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Random Thoughts

31 October 2004

blast from the mary ward past

florence celebrated her birthday today and she organized a karaoke party, like she did last year. now, at last year's party, i wound up meeting christine, a long-lost childhood friend and fellow student from mary ward (my high school) who i hadn't seen in years. it was a complete coincidence that we met and also a coincidence that we both knew florence (through different people).

so, guess what happened at her party this year? i met another long-lost friend from high school, anita, who i hadn't seen since my high school graduation over 9 years ago. it was great to see her again!

one thing i wish our high school did was organize alumni reunions on a regular basis. since my university was outside of toronto, i wound up losing touch with just about everyone from high school. it's too bad, because i often think back to my high school days and wonder what everyone is up to right now. this goes not only for my fellow students, but my teachers as well.

if you're reading this and you're an MW grad who graduated between 1994 and 1997, send me an e-mail and let me know how you're doing!

30 October 2004

me as donovan mcnabb, or how i celebrated halloween for the first time in ages

so, i was invited to a halloween party tonight and i decided to attend, which marked the first time in i-can't-remember-how-long that i've celebrated halloween. in the good old days of yore i used to dress up and collect junk food around the block. then i grew a little older and begging for candy was no longer cool now that i was taller than some of the adults in the neighbourhood. most of my friends started going to halloween dances and parties but i, not being the partygoing type, usually stayed home. of course, once i went away to university i didn't have time for any kind of social activies. but i do remember that, in fall 2000 during my four months as howard's roommate, quite a few kids actually came and knocked on our townhouse door. after that year, i've lived exclusively in apartment buildings and sadly, i haven't had any children come trick-or-treating for the past 3 years.

with respect to the party, problem number one was that i had no costume. not wanting to go costume-less, and not wanting to buy something that i would only wear once a year, it took me a very long time to decide on something good. i finally decided that, being a philadephia eagles fan, i would buy a donovan mcnabb jersey, plus an eagles baseball cap, and go as the eagles' starting qb (cheesy? yes, but i really couldn't come up with a better idea, and the mall was about to close).

we went to the courthouse down on adelaide west of church, and i eventually found myself in the same room that i had passed through during the doors open event earlier this year, on one of my dates with pizza. there were a lot of people in really creative costumes, but there were some people there that were acting really strangely ... i couldn't tell if they had had too much to drink. it was really crowded, but that was to be expected. the music wasn't too bad ... a little on the loud side, but i guess i'm just not used to it. after all, i haven't been in a club in almost 8 years ...

we left at about 1am and headed to the marche for some drinks. there, i got to know everyone a little better, which was great because the only person i knew at the start of the night was winston. i had the italian raspberry soda, which was a little disappointing - it didn't have too much flavour to it.

after the post-party beverage, it was well after 2am (or 1am because daylight savings time ended ... whatever) and the subways had stopped running for the night, so i experienced another first in my life ... i got to try the ttc's blue-night bus service! from yonge and king i went up to bloor, then on bloor west to high park. those buses actually get quite crowded, even at that time of night, because they only come once every 15 minutes. however, they travel rather quickly. it only took me an hour to get home.

what a great halloween! let's hope next year is just as much fun, and that i'll think of a better costume ...

27 October 2004

service announcement: avoid collect calls!

my mom called me last night with an interesting question. she had just received her latest phone bill from bell and she wanted to know why her phone calls to my sister in vancouver were costing her, on average, a ridiculous $0.65 per minute.

an interesting question it was indeed. it's well-known that bell's first-rate plan charges a flat 10 cents per minute to anywhere in canada. i was asking her if she was calling during business hours, but no, she was calling exclusively on weekends. i thought and thought, and i couldn't figure out why mom was getting ripped off by bell, but then the proverbial light bulb went on in my head. if you read the title of today's entry, you'll know the answer why.

so, here it is, ladies and gentlemen. don't make or accept collect calls when a normal call can be made!!! if you're living on a tight student budget like my sis and you don't want hefty phone bills, ask your mom (or whoever) to decline the collect call AND HAVE HER CALL YOU BACK RIGHT AWAY. it's as simple as that, and it will save you hundreds of $$$ in the long run.

hmm ... i've been making a lot of weblog entries recently. maybe it's time to ease off a little bit.

oh, i have a long story regarding the dvd player i bought two weeks ago at pacific mall ... but that will have to wait until another day ...

