Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday Extravaganza

I slept in today waking up around 10:50am. It was raining. Not just that small amount of rain that you can wander through without really getting wet, I'm talking about crazy buckets of rain. The kind that will soak you to the bone by the time you walk down the block.

For the last few weeks I'd been getting up around the same time and trying to make it to the local croissant place in order to get a chocolate croissant but by the time I got there the chocolaty baked goodness was sold out. Augh!!


Today was the perfect weather scenario. Who would be crazy enough to venture out into the torrential downpour for a croissant; aside from me that is? Maybe in BC or London, England where it rains more out of the year than not; but in Toronto? Let's face it the majority of Toronto people are wimps when it comes to rain.

I was soaked halfway down the block. The cafe is about a 20 minute walk from my house which translated to a whole lot of more blocks. I could feel the wetness breaching through my jacket. I should have just wore a wind breaker. It would have had the same effect as my heavier jacket of not really stopping the rain but wouldn't retain all the water which was weighing me down quite a bit.

I could feel the water seep through the sleeves whenever I bent my elbows. The rain falling on my camera bag was being repelled off the rain resistant outer layer and being soaked up by my pants. My feet were wet. I should have worn sandals. My socks had absorbed so much water it felt like walking on wet sponges.

I walked into Clafouti followed by a trail of water. Water was still pouring off me as I reached for the tongs to grab four of the six croissants left. I placed them into a semi-soggy paper bag and asked if I could get an additional plastic bag as I didn't think the paper bag would hold up against the outside environment.

About two blocks into the walk back the rain stopped, the sun came out, and I became really hot. I started to sweat in the already soaked jacket and had to unzip the thing to cool off.

Sun starts to come out.

Me with the bag of croissants.

Almost home

Eventually I got home, put the soaked clothing in the washing machine and got into dry clothing. The croissants were heated up in the oven to make them crispy again. Today would be a good birthday.

Toasting the sogginess out of the croissant.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cleaning Pod City

The habitrail components get a wash

It seems that I'd been cleaning the hamster cage too much since I picked up Captain Hill. I figured I'd clean it out as soon as it started getting stinky. According to the hamster book you're not supposed to clean the cage for the first three weeks. Change the water, get rid of rotting fruit, but leave the bedding and original wood chips in.

I suppose this is so the hamster can get used to it's domain. It's bad enough that the hamster has to make the transition from being in the pet store with the other hamsters to this new place. I suppose if the place keeps getting cleaned, to the hamster it's like an invasion on it's turf.

So today weeks after, I did a whole cleansing. From the wheel to each pod and individual tube.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Captain Hill VS the toilet paper tube

Captain Hill peeks outside

Today's photo session of Captain Hill took place on the kitchen table. Hamsters are pretty entertaining to watch. They're pretty inquisitive creatures that follow their nose. I used a peanut to get her to move around. Otherwise I think she would have just stayed in the tube away from the light.

Carefully, Captain Hill comes outside the tube.

There's a stalactite on my Jello

I've arranged the order of these photos so you might not really know what you're looking at. Although the blog title does kind of give it away.

Okay, technically it's not a calcium carbonate deposit, it's actually small icicles that have formed from the condensation of water on the lid of my jello container freezing down back to the surface of the jello. What to do? Photograph it!! Grape jello can look good as a desktop background!!

Looking at jello shapes can be like looking at clouds. What do you see?

A hawk.

Purple rocks.

The fetus from 2001: a space odyssey.

Nope... it's a cup of half eaten Jello.

The lighting set up.

The untouched Jello with the ice bits.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A three day blur, a three day blur...

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was lost... well the weather did get rough in the sense the temperature dropped from the 40s (C) to the teens in just a few days. That combined with a lowered immune system from being around smoke, animals, and maybe a bit too much derby girl excitement over the weekend (is there such a thing?, by the time Sunday morning rolled around I was feeling quite drained. I woke up exhausted and craving more sleep.

