Superfluous Matter

I'm back in Toronto now, and I've moved the first few things into the new place already! Mostly Kim's stuff that I took back with me, but my brand new "Toastess" toaster was also moved in (it has a countdown timer to tell you how long until the toast is done!).

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today with all the stuff to do, so instead of thinking about it or worrying I'm going to eat some chocolate, then meet up with Mike for some supper at Spring Rolls. This evening I intend to watch "Snakes on a Plane" with Matt, as I won it in one of those crazy gift stealing game things last night.

Shopping and TV

I went out "Boxing Day" shopping today, although not specifically for sales, just for stuff I need. I picked up a bunch of Rubbermaid bins for moving/storage. I'll be using normal cardboard boxes as well but last time I moved I decided I wanted to get some bins that could double as storage and didn't need to be gotten rid of after the move was done. I also picked up Season 2 of The Office and Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. Finally I got a new pair of jeans and a nice button shirt from RW&Co.

I'm currently downloading the TV show "30 Rock" as I've heard it is the closest thing to Arrested Development (in terms of quality, not the same plot) on TV today. Not that anything could replace Arrested Development ever because it's so awesome, but it's always nice to see something new that might be almost as awesome.

My mom's making Sheppard's Pie for supper tonight out of leftover mashed potatoes. Mmmm...can't wait!

Christmas Redux

It was a good Christmas this year, with lots of visiting and much chocolate/presents. I was pretty happy with everything that I got for people and found that the happiness I got from successfully getting good gifts was more than what I got from the gifts I received. Isn't that heart-warming or something?

I have a bunch of gift certificates to spend so I'm going out tomorrow to do so. High on my list is the Office on DVD, but I'd also like some new clothes and I have to get some Rubbermaid bins for moving. Yes the move is coming, and it looks like it will be pretty easy. I guess that happens when you move down the block.

I have a serious list of New Year's resolutions this year, although it's not so much inspired by the new year as it is by the fact that I'm moving and becoming even more "adult" than I was before. I'm going to go to the gym more (mostly with Kim so that we can encourage each other). I'm not doing it to get healthier or anything though; I want to improve my strength specifically to get better at climbing. I also want to spend some time on recreational programming specifically my ray tracer (yes, laugh at me because I say that all the time). Finally, I am going to blog more often. This time I have some motivation for this. My Aunt Joan reads the blog and expressed great disappointment at my lack of blogging at dinner this Christmas. As I have the utmost respect for her, I cannot let this disappointment stand. So I must blog more often. :)


I don't even really remember much of what's happened since whenever I blogged last so I'm not going to attempt to reconstruct it. I think it's safe to assume it involved climbing, going to restaurants and some trips to the market.

I did buy some stuff recently, including Guitar Hero 3, the new Futurama movie: Bender's Big Score, and Ratatouille on DVD. Plus a bunch of Christmas presents for various people (no, I'm not telling).

I think the biggest expenditure this month though was the deposit on my new apartment! Kim was able to get a new job in Toronto so she's moving here in January. We were going to just stay in my current place with Matt for a bit but I started looking at Craigslist and found a suitable place nearby so I snapped it up. I think it's better that we'll have our own place right away, as it means we can get started on being real people sooner, whatever that means. Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to it, although as always I'm dreading the prospect of actually moving (co-op made me hate it so much).


After almost 3 weeks with no climbing I'm out of shape. Tonight was rough, but I'm going to make up for it by climbing on Friday and Sunday of this week as well. The trip back from gym tonight would have been better if the weather was either warmer or dryer. Stupid cold rain. My fancy birthday green tea+jasmine is making it better though.

Last night we went to Cafe Polonez for wing night which is Rob's favourite Polish restaurant. I was definitely impressed. I had the pork goulash on a potato pancake with a random, high-value Polish beer (strong, large, cheap -- 6%, 500mL, $4.50). The food was amazing. I got to try a pierogie as well and it was excellent as expected. There were so many other things on the menu I want to try, so I'm definitely going back.

Weekend of Writing

I visited Kim this weekend at her apartment in Ilderton and it was a nice relaxing time after my busy trip to San Francisco. She had to work on Saturday so I slept in and spent most of the day writing up my journal for the trip. I didn't quite finish before she got home, but I got close enough to finish it on the train back to Toronto today, so take a look if you're interested. Saturday night we had a good meal out with dessert at William's.

Today I visited with my mom for a bit and she made me some yummy apple crisp. crisp.

I want to buy a bunch more games but I haven't really had the chance to play the ones I've already bought so I feel a bit weird buying more. In particular I want Guitar Hero 3, because it's awesome.

Home Again

I got back from San Francisco late Tuesday night and I must say it was an excellent trip. I had a great time seeing the sights, visiting ILM and chilling with Mike. I'll be adding details and lots of photos to the Trips section of the site, hopefully this weekend.

Last night Matt and I attended the second Tafelmusik concert of the subscription we got. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I found that because I knew what to expect in terms of size and content I was able to enjoy the music more this time. The only strange part was that in the second last movement of the final piece the man in front of us turned around and in an angry voice told Matt to "please stop doing that!!" As far as I could tell Matt was sitting perfectly still and not making any noise. The people behind us also could not figure out what the problem was. We never found out either because the guy left very quickly at the end.

On the West Coast

I failed to blog for two weeks once again, but this time I'm going to say it's because I was busy preparing for my trip. The trip I'm on right now! Yes, I'm in San Francisco and it's pretty awesome. I visited ILM today and wandered around downtown a bunch and I'm meeting up with Mike in a few minutes to head to what sounds like a really awesome party. Good times! I'm keeping notes again, so when I get home I'll add a new section to my trips page and fill in all the details with pictures and stuff.

Two weekends ago I went climbing in John's new cave to celebrate his acquisition of holds for the roof. It was pretty fun and we took a video of me completing the "first successful traverse." I was going to put it on YouTube or something to make it a bit more manageable for those with "lesser" Internet, but I'm pretty lazy so I just uploaded the full uncompressed video to our server. Download it if you like, but be warned it's 124MB. I love having well over 200GB of web space to play with.


Someone should follow me around and poke me saying, "Shouldn't you maybe update your blog today? You have stuff to write about you know." But no one does that so my blog goes untouched while I sit around watching Simpsons reruns or playing Wii.

Speaking of the Wii, I recently bought three new games for it: Sonic and the Secret Rings; Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess; and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. They're all awesome. I'm currently playing Sonic and Matt is playing Zelda. I'll probably start playing Metroid in parallel with Sonic though because I really want to play it too.

The weekend before last Kim came up to visit and the big event of the weekend was a dinner party at our house with Matt, Adrienne, Toni and Patrick. It was Matt's idea and it went really well. We had mixed green salad with red and yellow raspberries topped with balsamic vinegar dressing; garlic cheese bread with fresh parsley; cheese ravioli in a creamy onion sauce; and a really big, really tasty caramel chocolate cheesecake. good. Then we played some Wii at Chris's house for a bit.

