Superfluous Matter
Weekend Stuff

This weekend was lots of fun! On Friday night a whole bunch of us went to the Madison for Jeff's birthday. It's a pretty good place and absolutely huge. Simone had reserved a whole section for us and we had lots of beer and wings and even a cake! It was really good times!!

Saturday was the annual Rib-O-Rama at my boss's house. They smoke ribs in smokers and there are lots of salads and desserts and stuff. Kim came with me this year and it was lots of fun. The thunderstorms went away just before it started leaving us with perfect weather. The food was great and the beer was cold. I brought a strawberry-rhubarb crumble pie from Dufflet and someone else brought homemade vanilla ice cream. I combined these two and received very positive feedback.

Also on Saturday I read "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. This is a classic of science fiction (it won both the Hugo and the Nebula award) and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I found the suggestion of "morality of intention" a bit strange, but I really liked the emphasis on using children for morally difficult tasks because they are free from all of the preconceptions that burden adults. I'm not saying I think we should enslave children for all our dirty work, I just think it is interesting how much the world changes people and how settled you can get with your notions of the way the world works. This idea became most apparent to me when I read a couple critical analyses of the book and could see the essayist's world views and preconceptions biasing their work. Anyway, the sequel to the book also won both the Hugo and the Nebula (crazy!) so I'll be reading that one as well.

Sunday morning Jen and Jeremy made a brunch of delicious crêpes for all the Cityplace dwellers. They had all sorts of fruit and toppings and of course a lot of Nutella. We all had a good time chatting and eating and when we were done I took my bursting stomach out east on Queen to do some rock climbing. It was a good outing and afterwards I enjoyed a peaceful relaxing evening.

Tonight, for wing night, after years of failed attempts, we finally made it to Duff's for wings. Duff's is supposed to have some of the best wings in Toronto. I liked them, but they really made me long for Morty's in Waterloo. I think it might be time for a road trip.

This weekend is camping in Algonquin! I can't wait!!

Chocolate Review, Valrhona Abinao

Last weekend I did a bunch of stuff (see the next post) and one of the activities took me to Dufflet where I picked up this chocolate bar in addition to delicious pastries.

The bar is 85% cocoa and is made from beans from Africa. It is smooth like the other Valrhona bars I've tried, which certainly takes the edge of the increased cocoa content. However smoothness isn't enough. The taste was very flat and uninteresting and the aftertaste was bitter and unpleasant. I wouldn't buy this one again.

Writer's Strike Content

I'm just going to take a minute here to point out something I found on the Interwebs this morning. During the writer's strike it seems that Joss Whedon (of Buffy, Angel and Firefly fame) was busy on a personal project. The results are now available. Be sure to check out Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog for glorious, musical, Joss Whedon-esque content staring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion. The first act was released today and the others will be released later this week.

Update: I should mention that these videos will only be online until midnight on Sunday. After that they disappear (although you'll be able to purchase a DVD). So watch them soon if you're interested!

Update 2: It appears that the rest of the Internet also enjoys the work of Joss Whedon as the interest appears to have killed his poor server. I looked around for a mirror without success so I guess just keep trying the main site and maybe it will become fixed by magic.

Final Update: Here are some mirrors to try: mirror 1,mirror 2, and mirror 3.

Weekend Things

I did a few things this I'll blather on about them for a bit here.

Friday Kim and I hit up Spring Rolls for some supper and then saw Hellboy 2. I liked the original Hellboy and I loved the style of "Pan's Labyrinth" and since the director of all three is the same guy (Guillermo del Toro) this was a must see movie. It was pretty good and the creativity and attention to detail used in the creatures and monsters was awesome. Good movie!

Saturday we went to a bakery on St. Clair in hunt of the best croissant in Toronto. I'm already partial to the ones from Thuet, but since they're the only ones I've tried I though I should broaden my horizons. Anyway, these were good croissants, but not as good as the ones I had recently in New York. These ones could have been just a touch more buttery I thought. The bakery ended up being in the middle of something called the Salsa Festival (which is in it's 4th year apparently) so after getting the croissants we explored that for a bit and got some empanadas. Then we went to the Loblaws that's right there and did a bit of grocery shopping before heading home.

Last night I installed the latest version of Ubuntu on my desktop and today I also installed it on my laptop. It's pretty good, same old happy Linux with updated software and a few new features. I can't complain. Finally, I replaced my never used Vista installation on my laptop with Windows XP (also likely to remain unsed).

This evening I went climbing for the first time in like 3 weeks. It felt good to be back and I'm looking forward to going again on Wednesday.

RAW Photos and RawTherapee

Lately I've been taking photos in RAW format with my DSLR and using UFRaw to post-process the images. It's not a bad program and it has an awesome batch mode, but I was starting to get the feeling that my camera was better at doing the post-processing than I was.

Anyway, today I found a new program that's a lot more solid and has a lot more features. RawTherapee handles a bunch of stuff automatically as well so it's a bit easier to work with.

There's still a lot of terminology to understand though, but I was able to get a pretty nice result on my first try. Check it out below. I was able to increase the brightness of this image which started out pretty dark and I was also able to really bring out the greens in the background. Finally I was able to soften the noise in background to make it look more like blur than random junk.

Pretty flower in New York City
Pretty flower in New York City
Trip Updates

I finished my trip blogs for both Camping on the Bruce Peninsula and for our trip to New York City. Check them out for some awesome photos and stuff from these two really fun trips!

Also, I finally saw Wall-E on Saturday! It was freaking awesome and the short that runs before it was hilarious too! Pixar continues to produce animated films that are just miles ahead of all the competition. Go see Wall-E!

2008-06 | 2008-08