Monday, June 18, 2007

Leanna's new doo

The new doo

For all those emails I've gotten asking what's happened to Leanna, the make up artist, and why I didn't post anything for the two month backlog I had, this post goes out to you...

I made a trip uptown to visit, do lunch and in general spend some time with my favourite make up person. As a female she's also a good source of getting the juicy info on how members of the fairer sex think, react, and interact. To the female readers out there, I'm sure the way you think is quite simple and straight forward to you. To us guys solving world hunger is probably an easier task.

Over the years I've amassed numerous sources, an army if you will, of women that I go to for advice, criticism, and overall opinions. This is the Libra way after all, to get as many opinions as possible then weigh them against your own just to keep yourself in check. When it comes to understanding the opposite sex the more sources you have the better (more on this later).

As for Leanna, the first thing I noticed as it's been a while since I last saw her, was she's sporting a new doo. I took a bunch of pictures of her for her facebook account so she could show others what her new hair style looked like. Personally I think it looks great but then I've always had a thing for women with a bob, short hair, or hair up in a bun or pony tail of some sort.

A sundae at McDonalds gets inhaled.

The temperature outside was hot. This might be enhanced from being indoors most of the time for the last few weeks. It took me by surprise. Walking out into the world from my air conditioned apartment felt like walking into an oven. We ate lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. On the way back to her place we ended up stopping off into a McDonalds , the half way point, just to cool off and grab a sundae.

Leanna with the neighbourhood muffler robot

At her place we continued our conversation about the challenges of dating and wooing. By the time I left I really don't think I acquired enough information. It basically boils down to the girl or person you're interested in. If she likes you, then pretty much anything you do to show your affections is deemed nice and thoughtful, maybe even romantic. On the other hand if she doesn't like you, your actions become creepy and maybe even borderline stalker like.

So do you take a chance and throw yourself out there? Or do you hold back and just wait for something to happen? In the end I decided to throw myself out there.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yonge Street

A guy on stilts, I had to take a photo

Yonge street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The longest street in north america. Today I wandered up part of it being a lazy sunday afternoon.

SAM the record man, a Toronto land mark, in it's last month of business

Yes, it's true SAM's is closing for good. Not that I've gone there recently to buy anything it's usually way overpriced compared to sunrise or HMV. Way back when I remember there used to be pretty good boxing day specials. I remember lining up one year to buy a Duran Duran LP (yes vinyl) for one dollar. That would have been around the same time I visited Mr. Gameways Ark up south of Bloor to see what loose Lego pieces I could buy for five cents while seeing what lead mini figures I could buy for Dungeons and Dragons. Yikes!

A flood of childhood purchasing memories are flooding back. Waiting for the Dungeons and Dragons game cartridge to come out for the Intelivision, trying to find cartridges for a handheld video game called MicroVision. There was a computer store just north of College called Computer Playground. They sold the intelivision cartridges. The sales guy was a jerk. He keep telling me to come back the next week as they'd have the game in stock. I think I went back there for two months before getting pissed off. Yeah, two months is a long time to be hosed by a sales guy, but I was still in my teens and there wasn't any other store that claimed to sell the stuff. My world was smaller back then.

Chalk drawing just south of College street

A blurry Roger at Monster Records

For some reason, Roger hates his picture taken unless it's blurry as all hell. Passing by Monster Records I shot this photo of him. It's pretty blurry all right.

In some store just north of Monster Records (which is just north of Wellesley) I saw this...

If you're going to look good for someone it might as well be Jesus...

It's a change purse with Jesus on it!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A day with a Fashion Designer

My Chicken pita being prepped

I was invited to spend the day with Andrew and Josie. The fashion designer from the London trip and his girl friend. For those curious as to the life of a fashion designer, here it is. I would like to add that I would not think this is what most fashion designers do on their day off and for the most part this is just Andrew being the unique individual he is.

Our first stop was to get food. Being pressed for time, we had a a lot of ground to cover today, we ended up at a favourite little Turkish place with food wraps and other interesting dishes. I opted for the Chicken pita which turned out to be quite good. Since it was the first time I had been there I took a picture of the place in order to return again sometime in the future.

A La Turque located on church street just north of Wellesley

After our speedy meal we ended up in a place located in Yorkville called Stuff that Works. Something about a "treatment" was all I heard. It was all very mysterious. Upon entering what looked like a health food store mixed with dental office, Erika, the receptionist greeted Josie and kept us in the waiting room while we waited for Andrew to show up. He was parking the car.