This weekend just past Kim came to visit again and we went to see Cirque du Soleil: Kooza. It was fantastic! I would recommend it but it's all done now so there isn't much point. After the show we got supper at Da Gianni and Maria's Trattoria which was good as always. I had the pomodoro gnocci and Kim had the lasagna. For an appetizer we shared a plate of tomato slices topped with the best fresh mozzarella I've ever had. Soooooo good. I like food.

Now I'm starting to think about my trip to San Francisco. I'm going for a week leaving November 7th and I want to be sure I see a bunch of stuff so I need to plan out my time.


We switched our thermostat over to heat last night. The heat already had to come on this morning, and when I got out of bed it was chilly and my bathroom floor was cold. And now sitting at work I have to wear a sweater because it's not warm here either. Come back summer!


On my recent trip to France I used a Eurail pass to get around the country by train for slightly less money than if I had just gone to France and bought train tickets. I'm still not sure if it was worth it given the changes that happened with my trip, but whatever.

Anyway, the Eurail people ask you to fill out a survey and mail back your itinerary when you are done your trip. In exchange they send you a present. I chose to get a set of flag pins, one for each member of the European Union. Well my gift came today and I had completely forgotten that it was coming. So I opened the package and took out the pins and this is what I saw:

My pins of the EU
My pins of the EU

Yes, two pins are missing. And yes, the package is sealed. But it couldn't be a mistake. Perhaps there are only 22 countries in the EU? So I checked Wikipedia. Turns out there are 27 countries in the EU! I'm missing five of them and even if all the spots in the package were filled I'd still be short three pins!

So I figured out the missing countries and they are: Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. Wait a minute, 22 pins + 7 missing countries is a total of 29, not 27. So I must have two pins that are not part of the European Union! I checked again and they are Croatia and Norway. So what the hell is up with this?

Perhaps the pins are only for the countries that are connected by the Eurail system? Wrong again! There are 25 countries in that set, so I would still be missing three. Which three? Well that would be Montenegro, Serbia and Switzerland.

So anyway, nothing about this set of pins really makes sense. But they're still kinda fun.

Quick Recap

I'm still pseudo-neglecting the blog here, so I thought I'd do a quick weekend post to at least keep up to date.

This Saturday, Michael came to visit and so did Keizo. Michael was just in town for something to do with a Chess club at his new school and Keizo was here to run the half-marathon on Sunday. I hadn't seen either of them in a while so it was awesome to see both. Especially Michael who has been absent for almost a year I think. Matt and I had Burrito Boyz for lunch with him and played a bunch of Wii. Later, I went with Keizo and many others to supper at the Hot House near the market. It was about the same as usual but the service was really really bad. Especially given that we were such a large group!

Sunday I was up bright and early to go bouldering in Niagara Glen with people from work. It was a perfect day for it and we all had a great time. Real rocks tend to be sharper on the hands though, ouch! When I got back I went rollerblading with Chris and then we met up with Matt, Rob, Patrick, Toni and Will for supper at Epicure. I ate out way too much over the weekend, but I also had A LOT of exercise so I think it balances out.

Tonight was wing night and we went to the Butler's Pantry out on Queen West. The food was good and cheap, but I was most pleased with the walk. It's a nice night tonight, and Queen West is always fun to walk along because of all the shops and other interesting things to look at.


Alex just dropped off my new Renderman teapot that Mike got for me at Siggraph this summer. Awesome!!! Now I have one from each of the past three years sitting on my desk at work. Plus I got the cool Maya/Max/Motion builder long sleeve shirt that they gave out a Siggraph. Swag rules!

2007 Edition of the Renderman walking teapot
2007 Edition of the Renderman walking teapot
A Different Perspective

I'm just posting a photo I took after the concert a couple weeks back. I did it while we were waiting for the ferry to take us back. We had an awesome view of the city all lit up and sparkling. It was neat because I've never seen the city from that far south before. Also, the water was so calm which made for some awesome reflections.

Toronto at night from the island
Toronto at night from the island

Last week was fun. We had a big kick-off week for development on the next version of Maya and I got to meet and talk to lots of people I haven't had a chance to interact with before. And this weekend I managed to go climbing twice and swimming once so I'm feeling healthy. Plus I made really good pasta last night and Matt made apple crisp so I've eaten well.

But the really big news is...I finished the France Journal!!!! I made the big push this afternoon and transcribed the huge amount of stuff I wrote on the second last day of my trip. I'm glad to be done this, so I can stop thinking about how I haven't finished it yet.

The last note for this evening is that I also recently finished reading a really good trilogy of books, Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. This includes the book, "The Golden Compass" which is being released as a movie sometime this year. The series is to some extent comparable to Harry Potter in that the main characters are children and that is has a distinct bent towards fantasy, however it also has a lot more depth than those books. Not to say there's anything bad with Harry Potter (I stayed up late many nights finishing off those books), but I found this series to be meatier and much more engaging. I definitely recommend them.


In the interest of maintaining this blog I thought I would blog tonight given that I have a bunch of stuff to blog about. Blog!

On the weekend my brother and two of his friends came up to Toronto to go to the Virgin Music Festival with me. Really all any of us cared about was seeing the Smashing Pumpkins (OMG!) on Sunday, but it was fun to see other bands too. In addition to the Pumpkins (OMG!) we also saw Tokyo Police Club, Stars, Metric, and the Killers. The bands were good, although in the end it was all about the Smashing Pumpkins (OMG!) for me.

Anyway, I'm going to slow down a bit here and try not to get ahead of myself. On Saturday, I just did some errands and cleaning until the evening when my brother showed up with his friends. We hung out for a bit and then hit up Grace O'Malley's for some food. It was good times and I think Anthony is already enjoying Toronto.

Sunday, I was ready in good time to get to the festival in the early afternoon. Anthony and his friends were going to come meet me at my place and we'd go over together. Unfortunately, they stayed out until 4am the night before so they were a bit...slower getting up. It was OK though since I wasn't interested in any of the earlier bands. We eventually got over to the Toronto Island and had a great time at the festival. We met up with Wilson and Jonny and Rob and Rob's sister and we all used a picnic table by a tree near the main stage. Rob had arrived early, dragged the table to a prime position and viciously guarded it until our arrival when we turned it into more of a shared task. It got quite difficult as the day went on. Lots of pushy people.

So the Smashing Pumpkins had a great set (check out the set list on the Smashing Pumpkins Fan Collaborative). It was about two hours long and they touched on a whole bunch of their old stuff in addition to the new stuff. This concert was something I've been waiting for since I started listening to music. The Pumpkins are basically my favourite band of all time and I never had the chance to see them in concert before they stopped touring and broke up. I thought the chance would never come again, but it did! And it was awesome!

We stayed right to the end of the concert, so it took forever to get on a ferry off the island, but there was no way I was leaving early. The next day I had to go to work, which was rough, but instead of resting in the evening I went and saw a film at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie was called "Normal" and starred Carrie-Anne Moss among others. It was a Canadian movie and was very well done and superbly acted. Film Fest is awesome.