26 October 2004

team america ... f*** yeah!

by some amazing miracle, i wasn't sore from the stair climb yesterday. wow! felt perfectly fine on monday morning. well, not perfectly fine, but you know what i mean ...

anyways, i found out that hart house members can sign out the pianos in hart house to practice on! so, after choir practice last night ... i signed out the upright in the debates room, and finally played seriously for the first time since ... since ... my days at western?

my fingers felt like lumbering drunkards as they hit the keys. after two years away from the clavier i had lost all of my dexterity and music sense. as hard it was to play, my music was even harder to listen to. after about 45 minutes, i had enough for a day. my wrists were starting to get tired. but, now that i know that this resource exists, i'll be back often in the future.

the steinway grand pianos in hart house are also available for practice, but you need to have completed grade 10 piano at the rcm. so, before i signed up yesterday, i had to go digging for my old exam result ... i can't believe it's been almost 10 years since i took that exam. i've always said to myself that i would one day take the performer's arct, but with every passing day, it appears less and less likely that i will achieve that goal. if i ever win the lottery, one of the first things i'm going to do is buy a steinway grand and start practicing.

back to the present ... after work today, we went to watch team america: world police at the colossus. easily the funniest movie i've watched this year, and it's a political satire to boot! if you're not the type that's easily offended, i highly recommend this movie. warning: you may find yourself humming the soundtrack for many, many hours afterwards ...

24 October 2004

i don't want to see any stairs for a very long time

this morning i went to the cn tower (8:30am! ouch!) with my co-workers at alcatel to participate in the enbridge cn tower team climb for the united way. it was my first time doing the climb, and foolish little me thought it would be a piece of cake climbing the 147 flights of stairs. boy, was i wrong.

i started jogging up the first few flights of stairs, but i quickly slowed down to a more reasonable pace. i was doing all right for the first half of the climb, but going so fast at the beginning was a big mistake. around the 70th flight, i finally had to stop and take a short breather. but, the short breather wasn't enough. i finally hit the wall around the 110th flight - i couldn't go on anymore. my heart was pounding and my legs were on fire. i stopped for a full 5 minutes while a steady stream of people went right on by. at this point i forgot about trying to finish with a good time and i just wanted to get to the top alive. the thing about the cn tower is that you can't quit halfway. once you're inside that staircase, at the 110th flight, there are only two exits - up 37 flights, or down 110 flights. you can't just walk away like you could in a marathon. after that i stopped about every 8 flights for a minute or two to catch my breath.

at the 130th flight i distinctly recall that i stopped caring about everything and wondered why i had agreed to do this in the first place. my legs felt like sandbags at this point. finally, i reached the end, in an embarrassing time of 35 minutes and 54 seconds. it says on the webpage that the average person can do the climb in 30 minutes, so i guess that means i'm below average and/or out of shape. i have no problem admitting this. all i care is that it's over.

we all got a t-shirt after the climb, with our time written on the back. with my time, i don't think i can wear that t-shirt in public without suffering major embarrassment. but, if i ever climb the tower again, i'll have a goal - to beat my time from this year. i think that if i pace myself properly, i should be able to do it in under 35 minutes without any problmes.

the slogan on the back on the t-shirt says "i conquered the tower in xxx mins xxx seconds". i think it would be really cool if we could write our own slogans on the back. something like "the tower conquered me in xxx mins xxx seconds" would have been more appropriate in my case.

clement, john, winston and i then went to the marche afterwards for brunch. strangely, i wasn't as hungry as i thought i would be. i really should have stayed away from the caffeinated beverages, but i got a big cup of cafe au lait.

believe it or not, the real pain hasn't hit me yet. clement said that after last year's climb, his body was sore for the next 4 to 5 days. i'm not looking forward to waking up tomorrow.

