Archive for 2013

2013 in Review

As a follow-up to 2012 in review, it's time to recap 2013:


  • There was no reprieve to be found in January; right from the beginning, the year started off as go-go-go
  • Made some foolish mistakes, but at the end of the day, it was still a good learning experience
  • Ended the month feeling optimistic and resolving to do better



  • Received an award that mattered a lot on a personal level
  • Saw Zedd perform a live set @ Sound Academy


  • Had an existential crisis
  • Met Beth Revis (author of the Across the Universe trilogy)
  • Explored Kensington for the first time
  • Finished third year


  • Turned 21
  • Started an internship at a tech startup
  • Started a Research Assistant position with a professor
  • Started summer school classes


  • Decided to resume a project; in the chaos of other commitments, said project was soon abandoned again
  • Mused on random things
  • Work, research, class, friends, chilling - June zoomed by


  • July zoomed by as well, in much the same fashion as June


  • Finished the internship, the research position, & summer school classes
  • Went home for a week and got caught up on sleep and home-cooked food


  • Started fourth/final year
  • The semester got off to a crazy start right from Frosh Week
  • Saw TOKiMONSTA & Flume perform live @ The Opera House, then hit up TOKiMONSTA's after-party @ The Hoxton



  • Also an insanely busy month, lots of thinking
  • Resolved to go all in 
  • Aced the GREs
  • Received some excellent news (as well as some not-so-excellent news); but on balance, the positive news outweighed the negative


  • Had a similar unfortunate scenario as last year, where everything was crammed into the span of one week (except worse, because there was even more to do this time around)
  • Finished the semester, chillaxed 
I didn't do the greatest job at keeping up with blogging this year, so there's probably a ton of stuff that I've missed in this summary, but oh well, it is what it is.

Here's to 2014!


You know in television shows, where they have those filler episodes? How they're still important, because they wrap up things that have already happened, or set the groundwork for things to come? Comparatively speaking, 2013 is a bit like that. Bookended by two very important years, to some extent, it was a bit inevitable that it be a bit more tame in terms of major changes.
2012 was huge for a number of reasons (mostly because of the many firsts that took place): living on my own for the first time, taking my first solo international flight, moving to Germany, being in Europe for the first time, backpacking around, traveling to five new countries, etc. 2014 is already set to be a monumental year, if not the most monumental year yet - finishing university (undergraduate studies, anyway), convocation, moving... (There'll [almost definitely] be [at least] one major move [if not two] this upcoming year.)

To pull a line from my first post of 2013: "But 2013 is a learning year, an improving year, an ongoing process." I think it's fair to say that in hindsight, that statement has held true. 2014 will still be a work in progress (but then again, isn't everything? Isn't there always room for improvement?), but it's also set to be full of the greatest adventures yet. Beyond excited for sure.

Here we go :)

this time last year...

...I'd had the [mis]fortune of all my end-of-term assessments crammed into the last week of classes/first week of December, and it was not good times. This year, the timeline was even worse - six (6!) assessments (an assortment of exams and papers) crammed into the span of a week. I seem to have emerged on the other side though, so success! In any case, updates have been really sparse this semester, so here are a few photos:
^ Found the best white hot chocolate, guys. aroma expresso bar - check them out! (If anyone has any recommendations for fantastic hot chocolate/expresso/winter drinks, I'm open to suggestions.) Met up with A here - it was the first time I'd seen him in months, so it was great catching up. We also ran into C (who lived across the hall from me in residence during my second year and her fourth year) there, which was a pleasant surprise.
^ Word on the Street, back in September. J and I had gone together the previous three years, but unfortunately we didn't manage to meet up this time around for round four.
Indian food! With M's LMP people.
Sushi! With M & S.
Diner food! With M, S & S.

Normally, I actually like cooking - it's a doubly beneficial activity in that the act itself is de-stressing, and as an output, you get yummy food. But this semester, I can literally count on one hand the number of times I've cooked in the last three and half months. It's pretty sad. Looking forward to heading home for the winter holidays and having some awesome home-cooked meals.

(And now that I'm technically done for the term - today, while procrastinating, I made the following: chili, a lemon meringue pie, ribs, pork chop (just one!), and long beans. Yay!)

should be right, but feels so wrong

When you've gone so far down a path already, that the only way is forward

2:47 in the morning

"Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever." - Ernest Becker

Another night where sleep is elusive
Where dreams are evasive 
Where the future is effervescent

Best or Bust

All in.

