Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cancelling cellphone extras (!), starting Life on Mars

I went ahead and did it: I cancelled my cellphone's voicemail. It was actually a very quick and painless process, so kudos I suppose go to Rogers for that. I also got rid of my caller ID. Turns out I don't really need it. Why have I gotten rid of these services? BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BE FREE! And I refuse to pay for them anymore. Well, to be sure, I hardly use my phone, or its services, all that much anyway.

I believe this is right.

Oh, and I've started watching Life on Mars. So far pretty impressive!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Getting into go

Holy cow when did China get so good at curling? Has this always been the case? I'm watching the women's world championship and Canada is losing 7-2? Wha?? Am I really off-base here with that comment? Hmmm possibly..

I spent a few evenings playing Escape game [VISION] which I am finding to be exceptionally difficult. I was able to finish the first two but man this is really .. just too much. Ok, I'm blabbing here about everything I see. No, I am not drunk. Did I mention I'm drinking less these days? Laughable but true. So many things, so many details. Where was I? Oh right yes health. Really? No.

Ok sorry this is not starting well. I wanted to originally say that I think I might be trying to do too many things these days. There's Korean, there's my websites, there's computer games, there's go, there's reading and movies and TV shows to catch up on. Hmmm, I'm really beginning to hate this entry and I'm not exactly sure why? Boring? Full of lies? Mostly boring.

Go! Yes, I've taken up go, going so far as to buy a couple books and invest in a handsome board and stones. There's something very satisfying about playing on that thing, slamming those stones down or just picking one out of the bowl. The patterns that emerge are wonderful, beautiful. Of course I'm still very much the amateur and playing go just highlights my inability to concentrate, a constant fuzz in my mind. On the other hand, I do feel my mind clearing up, cobwebs brushed aside when I play. Anyway yeah... go!

Ok, so the deal with this crappy journal entry is that I'm limiting my editing, my removal of sentences and thoughts, my self-censoring that I normally exhibit when writing here. I usually give my entries a thorough once-over, clean up concepts and such. Today I have not. So, take that as it is.

March is still pretty damn cold! I'm totally ready for the warmer weather!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shadows in the Palace (Goongnyeo)

Last night I finished watching Goongnyeo (2007), otherwise known as Shadows in the Palace although the name translates literally to "palace woman". Overall I did not much care for it.

SPOILERS: My primary problem was that it tried to be two movies at once -- a serious mystery drama and a j-pop horror, and the later really detracted from the former, which I thought was doing just fine until about the half-way point of the film. If they had kept to slowly unraveling the details of the murder, I'd have been happy. Instead, they introduced the mystical and once that happens any detective work goes right out the door. It really bothered me! I was also upset by the brutal and grotesque violence that those women had to endure, portrayed in such detail. I mean it was just so vivid, so graphic, I was just turned right off. I suppose the director wanted to get the point across that we were once barbarians. They surely succeeded in that regard.

Which is too bad because I was quite interested in the story and plot -- there's been a murder inside the palace made to look like a suicide. What then appears to be a simple case of infidelity is spun quite around on its head. Once you get to that point in the film I'd say you've seen the best parts already. Sticking around for the ending, with its spirits and possessions and gratuitous gore, is a real disappointing experience.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rock Band, Serbian meal, Korean food culture

I wanted to mention that I got to try the drums with Rock Band this past Monday, which I guess was St. Patrick's Day. I enjoyed it but I'm pretty sure I prefer playing the guitar parts. The feedback on the drums is not nearly as rewarding. Frankly, I can't quite place what the real draw of "Guitar Hero"-type games are. I guess it's a very easy way to "play" an instrument and requires a lot less skill. Sure does seem to reward drunkeness. But no, it IS fun. I would like to play again but I think I would prefer doing so in the privacy of my own home.

