New beginning
jpster

9 days - this has been the longest break in my LJ since its creation. I've been so busy - and wasn't quite in the mood to write much of anything. Haven't touched the piano since my last lesson - and that was on July 12. Over two weeks! I've now been unemployed for just over a month. Somehow, I survived - thanks to parents. Haven't been to the pool in what feels like over a week... Weather has been hot and muggy, and I've taken such a tan that I could almost pass for a Spaniard!!!

Since July 16, I've been spending almost all of my time outdoors, on the various FINA competition sites. Some long hours, but very exciting considering the calibre of the athletes I got to see.

I've seen the Russians get 2 gold medals in synchronized swimming (combined routine and duet). Synchro has never been very popular I think (apparently, especially among guys), but Montreal broke a world record attendance - 9000 people, sold-out performance for the finals (team routine). The Russians are truly a mark above the rest - given the LOWEST mark given was 9.9, followed by 10's. And deservedly so. It was so beautiful and mesmerizing to watch all those young women perform. It was like ballet... but in the water.

I also saw our national, provincial, local hero, Alexandre Despatie win his SECOND gold medal in the 1m springboard diving event. He is truly amazing. To see it on TV is one thing, but to see it live - as he springs into the air and does all those flips and turns - you wonder how it is humanly possible. And most of the time, only a tiny splash as he enters the water.

I saw a 10km open water swimming race. 2 hours of non-stop swimming. Gold won by the Netherlands (women - Edith van Dijk) and USA (man - Chip Peterson, only 18 years old!!!). The 25km was even more impressive. 5 hours!!!! I couldn't believe it. This time it's Spain who got the gold medal.

Water-polo events are very exciting to watch, and I'll be seeing the finals (men) this Saturday. 7am-4pm shift, baking under the sun (or soaking under the rain).

Last but not least, swimming competitions have begun 3 days ago. And I got to see one of my personal heroes - Aussie swimmer Grant Hackett, who's doing really well. Beauty to see him swim - so relaxed, great technique - obviously.

Grant Hackett and Michael Phelps being the two top contenders this year at the event. I heard from volunteers who have dealt with Phelps say that he's kind of full of himself. Apparently when the crowd applauded, he was making a gesture with his hands to make the people applause even louder. Oh, vanity, vanity. Would love to say hello to Grant Hackett, but I haven't run into him. Yet. :-(

Concerning the men in general, all I'll say is that swimmers do have the best bodies. It's crazy. Watching them train in the pool before the competition starts - wow. It's almost unreal! Especially that depending on where I'm placed, they're almost a hand's reach away! Phew. But as Natasha and I joked - they may have perfect bodies, but for some - it probably stops right there...

So my life currently revolves - literally - around the pool. Too bad I'm not in it as often as I wish...

Today I decided to update, because it's also... my FIRST day back in a classroom - since year 2000!!!! I'm so excited! It's just a math review course, M-F, 8:30-12:30, runs until Aug. 19. This week - FINA from 15:30-20:30. I'll be busy...

I've also been keeping to myself a lot all this time - but that's another story...


Time flies.
jpster
I haven't worked (for a salary!) for almost three weeks now. What a pleasure. I forgot what it felt like to feel so free...

Second week with the FINA is already reaching its end. Tomorrow is my last day at the airport, starting Saturday I'll be ushering at the various competition sites. It has been fun going to the airport everyday, even if being around a sea of people can get somewhat tiring. But am enjoying the idle socializing, and chatting with the policemen.

Otherwise I've been living in my little bubble - comfortably.

I can't yet explain in concrete terms how I "feel" nowadays - it seems like this month and the next will like a transition period back to student life... at 30 years old. I am really looking forward to be back in classes...

Also why my LJ is very fragmented lately.

I am also enjoying very much my solitude (not the same thing as loneliness!) - the only thing I miss right now though, is one of those long, insightful conversations lasting into the wee hours of the night, maybe accompanied by wine - and for sure by a good friend.
***
I will try to drop by McKibbin's tomorrow to see Ryan.
Thoughts of Darryl have lingered since our last encounter -

I feel positive. Andrew feels good vibes from him. Que sera, sera...
***

Brad Mehldau is such an amazing pianist. This solo album I'm currently listening to is paradise.  I can picture listening to this in a minimalist loft that I'd like to own one day...
***

In solitude - you seem to be able to perceive other people's emotions better. It like stepping into a very silent forest - when breaking a twig seems unbearably loud. In order to listen... you have to stop talking. So perhaps in order to receive emotions - you have to stop... being an egocentric - in terms of emotions. Be able to observe yourself - the me, myself, and I - from a third, external eye.