Lately I've been losing sleep...

"Old, but I'm not that old - young, but I'm not that bold. I don't think the world is sold; I'm just doing what we're told. Everything that kills me makes me feel alive. Lately I've been - I've been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be. No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars." 
- OneRepublic, Counting Stars
Last night was hard, but we're only going up from here.

In other news - my first piece on Medium: Greatness or Nothing.

TOKiMONSTA & Flume @ The Opera House

Flume (Sydney, Australia) played a live set at The Opera House earlier this month on September 5th, with Touch Sensitive & TOKiMONSTA (LA, California) as special guests. I got there and met up with E just as TOKiMONSTA's set was starting, and then M & J met up with us before Flume's set started.
Both played ridiculously awesome sets; then we finished the night off by heading over to The Hoxton for a second round of TOKiMONSTA at a TIFF after-party. 

Q&A with Samantha Shannon

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed a book which has been receiving a ton of buzz recently - The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon. The Bone Season hasn't even been out for a full three weeks yet, but it's already gone into its third print run! With rights sold in 21 languages, film rights already optioned, and an Oxford degree under her belt, this 21-year-old is definitely well on her way to having her seven-part series become the next big thing. Courtesy of Penguin Canada, here's a brief Q&A with Samantha Shannon:

When did you begin writing The Bone Season and what inspired the story?
I started writing The Bone Season when I was nineteen years old, shortly after completing an internship at David Godwin Associates (DGA), a literary agency in Seven Dials, a small district in London. While I was there, I had a vivid image of a girl having the same day at work as me, but she happened to be clairvoyant – and The Bone Season was born. I sent the finished book to the same agency in April 2012 and it was bought by Bloomsbury a month later.

You wrote The Bone Season whilst studying at Oxford.  How did you find the time?  Describe your writing process.
I was mostly an indoor girl at university. Where other students did drama or music or sport alongside their degrees, I wrote. I used to work on essays and classwork during the day and The Bone Season in the evenings.  

How do you feel about the film?  Are you nervous about the big screen adaptation?
I’m thrilled about the movie rights being sold, although film can be an incredibly slow process and I know it will take a while to happen. I don’t want to write the screenplay – I’ll leave that to a professional screenwriter – but it’s a huge relief to have consultation rights, and to know that my opinion will always be taken into account. Andy Serkis, Jonathan Cavendish and the rest of the team at Imaginarium are passionate, committed, and always keen to hear what I have to say. It’s incredibly exciting to be working with such a new, innovative production company, especially as it’s based in west London, where I live.

When can we expect the sequel?  Do you know what's going to happen? Are you excited to be staying in the world of Scion for the new books?  What is the expected time-frame for all seven books?
The sequel will be largely set in London and will focus more closely on the clairvoyant syndicate, which I didn’t get to explore much in the first book. I’m really excited for this one, as I’ll be able to redesign and transform large parts of London, which is my home city. I’m hoping to finish a first draft by early 2014 at the latest so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.    

*Author photo by Mark Pringle 

this was summer

"You only need the light when it's burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow[,] only know you've been high when you're feeling low, only hate the road when you're missing home..."
- Passenger, Let Her Go
Another August passes, and a new September begins. In many ways, this summer embodied 'unplanned' - so many aspects of it came about without being explicitly envisioned first. This was also the last real summer of undergrad - and the next one will be the first one after it.  

Every time and place we're in, we only get to be in just that one time. The past is there to be learned from, to be remembered (hopefully fondly), to cherish - but never to continue to live in. The future is there to be aimed for, to be moved toward, to exist as an abstraction of what could be - but not to be lived only for. 

But the present? This moment - each 'this moment' - is exactly where we're meant to be. This? This is paradise.

The Bone Season (Book Review)

"We look like everyone else. Sometimes we act like everyone else. We are everywhere, on every street. We live in a way you might consider normal, provided you don't look too hard. Welcome to Scion. No safer place."
- Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season
Got a nice surprise when I arrived home last week (for the first time in eight months, no less!) - a copy of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (set to be published August 20th, 2013 by Bloomsbury) from Penguin Canada, which had come in the mail only a few days before me. I was immediately intrigued by the soft blue, velveteen cover interspersed with bars of golden foil and metallic numbers*. A quick skim of the accompanying press release revealed that this is the first in a seven-part series, rights have sold in 21 languages, and film rights have already been optioned. Shannon also happens to be the same age as me (21), and personally, having struggled to find pockets of time to write during the school year and between interning and RAing during the summer, I was definitely quite impressed, so this shot straight to the top of the TBR list.