Tonight for wing night we went to Sushi On Bloor for some yummy yummy sushi. It was a difficult evening though. First everyone but me was at least 20 minutes late. Second, the restaurant was crazy and it took and additional 35-40 minutes to get a table. Then it took forever to get food, and halfway through our meal a waiter spilled hot tea all over Toni!!! It was pretty scary but I think she's OK now. The only good thing that came of all this was that the food was great as usual, and it was completely free due to the tea-spillage. I've never dealt with something like that before and it felt super weird to leave without paying. Overall it was a crazy night.

I'm Back

Hi everybody! It's been a while since my last blog, but I'm attempting to fix that now. I don't have much to say here this evening, but I did update my France blog to include a bunch of stuff from the film festival in Annecy and some of the pictures Mike has sent me.

The Great Outdoors

I spent the last two weekends away from the city communing with nature. First I went to Alex's cottage with Alex and Jason, as well as Alex's brother and some of his friends. It was a great trip as expected, with late nights, swimming at the beach and much poker playing. The weather was perfect and the people were excellent. I didn't bring my camera though so I have no pictures. If you're on Facebook I was tagged in some though, so check it out if you're interested.

This past weekend I went a bit deeper into nature on a canoe trip into the interior of Algonquin park with my mom and some family friends from Ottawa. After some initial car-related difficulty getting to Ottawa, we set out early Saturday morning for the park. We canoed in to our campsite and then proceeded to set up and prepare the site for our stay. I spent a bunch of time dragging and gathering fire wood for the weekend, in particular using a small saw to cut up a very large dead tree and then an axe to split the logs. This, combined with canoeing, was more physical work than I'm used to, so I was pretty tired that night. Supper was awesome though. Steaks cooked over the fire, with garlic potatoes and carrots (cooked in aluminum foil over the fire).

On Sunday I went fishing in the morning, and was able to catch a bunch without any effort at all! The place we fished at was full of fish, and as soon as you put the line in the water you basically had a bite. They were mostly small fish though, so we tossed them back and after a while head back to the site. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and chatting, and also cutting and splitting more fire wood. I built the fire for that night and it was most excellent. Building and maintaining fires is one of my favourite parts of camping.

On Monday we paddled back to the launch site, headed back to Ottawa and got cleaned up and comfortable. I took Tuesday off so that we could stay in Ottawa Monday night instead of rushing back. It was definitely a good idea, despite the rolled tractor trailer on the 401 that caused the drive home to be extremely painful.

A view from our campsite
A view from our campsite
A loon
A loon
My mom and I looking out over the lake
My mom and I looking out over the lake
The campsite
The campsite
A cool plant thing growing up out of the water
A cool plant thing growing up out of the water
The fire wood
The fire wood
Me and my fire
Me and my fire
Me and my fire
Me and my fire
Into the fire
Into the fire
Canoes in the morning
Canoes in the morning
Paddling home
Paddling home
Looking into the Barron Canyon
Looking into the Barron Canyon
Rollerblading, Harold and Kumar, and France

This evening I partook in an eclectic mix of activities. After supper I went rollerblading with Chris along the waterfront all the way to Ontario Place. It was a nice night for it and I was happy to see that after almost a year of neglect, my rollerblading skills are still intact. Then I came home and wasted some time on the Internet for a bit before deciding to watch a bit of TV while adding to my France Journal. I managed to add details about my time in Lyon and the trip to Rumilly. But it took a lot longer than it should have because I was pretty distracted by the movie I was watching, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (truly a classic of our times).

Nice, France

I've updated my France Journal with details of my time in Nice and all the fun train rides.

More Than Meets the Eye

Inspired by my recent viewing of the Transformers movie I've decided to download the original cartoon series and watch it. Today I watched the very first episode, and I was very very happy because of this.

I also went climbing tonight as usual, and managed to scramble up a 5.12-, a new personal best for me. Good times!

Finally, I updated my France Journal again with a description of my last day in Paris.

Back at the France Thing

I made a good sized update to my France Journal tonight. I'm almost halfway through my notes, so maybe I'll finish one day.

On an unrelated note, I saw today that the mayor's plans for some random tax hikes have been delayed until closer to the municipal elections. I don't claim to be knowledgeable in municipal politics, and I don't know a lot about all of the proposed increases, but I am sad that this was delayed because I agree with the spirit of one the proposals.

The mayor wanted to double registration fees on vehicles in Toronto. Normally the province collects the fees, but in this case the city would get the same amount as well. I personally support any and all measures to get people to stop driving in this city. I think that all major routes into the core (Gardiner, DVP, Allen, etc) should be toll roads, parking and gas should be taxed extra by the city, and that fines and tickets for traffic violations should be increased. Large transport or construction vehicles should probably be exempt from a bunch of that, but all passenger vehicles should be fully milked. Also, for the toll roads, if you're driving a larger vehicle you should have to pay more (unless you have enough people inside to justify the size of the vehicle). At least half of this extra money should be reinvested into the TTC and Go systems and the remaining should be used to improve the safety and quality of the road systems (to reduce congestion from the cars that still drive in the area). This is one of those areas where I feel that government intervention is a good thing, because people just aren't getting it that it is really stupid to drive regularly in the downtown core. Perhaps if it becomes prohibitively expensive they will not do it as much.

Busy Busy Busy

I've been very busy lately, and so, despite having lots to blog about (not to mention finishing the France blog), I have been unable to sit down at my computer long enough to do so. This sucks, because I'd rather blog about each thing soon after it happens rather than attempting the massive summary which I find myself doing now.

Last week on Tuesday I saw Ratatouille with Jason and Alex at the Rainbow cinema near the market. We went there because Jason is still a poor unpaid intern and because it is close to work. I would have rather seen it in a proper theatre but I didn't really mind. The movie was AWESOME. Absolutely up to the high high standards that Pixar continues to set for itself. The story was brilliant and funny and the graphics were beautiful. Of particular note was the fur on the rats (very detailed) and the character animation. All of the animation was done without motion capture, but the movement of the characters was so realistic that I can hardly believe it. The animators at Pixar are certainly among the most talented in the world. After the movie we went to the Spaghetti Factory and had a good meal. We stayed right till close chatting; even our waitress left before we did! Good times.

Last weekend I saw Ratatouille again with Chris, Patrick and Toni, but this time at the Paramount. It was at least as good as the first time (perhaps better), and I was able to get a photo of Mike's name in the credits.

Monday I made homemade tomato sauce (mmm...) and had some Spaghetti for supper. Then I went with Alex and Matt to see the Transformers movie. That movie certainly isn't going to win non-technical awards, but it was everything I wanted from a Transformers movie. Basically transforming robots fighting and transforming with lots of explosions and action. The transformers themselves were all computer generated, but I've never seen CG stuff that well integrated into live action. ILM did an excellent job at making the movie extremely immersive. You never stopped and thought, "hey, that giant robot isn't ACTUALLY there." So it was awesome.

