Thursday, 29 March 2012

Happy Day

Great Lunch-Time Moment - Standing in a small bathroom stall at McDonald's while wearing my long, black, wool, winter coat and realizing that the jeans I am wearing are jeggings and therefore require no dealings with buttons or zippers. Made my day!

Now, if afterwards the hand dryer had been one of those super strong ones instead of the white and silver kind with the button it than everything would have been perfect.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Statement Of Disappointment

I went to my first ever Toronto Maple Leafs game last night. J got us tickets and we watched them play the Carolina Hurricanes. I had seen a couple of Ottawa Senators games when I lived there but I like the ACC as a stadium way better, even though we were fairly high up the slight lines were great! Also, I like the Leafs and really really am not a fan of the Sens. Sadly, the Leaf's lost, without scoring a single goal but it was still a really fun experience and reminded me again how much I love hockey.

Related to hockey but really connected to all sports - I hate when people boo and heckle. I have always been the type of person who will cheer and clap for the opposing team if they do something particularly impressive. (Last night, despite winning 3-0, the Hurricane's were not all that impressive.) Anyway, booing and heckling is so unsportsmanlike. But I realized what I don't like is when fans of one team do it to the opposing team solely because they are the opposing team - that is what is truly unsportsmanlike about it, as they are ignoring the sport of it and reacting to just the emotions tied to it. But when your own team plays badly, or borderline gives up bothering to play, wouldn't this booing just be a statement of disappointment? A critic of their 'work,' connected to their lack of talent or effort? We cheer when our team does well, wouldn't it make sense to boo at glaring errors as well? To cheer when the opposing team falters or boo when they succeed is more unsportsmanlike. What about when the reaction connects with the action, booing for bad playing?

I also don't like any booing, heckling, or negativity in general at an amateur or youth sporting event. I think that is ridiculous and counter productive in terms of fostering talent and enjoyment of the sport. However, last night at the ACC, we were not watching children, or amateurs, we were watching people who are paid a lot of money to play hockey and we were a very large group of people who had paid a lot of money to watch them. I think there maybe a place for negativity in this case.

Near the end of the game, after a disappointing loss, the crowd started cheering "Go Blue Jays Go" which I found quite funny but I did not join in. I just don't think I could ever be someone who would boo at anything, it just seems too cruel. However, I am starting to think about it differently and am more okay with others doing it.

Now, the fact that the stadium is always sold out and that there is a huge waiting list for seasons tickets and the jerseys, apparel, etc sells well, means that the powers that be in the world of Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing to make a lot of money. While it would be nice for the team to do well, they don't need to really work at it that hard. I don't think booing is going to change anything - except maybe make players less likely to want to play for a team whose fans behave in this manner. Really - money talks. But, the game was awesome to see and I would pay to go to another so the cycle continues.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Where's The Docket?

Since BIAs are a strange cross between municipal government and not-for-profits there are similarities to my work with the Federal Government. There are also a whole series of new strange, funny, and annoying things. Watching this video made me think back to all those years - at Health Canada, Natural Resources, and Justice. It made me laugh but also made me miss it. The main thing I miss is the people. I met some amazing people through my work with The Government of Canada and many ended up turning into friends outside of work which has been great. For the most part they all still live in Ottawa and it is the hardest part about living in Toronto - I miss my friends in Ottawa terribly.

Might just be funny if you are/were one... Definitely funny 'cause it's true!

Sh*t Bureaucrats Say

Gotta love the public service!!!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


So, I signed up for 3 months on eHarmony, which are drawing to a close. Unfortunatly (for extensive eHarmony use but fortunatly in general), I met J really early on so have had an inactive profile for most of that time. I want to be sure they don't charge my credit card for an extra 4th month so set about closing down my account. It was a hilarious and almost upsetting experience. Here is what one of the pages read:

You are about to close your account. This will permanently close all of your existing matches, and disable the My Matches page.

If you are closing your account because you've met a special person to share your life, on eHarmony or elsewhere, congratulations. If you haven't yet made that connection, I'd like you to consider the following points:

-Research shows only 1 in 4 American marriages are actually happy.
-Choosing the right mate is the KEY to creating a compatible, loving relationship.
-Finding a soul mate on your own and knowing if you're really compatible has never been more confusing or difficult.

