Tuesday, July 29, 2008

out and about, changing phones

Pops and I went to Raq-n-Waq on Friday night (as The Charlotte Room was taken over by a party) and much to my disappointment the place had changed ownership! Also, the tables were in a sad state -- chipped pieces, tables squished together, broken triangles. End of an era. It seems the transition to The Charlotte Room is complete. Pity, that.

I spent much of this evening trying to figure out how to transfer SMS text messages from my Sony Ericcson W200 to my computer. Of course, the packaged install that comes with the phone was useless bloatware -- 75 MB of drivers so that I can explore my phone slower than Window's default USB explorer? I think not. And of course, the uninstall blew up a torrent of error messages, complaining that it couldn't find files I didn't install, leaving my system nigh-useless until after two reboots.

Thankfully, I finally found an excellent piece of freeware, MyPhoneExplorer. It makes backup and restore a joy. That life can be so kind!

Saturday I went to Ultra Supper Lounge with some friends. Interesting place with a great patio, which gives a lovely view of Toronto. They were shooting some kind of reality show pilot -- yuppies polished, men in suits and ladies in revealing summer dresses. We had arrived at 9 to avoid the rush (and the cover), and by 11 the patio was filled to the brim with people beaming and looking over each other's shoulders, pricey drinks in hand.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a drunk's tale

So it seems
that I am drunk
and here I sit
like a sad punk.
Words I have
or rather have not
to describe
my state of gridlock.
Oh these rhymes
they are so lame
for they come
from my very sloshed brain.
Tequila it was
that sour gold
turned me up
a velvet fold.
More than this
I will not say
for tonight
was not my day.
Why is it
that wherever I go
there I am
yet ne'er my goal?
i plan to sleep in
most joyous of joys
to be under the sheets
escaping morning noise
soon I must end
this most silly endeavor
for my mental faculties
are becoming less clever
strange how imbibing
can draw out my words
normally my typing
is nothing but burps
wait no that's not right!
that's not what I meant!
it's just that i haven't
any sense this moment
bonne nuit, dear reader
with ears so patient
to the morning i travel
my pillow adjacent

Oh, and looking back now, those DAHS episodes aren't nearly so regrettable as I made them out to be.

Friday, July 25, 2008

almost woke

Not bad at all. I got to hear Michael Geist speak about the state of copyright in Canada, a state that's gotten considerably worse with Bill C-61. Then I got to meet and talk with my local MP, Peggy Nash. That was pretty cool. Energizes me to want to do something about the bill. It has been suggested that the only way to make politicians take notice of it is if copyright becomes a deciding factor in an election, but how that will happen I haven't the faintest. I must admit I felt a bit like a phony, sitting there, listening mostly but not really thinking. Or maybe that's silly, some kind of Torontonian malaise that causes people to feel awkward if they show enthusiasm for something.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vipassana confirmed

I got my confirmation today -- I will be meditating at the Vipassana center this August 13th through to the 24th. Excited, yes. At the same time I don't want to put all my hope into it, that it will provide answers to the holes in my life. Perhaps it will make no difference at all, and so I need to accept that possibility. Certainly it will be an experience worth having. Three scant weeks away....

Sleep, it escapes me again. My fault this time for having gone to bed around 5 AM Sunday morning, getting caught in that awful humidity and rain. Shot a third episode, am not exactly thrilled with the results. I feel like the more we shoot, the more apologies I'll have to submit! Oh dear. Why can I not merely enjoy the pablums of life?

I had given thought to a 24-hour hwan.com journal-writing marathon. Just the keyboard and my blurst of time thoughts. Well.. perhaps that's something for when I tire of civilized life. Which might not be too far away, the road being so long and unfulfilling. I'm becoming something of an eeyore of late, that is for sure.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight, Attack the Gas Station

Lo my brothers I bring great tidings from the other side! There I have seen the truth and the way, and it is good. A golden age has come upon us, and its name is The Dark Knight. Long I have waited for its arrival, and my patience has been well rewarded. Nay, such riches beyond my imagination: such acting, action, story, drama! All in great measure, all to great effect. Heath Ledger's Joker is surely the villain of the year, a complex, intelligent, dangerous, eloquent, unpredictable animal with a charm that fills every scene. I mean, superb acting all around but Ledger is just a dynamo, a catalyst -- he makes the movie the satisfying experience that it is. And of course, as with all films I recommend, this one has an excellent ending which I shan't otherwise comment on. Go forth and enjoy!

Hmmm while I'm here I'll also quickly write my thoughts on Attack the Gas Station ("Juyuso seubgyuksageun"), a Korean comedy from 1999. Four ne'er-do-well punks attempt to rob a gas station only to find that there's no money in the till. Rather than move on, they lock up the attendants and perform their gas-filling duties, pocketing the payments. Over the course of the night we learn a little about each young man. I like that everyone acts seriously, that there's no break of character and all of the numerous roles are approached with high energy and enthusiasm. It makes what sounds like a very contrived film actually quite palatable, indeed pleasurable. I laughed quite a few times. And perhaps it's just curiousity speaking, but I liked getting yet another glimpse into a culture that is both foreign and familiar to me.