On Tuesday we had wing night obviously. We went to a Summerlicious place called "5th Elementt" up near Bay and Wellesley. We had a really good turn out, twelve people showed up. Also, the restaurant was fabulous! There was a very good selection on the Summerlicious menu so everyone was happy. I had a spinach paneer kofta, with rice and this white sauce that was soooo good. I am of the opinion that my meal was the best on the menu. For an appetizer I had foie gras with arugula salad and pear chutney. The dessert was a chocolate souffle, but it was more like an upside down cupcake and so it wasn't that special. That's OK though because everything else was amazing. After supper Dave and Jen had a guitar hero competition at my house (Jen won). They didn't stay long and I should have used the opportunity to sleep, but instead I stayed up reading some of the sixth Harry Potter book.

Wednesday was climbing of course as well as a bit more Harry Potter reading. Thursday I watched the fourth Harry Potter movie at Chris's house with Matt and that was good times as usual. I also made arrangements for Friday night.

Our closest family friends live in Ottawa and some of my best childhood memories involve hanging out with them. My parents were good friends with the parents in that family and they had two kids who were about the same ages as my brother and I. Kurtis, their son, is moving to Japan to teach English in a couple weeks so we gathered in Toronto to see him off. My mom and brother came up and we met Kurtis and his parents for supper at Pizza Rustica. We had a great meal and a lot of fun chatting and I'm sure we stayed way longer than the proprietors would have liked. By a strange series of events Mike was in Toronto this weekend as well, So after supper Alex and him met up with Kurtis and Anthony and I and we headed off to Andy Poolhall to have a night out with Kurtis and some of Kurtis's friends who were also in Toronto. The bar was great and we had an awesome night.

Anthony and Kurtis slept at my house (after we watched the Big Lebowski) and the next morning we met the parents at Cora's for breakfast. Cora's is my favourite place to go for breakfast and it's even better after a night out. I had a huge pile of french toast, sausage and eggs, plus a big glass of orange juice. After breakfast we all went to my place to chat for a bit and then everyone went home.

Saturday was also Rib-o-Rama VII, an annual event held by John from work. He gets a bunch of rib smokers in and makes up a whole bunch of ribs for all of our co-workers as well as many of his other friends. It's potluck too, and everyone from my work seem to be amazing with food, so everything was delicious. I went with Alex and Mike and we stayed from about 4:30-9:00, at which point Mike and I had to hurry back downtown to meet Chris for the new Harry Potter movie (Order of the Phoenix). We were pretty late getting there and Chris had to wait in line and get seat by himself. I felt pretty bad, but it was hard to get away from the party. I think I tried to jam too much stuff into that day. I hate when things pile up like that and you end up doing all of it kinda poorly. Anyway, we made it for the movie and it was just as good as all the others. I like that they all have a similar style. I know they're not perfectly consistent, but it's still pretty good.

Mike stayed at my house last night and we caught up a bit about all his final adventures on his trip. This morning I took him to the train station and then went shopping to try to catch some of the summer sales. There was lots of stuff but I was in a picky grumpy mood so it didn't work very well. I did manage to find one polo shirt I liked but I still felt like the trip was mostly a failure. So this afternoon I curled up with the sixth Harry Potter and finished it off. I'm so happy that the seventh (and final) book is coming out soon, because I don't think I can wait too long to find out what happens!

Tonight I am going to try to go to bed early. I really really need to.


Another trip update tonight (that's all I do on the blog now, at least until I finish). This time it's about Versailles. Check out the France Journal for new pictures, videos and random babbling.

Another Another Trip Update

I added details on my time at the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe to my France Journal tonight. Good times!

Another Trip Update

I added another day of my travels to the France Journal tonight as well as a whole bunch of pictures. I've barely made a dent in the written journal though. I've also added a bunch of photos to Facebook.

Trip Update

I've added the first batch of entries and photos to my France Trip Journal so check that out if you're interested. I only managed to finish my first day in Paris though. It's really slow going because I saw so much every single day! Also, I've been busier than I thought I would be this weekend. Last night was the Deck Opening Party at work, which was an awesome time. Jason showed up and so did a bunch of other great people and I ended up staying past midnight! Crazy. Tonight was Chris's birthday party, and as you can see it has left me up waaaaaay too late at night. The only reason I'm blogging now is because I wanted to say that I finished the first day of France stuff.

Site Update

I've added a Trips section to my blog (you can see it in the menu on the right as well). I'm going to fill in the details of my France trip over the next couple days, and once that is done I'll fill in sections for my trips to Köln and to the USA for interviews.

Quel heure est il?

Jet lag is irritating. But I promise to start blogging France trip stuff soon. Well probably not until Thursday, but I'll get there eventually. Really I will.

...and back again

I'm flying home in just over 12 hours. It's been a great trip but I'll be happy to return to a country where I can depend on the opening hours of stores, where people are happy to make change for a ten and where I sleep in my own bed in my own apartment without looking up every so often to check if my stuff has been stolen yet.

Film Festival

I'm at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival which is in the town of Annecy, France. It is completely AMAZING! The town is nestled in the hills of the French Alps on the shore of a big lake that is clear and calm and just stunning. Plus we (I'm here with Mike) get to see tons of really good animated films from all over the world and meet all sorts of interesting people from the animation industry. It's an amazing experience and I'm definitely going to try to come back in the future.

En Francais SVP!

Je suis dans la Paris!

Off to France

I leave today! I can't wait!!

And the Month of Spendy Continues

I have spent sooooo much money this month. Between my trip, gifts for people (mainly my mom) and other stuff I need I've really eaten into the money I was accumulating. Not that I mind. I mean, I still save for retirement and stuff, so I might as well enjoy the rest.

Last night I bought a new jacket and also a new pair of jeans. The jacket was very necessary, the jeans...only a little but necessary, but they were nice and on sale. My old jacket I've had since high school and so that means it's way too big and not so nice anymore. The new one cost a bit more than I would have liked, but I had a really hard time finding it and I figure if it lasts even half as long as the last one then it will still be worth the price.

It seems that I have a bit of extra time that I didn't expect to have on my trip to France so I'm adding an extra city to my travels. I haven't entirely decided which one yet, but it has to be on the Mediterranean, so I'm thinking of Nice. It looks pretty sweet. But for me, it's really all about seeing that blue water and feeling the warm sun (much closer to the equator there) on my skin. The train ride from Paris will also be nice, getting to see the countryside of a foreign land.


Tonight was a small climbing night, only myself and one other guy. Normally a bunch of people from work come out but they've all been slackers lately. Anyway, I climbed not one, not two, but three 5.11- climbs, which I think is pretty good. Of course the rating is meaningless since difficulty changes from gym to gym and even within my gym there is a huge range within a grade. Furthermore, difficulty is very personal, some climbs are easier for some people. I did, however, climb one of them (the second) completely clean on my first try. It was a good night; I will be sore in the morning.