The Bone Season did not disappoint - I ended up devouring it in a little over a day this weekend. There are so many aspects of the story that were very well done. Disbelief suspended, the parallel world Shannon has created is built credibly and realistically. (Having visited London just over a year ago and feeling nostalgic to begin with, it was super cool to be immersed back in city, in a way. I didn't manage to make it out to Oxford while I was there, but it was definitely fascinating to see parts of The Bone Season set there.) The voice is distinct and compelling. The pacing was engaging and entertaining.

Genre-wise, I'm not too sure where The Bone Season would fit in - with the MC, Paige Mahoney, being 19, it kind of straddles the line between older YA and New Adult (depending on your classification system). There are bits of science fiction, bits of urban fantasy, bits of paranormal romance, bits of speculative... That's maybe one of the most widely appealing facets of The Bone Season - because it transcends genre labels, it will conceivably appeal to a diverse audience.

There are also cleverly placed bits of intertext and literary allusions. The academic nature of Shannon's Oxford education definitely shines through. It was a bit confusing in the beginning of the story, what with all these unfamiliar terms and slang being tossed around. (There's actually a glossary in the back of the novel - I didn't notice until I was about two-thirds of the way through, but it probably would've come in handy as something to consult earlier on.) There are also quite a few British-isms as well, such as using the term 'torch' instead of 'flashlight', etc. European audiences may be more familiar with these, but for North American readers, this might add an extra level of mysticism.

With an exhilarating plot, an imaginative alternate world and an ensnaring voice, The Bone Season is an incredible debut novel. If this first installment is an indicator of Shannon's potential, then she's definitely destined for great things. The Bone Season will be one to watch out for in the upcoming season.

*Not sure how immediately noticeable it is in the photo, but the number 1 is the only one in metallic gold - the others are all blue.

have your cake and eat it too?

The jury's still out on that one. Bit crazy to think that July has basically passed by in its entirely already - and in many ways, it feels like July has passed me by. 

It'll come to light within the next week whether I've actually over-committed (again) this summer. Oscillating between insane optimism and subdued panic. 

But there's so much light at the end of the tunnel. 

August is going to be phenomenal. 

Photo details: It was M & K's birthdays at work, and S picked out a delicious cake :)

4:02 a.m.

Sometimes, the lines between fiction and reality have the propensity to become a little blurred. Is reality not just another state of being, a mental "understanding" of how things "should be"? Do we - or are we even entirely capable of - ever fully grasping things "as they are"?

Multiple facets of experience accumulate over time, some organic, some unexpected, others planned, and still others complete surprises. And over time, these separate elements come together, converge to create some essential part of who you are as a person, while others diverge, bounce, or shatter paradigms, but also inevitably wind up having some sort of impact on the final "product" - or not really final, ever, but a work in progress. Always a work in progress. Because human nature is fluid like that, right?

Tonight - or this morning, I guess, seeing as how it's now 4:02 a.m. - feels like the culmination of a couple of threads spanning multiple years. A couple of journeys that have now come full circle. Maybe.

Travel maps, NYC tips & props to the KLM marketing team

A bit of background first - so I'm interning in Marketing/Communications with a B2B tech start-up this summer, and as a result, spend a fair amount of my day absorbing concepts like "ROI" or "content marketing" or "C-suite" by osmosis. The other day, I found a really cool marketing campaign that I also happen to have a personal anecdotal story about (since "storytelling" also seems to be big in B2B right now).

A few years ago, KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines had a promotion where they were sending out personalized luggage tags - free of charge, no purchase necessary, no catch. (They were really nice tags too; my dad took mine a few years ago, crossed out my information and wrote his on it in Sharpie...but I digress.) So obviously this was a sizeable financial investment on KLM's part, sending out thousands of personalized tags, printing them, shipping them, etc. And on the surface, it may seem like money poured into an abyss without an immediately tangible ROI.

I believe at the time KLM had been undertaking a re-branding endeavor and really trying to get their name out there. I remember debating whether to order a set of tags at the time, never having heard of this airline and being all suspicious about providing personal information on the internet and whatnot. But I did, as did thousands of others.

