Sunday, 21 February 2010

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

I got some weird weird spam/bug thing through facebook and now my internet doesn't work at home, because I can't open my browser (google chrome). So I'm in the library, which is about the stupidest thing in the world because it's Sunday of Reading Week and I really should be doing better things. It's such a beautiful mild day today, bbc says it's 1 degree but I bet it's warmer. This morning I've been packing because Tuesday morning I'm going to New York!! The weather will be 'orrible, apparently, but not cold, and I have a pretty umbrella, and the museums will be great shelter.

Work continues to be pretty amazing, yesterday was busy but not crazy, and I learned lots more. The other sushi chef Sam (Sam on Saturdays, Edward on Thursdays) invented some sushi for me when he found out I love scallops; it was grilled scallops, lettuce, mango and strawberry. Good grief. It was incredible. I'm having a sushi dinner in two weeks to practice/show off to everyone, and I can't wait to invent things. The menu at work is apparently not very good, and some of the combinations are just bizarre - 'La Bella Quebecoise' is cream cheese, smoked salmon, and shallots, and the one named after the restaurant has goat's cheese and sundried tomatoes. ...yes.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I have been officially hired as a sushi chef at Restaurant Vargas. It's awesome. I had my second shift today, which was very very crazy because of Valentine's Day, and we ran out of heart-shaped sushi pizza bases. Sushi pizza is actually very good. There were three of us today to cope with the rush - Edward, who I worked with on my first shift on Thursday, and Sammy who I hadn't met before. He makes me feel more legitimate working there, since he's also 19 and had a solo shift on Saturdays before I was hired. On Thursday I felt a bit out of place, with a middle-aged Chinese guy and a load of older Bajan grill cooks. It was a friendlier atmosphere on Thursday - at least, more jocular - because it was much more relaxed, but I loved the fast pace. And the end of the shift is the best, when you get to eat stuff :) I made so much shrimp tempura (it's my thing now, because it's hard to get wrong), and so many sushi pizzas (also my thing: a tempura rice base topped with a mix of salmon, fish roe, shallots, fake crab meat, mayo and tempura crumbs) and learned more about rolling maki - I still haven't got the hang of spreading the rice on the seaweed, apparently. I work two shifts a week, Thursdays and Saturdays, which is 12 hours. But it's so flexible, and the pay is $13/hr, which is incredible. Sammy says he's been there for almost a year, and told me never to switch to another job because it's hard to find anything better, and he's never had a complaint. So all in all, I'm so happy. All set for the summer!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Sleep All Day

I'm so tired! Crazy week. I've been preparing like mad for the in-class essay, East Asian Religion test, and World Religions midterm, all tomorrow. Yesterday I went to the Daily and spent a few hours there editing articles - I'm going to apply to be Culture Editor so I have to get experience!

Tonight is going to be really exciting: I start working! I saw an ad for a sushi chef, and didn't think much would come of replying, but I did. I went along on Tuesday and the chef showed me what's what, and I have a shift tonight and Saturday and by then he said he'd know whether to keep me or not. So I need to be really good and work really hard. It's such a great job - to start on $12/hr, without references and without real experience. And it's a fancy restaurant, in the banking district, but close to where I live also. Hopefully I'll be able to stick with it through the summer, which makes everything a lot simpler because now I can arrange sub-letting and getting another apartment and lots of craziness. I'm so excited to stay in the city for the summer, a lot of my friends are, and it's going to be so much fun. But I'll go back to England for a couple of weeks too - a real holiday this time!

So tomorrow will be crrraaaazzzzzy, but when it's over it'll be such a relief. I have another midterm on Tuesday in Legal Anth and I'm really not prepared, I've got a lot of reading to do. After that, a few days of nothing nothing nothing (...except classes...) and then a friend's birthday on Friday, which I'm looking forward to because no one's had a birthday in months. I have an article to write for the Daily as well as one coming out in Monday's issue, so keep an eye on the website:

The one on Monday is about recycling industrial buildings for commercial use, in a special issue on energy. The one due next Tuesday is about the nuns of Montreal, which is unusual and really interesting.

AND THEN after all of that, I'm going to NEW YORK!! I'm so excited. We have a week's holiday for Reading Week, which is supposed to help us prepare for our midterms, but I don't have any after the holiday. A friend of ours, Aaron, has an apartment in Brooklyn that will be completely empty, so we're all going to stay on his floor (me, Sheehan, Gavin, Emilio, Aaron and his 12 roommates, and probably more...). I'm hoping I'll have enough money to go to all the museums and do a little shopping (like in The Strand, with 18 miles of books...) We're leaving the 22nd and coming back the 27th, on the train, which takes a reeeeeeeally long time (11 hours is optimistic, Emilio says) but I'll be in good company :) I can't say how excited I am. It's Gavin's first time visiting as well. I have so many plans, I've started thinking about packing already... wow. This is one of those amazing experiences that only happens at university - we only started thinking about going a week or so ago, and I love spontaneity! We booked the tickets yesterday.