Site Update

Just a small thing, but the image in the nav bar is now chosen randomly from a set of size 3. See if you can get them all by refreshing! I intend to add more images to the set as time progresses.


I'm in London this weekend visiting my mom for Mother's day and her birthday so we went out just now to rent a movie for tonight. We weren't going to be out for long so I just threw on my shoes and got in the car. I didn't grab my keys, wallet, cell phone or anything. It's been a very long time since I've left the house carrying nothing at all. It was a bit liberating to be unencumbered by the shackles of society. Although it did mean I had to pass up a 2 for $20 sale on DVDs and a 2 for $30 sale on Playstation 2 games. I've been thinking about getting some PS2 games lately, like classic ones that people think are good. I've always been a bit slow on video games but I don't mind. If they are good then they will still be good whenever I get around to them. Anyway, the two games I saw today were the original "God of War" and "Shadows of the Colossus."

Blogging at 100km/h

I'm on the train right now, using wireless Internet on my laptop! It's super cool, because, well, having the Internet is awesome! No I'm not addicted to the Internet at all. Hahahaha.

Anyway, normally VIA charges for this, but they're having difficulties today (it's pretty slow), so it's free! I just turned on my laptop, connected to the network, and boom! Free Internet! I'm still super happy about that!

More importantly though, this free Internet is making me more likely to pay for Internet on future trips. Perhaps this is just a free taste to get me hooked. The next hit is gonna cost me!


Why do you type things up, but write things down? Our language is weird.

Film Fest in Annecy

I have started choosing my selections for Annecy International Animated Film Festival that I'll be attending in France in LESS THAN A MONTH (awesome!). There are some really awesome looking collections of short films, and in particular there is one containing a production by the National Film Board of Canada. It sounds pretty cool and sorta in the same style as "Ryan" another film by the NFB that won an Oscar a couple years back. One of the other collections has a cool sounding short by Aardman, one that sounds fairly mature. I love seeing animated work targeted at adults so I can't wait to go to this.

There are also going to be a bunch of feature films competing, plus they are showing "sneak peeks" of "Shrek 3" and "Meet the Robinsons." These movies will have been out for a while here by then, but I guess they might have a delayed release schedule in Europe. Anyway, I'll probably at least see Shrek 3 there. I still need to spend some time to pick out a feature film to see that is a bit less mainstream.

The cool thing about film festivals is the chance to see stuff that may never be shown or distributed again. In many cases the reason is that the stuff isn't very good, but you never know. Mass market decisions are based on ideas of profitability, and not all good movies are suited to making lots of money. So sometimes they get lost and end up not being released to wider audiences. So it's important to try out some lesser known stuff and also just completely random stuff because you'll never know what you'll find.

This is going to be awesome!

Vintage Blazer

Today I went to Canada Computers to get new memory cards for my camera to take on my trip to France. I got 2 2GB cards so I'll have about 4GB of space (Update: With my existing 256MB card, I will have space for 2121 photos). Hopefully that's enough. On the way back I walked through Kensington market and because it's nice out it was absolutely buzzing. All the stores had stuff outside and one was selling vintage clothes for really cheap. I picked up a corduroy blazer that is sorta Starsky and Hutch style for $3!! There wasn't any way I could not buy it. Here's a picture of me wearing it in our living room.

Me in my new (old) blazer
Me in my new (old) blazer

I also went to a fun Japanese store near Canada Computers and picked up a print of Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," which I hope to get a frame for and hang in my bedroom. I like the piece because it was used as an internal splash screen for Maya when I worked on it in my first co-op term at Alias. Here's a picture of it.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
The Great Wave off Kanagawa

I'm going to France. For a vacation. I've booked the first two weeks of June off of work and I can't wait for it to start. I'll be in Paris for 5 or 6 days, then I'm meeting Mike in Geneva for a couple days. We may also visit Lyon at that time. Then we head to Annecy for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival for 3 or 4 days. It's going to be awesome!! After the festival I head back to Paris, with possibly some more time in Lyon and then back to Canada!

Regional Differences

Tonight Matt and I made meatloaf so I stopped by Dominion on my way home to get some ground beef to make it with. While I was there some random guy who clearly hadn't been in Canada very long asked me if I knew where the beer section was. I paused for a minute to try to think how to answer that question and quickly realized the idea of a regulated liquor market would be far to complicated to explain to someone as I passed by them in a crowded grocery store. So I answered "no" and went on my way. I wonder if he ever figured it out.

The meatloaf turned out great and went well with the baguette and broccoli with cheese sauce.

Late Nights

When I was in high school I needed at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night. If I didn't get that I was grouchy and unpleasant and generally miserable. As I progressed through University this got better and I was able to get by with less sleep. I never became happy with that though and would always enjoy it when I got more sleep. However lately, I've gotten to the point where I simply don't seem to need as much sleep at all. I regularly go to bed after midnight and I'm not grouchy for the most part or anything like that. I also find that if I try to go to bed earlier I either can't fall asleep right away or I wake up super early. I guess this is a good thing, but I find it a bit strange.


I had a busy day today, and I got a lot done. I got up around 10am and did a one kilometre swim followed by breakfast and a shower. The house has been a bit dirty lately so I then clean for like 2 hours, dusting and vacuuming and fixing up the kitchen a bunch. Also did 4 loads of laundry. I then walked almost to Bloor to get a haircut, then back to the Eaton's centre to get some new shorts for summer (because my old ones were all from the time when I was 30 pounds heavier -- I'd just been wearing too big shorts the last year or two). I also looked in some other stores and hit up MEC to get some new clothes for climbing. I got home, had some supper and wrote some emails, then installed the new Ubuntu on my laptop. Finally I have Linux again. I had to delay that installation because of a bug with my laptop model, but that is fixed with the latest release.

Now it's late, or it feels late because I'm tired, so I'm going to go to bed. Tomorrow I think I'll relax a bit and read or something.

Curry Sandwich

Tonight I went with Matt and Adrienne to Ghandi Cuisine for supper. They claim to have "the best roti in Toronto" and I agree that it was really damn good. It's hard to judge this though because there is Indian style roti and Caribbean style roti. Both are curry based but they are fairly different tasting. Anyway, I like both. I had the butter chicken roti and it was really yummy. The bread was fresh made when we arrived and the curry was super spicy (even though I only got "medium" spicy level). I like it when tasty food is also so spicy that it makes my ears sweat.

Global Warming Sells Out

I walk by the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts every morning on my way to work and they always have a billboard or two advertising upcoming shows and such. Today was new billboard day (or maybe it was yesterday, I only see it on my way to work). The new billboard proclaims the new show to be "So hot it probably contributes to global warming!"

I know that it can be a good marketing idea to latch your product on to current events/issues that are popular with lots of people. And global warming is definitely a big issue right now. But it seems wrong to me to exploit an issue like that for marketing purposes.