Erika sits at her desk in front of her newly color corrected monitor.

While talking to Erika, who was facebooking, I noticed that her monitor was not color corrected. It was very yellow. With nothing better to do I offered to color balance the monitor while we were waiting. A few minutes later Andrew arrived.

We were led into a small back room with a weird contraption that looked like a bunch of cathode ray tubes in a star shaped array. It was the Vibe Machine. It was some kind of new age device whose main purpose was to re-energize your cells kind of like a battery charger and batteries. Just by sitting next to this machine for 4 to 10 minutes a day you would feel more alert and energetic while at the same time the cells now energized are able to deal with toxins better.

It sounded like a lot of hooey to me but I thought I'd try it out anyway and see if I felt better. When thinking about the experience later, I could have exposed myself to gamma radiation for all I know and in a few months could have some super powers or suffer from some horrible defect. What was I doing?

There were four of us sitting in front of the machine. Andrew, Josie, me and some woman who none of us knew but I guess was there because she paid for a session. The vibe machine turned on and off over the course of the 10 minutes. When turning on it crackled like the Jacob's ladder (climbing electrical arc) in those old B-movies. The tubes which work on the same principle as the CRTs in neon signs, and your old TV or monitor screens (pre-LCD) would light up an orangey light.

The unknown woman started leaning closer toward the device. At one point she took off her bra (from under her shirt). Maybe she thought the bra blocks all the good energy. She then started holding her feet up to the thing. A few moments later she put her face closer. It was almost if she were trying to absorb as much energy from the vibe machine as possible.

I found the whole experience rather bizarre. When done and putting back all the metal objects that were on my body (my watch, my belt), I did a quick check. My hair was still flat, I really didn't feel anything different. Were my fingers tingling? I would have to say more testing would be required before I could make a formal conclusion of any kind.

The Vibe Machine lighting up a florescent tube.

Next on our list of stops to make was a place that sold freshly made pies and garden statues. I fell asleep in the backseat of the car so I really don't know where we were. The pie was for a BBQ we were invited to. While Andrew and Josie were pie picking I was outside checking out the statues. I thought my garden gnome could use friends. The statues were all unpainted. They had two gnomes that seemed interesting... until I looked at the price tag. They were about $100 bucks each. Not that I'm against spending money but I'd have to bolt those things into the ground for fear they might be liberated by the GGLF or others.

Gnome one

Gnome two

Our next stop was a skydiving school somewhere near Welland, Ontario. Andrew had designed a couple of skydiver suits and was dropping off the samples to the school for helping finance his entry for the design exchange competition (read here and here). A plane was just taking flight with a bunch of skydivers so we sat around and waited for them to jump out of the plane.

Wind speed around 3 on the Beaufort Scale (8 to 12) miles an hour

The place was a tiny speck in the sky when the skydivers were giving the green light. On top of that the sun was behind them. This made for a lot of squinting, asking where they were, pointing, and trying to find them again through the camera lens. Once clearly visible the rest of the drop seemed to only take a few minutes. The whole group had landed and we were in the car and off the the barbecue.

Coming in for a landing


Beginner skydivers pair up with experienced skydivers

Joe, Andrew's brother was obsessed with showing us his newly planted garden. I could see the family resemblance. The food was good. We had to shovel it down in order to get to the speedway in time for the first race.

The Majtenyi family

The garden

At the racetrack the show organizers showcased a new act involving a police car, the Merrittville Marshal, and a nice car chase for the kiddies. I had forgotten how much dirt and dust gets thrown into the air by the car whizzing by. One guy sitting in the benches had made his own home made visor.

The Merrittville Marshal


Stock car races around the track

The stands

A home made visor shields dust and flying dirt

The last race

I arrived back in downtown Toronto around 12:30am. Just in time to see if Darryl wanted to go to Swatow for a late after dinner dinner. At swatow we ended up bumping into Bill who was getting take out (or take away depending on where you're from).

Bill and Darryl at Swatow

Friday, June 15, 2007

Four guys and a party

A married guy, a guy in a relationship, a guy trying to get into a relationship, and a single guy go to a party... Sounds like an opening line to a great joke or even a great story but in this blog's tradition of breaking boundaries, there's really no story and very little punch to this entry all round.

