i don't
quite know

.com

Macs, Movies, Games, Books, etc. The Rants of a Mad Man.

Archives Posts

Seeking closure

September 4th, 2012 by Raj

There’s nothing particularly interesting about this photo. In fact you could argue, successfully I might add, that it’s a pretty boring one taken in poor conditions of a street corner that could be in pretty much any Westernised 1st world country on the planet. But it’s not just any street corner, it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for me to be writing about a random street corner really, although, given the right frame of mind I’m sure I could make something up.

No, this street corner is one that nearly four years ago I went to get into a cab at around midnight and turned around to have a fist put into the same time/space position that my head occupied. This of course is against the laws of physics and rather than meld together the fist burst through my glasses, shattered them causing a laceration through my left eyelid and across the lens of my, fracturing the same eye’s orbital socket and breaking my nose until the fist was no longer in threat of disrupting the time continuum and need fear the wrath of Dr. Who and other time-lords. There was some further punching and kicking and a lot of blood but you get where I’m going with it and the likelihood is that you’ve heard versions of this story from myself before so lets not repeat ourselves shall we.

Now, four years gone, I find myself returning to the scene of the crime like some badly written macabre Hollywood thief whilst visiting Seattle once more. I knew when I booked this trip that I’d be venturing to the intersection of 1st Ave & Yesler Way, I couldn’t not go! Whether that be born out of sheer curiosity or perhaps cathartic self-healing I honestly didn’t know I just felt compelled.

On Saturday morning, the third day of my four day visit, I decided it was time. It was a beautiful day, warm, cloud-free and I had no appointments at the convention until later that day so there was time to kill. It turned out that the intersection was remarkably close to the hotel I was staying, a pure coincidence as I had to hunt through old paperwork from the hospital and ambulance service to figure out which intersection it actually was that morning! Three city blocks down, two to the left and there I would be.

Walking down the hill, Starbucks in hand – yes vomit now but when in Rome, I didn’t feel anything, I was numb to the whole exercise to the point I was beginning to think it frivolous. Last November I’d won the three year legal battle against my travel insurer TID and their medical cohorts Mondial Assistance to finally pay the lovely $US25k + legal fees I’d incurred from my week’s stay and coma care and that had truly allowed me to breath for the first time since it had all happened. Now, a city block away, I questioned what else I was possibly hoping to achieve.

Rounding the apex of a dog legged 1st Ave the small park came into distinctive view. It was my reference point. That night it had all happened it was the only thing my bloodied vision had been able to focus and hold on to. The look of hundreds of Halloween revellers passing through gardened archways to stare and scream at what unfurled directly opposite, over the road.

The park’s intersectional neighbours drew a complete blank, they may very well have been there four years ago they may not have, but today they were Starbucks, a small cafe and finally a toy store called “Magic Mouse Toys”, which sat on the corner I was attacked, decorated by two street bins, one of which for recycling that I remembered grasping at when I fell to the ground and was now crossing the road to inspect more closely.

I knew I’d stood in this exact position years before, I knew it to be where the horror of the past four years had been birthed but even at this point it felt numbly distant. Then, as if God himself had been sharing a joke with Freud the siren started. My head rose and stared Northwards down Yesler Way towards the drowning tones of an emergency vehicle. The noise from the siren continued to grow in volume until I spotted the distinctive boxed shape belonging to an American ambulance snaking its way through Saturday morning traffic towards me. I stopped breathing. The trees in the park wobbled in my vision as tears streamed down my face and distorted the light they reflected into my eyes. I could hear the people yelling and screaming from four years ago like I’d been sucked back in time like on some CSI/NCIS/Law & Order type TV show. The ambulance’s engine grew louder as its sirens pierced my thoughts and then… it drove straight by. It floored it through the green light of the intersection and continued on its way but it had done it’s job, for me anyway.

I retreated to the very same stone steps my assailants had launched their cowardly attack from and composed myself. The vision of yesterday’s world washed away and the odd looks I’d attracted from today’s bystanders were quickly dismissed as they went on with their lives, classifying somewhere between crazy and delusional but not of their concern or danger. I pulled out the notebook I’d been using for notes at convention interviews and began to sketch out the intersection in order to remember it better perhaps? Who knows? It served a purpose if only to allow me to rationalise me sitting on a cold stairway to a padlocked door.