A few years after that, last summer, when it came time to book my flights to Europe, I remembered that airline that had impressed me with decent quality luggage tags (brand familiarity), and eventually went on to book 5 flight segments through them (although two of those segments were actually flown on Delta Air Lines, whom they've partnered with). Was my actual flying experience with KLM a positive one? Yes. Would I fly with them again in the future? Most definitely.

Let's step back for a moment, crunch some hypothetical numbers. Since the tags are being printed as bulk orders, let's price the cost at say, $5 per order. Add on $5 for shipping. So say these "gifts" cost the company $10 a pop. For each converted customer who ends up booking a trans-continental flight in coach, that's $1,000 to $2,000 a go. Business/First class may stretch up to $5,000. So now you've got the customer for the first go round. If you're investing this much in customer conversion, then presumably you have faith that you're offering a decent product and expecting customer loyalty. Even if only a small portion of those who were presented with the promotional gift became customers, the campaign more than pays for itself.
Right now, KLM is running another awesome campaign, one which will probably interest all you travelers out there. They're offering Must See Maps - again, completely free of charge - where you pick a city, have some friends plot some recommendations on the digital map, and then they mail you a physical copy. Apparently shipping takes about 3 weeks, so it would have to be a pre-planned trip. 

from here on out...

it's time.


"Let's make this fleeting moment last forever. So, tell me what you're waiting for? I'm gonna keep it frozen here forever; there's no regretting any more. Come on, make me feel alive."
- Krewella, Alive
So I've been 21 for over a week now. To be honest, it was about as anti-climatic as 20. Then again, I'm kind of weird about birthdays. I like other people's birthdays, but mine always stresses me out. So day of, I grabbed some takeout on my way home and had a quiet dinner in with the roommates, and they surprised me with cake (and sang and everything, hehe). 1 for #1, obviously ;)
Day after, went to Pan on the Danforth with I, M, A, M & M for dinner. A chunk of the TTC line was out of commission, so M and I actually ended up walking all the way to Greektown, pausing along the way to explore a cemetery. The food was pretty good (also got mussels as an appetizer - was pleasantly surprised by the generous portion. But being too hungry, forgot to grab a photo). Greece is definitely on my To-Go travel list; super excited to try some authentic Greek food!
^Dessert! A, M, M and I (and M for part of the journey) opted to walk back after all that food. Explored a wooden bridge suspended over the valley along the way.
Had brunch at Sage Cafe the next day with M, J & S. Hadn't seen M in a while. The decor had a cute vibe, and the food was pretty good too (and fairly healthy).
So, I guess I'm officially an adult now? Maybe? I don't know. After a certain point, these labels - "youth", "young adult", "adult" - all seem kind of arbitrary. Human constructs. Numerically, age is linear; each year, you progress one more unit upwards. But more abstractly, age is kind of a fluid concept. There are milestones, landmark events, in a life. These tend to be replicated across the species experience, at different rates, in different ways. At different times.

Birthdays, while a convenient way to measure the anniversary of one's birth, is technically founded on the premise of recurring every 365-day cycle. But that number - 365 - is flawed in and of itself. Rotations and revolutions don't fit into neat and tidy numbers that can be divided evenly. At some point, compensation has to be paid. At some point, time has to be made up, and at some points, time is lost.

To borrow Oscar Wilde's sophisticated articulation: "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." 21 - there's only one. So let's seek that rare thing, find it, catch it, achieve it.

May Day or mayday?

Maybe a bit of both. First official day of summer, finished my final exam of third year at 10pm last night. Hasn't fully sunk in yet that it's over.

The summer stretches before me like a gaping abyss, waiting to gulp me down whole. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  
Got cheese sticks at the Duke with M, C and S last night, the first (and only?) real warm Spring night. Today summer dawned, covering everything in a still blanket of hot air. Alumni Dinner at the Faculty Club tonight, definitely gained some interesting insight and heard some wise words. Strolling along at a leisurely pace with H and L afterwards, we realized that the cherry blossoms were already in bloom and stopped for some photos. Excitement can be contagious.

But reality can also be draining.

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.

Zedd @ Sound Academy

After missing Zedd at the Hoxton the last time he was here back in November, I bought my ticket well in advance this time (i.e. immediately after M tipped me off that tickets had gone on sale).
On Friday, March 22nd, Sound Academy was completely packed; I believe at point Zedd said there were 700 to 800 people there. The crowd was a bit more mixed than the usual electronic events at smaller venues; this review of the November show mentions a clubbing crowd and lack of adequate dancing room, which also held true for this show.