(In particular, it seems striking others is very common there! Or at least, the movies certainly portray it thus!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

hot summer, gross things, Freaks and Geeks, hint of colitis

Holy jim-jiminy is it ever humid outside. Gross, disgustingly so. I walked down the street to get a burger and I scurried back to the office, overheating. I am thankful I have this desk fan here, it is such a comfort, ready to cool me down when I arrive from my morning ride. Oh, I bought tickets to see Batman and did not want to do the ride home and ride back, as pleasing the prospect of a shower may be. I will be leaving shortly to line-up, though I sincerely hope there will be little call for it.

I wonder if it's the heat that has made me so very antsy of late. Certainly I am a troll if not fed on time, but that has always been the case. No, there's something more to it than that. A form of middle-aged boredom? What exactly is this unscratchable itch? Why am I not content to merely enjoy life?

Upsetting experiences this week? I've had two: one, finding a dead house caterpillar the size of my forefinger in a bowl I left overnight in the sink and two, taking a bite of a club sandwich in which the chicken was not fully cooked. The former was the more horrifying for me, and I had entertained the idea of throwing the bowl away, cootie-tainted as it was. I could still do it, as I find myself remembering the way the insect's body refused to be drained down the sink, bloated and floppy and such.

Oh! I finally finished watching Freaks and Geeks. Such a treasure that show is, one of those rare combinations of great acting, realistic stories and believable dialog. Any show in which an Atari 2600 plays a part is all right by me.

Hmm.. I forgot that I was a bit ill, almost colitis-y, earlier this week. Saturday night I had a couple Big Macs (as previously mentioned) before consuming nearly an entire 375mL bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. That may have been my downfall, though I've certainly had my fill of drink before without much in terms of stomach troubles. Anyway, I'm better now.

I tire of my writings. Bring on the Batman!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Enjoyed Hellboy

The new Hellboy movie is not too shabby! I don't know if I really am in the mood to do a full review (if you can call what I say about films to be reviews). I enjoyed it, yes. Action? Lots. Humor? Quite a bit! I guess the one problem I have is that there's no closure with these comic-book films -- the ending is more of an end of a chapter rather than the end of a book. Also, the characters are still fairly shallow and simple. I saw it at the Varsity, so there were plenty of seats and no need to rub elbows with strangers.

Friday after work I went with some friends to the Outdoor Art Exhibition, held at Nathan Phillips. I guess it was alright. Some of the pieces were very mundane, of the "arts and crafts" variety, and some were pretty damn impressive, priced accordingly. Saturday I did my Korean thing, had a huge Greek meal, played some go, ate two Big Macs and shot an episode of a webisode of ... well, I'm not exactly sure what the show is. I guess it's just two drunk guys talking in the interests of comedy. It's entirely self-indulgent, and I'm more than a little embarrassed by it.

Oh, and I've also been managing to squeeze in a few games of GemCraft here and there. Gosh it's addictive!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Helping tourists, watching backgammon

Today a family of tourists asked me where they could find a Chinese buffet. I gave them directions to Chinatown, but I fear that they will not find what they were looking for. I almost turned back to let them know that Indian buffet was far more popular in Toronto's downtown. Should I be worried about their culinary welfare? Even now I hope they found gastronomic satisfaction, if only so that they don't curse that squinty-eyed, long-haired guy with a bicycle on his shoulder. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure they asked me because of my squinty-ness.

I spent most of the evening playing and watching backgammon. I still derive great pleasure (both auditory and tactile) from the manipulation of the cup, dice and checkers. Perhaps I should get into the habit of playing with the fellows at work, though I would like to raise my game a few notches.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cottage weekend

Strangely enough, I went to a cottage this weekend. I mean, I'm not exactly the cottage-going type -- few amenities, lots of bugs, zero computers. Still, I managed to enjoy myself with good company, lots of exercise, and plenty of food. The cottage was located right beside Sandy Lake (north-east of Peterborough), which you can see in this Google Maps link is incredibly clear and clean. The warm weather combined with the bright yet mild sunlight allowed us to spend hours canoeing, paddle-boating, and swimming. In the evening we fiddled and prodded and poked with a campfire, a definite case of too many chefs in the kitchen ("They said it couldn't catch fire..."). There's definitely something to cooking and eating your own food over a wood flame, even if it is just a hotdog or marshmallow.

I'm still not a cottage person, but I guess I have more of a tolerance to them. An open-mindedness, if you will.

Thursday night I saw that new Wanted film. Ehhhhhh... what can I say? Lots of crazy stunts and silly bullet action. As I said to my friend, if I was 20 years younger I'd have loved it. It wasn't my first choice of film by a long shot, but I will grudgingly confess that I was entertained, a guilty thrill at the clang and crash. I guess for mindless explosions and scene after scene of throwing physics out the window, Wanted fills the bill.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A little video game history

I had a dream Sunday morning wherein I.. no, now I'm mixing it up entirely with Wall-E. No! Ok, I was supposed to take a test or exam (yes, in my dreams I'm often back in school, make what you will of that) and I wasn't prepared. It's funny, I haven't really had many stressful situations like that since school or university. When it comes to work you just need to surround yourself with resources -- people, internet, files and numbers. Rarely do you have to memorize a bunch of stuff and be prepared to demonstrate your skills. Except maybe in interviews. Anyway, the wall-e bit was.. hmm.. there was this kind of shuffling shelf unit, like where wall-e stores things he finds interesting. Eh, I did remember more at the time but it's all gone now, to a better place outside my head.