Oh, I also wanted to briefly describe the food I had Wednesday night at a Serbian restaurant, which is actually just down the street from my place. We started with a few apps: warm bread with an oily cream cheese, a salad that was similar to Greek salad only without olives, and a plate of cold cuts and cheeses. My entrée was this kind of chicken cordon bleu, only it was in a long log shape with lots of cream cheese (or something very much like) inside. The outside was very crispy but not too oily which I liked. The log (I can't remember its Serbian name) came with rice, potatoes and a coleslaw. A couple of my dinner mates had these sausages with cheddar cheese inside them which I did try and liked as well, though I am not much of a meat-eater these days. All in all, a very heavy and very carnivorous meal, one that gave me dreaded NBS: noisy bowel syndrome.

Speaking of gastronomic adventures, did you know that in Korea "Dog Days (of summer)" (in and around August) refer to days when dog meat is more popular? It's freaking hilarious! The theory is that eating dog meat replenishes nutrients lost due to excessive sweating. Between this and fan death... well, I really don't know what to say! I suppose all cultures have their little crazy theories and superstitions, but Dog Days really does make me laugh. Oh, supposedly the meat is very flavourful and tender and is easily digested, and as such is given to sick people alongside chicken with ginseng soup. I still find the thought of eating dog distasteful, but there's no need to re-open that old chestnut is there?

I had some jajangmyeon with my tutor yesterday at some Korean place near Yonge and Finch. When I looked up that wiki entry, I saw that Korea has a Black Day wherein singles eat jajangmyeon. Bah! I like jajangmyeon a lot, and it has nothing to do with my current relationship status! Why can't we just eat our black-sauce noodles in peace? It really winds me up it does.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Trying to learn Korean, getting bike fenders, Big Train

Day two of the Easter long weekend. I didn't have any concrete plans, other than my Korean lesson today. Have I mentioned that I am (slowly) learning Korean (again)? Well, I decided to under the pretense of wanting to talk to my grandma who was in physio for a few weeks. The going is pretty slow, but I should be getting a teach-yourself book soon. So, that takes up a bit of my time these days.

I would ride my bicycle but it is still in the shop for a tune-up. I'm also getting some splash-guards installed, after how many years? Eighteen or something like that, during which I've been prey to skunk-back. I've avoided using them because I worried that a) they look dorky and b) they would slow me down. Both of these seem rather silly to me now. I hardly care about how I look anymore. Well, I try to look like I don't care about how I look.

I haven't been playing a lot of games. Watched a few more episodes of the second season of Big Train. I'm not sure why but they do not feel as funny as the first. I think my favourite episode was the very first one, what with the horse-jumpers and the distracting boss.

I did watch last night's Leafs game versus Buffalo in its entirety. Now THAT is silly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

Saw Be Kind Rewind and found it clever, cute and very amusing, with plenty of that signature Michel Gondry perspective skewing. I was however slightly disappointed that the film didn't have more depth to it. I guess comparing it to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a bit unfair, but I was definitely expecting more meat than was delivered. Still, I had a good time and that's enough.

I played poker on Friday but in hindsight I don't really want to talk about it. Suffice to say I played against a bunch of strangers and did awful. I played late and was tired, which again gives credence to the theory that I suck at poker when fatigued.

I've bitten my tongue twice very harshly within the last 24 hours. What does it mean? I mean, other than being aggravated every time I eat cereal and crackers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Still hate Rogers, looking forward to biking, reading about the OLPC

Funny how I seem to now be in the habit of updating at night. Got a bunch of small banking chores done today, paying bills and moving money around. I've decided to get rid of my cellphone voicemail. I mean, I hardly use my phone as it is. A bit drastic perhaps but I simply cannot stand the thought of giving Rogers more money than I can minimally do.

The weather appears to finally, quickly, be warming up. Nothing like a little sun to lighten the heart. Need to get my bike tuned, yessiree. Soon I will no longer be subject to the whims of the capricious 504 streetcar schedule.

I spent the last half hour or so reading some really inspiring OLPC stories: First OLPC deployment: now it's real, Astounded in Arahuay, OLPC Mongolia/Ulaanbaatar, OLPC Peru/Arahuay, Khairat, India, Ban Samkha, Thailand, Galadima, Nigeria. Oh man these stories are just.. oh they are too much! I really wish I could be more involved....


I absolutely hate how the world is shaping up, just a frog boiling slowly in greed, misinformation, and lack of critical thought. I don'...