No one else could’ve understood what this place meant to me, nor should they have. It was just so surreal for me to be in such a placid and infinitesimally insignificant place to all the people passing by yet mean so much to me. That said a lot of you reading this know exactly what this place means to me and I’m forever thankful to all of you. You know who you are, you all helped tremendously and I’m blessed with such amazing family and friends. Thank you.

The big question is did it actually *do* anything by going back there and the honest truth is I have no idea. I’m not a shrink, I still don’t really know why I wanted to visit it in the first place, but I did and I have and it’s done. I hear a lot of people talking about closure, generally when it comes to relationships mind you, and I think that’s what this was for me, perhaps my whole US trip was to a point? Regardless, the chapter has been undeniably closed.

Archives Posts

The Hospital Stay – Indians

November 16th, 2008 by Raj

In case you’re wondering what this series of posts is in regards to I had a recent stint in a Seattle hospital after being assaulted. Details on the “why, what, when, how” here.

OK everyone prepare yourself I’m about to shock you; nope, blow your minds even! Hang on, no, even better, I’m about to turn your world upside down bitches! Are you ready? Are you sure? OK, here goes… 3… 2… 1… I’m an Indian. There, I said it. Well, no, that’s a lie, I’m half Indian, and no it’s not “Woa, woa, woa” Native American Indian, I am in fact half curry-munching-bad-BO-thank-you-very-much-come-again Indian. Can you believe it?!

I’m surprised more people don’t figure it out for themselves to be honest. I mean my name is “Raj” after all but then again my skin is about as dark as an extremely over-milked cup of tea. You know, that brown that kind of sits in between blood-nut white and tanning-salon-addict orange. The point is I get mistaken for pretty much every other nationality besides Indian. Italian, Spanish, French, Cuban, fuck I’ve even had Thai and Chinese! In most cases I’ll generally respond with a correction of “Nah mate I’m `stral-yan” (Not really, I speak the Queen’s English) not actually letting them in on the fact that I’m also part Indian.

Now there’s plenty of reasons that this is probably the case, the biggest of which is that I was never brought up with a great exposure to an Indian culture, but if I’m to be honest with myself one of the real reasons is more likely to be that I’m a bit ashamed. Indian’s don’t get the best rap when it comes to social acceptance in Western culture. They smell, they take our call centre jobs, they drive our cabs, their heads wobble as they talk, etc, etc, the list goes on.

It took the shit kicking of a lifetime for me to re-evaluate my own perception of Indians but I’m glad it came about. Whilst in hospital in Seattle I had three different Indian nurses, two male, one female. One of them in particular “Vic” was there from day one, he would come in every couple of hours and check my sugar level, empty my urinals and then leave again as quickly as he had arrived. It was like clockwork, he was never late, he never pried, he was always professional and proud of what he was doing. I would watch him come in and perform the routine meticulously time and time again until on the third day, when my senses had begun to return, I finally asked him his name and where he was from. After a brief conversation, one that is almost identical to every conversation I have with a newly met Indian; “I’m half Indian”, “No, Dad’s Indian”, “He’s Punjabi”, and finally “No I don’t speak Hindi”, Vic left and we barely spoke another word until it was my day to leave and we said goodbye and good luck.

What amazed me most about Vic was just how professionally he went about everything. He wasn’t being a snob he knew that I didn’t want to talk, he just went about what he had to do and did it with the upmost of attention and decorum. It took me a while, but when I thought about it the majority of Indians I’ve encountered in their workplace did the same. They work hard, they do jobs no one else wants to (I mean the guy was emptying my piss into a toilet for Christ’s sake) and they do it proudly as best they can. Vic’s work demeanor made me proud to be Indian, made me feel almost guilty that I, at times, can be a pre-madonna when it comes to working matters and most importantly made me want to be better. It was much needed inspiration.

