Archive for April 2013

new toy

So I got this today. And it feels fairly anti-climatic.

Took a study break, walked to Future Shop, came back with a DSLR. haha no, it wasn't quite that spontaneous or impulsive. But it was a weird feeling when the CSR handed me the box after I'd paid and said, "Congratulations." Which I suppose is a fitting thing to say to someone who's now the (hopefully proud) new owner/parent of a camera? I've wanted a DSLR for so many years that it's a little odd to actually have one.

A few years ago, I made myself a promise, where I set the parameters for when I would've "earned" myself a DSLR. I haven't met those self-imposed requirements yet, so I guess I don't fully deserve this right now, but at the same time, with the big 2-1 creeping up (mixed feelings about birthdays), it's a somewhat of an early consolation/birthday gift. (And I mean technically I'd also said that if this worked out, some of it would go towards this.) So quasi-justified.

But anyway, on another note - in the process of studying, I've been catching up on this semester's readings. Most if it is fairly standard academia fare, but there was one I read this afternoon, "Ecological Urbanization: Calculating Value in an Age of Global Climate Change" by Shannon May, that really stood out. It was sophisticated and articulate as per expected, but also thought-provoking beyond the primary subject matter. To quotesome snippets:

[H]ow claims to a universal knowledge of the good life are constituted - often with the handmaiden of science - and how easy, how logical, it can seem to take one's own life as an unalterable good, and others' lives as desperately in need of improvement - to be more like one's own.

[T]he dreams and plans from abroad do not ever encounter a blank slate, however much the drawing of development plans on blank pages may trick some into believing otherwise. 

To make an analogy after George Hegel, if philosophy is its time comprehended in thought, architecture is its time constructed in things.

[T]he non-sense of that which is taken as common sense in our time. 

*May, Shannon. "Ecological Urbanization: Calculating Value in an Age of Global Climate Change." Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. ed. A. Roy and A. Ong. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

stress food

"When I see the light coming from your eyes, I feel so paralyzed."
- Swiss Lips, U Got the Power
There's something about stressful periods that's just oh-so-conducive to food - both in terms of stress-eating, and stress-cooking. So picking up where we left off: on the 19th, I wrote my second exam in the morning. At night, we headed over to A, D, M, M, and J's apartment for a 'One Last Time' party, since they're moving out at the end of the month :( It was great to see everyone and catch up though!

Saturday was super unproductive, consisting basically of procrastinating, watching movies, and dealing with some administrative EC stuff. (There was an alien movie that I watched like a decade ago that I've been trying to find again for years - after watching it, I'm pretty sure it was Alien: Resurrection. Less scary now that I'm actually within the recommended age range, haha.) And then at 6pm I realized, uh oh, needed to get dressed/presentable and get over to Pickle Barrel for our 6:45pm reservation for our team dinner. (I made the reservation, and yes, sometimes I like to pick less common times, okay.) There ended up being 9 of us, and it was a pretty good time. I got the grilled turkey burger + sweet potato fries; it was good! No photo though.
Sunday morning A, M, S & I went for brunch at Rose & Sons, which was a super adorable venue and boasts "comfort food". S and I were feeling lazy so we decided to bus over instead of walking, but that turned into quite the debacle. First, the bus did not show up. (We were also waiting at two separate bus stops.) So we catch the next one, halfway through the trip, S panics and insists we need to get off the bus, we do so, realize we got off too early, I reacted pretty quickly and suggested we just hop back on, S insists we're only like 3 minutes away from the restaurant anyway. We weren't. It was more like 1.5km away (so about 13 minutes). The food (first photo) was definitely worth it though.

Afterwards, the four of us headed to Ezra's Pound, since it was such a sunny day (and we were all putting off studying). (I've also compiled a massive list of cafes I want to try, so it was nice to check another one off.) We left M at the coffee shop, walked A home, and then S and I spent the rest of the afternoon holed up in the library.
Soon, we were struck with hunger pangs and headed back out in search of more food. We ended up settling for Vietnamese food at Anh Dao. The dish I got (some sort of Bún thịt nướng?) reminded me of this one restaurant we used to go to all the time in high school. Haven't had this kind of food in a while now. Then it was back to the library, and L joined us (and the two of us went on a Timmy's run).
Didn't go out for prepared food today, but I did go grocery shopping - and ended up with 2 bags of Doritos and 4 TV dinners. Which is kind of terrible, because I've had adequate self-control up until this point to not buy any chips this entire school year (minus the 3 bags of Crispers, and the time I had to buy chips for an EC event). But I also bought lots of fish, which is supposed to be good brain food. May be wishful thinking that it'll pay off in time for my next exam... Anyway, collaborated with M on dinner; I made lemon herb salmon steaks. They turned out decently.
Also tried making chili in my rice cooker after dinner tonight; this didn't quite turn out looking like conventional chili. It tastes okay though, and for a first time (free-styling, no recipe), can't complain. So yeah, basically my last couple of days have revolved around food in a major way. But I also dragged myself to the gym tonight, so in the end, it all balances out :)

In hindsight, this past semester has been varied, and not what I expected (but then again, it wasn't like I went into this semester expecting anything in particular). Some things worked out better than expected, others didn't work out at all. There were missed opportunities, and unexpected opportunities. Highs and lows. Positives and negatives. At the end of the day, there's only tomorrow. And that should be sufficient reason to remain optimistic.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring...

two down

So I got this great idea to try container gardening (since I won't have access to a real garden this summer, which is kind of a bummer). But hey, balcony gardening is the next best thing? Although the wind levels might be too harsh this high up, so they may need to be kept inside after all. These are Burpee bush Blue Lake 274 beans. They've sprouted okay, but it remains to be seen how they'll fare.
Explored Kensington with D last week. Can you believe I'd never actually been? After being in this city for three years now... Anyway, we also wandered down some side street where they had a bunch of park exercise machine things, which were pretty cool (and of course I felt the need to try most of them - what can I say, still a kid at heart!). We also tried churros for the first time - yummy!

There was also a  lot of varied and cool street art; the undersea fisherman above is just one example of tons of really well done artwork.
^ Dessert with M & L last month. We don't get to see each other as often now that we don't live on the same floor any more, so it was nice to go for dinner (Korean food at Ka Chi) and then dessert and board games afterwards. (That was actually a super insane day - had been at a conference since early in the morning, and then after dinner, grabbed some groceries and ran into C on the way home, so she came over with me. Before she left, A came over too, and along with M, the three of us ended up chatting into the wee hours of morning.
Yeah, basically a bunch of random photos from this semester are all getting conglomerated in this post. So back in February, went to an event hosted by Faze magazine with J, where Penguin had some of their Breathless Reads tour authors signing books. We got to meet Beth Revis, and I got my copy of A Million Suns signed (and I already had a signed copy of Across the Universe), which was cool. She's very warm and super nice! (I look a little sloppy/over-excited in the photo, but oh well.)
All of the colourful sticky notes! Prolonged agony for almost two more weeks, but we're getting there. So. Many. More. Readings. Sadly.

this can't be it

there must be something... more.

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