The other problem I have with this is that it's not very clever. I mean, if you're going to sell out global warming at least do it in an amusing manner. At face value the statement is only amusing for a couple seconds, and not very amusing at that. There is the possibility that the statement is in fact much deeper and subtle though. The word "probably" in the tag line may be just hedging, but it could also be a sly reference to the dispute about whether or not global warming is caused by the actions of people, or whether it is a natural phenomenon. However I sincerely doubt the marketing people thought of this. I think they just didn't want to say that the play DOES contribute, since that would turn it into a negative, while saying "probably" implies a more joking tone.

Which leads to my final point. I find that in my writing and talking I often use words like "probably" or "possibly" and others that leave wiggle room in the interpretation of my communications. I don't like when other people do this so I'm going to try to stop doing it myself. If you aren't sure about something, then I think you should say that you are not sure and thus cannot make a definitive comment. It is still fine to communicate any information you have, but to say something like "X is PROBABLY a result of Y" is about as useful as saying nothing at all. Instead it would be better to say that "things A and B relate X to Y but I do not no if X is a result of Y" and then allow the person you are communicating with to make up their own mind. However, it is hard to change the way you communicate overnight, and of course I answer to no one here, so I'll write however I want. I only said I'd TRY to change, heehee. :), that got a bit long and random. Maybe I shouldn't read signs as I walk to work and apply my mind to something useful.

Perfect Weekend

I lost the will to post for a while, but it's come back now, so here I am.

This weekend was pretty awesome. I went to Waterloo to visit Mike after his last exam ever. He had a party at his rez room and Alex and Keizo were there too (along with a bunch of other people I was less familiar with). It was fun and after hanging out till about 3am we went to get some Campus Pizza. I miss Campus Pizza a lot! There's nothing better at 3am. I also had a Cadbury Creme Egg, for like the first time in 5 years or something. It wasn't bad, apparently I've been eating them "wrong" and that's why I thought I didn't like them.

On Saturday Alex and I helped Mike pack up the last of his stuff (which was more than expected, but we were silly for expecting less). Then we went to the Tea shop (another legendary thing I miss from Waterloo) and got some food and drink. It was a bit cold though because they had the AC on (already!!) so we went over to William's and sat on the patio for an hour and a half. One sunburned arm later I was very happy and sleepy, so we got in the car and headed for London.

Upon arriving in London we stopped at my mom's place for a bit, then to Mike's parents for some truly amazing, home made key lime pie. Absolutely delicious!! It was for Mike's birthday since he'll be somewhere in Italy on the actual day.

On Sunday I met up with Mike and his parents again to walk through Gibbon's park to the Covent Garden market. It was really nice walking along the river and it's always fun to sit at the market and just chat/relax for a couple hours. After the market we went to Novack's and then visited with Alex's mom for a bit at her Garden centre. Then I got on a train and headed back to Toronto.

So basically this was a super chill, super relaxing weekend, that was perfect in every way. Happy!

Easter Orchid

For some glorious reason, my company observes Easter Monday in addition to Good Friday, so this was a four day weekend for me. I'm not questioning this because this had to have been the most relaxing weekend I've had in a while. I went home to London for the first time in like 2.5 months, and I basically just sat around the whole time. I ate lots of good food, got a bunch of chocolate and read a bunch of Ayn Rand's, The Fountainhead. I also watched The Departed and the newest episode of the Office (finally!). Finally I got an orchid from my mom for Easter/house warming. With this addition, my plant collection has doubled in size! Thanks mom!

Orchid, Yellow
Orchid, Yellow
(G)old Bond

Matt has a bunch of the old James Bond movies on DVD, so tonight we watched Octopussy and it was pretty glorious. In fact I'd have to say they packed in more ridiculous things than I've ever seen in a single Bond movie (thus making it the best ever). I regret not taking notes as we watched it, because I can't remember them all now. But I will say this, the power of the circus is not one to underestimated. I also was not aware that it was possible to have a knife fight on the wing of a flying plane.

Saturday we went up to a Portuguese bakery to get donuts, although they were more like elephant ears or beaver tails or whatever. But they were better than those, more dough, and even more deep fried. We also went to a random Italian store and I bought some random pasta. That night I stewed some tomatos and peppers and other stuff down into a really yummy sauce. I added some fresh chili peppers as well, probably a bit too many because it was sooooo spicy. Very tasty though, I love making sauce from scratch.

Today I went with work people to go climbing at "Of Rock and Chalk" up near Newmarket again. It was not bad, but they had like three simultaneous birthday parties going on, so it was loud and obnoxious and sticky with children. Not very conducive to a good climbing experience.

Blogs and Fraudulent Cactii

I like reading blogs. For the most part I read the blogs of my friends, but they have become fairly reticent of late (thank you, Word of the Day). So, I've been forced to branch out into reading the blogs of strangers. It's more interesting than I thought it would be because some are extremely well written and hilarious. Now I'm not saying that my friends are illiterate shut-ins, but none of them are English majors and a lot of them are like me, just blogging about what happens to them. Which is exactly what I want from my friends, so that I can keep up with them. So yeah, my friends are awesome. But their blogs fill a different purpose for me than the random Internet blogs.

I've added two such random blogs to my links page, although currently one is not available to the public (she gets paranoid sometimes and makes the blog private for a week or two). The available blog [redacted] is incredibly amusing. I just caught up on the archives tonight and this will definitely be one I follow for a while. It may be a bit offensive, but only if you're offended by inappropriate and occasionally crude remarks about various and non-specific groups of people, activities, world events or New York City.

I'd like some more random blogs to read but haven't found any others yet. If anyone has a good one let me know.

To complete the title of my post, I want to buy more plants for my house and possibly my desk at work (although work decorations are an area I'm extremely lacking in so that will be harder). This weekend Matt wanted to buy a cactus so I went with him to a random store that sells plants on Queen street. I was hoping to get an orchid because, if I had to pick a favourite flower, that would be it. Anyway, the orchids at the place looked pretty sickly, so I got a cactus like Matt. The one I picked appeared to be in flower as it had 3 nice looking pink flowers growing from the stalks. I was happy and took it home. However, upon closer inspection of said cactus I noticed what looked like hot glue around the base of the flowers. Yep, the place glued what I now realize are paper flowers to the cactus. Very disappointed, I ripped them off and threw them out because otherwise the cactus would be a plant of lies, and no one likes lying plants. Cactii have a hard enough time being liked as it is being covered in prickly things. They should at least be honest. Maybe I'll refrain from watering it for 6 or 8 months and then give it a bunch all at once to encourage it to flower. That's how it works in the desert right?

Poker with Strangers

I recently posted that I didn't think I'd be able to handle the stress of playing poker for real money. Well I played for cash last night with Alex and a bunch of his roommate's friends. Turns out I was wrong and I handled the stress just fine. I think I'll go buy myself something nice.

Ahhhh, Good Old Endorphins

Yesterday morning I swam a kilometre right after getting up. Today I went climbing hard for two and a half hours. The result is that I'm incredibly sore, but my brain is alert and happy. I've been less than happy lately due to a combination of things, so this is a nice pick me up. It's amusing because I'm really just tricking my brain with a natural drug, id est, endorphin.