21 October 2004

sun salutions and my plan to foil george lucas

yesterday we learned the sun salutation in yoga class. i keep messing up the part where go into the 8 points stance and then through into the cobra. my rear end is always wildly sticking into the air at this point and i'm pretty sure i'm doing it incorrectly. i must look like a complete fool when i'm in this position. fortunately no one i know (except candy) is there to see me in this compromising position.

on another note, i thought i'd point out a little interesting tidbit about myself. i, in my lifetime, have not watched a single minute of any of the episodes of star wars! you, dear reader, must be shocked! but yes, it's true. anyways, here's why i've abstained from star wars for so long. you see, my plan is to wait until episode 3 gets released, and then I'LL WATCH ALL SIX EPISODES IN THE CORRECT ORDER, starting with episode 1, not episode 4!!! bwahahahaha! i bet mr. lucas didn't account for people like me. anyways, i think i could rent episodes 1 and 2 now, in time for the expected may 2005 release of episode 3. then again, i might not, because according to just about everyone, the first two episodes suck ...

16 October 2004

the end and a new beginning

although i haven't mentioned it until now, it's been almost two months since pizza and i broke up and ended our relationship. being rather inexperienced when it comes to these things, it took me much, much longer than i expected to completely get over the whole incident.

the past two months were an emotional roller-coaster for me. i experienced virtually the whole gamut of negative emotions when the break-up occurred, but as time passed, these negative emotions were slowly replaced by their positive counterparts. i'm finally fully healed and ready to move on with my life. even though there were a lot of things said and done at the end that i disagreed with which made me very unhappy at the time, i no longer harbour any hard feelings or resentment towards pizza and i really do wish her all the best in the future, whatever that may bring.

i'd like to take away the positives from each of my life experiences, and looking back upon my four months together with pizza, i learned a lot not only about relationships, but about myself. i have a better idea of what my strengths and weaknesses are as a human being. i also have a better idea of what i'm looking for in a partner.

it's strange being single again ... all of a sudden my weekends are wide open and i've wound up spending more time with my parents and my close friends. i also plan to spend some of my free time in the upcoming weeks making use of my new tv and dvd player to watch movies. it'll probably be a while before i'm ready to start dating again.

yes, a chapter in my life has ended, but in its place a new one has started. the relentless wheels of time churn forward ... life goes on.

lastly, to my dear ex-girlfriend, if you're reading this: the darkest part of night must pass before the sun can rise again. it might be next week, or next month, or next year, but rest assured ... the sun will rise.


15 October 2004

candle still burns brightly

so, to go with my new dvd player, i decided to upgrade my tv today to a 24" toshiba flat screen. sadly, it was time to say goodbye to my old friend, my 13" candle brand tv which my dad bought for me back in 1985.

candle would have turned 20 this coming march. he's been with me through countless numbers of different residences in toronto, waterloo and london. he's given me many, many hours of entertainment, from the days of colecovision, through the nintendo nes and snes game systems, to the sony playstation. through the years, candle has always displayed a vividly sharp and colourful picture, free of static and distortion, and he's still working great today.

fortunately, candle isn't headed for the scrap heap just yet. i managed to find candle a new owner when ciro mentioned his need for a tv in his new home. so, candle will live on, and he should make it well past his 20th birthday. he's in good hands.

even though my new toshiba is a superior model, i don't think it's going to last me 20 years. i'll miss you, candle. they just don't build tv's like they used to.

11 October 2004

thanksgiving = region-free dvd player and happy birthday doug!

my search for a region-free dvd player led me (as expected) to the black market of toronto, pacific mall. they really do sell all sorts of quasi-legal things up there, and paying cash means you don't pay tax, which sometimes makes you wonder just how much the owners hide from revenue canada. anyways, i'm not one to complain - $70 tax-free is a great deal.

my one complaint about that complex (pacific mall + the adjacent market village) is the horribly undersized parking lot. on weekend and holiday afternoons, finding a parking spot in that lot is more or less like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. what makes it even worse are the super-long lineups of cars trying to get into the plaza via left turns from kennedy and steeles. it's the main reason why that intersection is one of the most dangerous in the city. fortunately, i arrived to buy the dvd player at 6pm and the parking lot had thinned somewhat.

doug's birthday dinner (which i suppose could also have been considered thanksgiving dinner!) took place over at market village in the seoul garden korean bbq restaurant, which i had never been to before. the food was a lot better than the place we usually go to for bbq when the waterloo crowd comes to town, but it was slightly more expensive. i liked the spicy korean soup with assorted vegetables. the korean mustard tasted suspiciously like wasabi, but had the usual yellow colour. i like the natural flavouring of the meat, and so i didn't wind up using the sauce. the mango-flavoured birthday cake was a nice way to end the meal. happy 29th birthday doug!

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