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Random Thoughts


30 January 2005

the growing baby

one of my new favourite activities is driving to yonge and sheppard, to see how my new condo is progressing! it's so exciting ... it's almost like being an expectant father, waiting for his baby to come to term. (alright, maybe that's a poor analogy.)

i saw today that they had started construction of the 10th floor. they've certainly been progressing very quickly, because i remember that they were still working on the underground parking garage as recently as october. of course, only the skeleton of the building exists right now. there's still much more that has to be done.

in terms of the expected date of completion, i think november 2005 is a little optimistic. there will probably be some delays ... and the lower floors get to move in first, which probably means i won't get to move in for at least another full year. i'll just have to be patient.


29 January 2005

vegetarianism ... probably not for me

i arrived at the korean bbq restaurant a little late this time ... there were already 6 people there, including stu, who was on crutches. poor stu suffered a minor "mishap" over the holidays, injuring his ankle, and was still wearing a cast.

anyways, that's not what i wanted to talk about today ... what i wanted to talk about was vegetarianism. a few months ago, stu decided to try the whole vegetarian thing again after having given up on it a few years ago. of course, he decided to use his ankle injury as an excuse to start eating meat again ... he claims that he'll go back to a meat-free diet after he is done with the crutches. i have no idea whether to believe him or not.

i asked stu back in the fall why he decided to forsake the wonderful world of meat after having enjoyed it for so many years. after all, he'd have to give up his favourites, namely, dim sum and korean bbq! why, stu, why? well, stu said it was for two reasons: firstly, he wanted to avoid meat-borne diseases such as the avian flu and mad-cow; second, it was a form of protest against the inhumane raising and slaughtering of farm animals. apparently, he watched a documentary on what kfc does to their chickens prior to slaughter, and he said that it was very disturbing.

now, even though i'm not worried at all about meat-borne diseases, and i've already stopped eating at kfc permanently, this little discussion caused me to start to think about my own dietary choices. i know that a meat- free diet is much healthier in the long run, but i love meat too much and i don't think i would be able to last very long on a vegetarian diet. however, something i might consider doing is going vegetarian one day every two weeks, just to see how it goes.

any vegetarians out there who'd like to add some comments/suggestions?


27 January 2005

godel, escher, bach revisited

over a year ago, i decided to take on the challenge of reading godel, escher, bach by hofstadter. finally, after many interesting chapters and dialogues, i reached the end of the book this evening, and i'm glad i persevered all the way to the end. geb has become one of my favourite books, and will probably remain one of my favourites for a very long time. the pulitzer price won by hofstadter for this book was very well deserved.

now that geb has returned to my bookshelf, i'll need something else to read now before bedtime. maybe a trip to chapters is in order ...

also, after i contacted the resident manager about the heating problem inside my apartment last weekend, action was taken very quickly. they applied some tape around the edges of the windows to keep the cold air out, and they cleaned out the heater to get rid of any dust inside. it's nice and warm again! a thank-you goes out to the resident managers in my building who are first-class when it comes to dealing with maintenance requests! i'm going to miss the supers here when i move out next year.


24 January 2005

volunteering for ivcf

the intervarsity choral festival (ivcf) is an annual festival in which six universities, including western and u of t, participate. when i was in western two years ago, i would been part of ivcf 2003 at mcmaster had i not dropped out of phd prior to the concert. doh!

anyways, two years later, ivcf is coming to u of t and i thought i would make amends by, at the very least, attending the gala concert at the end of the festival, and preferably, by helping out with the concert in some way. (since the hart house singers are not involved with ivcf, i wouldn't be singing in the concert.) so, i decided to help out by volunteering! i'm not exactly sure what the concert organizers want me to do - after all, they want me to be at convocation hall three hours before the start of the concert - but i'll be ready to assist in any way i can.

if you're free on sunday, february 13th, come down to u of t and attend the concert! the tickets are only $15, $10 for students and seniors.

visit the hart house chorus website for more information.


23 January 2005

E..A..G..L..E..S..EAGLES!

another day to stay indoors, given the frigid weather outside, but perfect since the nfl conference championships were today. my favourite team, the philadelphia eagles, FINALLY got over the hump with a dominating performance against michael vick and the atlanta falcons. after three straight heartbreaking seasons, believe it ... the eagles are super-bowl bound! yeah!!

now, i'm a realist, and i recognize the patriots are huge favourites two weeks from now. but, that doesn't prevent me from cheering my favourite team on! besides, in a one-game winner-take-all format, anything can happen. just three years ago, the pats were 14-point underdogs, and beat the heavily-favoured so-called "greatest show on earth".

now the only question is ... where should we go to watch the big game? one thing's for sure ... i'm going to be wearing my mcnabb jersey and eagles baseball cap! (i'm still patting myself on the back for that choice of halloween costume last october ... what a stroke of genius.)


22 January 2005

movie night: full metal jacket

another double entry! the weather outside just screams out loud ... MOVIE NIGHT!! ... so i decided to obey.

on the tube tonight was kubrick's full metal jacket, which provides an excellent commentary of the nature of war, as it relates specifically to the vietnam war. the training that the marines are put through dehumanizes them and desensitizes them to what is going on around them. the first half of the movie revolves around a dictatorial drill sargeant and his favourite punching bag, a private who can't do anything right. the sargeant simply steals the show; a bravura performance. the second half, which takes place in vietnam, is also disturbing and unsettling, but in a different way ... the dehumanization is not coming from a drill sargeant, but from the war itself. after the movie, you start to wonder ... what does war do to us? why do people act the way they do during war? what is it all for?

in terms of war movies i've seen, this one doesn't have the emotional impact that schindler's list did, nor does it showcase the horrors of war quite like the pianist. however, its images and message will remain with you for a very long time. for comparison purposes, i suppose i'm going to have to add at least apocalypse now, and probably saving private ryan, to my movies-to-watch list ...


