas. Oh jeez.

There was a mess but they were short-staffed with regards to dishwashers before I was hired so I was ready for that. Then the cooks came in. I like to think I don’t generally have a problem with cultural/language differences and the like but when you need to work directly with a staff being able to communicate with people would be pretty neat.

It was about this time that I realized that the dish pit was nowhere near as warm as it should be. Asking one of the servers I learned that the hot water tank for the building is extremely small/poorly made and it runs out quickly. So basically I was expected to sanitize everything with cold water. Awesome.

Now I will say this: The cooking was good at being stereotypically Indian. Unfortunately so were the hygienic practices of the people preparing it (Note: I’m not saying that stereotypes are true outside outside of this one specific incident!). At this point I couldn’t help but notice that the entire side of one of the fridges was covered in Food Safety Regulation notices.

The other dishwasher employee came in later to check up on me. I won’t get too much into it but basically the only person I could communicate with in the entire kitchen was a little . . . Off-kilter. When I asked him how I was supposed to sanitize anything while pressed for time with no hot water he responded by hastily scrubbing a few pans by hand and tossing them aside.

Falling behind and disgusted with the poor sanitation of the place I walked off before the end of my shift, crossing off all of my shifts on the wall and writing on it that I quit.  Depressed and feeling like a failure in life I began the walk/bus ride home.

Walking down the sidewalk with my head hung something caught the corner of my eye. Looking up I saw what was the most oddly inspiring thing I had ever seen in my life.

An older man was standing outside of a cafe with an electric guitar. He had headphones plugged into it and was calmly playing it, cigar(ette?) dangling out of his mouth as gentle snowflakes fell down in a poetic manner. He just looked so . . . Peaceful. Like he was doing what he truly wanted to do and nothing else.

It made one of the worst nights of my life slightly less shitty.

P.S. I never did get paid for the hours I worked there.

P.S.S: The place burned down sometime in late ’09/early ’10 if memory serves me correctly. Hopefully in rebuilding they at least fixed the hot water thing.

***

Adam sent me this picture of his dog. I’ll let it speak for itself ha ha. Thanks man!

Tales of the office.‏

I looked up and the ceiling began to ooze high-fructose corn syrup. That’s when I knew that day wasn’t going to end well.

Not a good starting point you say? Fine.

So I woke up that morning as I often tend to do. I hadn’t turned off my special alarm clock in time so it became a ghost and chased me awake. I went through my usual routine of eating, shaving and doing my best to shower without getting any water on me.

Something was feeling a little off. Like I was being followed and/or watched. Chalking it up to not getting enough sleep I went on my merry way to work. I even walked to work that morning. Although it cheered me up a bit I still had that feeling. Still, work’s gotta get done. I went to my cubicle and sat down as normal.

My phone rang. I answered it and all I could hear is the sound of something sticky being squished. I figured it was just a bad connection and hung up. The rest of the morning and most of the afternoon went with no further incident.

But then I heard it. That same sound from the phone earlier. But it wasn’t coming through any sort of audio device this time however. I looked up and the ceiling began to ooze high-fructose corn syrup. That’s when I knew that day wasn’t going to end well. I also had a feeling of redundancy but for the life of me I couldn’t put a finger on the cause.

Then the ceiling tile gave way causing me to black out as it stuck me directly in the head. When I came to my face was mere inches away from where the ceiling tile used to be and I could barely move my arms. As I finished coming to I managed to look down a bit. Oh my sweet fuck.

When I was unconscious my body had absorbed the corn syrup through osmosis and I had swelled to the size of an elephant but with a physique that resembled something akin to the ‘Pusheen cat’. My first thought was that of concern. I’m not on the ground floor and I didn’t want to hurt/kill anybody.

Somehow the floor held well enough for me to roll through the large window. Why am I always flinging myself out of the window? How many times have they replaced the damn thing already? Thankfully the street below was empty. I had been blacked out for what must have been ten-ish hours since it was now clearly after midnight.

As predicted I fell right through the ground. I had plummeted through several hundred yards of earth until I fell into a large cavern. A large stalagmite had pierced my stomach, but for some reason I did not feel any pain. So I just kind of laid there on my stomach completely immobilized.

A scene played out in front of me that I just could not believe. The corn syrup had left my body, shrinking me back down to my normal size. The wound from the stalagmite had apparently been all in the excess fat so it was gone when the syrup had left. I stood beside the 7 foot-tall hunk of limestone, resting against it with one arm to steady myself as I became accustomed to having legs again.

The corn syrup had formed into a humanoid creature devoid of any gender-specific attributes that was of roughly my height and average build. The creature walked up and gently embraced me. I felt . . . Safe somehow. Its grip tightened and the next thing I knew we were flying up through the hole. We continued to fly straight upwards. I held my breath early on as we continued to climb.

The air began to thin but before letting out my breath became a worry we stopped for a few seconds before flipping upside down. We hurled toward the ground in a location I wasn’t familiar with. We flew towards the ground at an increasing rate of speed. I feared for my life. But just before we hit the ground the creature performed a graceful arc. Turning back around I was gently placed back on the ground feet first on a stretch of highway somewhere in the middle of rural Nova Scotia. The creature yelled “PSYCH!” and then giggled hysterically while running off leaving me lost and confused . . .

. . . Wait, what?

It’s just a wisp of a thing!‏

As I sat at my cubicle a tiny rock caught my eye. Barely large enough to see without straining. Must’ve gotten stuck in my shoe or something.

Picking it up I pondered what kind of journey must’ve led it here. Was this rock always native to Nova Scotia? Perhaps it was stuck to the shoe of a visitor. A distant visitor? More than likely a visitor from within the province, but what if it was from an international tourist?

What if this rock had somehow managed to travel here from another country? Oh, there are so many to choose from. What climates has this rock been exposed to? Was this a piece of a rock that had drifted to show from the frigid waters of the north? Or perhaps it was a rock that was at the very center of the equator. Maybe this rock was from the very center of the earth and was carried out by a volcano!

*Gasp* Could it be that this rock is a piece of a meteorite!? That would be so cool! If this rock could tell its tale maybe it would tell me a story of the wonders of space. Is there life in space that can live without air? This could . . .

. . . Aww damn, I dropped it. Now I can’t find it . . . Oh hey, that pencil is unusually shiny! I wonder what kind of journey must’ve led it here . . .

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