Professional pride is however only half of the story because what happened after that first conversation is more of the amazing culture that is India. You see, once it was established that I was of Indian blood the grapevine did a’flutter. Eevery Indian within a 50km radius knew of my situation within a matter of minutes. By the end of the day I’d met three more Indian nurses and by the next day I had my Dad’s extended family calling me to take me in as soon as I returned to Toronto. I swear the gay rumour network stole their schematics from the Indians, either that or they outsourced its construction to them!

Indian’s accept any as their own, if you’re Indian you are family. My Mum and I were talking about this the other day because of how confusing it makes things when you’re actually trying to figure out who’s a blood relative and who isn’t. For example, every Indian male I meet who is friend of my father is my “uncle” and any Indian I meet of my generation is my “brother”. They have an unbelievable sense of family, something I’ve unknowingly inherited in the way I always put family before anything, but never really understood how passionately I do so as what I believe to be a result of my Indian genetics.

Hospital was an eye opener on my heritage. I’m not about to whack on a turban and migrate to “the homeland”, that’s not what I’m getting at all, but the next time someone asks me about my background that silly feeling of shame isn’t going to be there any more.

P.S. I’m not just saying all this because Indian beat Australia in the cricket either :)

Filed under Canadian Tales having 1 Comment »

Archives Posts

The Hospital Stay – Soul Searching

November 14th, 2008 by Raj

In case you’re wondering what this series of posts is in regards to I had a recent stint in a Seattle hospital after being assaulted. Details on the “why, what, when, how” here.

If it’s a soul searching environment you’re after then do I have the solution for you. It’s really not that hard at all to set up the ideal surroundings required to bare your inner thoughts to some conscious daylight. All you’ll need to get you started are a couple of things…

  1. Damaged eyesight. Anything that’s going to stop you from seeing a TV and reading a book.
  2. A short hospital stay. I’d recommend a minimum of a three day stay, you want it to be long enough that you get really bored, yet not too long that you’ve recovered enough walk about the place.
  3. To be in another country. This one’s pretty important. Try and pick a country that you know absolutely no one and is far enough away from everyone you know that you’ll get no visitors but has a health care system that’s actually going to fix you.
  4. Travel Insurance. Hospital stays aren’t cheap in foreign countries.


Well those are the four elements that did it for me anyway. I’ve been in hospital plenty of times before but this time was a very, very different story. Never before have I spent so much time analyzing not only the immediate events of my life but every moment before it that had led to where I am now.

Hospital felt, as best as I could imagine, to be akin to solitary confinement. The only solace was food, even if for the majority of my stay that was liquids it was the only thing to break up the day. I couldn’t even hide in slumber, my dreams filled with flashbacks and nightmares resulting in me constantly waking covered in cold sweat, heart racing and barely able to breath. There was nowhere for me to hide and only one thing I could do; think.

Now I’ve looked in the mirror and stared back at the reflection with a pondering gaze many a time before but staring into the infinite space of darkness with only your mind to keep you company for hours at a time is another kettle of fish entirely. There’s lots of things that begin to swirl around, “Why am I alone?”, “What’s the point of it all?”, “Life after death?”, or just “Why?” but when it all comes down to it what I dwelled on most was me or to be more exact “If I was to take a good hard look at my soul would I like what I see?”

To be honest I’m still not sure if I have an answer. Of course I, like everyone else, has moments in their past they’re not particularly proud of but do they make me a bad person? Perhaps. They make me feel like they do at times but then I feel as though I have a lot of redeeming qualities too. It’s not an easy, nor fun thing to do, question one’s existence and morality in the world but it is one of the top 5 “Things to do in hospital whilst blind and incapacitated” list I just now made up.

I guess the only real conclusions surmounted after jumping into the rabbit hole were that there are things I’m not happy about. Be those general things in my life, work or relationships there are elements in each that I need to change. Maybe this whole adventure was life’s strange way of getting me to wake up and smell the roses, lord knows I could’ve done with a kick in the butt. Message received.