In a not so guilty way, I played several hours of Call of Duty 4 Sunday and yesterday. I was lightly upset that I had to tone down the graphics quite a bit for it to run on my machine, but the missions were still pretty fun. Playing it really did give me the urge to drop some coins on a new computer. But NO! Not at least until I've felt I've earned it -- you know, by making significant progress on my website (ha!) or in, say, an otherwise nonexistent relationship (double-ha with a bit of wah-wah thrown in). That, or StarCraft 2 or Diablo 3 is released. However, I've heard that much of the original Blizzard North team that was responsible for Diablo and Diablo 2 have since left the company. So, who is working on Diablo 3, and will it be any good? Sure, the trailer had me drooling for a little while, but having regained my senses I wonder if this will just be Diablo's version of Titan Quest. You know, just adding some pretty graphics to what is essentially the same game. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it'd be nice for them to make a real leap in the top-down RPG fighter genre or whatever the heck you call Diablo-type games. Which to me seems traceable back to Gauntlet (1985), and then back to Robotron: 2084 (1982) and Berzerk (1980). Hmmm! Apparently Gauntlet was stolen from Dandy (1983). Well, back to what I was saying, the Diablo 3 gameplay trailer gave little hint of any kind of major innovation or change in gameplay. Which is too bad! Personally, I'd love to see some capture the flag or other team-based variants applied to the Diablo engine. Large scale wars? Just say yes!

I had leftover chocolate cake for dinner. Someone tell me if this is good or bad.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Miracle fruit, Blue Jays executive box, Wall-E

When you use the bathroom to wash your hands, do you often find that your bladder decides to, er, chime in? Is it because I know I'm in a bathroom, or is it maybe the smell that triggers some response? If I enter a room that I don't think is a bathroom but has all the trappings of one upon entering, will my peeing instinct kick in?

Just got back from riding around that Humber Bay Park East area, sticking around the bridge to watch the sunset -- pastel purples, pinks and blue. I could barely perceive the shadows moving across the Toronto skyline, which I'd not seen before. A bit of exercise to take advantage of the lovely, very reasonable weather.

Miracle fruit tasting
Miracle fruit tasting
I did go to work today, an otherwise pretty quiet day. Nice to be able to tinker on long put-off side projects, without the constant grind all up in mah grill. Yeah. We did have strawberries and champagne, which was nice.

OH! Last Wednesday my miracle fruit delivery finally came in, and on Friday we had a little miracle fruit ex-taste-aganza! The effect was strongest with lemons -- they definitely tasted as if they were dipped in sugar. Limes and grapefruit were somewhat sweeter, but just not in the same league as the lemons. Strawberries tasted rotten, as if they were fresh from the garbage bin. A lot of people noticed the green apples being very nice, but I didn't see much difference. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves so I guess it was a success. The funny thing is, later on at a bar I asked the waitress if my Guinness had been substituted with another beer because I found that it had a distinct fruity, grassy flavour to it. Unfortunately I mentioned that I had taken a "pill" earlier in the day that may be interfering with my ability to discern beer flavour and I went pretty much unheeded after that.

Blue Jays game
Blue Jays game
Saturday was a fairly full day for me. I saw the Jays game in one of those luxury suites -- open bar, buffet and snacks all paid for, as well as a couple hostesses to serve them to you. You share it with about 20 other people, but you do get 4 bathrooms which is nice. UNFORTUNATELY, my former boss was there (not one of my troublesome ones), who I wanted to say hello to but I'd forgotten his name! We never made eye contact so I'm not sure if he saw me, though he was with some work lackeys I recognized, lackeys I'd also forgotten the names of. Oh well! As my friend said, he didn't say hello either.

This is a long entry, so just bear with me here. After the game I watched Wall-E, the new Pixar film. At first I was quite reluctant to see it, it being what I'd considered a kids film and likely a schlocky Disney cute-fest. However, while cuteness did abound, I must say I was very impressed. The sound effects and animation were top notch -- I easily got a feel for textures of surfaces, they were so well presented. And the story was neither contrived nor formulaic. Dare I say it was original and well worth watching? I just did! Definitely something to see on the big screen.

Whew! Ok, that's enough for now. Stay tuned, naysayers!

Loving Freaks and Geeks

Whoo, I just saw The Garage Door episode of Freaks and Geeks and it was.. oh man I just can't get over how much I love this show! I mean, sure, I loved The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but Freaks is just so.. I dunno, all the characters are special and precious and authentic and wonderful. And it's set in the early 80s, which does have some meaning for me. Some, not a lot, but some. I mean hey, this episode featured Atari's! Oh man seeing those boxes and that black 2600 console with those blocky joysticks, does that ever take me back.

Speaking of taking things back, Diablo 3. Oh dear.