This blog entry is dedicated to the people that read this blog thinking my life is filled with action, excitement, beautiful people, and tons of sex. Despite what you may have read on this blog in past entries or possibly in future entries, my life is not like that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sure there are tons of beautiful people that just seem to gravitate toward me and the camera and sure there's excitement, especially when comparing my life to a person sitting in a cubicle among other cubicles, but these things aren't happening every second of the day.

Note to those cubicle people: Your life really isn't that boring and you get a regular pay cheque. Way to go!

Anyhoo, today's "blog worthy" activity to note began with eating at a restaurant just south of College on Spadina. Eating was then followed by attending the summer dance party at the Balmy Beach Club. It was a more mature crowd than the usual other events I've been to recenltly. The venue being outside was a nice change to the venues with the loud ambient noise or music. You could actually have a conversation without losing your vocal cords.

Outside, the quiet patio

Inside, the disco inferno.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Krista Kelly's Birthday

The birthday girl, Krista Kelly

As part of a promotional campaign for Simon Mah ( a playboy bunny by the name of Krista Kelly was brought in to sign autographs and celebrate her birthday. The festivities took place at a bar called the Swimming Pool located on Dufferin just south of Orfus road. Despite the name of the place there is no body of water other than the one in your glass.

This was the third instalment of the playboy bunny series as Simon has done this every month now for the past two months. I thought the sound in venue was a lot louder than usual. It seemed that I was yelling a lot more to talk to people.

Simon and "the girls".

The three hour autograph session ended pretty quickly and before I knew it I was on the transit going back home. After coming out of a gruelling computer job for two weeks it was nice to come up for air even if it was for a birthday party for a playboy bunny.

Early to bed, early to rise...

Guy running on the boardwalk past my McDonalds breakfast and my bike.

Around 11pm or so I decided to call it a night and go to sleep. It was relatively early for me to go to bed but I was more tired than usual. This is probably due to the final push of the Microsoft job we've been doing these last few days. It seemed like a good idea until I woke up at 3am.

Me, at the boardwalk.

Not being able to get back to sleep I did the usual check the emails, facebook, myspace stuff. Talked to Brigitte for a bit who suggested I pick up my book, the count of monte cristo, and resume where I left off. It was a good idea.

To take it one step further I biked over to McDonalds to pick up and Sausage and Egg McMuffin then headed down to the beach. While the Egg McMuffin always sounds good beforehand after eating it I felt differently. It was like a brick in my system.

Ignoring that I sat and read a bit in the sun sitting on a bench on the boardwalk a couple of meters away from the water. It's been pretty hot these last few days but being the morning around 6am the temperature was still pretty cool.

Close up of my sneakers

A jogger with my bike wheel in the foreground.

Me or the shadow of me taking a picture of the bike.

a bird hunting fish in the nearby pond

At about 7am I headed back home where I'll try to nap until 11am or so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nocturnal Activities

The CN tower with rare red and white lighting

This blog entry is dedicated to all the 9 to 5ers that are sleeping at this point. While this doesn't happen every night it's not something out of the ordinary, for me at least.

At around 3am I went to Darryl's office to drop off some graphics. We freelancers generally have no concept of time limits (like stopping work at five) and will work until the job gets done. Consequently we will also not start working at 9am unless we need to.

Darryl at the office

Around 4:15am we ended up at the McDonalds on Queen and Spadina. 24 hours of greasy goodness. I picked up a filet-o-fish. Darryl was amazed that there was no line up. "Really? At 4:15 in the morning? You should come back here more often at this time.". What a sarcastic bastard I can be.

Darryl at the 24 hour McDonalds

At 5am. After dropping off the company car I hike home, as it's only two blocks away. The sun is starting to come up.

Looking toward Gerrard street at 5am.

Looking toward the sun starting to rise in the east.

After a snooze and waking up at 11am, I eventually bring my laptop outside to do work in the backyard.

Working in the backyard. Wireless is fun.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Two Years in the Making

Usually when a person hears the line "Two years in the making" it's usually associated with great things like "This movie was two years in the making" or "This amusement park ride was two years in the making" or "This bottle of cheap wine was two years in the making". Granted the later is a poor example but usually something that's been labelled with "years in the making" usually has a positive connotation to it. We worked hard on this thing and here are our incredible results.