22 January 2005

nowhere to escape from the frigid weather

i think there's something very wrong with the heating apparatus in my apartment because it's miserably cold in here. due to the snowstorm outside, i can't really go anywhere, so i'm stuck here wearing a light jacket, trying to keep warm. brrrrrrr! over by the window and balcony, it's probably no higher than 10 degrees. things are a little better away from the balcony, but not much better. i hope the building manager can do something about this fast, because i don't know how much longer i can take this ...

another disappointing thing about the snowstorm today is that stu and the waterloo gang were supposed to come to toronto for korean bbq today, but we had to cancel due to the weather. i guess we'll have to put it off for at least one more week.


15 January 2005

one car problem fixed, another found

it was time to fix my right rear tire, which has been leaking air at a very fast rate. since my dad knows a local mechanic in scarborough, i decided to take my car there. however, since the mechanic doesn't take appointments, we had to go there first thing in the morning, when the mechanic was least likely to be busy. so, i got to agincourt mall at the ridiculous time of 8am (8am on a saturday! yikes!) today. ouch!

guess what? the mechanic found not one, but two nails in my right rear tire! that explains a lot. i honestly can't recall exactly when the tire got punctured. one thing i'll be sure to do from now on is inspect the exterior of my car more frequently and be on the lookout for any problems - i'm very lucky nothing bad happened this time.

well, the tire was fixed and now it's happy again, but now there's another problem with my car ... the cd player's broken. the player makes weird sounds when the ignition is off, and when i try to put a cd in, the disc goes halfway, gets stuck, and pops back out. i'll have to get this looked at by the people at the dealership ...


12 January 2005

more january deals, part 2

after my nightmarish visit to the dentist last month, i've been thinking of things i could do to avoid that kind of misery from ever occurring again. i thought that a good first step would be to do a better job of brushing my teeth. what better way to accomplish this than to buy one of those snazzy new electric toothbrushes?

so, i'm now the proud owner of an oral-b professional care 7550 electric toothbrush. this thing works like a charm! after 5 minutes, my teeth have that squeaky clean feeling that i only used to get after a dentist visit.

ok, i have to admit ... i can't really consider this purchase a good deal, as it cost quite a bit. is the investment worth it? i'll know after my next visit to the dentist ...


09 January 2005

movie night: blade runner

ever since i got my dvd player fixed, i've been wanting to actually get my money's worth by using the player regularly. so, i've started renting movies from rogers on a semi- regular basis. i'm not that big a fan of hollywood blockbusters, though. the movies i am interested in are the ones which have been critically acclaimed, movies which have deeper meanings, movies which leave a lasting impression on the viewer. to achieve a balance, i usually rent one serious movie and one non-serious movie together, so that my brain doesn't get overloaded with things to think about.

recently, i rented blade runner. now, if you check any serious list of the best science-fiction movies ever made, you will find this movie and 2001: a space odyssey in the top two positions. i watched 2001 a few years ago, and it was indeed amazing ... for a movie to deliver such novel ideas in fields as varied as human evolution, space travel, and artificial intelligence, was astounding. its reputation is certainly well-deserved.

however, after watching blade runner, i was a little disappointed. for some reason, the movie didn't deliver the same impact that 2001 did. yes, blade runner asks very deep questions about the nature of humanity and what it means to be human. it also left several clues throughout the movie which implied that there was more to harrison ford's character than met the eye. (i didn't notice these clues on my first viewing and only discovered them later when reading a review.) but for some reason, to me, it just wasn't on the same level as 2001. on my personal list of sci-fi movies, blade runner now occupies the #2 slot. this is one movie i might want to watch again at some point in the future.


08 January 2005

more january deals

the next thing on my wishlist was a humidifier. my search led me to square one, where zellers had a nice small humidifier for $27 before tax. another great deal! this was also the perfect opportunity to use the hbc gift certificate i received from my sister for my b-day last month. thanks yvonne!


06 January 2005

what's wrong with my right rear tire?

a few days ago, after arriving at work i was informed by a co-worker that the right rear tire of my car looked a little flat. i was surprised to hear that, because i hadn't noticed anything funny while driving the car - it wasn't leaning towards one side like a car with a flat usually does. however, sure enough, when i took a look, the tire was quite deflated - not totally flat, but definitely not safe to drive on.

fortunately, my co-worker had a tire compressor which helped, but i need to get my car to a garage as soon as possible. after work today, i went to canadian tire to buy a compressor and a tire gauge, and the two combined cost less than $15! this has to be the best time of the year if you're a shopper ... everything is on sale.

lastly, i've decided to renew my hart house membership for another year, as this past year was a lot of fun. i'm back with the singers again!


01 January 2005

happy new year!

happy new year everyone! to celebrate the new year, i went to my auntie may's house for a family dinner. we used to visit auntie may's house every year around the holidays when i was small, but we stopped having these holiday gatherings in the late 90's as it was difficult to get everyone together at the same time. plus, it's a lot of work for auntie may to prepare the food. so, what we wound up doing the past few years was eat out at a local restaurant. however, we decided to try cooking dinner ourselves this year, and i'm glad we did. the dinner brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, and i'm looking forward to the holiday dinner next year!

after dinner, i did something i haven't done in AGES ... we sat down to play some recreational mahjong. for those who have never heard of mahjong, it's a traditional chinese board game played with tiles by 4 players - it's quite popular in chinese culture. the last time i played was new year's eve 1999, exactly 5 years ago. playing mahjong with my dad is a blast. he makes all these funny faces and silly comments which make my sister and i laugh. i had a great time. thank you auntie may for all the great food!



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