It is like letting go of your own emotions and feelings - in order to be able to receive - feel - others'.

And then you start to truly understand why the neighbor's grass is always greener.

Quick note
jpster
Hurray technology. Managed to plug in my laptop to the computer lab's internet connection - so I can print tickets for this Sunday.

All of my students are ready (!), and I'm really looking forward to hear them on stage! Very exciting moment for them - and me! The kids have been lovely and there's a really a great atmosphere around here. The teenagers have formed their own little groups/cliques, the younger ones hang out together.

I also look forward to maybe to meeting some of the kids' parents. I have already met Felix's mom, and I can see why he is such a polite, well brought up boy. You know when you can someone has class? I mean not in a rich/money sense, but in the way they present themselves to you - his mom is like that.

At 6:30am I was on the Steinway grand this morning, in the empty concert hall, practicing Beethoven. What a feeling!!!!! :-D

Live from Lenoxville
jpster
So the music camp has started two days ago. I've brought my laptop but we have neither internet access from the residence rooms nor a Wi-Fi connection - and I'm not ready to pay an extra fee for it! I'm currently at the university library.

This will just be a few words then - just finished theatre class, after which I have to go practice before teaching a few piano students.

Things are very busy here (I get to start my day at the pool at 7am before breakfast!!!) - but the campus is really beautiful, the kids are great (they're all well behaved!!!) and I'm having a good time. I am keep a separate massive LJ entry on my laptop which I'll post upon my return. I'm going to have to read through pages and pages of friend LJ entries upon my return!!! Hence a day off before volunteering for the FINA games.

Oh yes and the Hamburg Steinway in the concert hall is a pleasure to play. What more could one ask for? :-P

Oh yes and the guys around here are cute. :-) It's the small-town friendliness...

The small things
jpster
OK, a few things that made my day today -

I was out for breakfast with my sister this morning at Café Souvenir, a cozy, permanently busy and trendy joint next door:

It's Parisian style, with wicker chairs facing the sidewalk and small round marble tables. It's very small - the picture shows about the whole place, with a L-shaped bar at the front, by the terrasse. It's open 7am-12am M-F, and apparently 24h on weekends. I have been seen there eating a steak and fries at 2am after a work shift. Don't let yourself be impressed by the suits-and-ties and the ones wearing shades trying to look very important.

1. The barista was a real sweet cutie. He reminded me a lot of Kris - more or less same age, same size (small and cuddly), soft-spoken voice, totally, genuinely laid back and friendly. Rather chiseled face. Funky gelled-up spiky hair, big wide smile and bright, cheerful eyes. White short-sleeved with pale blue vertical stripes dress shirt - tucked out, blue jeans, white skateboarder shoes. Ooh, just my "type". :-P I know where to have my morning coffee now!!! (Even though I never drink coffee.) Sweet.

2. As I was walking up the hill (which was flat in comparison to the weekend's hike) to the music faculty, I ran into this also rather handsome guy - the small, slender glass-wearing, boyish type (this is just a coincidence. I don't have a type per se. These two just happened to be similar). We run into each other something like once a month. Or less. We've never talked. As of late, we've been smiling at each other in recognition everytime we "meet". I've heard him talk to others in the hallway and I'm put ready to put my hand in the fire to say that he's gay. Next time, it's time to ask for a name. I swear the smile was wider than usual today. Or maybe it was the sun.

3. I got my hiking pictures (and an aaawww-so-cute one of Ryan)!!!

4. I had fun practicing Beethoven this morning. I was playing those very rapid scale passages - and I was saying to myself: "wow, I can actually do this!" Getting more solid, gradually.

5. It's a hot, beautiful sunny day.

2 days prior to job termination, things seem to be looking up - otherwise.

The Hike
jpster
This one's a story.Collapse )

More heat
jpster
The heatwave has not loosened its grip. This photo was taken a few years ago, but it could certainly have been taken anytime in the past few days... Ah, those hot firemen!

A music post
jpster
Splash of a thought.

This morning I was practicing my Beethoven. It was sunny and fresh outside, I opened wide the windows of the practice studio. As I was going through some of those crazy scale passages (who'd thought that you could make great music with only an assemblage of scales and arpeggios) - there was a band downstairs rehearsing at the same time. It was Sting's "Roxanne".

