Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Friendly Wolf: A Fresh Fable

           Once there was a cunning girl who liked to play in the woods. She would leave her home in the morning and take a lunch, a cloak, and her sword. She’d leave every morning at sunrise and return every evening at sunset. She had done this from the day she was old enough to walk and she imagined she would do it until the day she died.

           One day while she explored the woods, she met a wolf. She had tired of exploring the woods alone and thought it might be nice to walk them with someone else. She asked the wolf if she would like to join her. The wolf agreed.

           They began to explore the woods together. The wolf showed the girl some parts of the forest she has missed and the girl did the same for the wolf. They enjoyed each other’s company very much. Sometimes they hunted for food. Other times they just wandered the woods. As they sat eating lunch one day, the wolf asked,

           “Don’t you ever worry that I am a wolf and it’s in my nature to eat you?” 

           “As long as I can trust you, I won’t worry about your nature.” The girl replied, and that was the end of the conversation. The girl stood up, adjusted her scabbard, and they charged off into the woods.

           One day a famine broke out in the land. Wanting to help each other, the girl and the wolf searched for food together. But with each passing day, they found less and less in the woods to eat. They picked out all the big game, and then the small game, and then the plants. As they ate through moss one day, the wolf realized that she could always eat the girl for food. She looked much weaker, and they had built up so much trust together. The girl would never expect it. So the wolf decided that she would eat the girl if it ever came to that.

           The famine dragged on and the wolf finally decided on a day to carry out her attack. 

Near the end of the day, as they were heading back at sunset the wolf saw her chance. She leapt and pounced at the girl.

           In one swift motion, the girl turned, drew her sword, and slashed a line in the wolf’s throat. The wolf collapsed, unable to move. As she lay there dying, she whispered her last words.

           “I thought you trusted me” The girl returned her sword to its scabbard and answered.

           “I have always trusted you, but I have never forgotten that you are a wolf.”

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Work Again

When I was in high school, I worked in a dish pit for a year. It was rough. I was the only employee under 18. I worked every single weekend evening shift for most of my time there. The head chef was kind of a jerk. It was a really tough time. I used to get sick to my stomach every time I had to go in. The day I walked out with my last paycheck was the most relieved I have ever felt.

For around three years after I quit, I used to have dreams about going back and working there again. It would be just as awful as it was before, but for some reason I had to go back or I was ok with it or something like that. It was strange. Every morning I would wake up and be glad that it was only a dream.

Working at Starbucks was not the same as working in the dish pit, but it was also a difficult time. Juggling school and work was tough and there were a few customers that made me pretty nervous. I must have done okay though because I'm going back to work at Starbucks again today. Not the same store, but the same company. I don't feel sick to my stomach. I'm actually kind of excited. I must be getting older...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Movie Review: American Ultra

I had to buy shoes. I start work on Thursday and in order to go to work I needed work shoes. Yesterday I finally broke down and went to the store to add to my temporarily flaming pile of credit card debt so I could cover my feet for work. I walked over and stood awkwardly by the pair that I wanted to try on. After a few minutes, a guy came over and asked me if I needed anything. I pointed at the shoes and said what size I needed. The whole process took maybe ten minutes. At the check out, the girl gave me a card and said I got a free movie for buying my shoes. I just had to redeem the code on the back. No one is at home with me right now, and I had no plans for the evening so I decided to go see a film. That film was American Ultra.

Most of the comments about this movie that I've seen are pretty disparaging. They complain about Max Landis (the writer) and how he's pretentious or how the movie is boring or something like that. When you're unemployed and spend most of the day reading internet comments, you tend to get a sense of these things. It's the end of the summer though, and there really aren't many movies out that I want to see and it was free so I decided to see American Ultra.

In short, it's a movie about a guy who is a stoner and loves his stoner girlfriend but who also can't leave the town where he lives because he gets panic attacks. Then one day someone shows up and says some code words to him and he becomes a crazy killing machine. It's a similar plot to the Bourne Identity, but instead of focusing solely on the action, Ultra focuses more on the romance. There's a great scene where Mike (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is explaining how he feels about his relationship with Phoebe (played by Kristen Stewart). Then the rest of the movie explains how he got it all wrong.

You should watch this movie for two reasons. First, for the crazy action sequences. Mike's gimmick is he uses mostly what's around him to fight instead of guns (which is a little silly at times, but fun to watch) and it makes for very creative sequences. Second, Mike and Phoebe have a really interesting relationship in the movie. It's almost like the kind of thing you'd see in an indie romantic comedy, but there are action sequences peppered in between it which is unfortunate for those that don't like action.

Maybe wait for it to come out on video before watching it, but I think it's a pretty solid movie with some good storytelling.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fed Ex

Last week while Amanda and I were away on vacation, someone sent me a package. We were sitting on the beach on Tuesday afternoon when Amanda's phone rang indicating the front door buzzer had gone off. This happened three days in a row and I immediately knew what that meant. I was going to be driving to a Fed Ex warehouse when I got home. Sure enough, I found three door tags on our mailbox when I arrived home and so yesterday I called Fed Ex to figure out where I needed to go.

The package had shipped by Fed Ex Ground which I think is like the budget version of regular Fed Ex. It takes a little while and they use smaller vehicles. They also have much less convenient sort and pick up locations. One time someone shipped me something and I had to drive all the way out to Whitby in order to pick it up. It was a two hour round trip for sixty dollars in merchandise. On this particular occasion, the depot was in Mississauga near the airport. I was happy it was not Whitby because I was pretty sure this package was only worth $40. I left around lunchtime just to make sure there wouldn't be traffic.

I arrived at the depot only to discover that it was even weirder than I had imagined. First I had to find the place which was hard because the sign was not visible from the road. Then I had to park, and I didn't even park in the proper place. Then I walked into their building which has a large parking cavern before you even get to the area where the warehouse is. It appears to be mostly for employee parking. I'm not sure why they were using all of this indoor space for parking, but they must have their reasons. When I finally arrived at their door after walking what seemed like a few kilometres from the car, I discovered that there was no "front desk". Instead you walk into a room that's ten metres by ten metres with a hundred clear-fronted lockers on your left, three chairs in front, and a set of metal detectors monitored by a security guard on your right. It looks like the entrance to the lobby scene in "The Matrix".

The security guard recognized I looked a little hesitant and asked me if I was picking up a package. I said yes and handed her my delivery notice. She took it and went and made a call for someone. She pointed towards the chairs I had seen on my way in and I took a seat. I sat there for a few minutes and watched a few employees come in for the days package sort. They all followed the same protocol. Put keys in a bucket, step through the metal detector, swipe ID badge and then they were in. I was impressed at how much security was present, but I guess they're probably trying to ensure no one messes with the mail. I imagine it must be weird to walk through a metal detector every day on your way to work though.

As I watched this process, I thought about what goes into a courier service. It takes a tremendous amount of people to make sure that packages move in the right places at the right time. All it would take is one mistake to put your parcel on the wrong side of the country. But most of the time you never see this. It's all hidden. The business drives directly to your front door and all you see is a person with a truck dropping something off. I think that makes it easy to take the whole process for granted. I am glad I had a glimpse into the strange world of Fed Ex, because I will think about the mail a little differently now.