I thought this post would only be a few lines because I have nothing much to say, but it sort of ballooned. I'm going to buckle down and do some serious reading now. After I eat breakfast.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Home Sweet Home

What an epically terrible evening. Laughably so. At 4pm I got the bus to Verdun, way out south-west, to a McGill hospital. I had signed up to take part in a 'psychosocial challenge test'. The bus ride was very very long, about 40 minutes... But I got there in plenty of time. I had to fill out lots of online personality tests, which I usually enjoy in a sort of well-it's-kind-of-dull way. I had to chew on cotton swabs for them to get saliva samples to measure my cortisol levels, to see if it was affected by stress. Then they put me in a fake MRI machine and I had to answer mental maths questions with buttons. It was designed to make you stressed and frustrated - every time you got one right, they got harder. And there was a line turning from red to yellow to green, and it showed where the average was and where you were, in terms of how many you were getting right. The test organiser said, try to stay as close as possible to the average. But the average was always way above the marker showing my position. They repeated the test twice, and at the end of the first time they said 'below average, try to do better next time,' and at the end of the second time they said 'you're too below average, we'll have to do it again so we can get proper data from your results, you'll have to step it up a notch.' And I'm not big on mental maths at the best of times! I twigged part way through the second run that something odd was up. But I got stressed anyway! Physical reactions vs mental rationality I suppose.

I got $30, which was nice, and got out in perfect time to get the bus. But. I got the wrong bus stop, and didn't realise until I saw my bus pulling away from a different stop. I'd seen it, but it said 'hors de service' (out of service) and didn't turn on its light saying the route number until it was too late. I ran and ran to catch it but couldn't. So I was sort of wet from running over a roundabout covered in snow, and out of breath, and completely in shock, because what on earth was I going to do when stuck in the middle of nowhere with no bus for another 40 minutes? A taxi came along straight away, amazingly, considering where I was. So I hailed it and got a lift to the nearest metro. The driver was really friendly, and we chatted away in French, which was great. He said my French was good, and we commiserated over the bus, and talked about both being immigrants (he was Arab, and came here 10 years ago on Halloween). So I paid $8 for a taxi, and then a further $2.75 for the metro, when I should have just paid $2.75 for the bus. With travel included, that means I only got $15 for spending three hours being manipulated to feel frustrated and worthless.

I got the metro. Verdun is on the green line. So is McGill, my closest station. For some reason, I thought this meant I had to change to the orange line. So I got off at Lionel-Groulx, and got on the orange line. I realised how stupid I was. I got off one stop later at Georges Vanier. I spent a long 10 minutes waiting for a train to get back to Lionel-Groulx. I got on the green line again. I went three stops. As we were approaching the fourth, the speakers said 'next stop: Verdun'. I had got on the train going west instead of east. So there I was, back in Verdun, half an hour after leaving it. I bought a Caramilk chocolate bar and waited for an east-bound train. I got on the train and ate my Caramilk and tried not to laugh. I got off at McGill. Now I am home, five hours after leaving. No lie. This evening is going in the record books.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Manic Monday

I had a test this morning in Traditional Whaling Societies, and I think it went pretty well. But it's worth 25% of my final grade, which is a looot, so I'm a little worried all the same because every mark is worth so much. But I got 95% in my Religions of East Asia class! Which is the highest grade I've got here so far. I'm sort of annoyed now it's only worth 10% of my grade for that class :P And that's school...

I've just come back from doing a test on resistance training and pain stuff. I had to lift several weights in different ways, lots of lowering things slowly while counting to ten. It was really hard! Everything was in repetitions of five, and the first and second weren't so bad but the fourth and fifth were really uncomfortable, every time. I think I'll be stiff for a few days... I have to go back tomorrow, and they'll put electrodes on me and film it. But I said I didn't want them using the film for teaching purposes. I was too red in the face to allow that. But I get $40, so that's neat. Now I'm at home, eating Swedish Berries candy I won for coming 2nd place in our house trivia contest yesterday evening. We made peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwiches and watched Aladdin. I've discovered how to work the keyboard in the basement, and I found some sheet music I love, so I'm going to start playing the piano again and I'm really excited about that!

Don't expect blog posts every day :P but I'll try, if interesting things keep happening!