Climbing was fun today because I went and bought new climbing shoes this morning (I think the endorphins are also increasing my desire to be a consumer). They're more technical shoes that give me more control and precision on extremely small foot holds. The translation of that is they smash my toes all together and bend my foot so that all the weight is focused on the big toe. So right now, my feet hurt, but I'll get used to them and they'll shape to my foot a bit after a few outings. They're not really meant to be comfortable. They do in fact improve my climbing though so I'm happy I got them.

I finished watching the Office (up to the last aired episode) and I can't wait for the next new one. I also watched Thank You for Smoking with Jen on Saturday and it was pretty amusing and thought provoking at the same time. I do recommend.

Movie and Wii

We (nine of the usual peoples), went to see Fido tonight and everyone loved it! I'm glad that my over hyping was completely justified. I guess it's pretty hard not to love a Canadian zombie comedy.

After the movie we went back to Chris' place and played Wii until about 10 minutes ago (living in the same building makes getting home pretty quick). That was fun like always and I totally destroyed Chris in Tennis.

Now, instead of going to bed, I'm going to go Mike Jutan style for the rest of the evening and watch the last three episodes of the Office. The show just keeps getting better and better and I'm glad I decided to watch it. Too bad I'll be all out of episodes soon though.


Fido is coming to theaters on March 16th!!! It's one of the movies I saw at the film festival last summer and definitely one of my favourites (although they were all good). I hope that it does well enough to justify DVD distribution, I'd totally buy it.

We went to Lick's tonight for wing night. They have mighty fine burgers there, but it's all the way up at Eglinton, so we had to take the subway. I haven't done that in a while so it was kinda fun actually. It's been even longer since I've been on it during rush hour. I think I'm happy with that though. Walking is better for me, both because of the exercise and by staying out of the dirty subway.

Tax Time

I did most of my taxes last night (still missing one thing that I have to claim but that won't change anything) and this will very likely be the last year that I get them all back. I only worked 4 months last year, and I was in school and I've already contributed a ton of money to an RRSP so it was pretty easy to get them back. I don't even have to use all of my RRSP contributions to get it all back.

It is super easy to do them online now that I've done it before. The site remembers all of my unchanging information so it's just a matter of entering the numbers from all the forms I get and then it tells me what I get back. So I'll file soon and then I'll get lots of money! Yay!

New And Improved

At the request of Adrienne I just added an RSS feed to my site. So, if you use a fancy RSS reader you might now be able to be notified when I make new posts. I don't use an RSS reader and I don't know how to set one up so it is completely untested. I'm waiting for Adrienne (or anyone) to confirm that it works. Assuming it does, enjoy!

What do you Mean, "a higher flush?"

Some people at work play poker (no limit Texas hold 'em) every Friday at lunch and I've joined in for this "season." It's the first time I've ever played and it's been really fun so far. I started back in January so I've played a bunch now and I think I'm starting to get better at the part of the game where you try to figure out what people are doing. The cards and the chips are really just tools for determining what everyone else is thinking. Anyway, I'd say I'm not doing too bad. I'm 7th overall in the standings (of about 15-20 people) and I just made a huge gain by finishing 2nd in today's event.

Sometimes people also play after work, but it's much less formal and serious and everybody lends chips when you run out so there is no real worry about losing. It gets silly fast. I find I don't enjoy it as much because there is nothing riding on it. It's much more fun when you have something to lose, even if it is just meaningless points in a contest with no prizes. I don't know if I could handle playing for money though. Way too stressful!!

Why Scrubs, Why?

I normally watch a bunch of TV on Thursday nights but the OC is done now, and Grey's Anatomy wasn't new this week. That leaves Scrubs, which is normally an excellent show, but they wussed out and did a clip show this week. I hate clip shows. And adding a joke to the clip show about lazy writers and such doesn't make them better. That's all for this evening.

A New Look

I've been wanting to update the look of my blog for a long time, so I started doing that yesterday. Well I don't like to leave things unfinished so I finished it today. I originally meant to go to bed in good time but this is more exciting I think. Feel free to leave comments on the new look, although I'm not likely to change what I have here for a while. Also, let me know if you see any bugs. I think it is good, but I didn't really put a lot of time into it so I'm sure I missed things. Entries now have titles, but I was too lazy to go back though all my old posts to title them, so there are only titles back until the point when I moved to Toronto.

I think having my laptop made this a lot easier. I spent Sunday afternoon on the couch developing while watching Nascar in the background. Yay for laptops!

Now I need to just replace the backend and my work here will be done for a time. I want to make the site database driven so that I can stop parsing a stupid XML file. It's really cumbersome and every time I look at the code I just cry. I think I will also make the image in the navigation box be random at some point, but I need to collect a decent set of images first. Bonus points to anyone who knows where the current image is from!

Driving a Sebring to Port Dover

Last night was my Grandpa's birthday and my mom and aunt wanted to take him out to dinner at the Cove Room in Port Dover. I didn't really want to get a bus or train all the way to London just to get a ride to Port Dover so I rented a car and drove myself. I've always talked about how you don't really need a car in Toronto because in the rare instance you really do you can just rent one. That's fine to say, but I'd never actually tried it before so I'm glad that it turned out well and validated my opinion. I had no trouble renting (although I had to pay an extra $27 because I'm under 25) and the car got me to and from Port Dover without any problems. I also was impressed that I didn't miss an exit or get lost in the tangle of highways through Hamilton (QEW, 403, 407, 6, etc).

The restaurant was really good too, the specialize in Lake Erie perch which may or may not be a delicacy. I'm not totally sure about the story on that. Anyway it was good, although I did drench it in tartar sauce so I may have masked the natural flavours of the fish a bit. The restaurant also did something unique by giving complimentary salad. As soon as you sit down they put a selection of salads for sharing at your table, like coleslaw, cucumber salad, bean salda, mixed veggies, ambrosia, and a couple others. Also part of the meal was something called "celery bread" which was damn tasty. But I'm a big fan of bread in general so it's not hard to impress me. We had strawberry shortcake for dessert and then I drove back in the dark without any problems.

I still have the car until 2pm today so I'm heading out to Ikea, Costco and No Frills to pick up a bunch of useful things that would be too annoying to take on the subway.

Joining the Commune

I helped Chris move into my building this morning! I really liked his apartment too. I'm the type of person who likes to see apartments and is constantly curious about what they're like inside. I always try to peak in to my neighbours apartments when they open the door.

There were standard moving prizes after we had finished and I won the award for "Best Orbital Fortress of Doom." I'm so proud of myself!

Chris also has a Wii so we played a bit before I left. I'm not surprised that it is destroying the PS3 in the market, it was pretty legendary.