-eHarmony's proven method of selecting compatible matches has helped create thousands of happy, successful relationships.

There are two additional, important points you should know as you search for a special relationship:

First, if you haven't experienced the success you anticipated with eHarmony, there are probably adjustments that can be made to your account to help make your experience more productive. But in order to help, we need to know what's wrong.
Please click on this link and share your problem with us, we can work with you to improve your results.

Lastly, we really care about your success. There are thousands of online dating services that will offer up hundreds of "matches" based on little more than your favorite hobby. Our goal is completely different. We're helping you find someone to live with and love FOREVER! We think it is important that people are matched for the right reasons and we want to see you benefit from our approach, as so many others have.
eHarmony isn't magic. But every day we're working to address the needs of our members. Chances are we can make eHarmony work for you.

It did work! I don't know about live with and love FOREVER! As that is a scary thought in general, even more so with the capitals. However, J is great and I'm really happy to have met him.

Thank you eHarmony, sorry we had to have such an aggressive farewell...

I Love Bridge!

---- From Twitter

Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

First Cut Is The Deepest

I'm sure I write this post every year because every year I forget how rough the 'first run' is each spring.

I went to a movie (21 Jump Street, which is really good and I totally recommend it) with a bunch of friends on Tuesday. Teri and I decided to meet up for dinner at her place beforehand. Since I finish work earlier and she has to commute, I thought I would head to the gym after work. Well, the end of the work day came and I decided to bail on the gym and just laze about. Thankfully Teri called and asked if I wanted to go for run before dinner.

Teri is an awesome running partner! Lets me go at my own pace and doesn't make me feel bad about it or push me too hard. Running along the waterfront, besides being flat, beautiful, fun, and urban, is perfect because it provides a lot of opportunities to do little dipsy-doodles that can add length, or not, to the run. This worked because sometimes Teri would take this so I could walk for a bit.

I ended up running for a long time - though it did not feel good, lots of wheezing. I recently mapped it and it was just over 3km, which isn't bad for the first time out. It was so rough that it is tough to imagine it getting better but even under all the difficulties breathing and sore legs I could feel the excitement about running again, I really do love it.

Anyway, the other thing I forgot is that the after-pain tends to hit two days later, so yesterday when I thought I was fine didn't matter. This morning I was very sore and it was a slow moving morning as my muscles tried to warm up and sort themselves out.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

In Other News

Over the past month I've...
-Cut my hair short
-Gained 20 lbs
-Bought (two) new glasses

Also, yesterday it was so warm that I wore shorts and a t-shirt to walk to the grocery store.

Meet My New Phone

Over a year and a half ago I bought my first cell phone. It was a good 'starter phone' but I really needed to replace it. Even though it was a smart phone and I was paying for data, all I could really do was check my email, browsing was too difficult. It didn't have a GPS feature, or not one I could figure out at least, and sometimes I didn't get people's texts. Because I have a monthly plan without a contract I have to buy my phone upfront, so I had to wait until I got some money or phones went on sale - it turns out both happened at the same time. Because they were the same price and offered really similar features I had trouble choosing between the Nexus S by Google, which is an Android phone, or the Blackberry Torch. I debated this for over a month, asking everyone their opinion. I ended up getting the Nexus and it is amazing. I have already downloaded a ton of apps (all of them free). I love the phone so much, it is so awesome!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

It Will Be All I See Now

---- from Twitter

Has anyone else noticed that the symbol "&" looks like a man dragging his butt across the floor?

Voila! Iz Beat You

(Note: For some reason Kristen and I think that if we could hear Two's thoughts they would be with a strange, slightly fake-sounding, French accent. Except for for when she is running back and forth in front of the window trying to get the attention of a squirrel, dog, or other cat; in these instances she is just adorably frantic "Hey, hey, hey. Be my friend? Be my friend? Are you my friend? Look over here. Hey, hey. Be my friend?" But besides this, she is a slightly evil little French kitten.)