Filed under Canadian Tales having 2 Comments »

Archives Posts

I’m OK. [Updated 15/11/08]

November 8th, 2008 by Raj

I’m going to keep this brief because it’s hard to look at a computer screen at the moment…

For those who don’t know I’ve been in hospital in Seattle since last Saturday morning, the 1st of November. I’ve just been released today and am flying back to Toronto tomorrow morning.

I was admitted to hospital after being attacked by a group of random guys who were harassing a friend of mine that I was trying to help get into a cab. The attack was completely unprovoked and unwarranted. I was not drunk, nor do I remember what happened after the first punch crushed my glasses into my eye.

The result of the attack left me with a fracture in my nose and another in the lower left portion of my orbital socket. Neither appear to be serious but I am required to follow up with specialists to rule out corrective surgery at a later date.

After spending the night in the ER I was released but due to the concussion, drugs, swollen eye, the constant nausea from cat-scan dye, etc my sugar levels were drastically screwed and I was in no condition to fix them resulting in an attack of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) to which I was then readmitted 12 hours later and spent the next 5 days recovering from.

As scary as all that sounds, I’m OK. I’m very lucky and very thankful to the nursing staff of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. I’m not even close to 100% of my normal self and my vision is still slightly blurred but it will hopefully have no permanent damage. My nose is not knocked out of alignment nor am I hideously disfigured but I do have some rather deep bruising and cuts about the place.

I’m sorry if I’ve had anyone worried but being out of contact but this is the first chance I’ve had to be in touch with anyone beyond family.

Update – 13/11/08
A few common questions have come up in regards to what happened so I thought I’d just update you all here…

I have no idea how many people were actually punching me, all I can remember is that there were 5 of them there and at least one was punching my face.

There was little to no chance of the police finding the attackers and they were quite upfront in telling me this. A fact I completely understand being it was Halloween and there were thousands of people on the street.

I will be returning to Australia sooner than expected. Most likely early December but this is yet to be confirmed.

Update – 15/11/08
Day 271Here’s a photo of my damaged eye as of today. As you can see it’s healing nicely and the bruising has almost gone. You can click on the image to load it up in Flickr which will point out the two fracture points as they’re hard to see with the naked eye.

Filed under Canadian Tales having 16 Comments »

Archives Posts

PAX & Seattle Pics

September 4th, 2008 by Raj

Not so much as a post this one but more of a “notification”. Just wanted to let all of you wonderful peeps out there know that I’ve put up about 100 odd photos from my trip to Seattle for PAX last weekend.

For photos from PAX click here.
For photos of Seattle in general try here.

Some of my favourites:


Handheld Freeplay Waiting Area

Handheld Freeplay Waiting Area

Seattle City Hall

Seattle City Hall

Saints Row 2 Booth Babes

Saints Row 2 Booth Babes

King County Administration Building

King County Administration Building


Filed under Canadian Tales having No Comments »

Archives Posts

Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Appearances

September 2nd, 2008 by Raj

This past (birthday weekend) I’ve been slutting it up nerd style at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle and whilst there’s many an article/post to come in regards to the actual content of PAX I thought I’d list a few of the places where I made somewhat of a cameo appearance and may have been pulled up to participate in some way.

Raj sighting #1: The Sarcastic Gamer podcast (live recording)
The picture above is from this particular event and it was by far my favourite, and no I’m not just saying that because I won a Sumo Lounge Omni for attending!! w00t! I love the SG crew, they’re incredibly welcoming both online and off. It was fantastic to meet Doc, Lono, Dave & other community members such as Ooopy, Truth N Justice, Frawls, Rothbart & 8-bit Bass.

Raj sighting #2: 1UP Yours podcast (live recording)
I wasn’t really “called out” in this one, rather stood in a line to ask the guys what their opinion on the iPhone as a gaming device was. It was a valid enough question (I thought) considering I was there on a press pass for a Mac website (MacTalk).
Download the episode here.

Raj sighting #3: The Totally Rad Show meetup
Whilst this was the Saturday night before my birthday and things got very blurry. I’m pretty sure I met Alex & Jeff at some point. Although they had to be pointed out to me by some very lovely people I met because I had no idea what was going on. Ahhh, good times.

Filed under Canadian Tales, Tech having 3 Comments »