Lots of TV

TV update! Last night was the final episode of The OC, which I have faithfully watched every week since it returned from hiatus after that first summer. It used to be an awesome guilty pleasure, but the last couple seasons it's been a bit...meh. They did have some good episodes earlier this season, but it faltered again at the end. I imagine that might be related to having to cram an ending in at the last minute (the cancellation wasn't definite until after this season had started airing). The final episode was fairly amusing, and it had a great ending, until they decided to tack on a 2 minute "5-10 years later segment" that showed everyone all happy and good. So lame. Have to get my guilty enjoyment from Grey's Anatomy now.

I've also been watching a bunch of Arrested Development (almost done season 2) and I can't believe I waited so long to do that. It's hilarious and brilliant! I also will be watching the US version of The Office soon, because Mike gave me a bunch of them and it seems to also be quite classic. It's nice that in the whole pile of crap that is TV there are still some truly awesome shows.

As far as sports on TV goes I watched more than normal recently (ie. more than nothing). I watched both the Superbowl and the Daytona 500, in high definition! Both events were slightly food motivated (that which was being served to me while I watched) but they were both still fun on their own.

New Toy and Yummy Food

I bought a laptop! Finally! I've been wanting one for a long time now, and I feel I've shown a good amount of restraint waiting as long as I have. This is my first new computer since I bought the one I took to university...FIVE AND A HALF years ago! For someone in CS that is pretty crazy. Matt bought 2 other computers since his first and he is starting to think about another now. The laptop is just a cheap Dell 640m, but money goes a lot further with computers now than it used to. It has a Core 2 Duo at 1.66GHz and 1GB of RAM. Just integrated video, but I wasn't planning on doing graphics stuff on it. I bought a cheap laptop on purpose because I still intend on building a new desktop in a year or so. It's so nice to have a laptop!

Last weekend was Rob's birthday party and it was super fun. I got him a bag of forbidden rice for his birthday. It comes from China and according to legend was only allowed to be eaten by the Emperor or those who he chose to allow (ie. concubines). We decided that Rob was not the emperor so he must have been a concubine. Good times! The party had lots of people and lots of cake but I didn't end up eating enough which may have been a mistake.

Before the party a bunch of us went with Rob to the Bier Markt for supper. The food was pretty expensive, but soooooooo good. I had veal schnitzel with these tasty spiced garlic mashed potatos and some special tomato sauce. I also had a couple unique beers, although I don't remember the names of either of them. One had a 10% alcohol content though and they were both pretty good.

Tonight I made tuna stir fry with cabbage, broccoli and carrots with soy sauce and lemon juice. It's the second time I've made it and it's really good. It is also super fast to make so I think I'll probably make it more often. In other tasty food news, I went with Mike to Trimurti on Monday and to Terroni on Tuesday for wing night. I must say I'm a fan of awesome food.


Matt and I bought a domain and webhosting from Dreamhost! It means that when the University deactivates my account this fall my blog will continue to exist! Phew! The world almost lost a staple of modern literature. Narrowly avoided cultural and social collapse. Good thing I got that domain. Right.

Anyway, the new official address of this blog is and you should update your bookmarks before the Fall if you don't want to be confused when my University account goes away. We got the domain and it comes with unlimited subdomains so if anyone needs a quick hosting of something just ask.

In the near term I also intend to change a bunch of things around here and get a new look and layout and backend and everything.

Climbing Update

I've been climbing a bit more lately. I got out this past weekend and again tonight and I will be going again this weekend at some point. I'm really progressing and it's pretty cool. It's nice to be able to do some harder climbs without struggling for half an hour. I also think it is improving my strength, but I don't notice anymore because I'm using more technique instead of just brute force arm work. I'm quite happy with how it's going. Now I just need to get some of my friends out so that I have more climbing partners.

Turkish Wing Night

Wing night was super tasty/random last night. We went to the Balkan Bistro, which is a family-run Turkish restaurant near Baldwin. It was just a little place (and there were 10 of us) but it was super cozy and the family was really friendly. The food (the important bit) was spectacular. I had something that I don't remember the name of, but it had veal, tomato sauce, eggplant puree and lots of random spices. Sooooo good. Every meal came with potatos, rice, something that I couldn't identify and a really nice salad. That is, the meals were way too much food (although I'm not really complaining). Jen and Matt got veal schnitzel and Rob got these really good pork dumplings that came in a creamy yogurt based sauce. Toni and Dave got this really interesting mix of ground beef and rice battered in an crispy egg mixture. I got to try them all and they were all really good. My favourite was definitely the dumplings though.

Tonight was climbing as usual and I had a really good night. I climbed a higher difficulty than ever before and I also climbed a couple from the difficulty immediately below much better than usual.

I'm Not THAT Anal

I collect the Simpsons on DVD (along with lots of other shows, but this story is about the Simpsons). They recently began releasing "special edition" versions of the box sets where the box is shaped like the head of one of the characters. Now this new box is kinda cool, but it looks nothing like the previous box sets and as such doesn't look right on the shelf with the others. Yes this is very anal retentive, but I can't help it. They should all look the same! Season 6 was the first one with the new box. Seasons 7 through 9 also have a new box, but you can still get the same thing in a normal style box as well. It's just season 6 that you can't get in a normal box.

So today I resigned myself to the fact that one box would look weird and picked up season 6 using a gift card from Christmas. I got home and opened it up, silently cursing the stupid non-matching box. But when I looked inside, there was a slip of paper advertising a website that lets you order a standard box for season 6!!!! So cool!!! I went to the website and all it costs is shipping and handling. So I'm ordering it right away. The order form even had a place to indicate your reason for wanting a new box, and one of the reasons was "Anal Retentive (box must be identical)." I totally picked that option.

So this has made me happy for the rest of the day, not just because my properly matching box needs have been fulfilled, but because someone out in the world acknoweldged my exact opinion and has done something to accomodate it. Thank you, awesome anal-retentive person, whoever you are.

Yellow Frisbees are the Best Kind

I forgot to mention something from the New Year's party. Jen got Reena a roll of yellow duct tape (awesome!) and one of our guests made a frisbee out of it and some of my pennies. Here's an in flight picture!

Frisbee in flight!
Frisbee in flight!
New Year's 2007

So I held a New Year's party this year at our place here in Toronto and it went really well. We had around 20 people show up for at least part of the evening and everyone seemed to have a good time. It felt good to do it because I've always had New Year's celebrations with my friends at my house in the past, especially in high school. It was nice to do it again.

Also, although it is a lot of hassle and stress, I kinda enjoy throwing parties. The only thing I don't like is how you can't relax as much at your own party. It's neat to put it together and see everyone have a good time though.

Here are some amusing picture from the evening:

Alex and Andrew
Alex and Andrew
Mike being crazy
Mike being crazy
Me in my fancy new shirt
Me in my fancy new shirt
A bunch of people, and Rob
A bunch of people, and Rob
Matt and Mike
Matt and Mike
Jen with cheese fudge
Jen with cheese fudge
Me, Jen, Lisa, Brian
Me, Jen, Lisa, Brian
Tim and Andrew
Tim and Andrew
Rob falling off a chair
Rob falling off a chair
2006 | 2008