Yesterday I saw that Friskies has developed games for the iPhone and iPad that you play against your cat. This is hilarious, and the cat in this article is adorable! I think this would be so fun. I really want a tablet though could never afford the Apple versions, which is all that the games have been released on, also the bare glass screen on the iPad stands up to cat's claws with no problems (though claws do tend to damage add-on plastic film covers.) So it doesn't look like I will get to play against Two for a while, but I think this okay since she would probably be obnoxious when she won.

"Ah, zee game is over yes? I see zat I may have, yes, beat you? Mais oui! You, how do you say... umm...are a loozar? I may bite you! But...nooo, we play again and I vill beat you. I seem to always win!"

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Trip In Toronto

It is past midnight at Union Station. Drunk teens stumble on the platform talking about delays. I'm tipsy too. It is a Tuesday. March Break for them - not for me.

The walls are torn down. Renovations at Union are not featured on TLC. I can't determine if this end of the platform will be the front or back. No arrows here. I should stay in the DWA anyway, even though I want to go searching for arrows. Looking for the back.

The train arrives. It was the front. It is a 'new' one. Long, sleek silver, shiny, silent - or only silent because I'm not quite sober. The inside is silent too. Not empty but silent. Every other time I have stood in this kind there has been a quiet steady chatter. Excitement about progress. Complaints about change. Comments on new features. It's either too common by now to generate a response or it is too late at night to care.

But I can walk. The best of the new features. No walls. A long mirage of shifting red and white and grey stretching out in front of me. Mirrors upon mirrors reflecting poles and people.

I slowly walk the length. Nothing moves around me. Starts and stops aren't like a street car. "Next station - is interchange station - St. George Station." Just a pressure against me when gliding to a stop. An airless wind - pushing slightly - barely slows my walk.

At the far end I can sit. The pace is fittingly train-like and I am transported, for the first time while on the TTC, to other great subways of the world; remembering: New York, Paris, Beijing, London. Smooth with that special sound.

But I can't rest my head. The worst of the new features. The windows are deeper. Putting the plexiglass uncomfortably far from my head. My neck sinks to my shoulders, my ears to my chin, my head to my neck, my chin to my coat collar.

The doors slide open at St. Claire. The walk has brought me to the back. The back has brought me to the stairs. I slowly climb the escalator to snake my way outside. Two-tone brown tiles. This is not Beijing or New York. Not Paris or London. Can't call the tiles chocolate and beige. 60s, maybe 70s, and definitely Toronto.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Farewell In Photos

The Toy's final moments...
(A 1997 pale purple Toyota Corolla. Bought new by my Grandma. Later owned and driven alternating between my father and I. Made it until over 308,000km before my latest accident took too much of a toll. The repair costs were too high so I had to let it die. Sold for parts to a towing company.)

I Did The Front Ones!
Noah helping me take off the plates from the back
before the tow truck came
to haul The Toy away for parts.

The Worst Of The Two Smashed Headlights
Even though this headlight is totally smashed,
it still worked, right to the end.

Strange Square Chunk
Why is there a strange square chunk
missing from the bumper? You ask,
just as Kristen did. Well, that is where
the trailer hitch from the Range Rover hit.

Me, Sad To Be Again Without A Car
Goodbye to The Toy
You were loved...

A Sunny March Break

It is March Break this week, which really doesn't mean much to me, and those kids are going to have amazing weather! Check out the forecast for Toronto this week:
Today: 11°C
Tomorrow: 16°C
Wednesday: 15°C
Thursday: 17°C
Friday: 17°C
Teri has invited me to have a 'patio dinner' tomorrow night. Looks like Spring is here!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

It's Dead Jim

I had basically gotten the okay from the mechanic to drive The Toy after my car accident last week. I decided that I was definitely not going to pay to repair it so wanted to know if it was safe (as in won't blow up) to drive. Basically, the mechanic said that there were some big cracks in some key areas (radiator, transmission, the heat/ac alternator thingy, etc.) It wouldn't blow up but if things started to leak the car would stop working. I decided to drive it into the ground, and I did. It lasted a couple of days and got me through a few trips to various places close-by. However, on the drive home last night from work last night (luckily I was driving with a friend.) it started to make a terrible noise. I pulled over, turned it off and then when I tried to turn it back on it made a horrific noise. Then stopped turning on all together. I called CAA and they towed it home, I wasn't far away. Now I'm going to sell it for parts. I'm sad to see it go but it was time. Goodbye to The Toy!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

MLA Gives Standards For Tweets

Not that this matters to me anymore, thank God, but the Modern Language Association (MLA) has now provided academics with a standardized way to cite Tweets in a research paper.