Andy Ares was the first opening act, and did a great job pumping up the crowd. KOAN Sound, a duo from Bristol, UK, was up next and kept the party going (unfortunately didn't manage to snap any photos of their set).
Finally the musical maestro, Zedd, took the stage himself. By this point, the energy on the floor was practically palpable.

The set was exactly what you would expect from Zedd - an upbeat selection of his own tracks and remixes. The classics, Clarity, Spectrum, Stars Come Out, Shave it Up, etc. were played, of course. Notable remixes included the likes of Titanium and Swedish House Mafia. The light show was fairly spectacular as well, and really contributed to setting the vibe.
Zedd worked some insane build-ups to drops. The crowd turned into a writhing mass, helpless but to follow his command. In such a large venue, it made sense that he had to be on an elevated platform, but at the same time, it was kind of a bummer that he was so far removed from the crowd.
Whenever he spoke, the crowd roared in approval. When the final track fizzled to its end, the crowd demanded one more song. And the leader compiled, commanding everyone to sit down, building up the music, and then the sweat-drenched crowd surged to life, jumping hard enough to bring the place down.
Overall, Zedd played a phenomenal set, as could be expected. With a packed line-up of three relentless acts, the show was one unending wave of energy.

March[ing] Forward

March seems to be a good moth for big news. It's hard to believe that it was this month, a year ago, that Eurotrip 2012 really became a feasible option.

Received some fantastic news today that has left me feeling incredibly happy and kind of validated. While it's not quite the same tier as finding out that I'd be heading to Germany for the summer, it's still really awesome. (And besides, March is still young, there's time yet for more to come!) (Ironically, the 27th has significance in this instance too.)

It's been a weird couple of weeks. A number of people I've been having some difficulty getting a clear read on, myself included. But if today's been any indication, hopefully things will start looking up.

For now though, blissful sleep. After all, tomorrow's going to be another massive day.

London: Day Three

My third day in London (at the tail end of June) dawned bright & early. I may or may not have gotten lost on the way to meeting up with S & A at S's dorm, and I may or may not have accidentally wandered through a park that grown-ups aren't supposed to go to without a child in tow.

So we take the Underground over to Picadilly Circus and pick up some West End tickets for later that night, check out the M&M store, walk around lots, and check out the Savoy, a super swanky hotel in central London. (Yep, the one where Bev Oda, former Minister of International Co-operation, had all the media hubbub about.) A bought some chocolate for us to share (it was delectable!) and we waxed hopeful for the future. 
Then we did lots of walking around, popped into The National Gallery and looked around quickly, then headed to The British Museum.
^ In front of the Rosetta Stone, which is an ancient Egyptian inscription with the decree written three times, in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Apparently it's been instrumental in decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs. 
It was kind of humbling to see all these amazing relics - so many pieces of legacies of humanity collected in one piece. Due to time constraints we weren't able to explore everything, but we did get to get out the ancient Egyptian and Greek exhibits, and some miscellaneous modern artifacts.
^ Not sure what was happening here, but look at all the police! Very differently uniformed from those in Belgium. Next we headed over to Westminster Abbey, where the Royal Wedding took place in April, 2011.
The architecture in London - in Europe in general, really - is phenomenal! So many photogenic buildings.
After wandering around some more, past New Scotland Yard and through a park, we checked out Buckingham Palace. And seeing as how we were three Canadian expats, we couldn't exactly leave without taking a photo of Canada Gate... (Awkward tourist photobombs continue)
Harrods, a quintessentially British department store, was next on the itinerary. The inside is amazing, definitely very next-level. The chocolate section was insane, the seafood area was really cool, the coffee selection was impressive, and it was just all around awesome. 
I don't actually remember what we had for dinner - probably grabbed something quick from Pret A Manger and booked it over to the Apollo Victoria Theatre for Wicked. First time seeing a West End musical (well, first time in London, period), and wow, what a first! The entire cast was phenomenal, and put on a great show. Rachel Tucker's voice, just wow.
It was decently late by the time we got back to the hostel, but we figured it might be cool to check out a London pub. Alas, we couldn't find an open one decently near by, and ended up settling for more sandwiches from a grocery (?) store instead. A packed, but super productive, third day in London!

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