I stopped in the middle a passage and listened (eavesdropped!)  to the band downstairs. I smiled and said to myself: "it's so cool to able to play music."

A happy thought for the day.

Gyro, Star Wars, et al.
jpster
I'm not sure if I'm a workaholic or simply a lifeaholic. On Friday I was up at 6am and went to bed at 3am. Worked, went swimming (oh did that feel good - great work out - interval training), took a leisurely stroll through the gay village to head to a gyrokinesis class with my friend Natasha - another great workout. Full 2 hours (last part of which involves abs workout - that was incredible. Now I understand why good swimmers have perfect ripped abs!!!). If you're wondering what is gyrokinesis, go to the following link: http://www.gyrotonic.com/gyrokinesis.htm

Gyro is an amazing workout. It works every single muscle in your body... I felt like going right back to the pool afterwards, but instead had the AlterHeros admin meeting that ended at 22:30. And then I went for a round at Else's and a few beers completely wiped me out. I was officially out of bed at 2pm the next day.

I'd go back every Friday to that class, but it falls on my normal work hours... Darn!!!
***

Saw Star Wars Episode III today.
Which I totally enjoyed.
Make a movie with a theme around outer-space (sci-fi!), and I'll go watch it even if it turns out to be a bomb. I love spaceships and spacefights and all that... (reason I'm heading into Aerospace engineering!)
I've seen all of the Star Wars movies since I was a kid - all at the movie theatre - except for Episode I.
The Star Wars theme is just so unforgettable and uplifting - taaaah taaahhh ta ta ta taaahhh taaaahhh - you could feel the energy in the jammed-packed theatre - people clapping - oh yeah you're in for the ride!!!
The movie is over 2h long, but it doesn't drag too much. Amazing computer graphics and fun fight/battle scenes.
Bogus dialogue, but who cares, I don't think anyone is going to see this for intellectual edification.
Yoda has quite a few good scenes!

Samuel L. Jackson as one of the Jedi masters just has an amazing charisma on screen, great actor... always so - intense.
Ewan McGregor - Obi-Wan Kenobi - oh he is such a great actor (so versatile!) - and so handsome - dreamboat - marry me!!!!!!!
Hayden Christensen - Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader - such a pretty guy... almost too pretty - would love to see him in a bigger role one day to see what he's capable of -
(but McGregor still rules over my heart!!)
***

Just got back from a (Chinese) wedding reception of a high school pal. Knew zero people in the 180-people reception/dinner party, except for the groom (Yong Quiang), Eric and John - we were the gang (before geek became cool). It's crazy... it means I've known them for... 15 years - since graduation - or 20 years since grade 7.... wow times flies!!!!

It's funny - to me - they don't look any older - just the same as when we were in HS - but of course if we looked at pictures of back then - it'd be different...

Certain personality traits just don't change over time. The way someone laughs, little mannerisms - details, details, details.. Eric - pretty good looking guy - but deep down still insecure - patches of insecurity - and so scared to be tagged as "gay" - in comparison to John, who's so self-assured (maybe too much!) that we can joke around. Oh, straight guys. So easy... hahah (i.e.: Tonight. Eric gets call from (obviously) a girl. Quickly gets "rid" of me and John so he can talk quietly on his cell phone)

Everything changes, but still, some things never do. :-)

One more day
jpster
I should just think of the money I'll get next week. Will most likely have to work tomorrow as my boss isn't feeling well - so I don't think she'll be able to open tomorrow. 48h in a week. Haven't had time to do anything for me - apart from nights at Else's on Monday and Wednesday - but then I had to back the next day at 7am. Have lost quite a bit of sleep. Kind of puts a damper on the evening - and the morning after.

No time for physical activity - I feel so "gross"!!!! Jumping in the pool will feel soooo good this weekend.
No time for piano either - my soul is depleted.

But tonight should be a refresher- concert!! Yegor Dyachkov (son of my piano teacher) and Jean Saulnier - piano and cello - in a program consisting of: Beethoven, Debussy, Rachamaninov and Shostakovich. I can't wait.

Natasha and her friend Wilma will be there, as well as my sweet Kris, and tons of people I know. It'll be good to see friends' faces. Because I'm tired of seeing and dealing with patients, and of answering the goddamn phone - as I e-mailed David this morning. No patience anymore.

Hey, but there could be worse things than having too much work.

Oh - and - very exciting - Marc Garneau, the first Canadian to go in space, is the president of honor of tonight's benefit concert. He will be present in the audience!!! Must be sure to meet him tonight!

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