In the main text of the paper, a tweet is cited in its entirety:
Sohaib Athar noted that the presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event.” or The presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event” (Athar).

Then at the end of the paper in the Works Cited, begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone. Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:
Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Toy Is A Tank

Even though The Toy is a tank, it is not as much of a tank as a Range Rover. When I rear-ended this mammoth SUV (see Previous Post) - the front of The Toy just crumpled. But strangely it still works... not only does it run but it sounds the same as before, there are no new noises. The windshield wipers still go, the heating and air conditioning might even still function - I haven't checked though. Even though both headlights are insanely smashed, they both still work!

I love The Toy. But, the mechanic said that it would cost between $3,000 to $3,200 to fix. He banged down the bent hood (for no cost), which is protecting the previously exposed engine while I figure out what I'm going to do about this. I have thought it over and of course I won't be paying to fix it. I don't have that type of money and if I did I should use it towards a newer car sometime in the future.

Once Kristen, Noah, and J saw it they all said it didn't look nearly as bad as they thought it would (this is because the hood got bent back down). I did one last short drive down the street to The Goodwill Thursday night. Last week, J and I had filled the trunk with things from Rrunuv Bayit that Kristen and I were donating, some of which was heavy. As a final goodbye to The Toy Kristen, Noah and I drove to empty the trunk at The Goodwill that is a block away.

Kristen and Noah said that they saw a little smoke coming out of one of the sides when the engine was first turned on. Anyway, it would be much easier to say goodbye if it sounded terrible when I drove it, or things didn't work. I only spoke with the mechanic on the phone but I am going to go in see him to discuss how safe it is to drive - I don't want it to blow up. I might keep it for small trips like going for groceries or to work. It is hard to say goodbye.

In The Last Moments Of February

So, as I have written about before, February sucks for me. On Leap Day, a day that everyone was all excited about, I felt differently; Leap Day just means that for one in every four years my worst month gets a day longer. Ironically, in the final hours of February 29th - I got in car accident.

No one hurt - everyone is fine. Also, in terms of the feel of the bump it wasn't even as rough as when breaking too suddenly, it happened very slowly.

It had been raining/snowing/hailing in Toronto for a few days. Driving home I was coming up Bathurst instead of Dufferin because I had gone to get my hair cut. Anyway, Bathurst has street car tracks. Because of the width of the wheels and how far apart they are, The Toy fits perfectly in the tracks. I avoid driving with the wheels in the tracks because I find it annoying, also because once it has fallen in I have to pull the wheel really hard to the side to get out again and it feels unsafe to do that.

Anyway, driving along Bathurst, I was going maybe 20 - 40 km/h, and an SUV stopped in front of me. I hadn't realised but I was in line with the tracks. When they are wet there is NO traction! I started to break with plenty of time and from a far distance back, but I slide along the tracks, for what felt like forever, and rear-ended the SUV. It felt like it happened in slow motion. I did try to turn the wheel to get out of the tracks and avoid the hit, but was stuck. This was especially upsetting because both the right-hand lane and the other side of the road where empty. I could see safe places to go but yanking the wheel didn't get me out and the breaks were doing nothing. It was a very frustrating and upsetting experience.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Good Sleep Pattern?

I now seem to wake up around 5:00am every morning, and after lying in bed for a while and fully awake and ready to get up by 5:30am. I don't know if this is a result of going to the gym more often or because I have been going to bed between 10:00pm and 11:00pm pretty consistently for the last few days. Hopefully I will be productive on the mornings I wake up this early and don't go to the gym but that remains to be seen. (It might mean more writing of blog posts though!)