Not so with this blog entry. I'm referring to my sloth like tendencies, specifically my ability to ride my bike, and my body becoming more weak by the day. It all seems to have happened gradually but if I really put thought into it I can pinpoint the downward spiral of my cycling neglect. It also helps that I've taken pictures everyday for the last five years or so. I know pretty much exactly the last time I rode the thing.

It all began around the time of the purchase of my Nikon D70. It was at that point that I picked up a new camera bag. Prior to the D70 I owned a streamlined Tilley's bag meant for a laptop and in it housed my Nikon 990 swivel camera. The bag was easy to cycle with and because the camera was so small (in relative terms) if I wiped out chances are the camera would survive. Not so with the D70, a camera made of plastic.

In order to preserve my camera and lug the copious amount of camera accessories I started walking to places and taking public transit. My biking days were numbered until eventually my bike became neglected. It was locked to the back yard fence for the longest time. Eventually I noticed it rusting. I moved it inside where it accumulated spider webs next to the furnace for the next two years.

This brings us pretty much up to date with the bike and where it is now. Talking to Hilary today she had a great idea of biking over to the islands. It was part of our grand plan to spend more time with each other than with Kyoko (There's an inside joke here some where). The idea sounded a bit sketchy at first. What was the condition of my bike? I told Hilary I'd call her back after checking out my bike's status.

The good news was that it was still where I had left it. The landlord may have moved it to get to the furnace but upon preliminary inspection it looked okay. I brought it outside into the backyard to get a better idea of what I was dealing with. Rust and dust. The bike horn was busted, the speedometer was missing (probably in one of my tool boxes), the tires were in need of air and the the chain looked a bit suspect with all the rust. Otherwise the bike seemed in good shape.

I called Hilary and told her her bike to the island idea was a GO. Then getting on the bike carefully, like the bike would fall apart from under me, I was off. It took me a while to remember how to switch gears. Had it been that long? I wondered if the chain would snap due to corrosion. This had happened to me years before while I was racing a streetcar. I hit the pavement like a sack of wet cement. People craned their heads out of the streetcar windows to see the accident. The cars behind me skidded to a halt. I remember seeing the thin two meter trail of blood on the ground and the rather large gash in my side thinking "where can I get a band aid?" and "Crap, my wind breaker has another hole in it".

It was this horrific image that filled my head as I tested the bike's mettle cycling toward the ferry docks. I didn't push the bike much. Not because I was scared it would fall apart and I'd incur more injuries, I just didn't have the energy to do so. Geez.

"What are you doing?"

I made it to the ferry docks in under 60 minutes, a trip two years ago would have taken me 20 minutes. Hilary was standing under a tree. While she stood in line I went to get us food. It was perfect timing. I got the hot dogs and arrived in the ferry line just in time to pay the fare. Once through the gates we got on the Hanlan's ferry that was loading. Once on board the gates closed and off we went.

Visitors from Timmins

The first stop was the haunted lighthouse on Hanlan's point. We met some visitors from Timmins, a place located near my mom's home town. They asked me if I could take their picture with a disposable camera. After agreeing to take a photo I backed up and eventually found myself lying in the muddy grass to get what I thought was a good angle. After taking the picture I asked them if it was okay if I took a digital photo of them with my Nikon. This was just in case their disposable camera took a lousy photo. I was shooting slightly into the sun to get the light house in. That's always a tricky thing with cameras that don't have any settings.

The handle on the door to the haunted lighthouse.

Hilary does her wall analysis.

The second stop, not including the stop for more water, was to stop off at the church across from centreville. Hilary wanted to ease drop on the people going by on the umbrella ride and see the if the priest was in to volunteer to do garden work. The church was locked up but we walked around it anyway to check out the sorry looking plants.

Centre Island


Shooting with the proper EV settings.

The third stop was to check out the city sky line somewhere between Centre and Wards Island. We eventually made it to the snack bar just as it was closing and then the Ward's Island Ferry just as it came into dock. Pretty good timing all round.

Hilary checks out the Toronto skyline

"Hey, I know that sax player! It's Fred!"

Lane, The neighbour's dog

On my arrival back to the house I noticed my upstairs neighbour outside with her new puppy, Lane. I took a few pictures then exhausted went straight to bed for a nap.

The puppy in Lisa's arms