I slept on the GO bus back to Toronto, backed out of a dinner with Rebecca, and went home to get more sleep. It took the form of a nap. I woke up a few hours later with that scratchy feeling you get in your throat when you know you're about to be sick... real sick. It was pretty much down hill from there.

Monday rolled around and Kablam, a full on cold thingy. There was a chance I'd get work on Tuesday doing a TV playback gig so I slept through Monday all day in the hopes the cold would just run it's course and get the heck out of my body.

8pm Monday; I got the call, it was official. Work to be started at 9am the next day. I went back to bed and slept for two more hours before I realized I couldn't sleep any more (I suppose sleeping through the whole day would do that to you). So I stayed up; got about 30 minutes of sleep and at around 6:30am got up and went to work.

Fever, sweats, coughing, runny nose, wheezing and to top it off I was tired. Yes, even after sleeping all day the day before. ugh. I managed to make it through the 12 hour work day. It was gruelling but it would be good to get a cheque in the end.

As it turns out my work luck wouldn't stop on just the Tuesday. I had been called to work the Wednesday and the Thursday as well. Knowing this I bought a bottle of cold F/X and started my dosage (6 the first day, 4 the second day and 2 the third day).

I started feeling better by the third day. Still tired though. I had worked until 1:30am Wednesday night wrapping out the gear. Thursday I had a four hour pre-call that got me into the studio at 8am. While I only worked about 10 hours on the Thursday the lack of sleep has accumulated to the point I fell asleep on the bus going home, managing to wake up at the stop at the subway station.

On a side note...

I can't remember who but some one asked why you never see baby pigeons running around the street. I thought about that for a short moment and couldn't recall seeing any on the street or at all for that matter. The building that I was working in, the building that was used as a location that we were making a TV pilot in, had an exit to a back alley. The alley was like any other alley I suppose. Hardly any traffic and air conditioning units half stuck out of various windows.

It was on one of these air conditioning units that a bird's nest was built and two storeys below a line of shrubs that housed a small baby pigeon. The locations person and I came to the conclusion that it fell out of the nest and couldn't fly back up. It was trapped at the bush level. Lucky there were no cats around.

When no one was looking the mother bird would swoop down with food and feed the little bird. The little bird would flap it's wings and chirp. It was during this time (while I was on lunch) that I crept in with my camera to get a photo. I had a 28-70mm, so getting in close was actually pretty difficult. It took a few tries before getting the photos below.

Mom and the grounded baby pigeon.

Mom feeds the little bird.

Baby pigeon.

Mom walks away as I approach.

On a side side note...

"Where the heck is my bed??"

The pod that was housing Captain Hill was getting kind of poop filled. I decided to empty the pod and refill it with new bedding and food. As it turns out the Hamster book I bought says that you should let the hamster get used to it's environment without moving or cleaning things. Just replenish the food and water. Otherwise the cleaning may result in an irritable hamster. Whoops.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Great Escape

It wasn't hard to come up with a name for the hamster. On the way home the hamster started eating out of the transport box they give you from the pet store. Being that it was only cardboard once the hamster saw light coming through a crack it just started chewing away. The crack got bigger becoming a hole. It got to a point where I thought about going to the corner Starbucks to get a grande cup and lid as temporary storage.

By this point the apartment was only a block away, I walked the rest of the way to the house pushing the hamster's head in (gently) with the free finger I had. Roger was home and showed up at the door just in time. The hamster had almost escaped while I was fiddling with the keys opening the front door. Roger grabbed the bags with the habitrail, food, and wood chips. I had both hands busy trying not to drop the transport box, having it unfold, and keeping the hamster in. We made it to the kitchen where I put the hamster temporarily into a pot while I built the space station of a hamster cage. I'm not kidding it's pretty futuristic looking.

Fluffball, Vader, James Blinn (the second1), fatso (perhaps a bit demeaning), the Hamstertm (like hipster but a "ham", for "one that likes the spotlight"), Ham Able Lecter, Nugget (short for Hamster nugget), Nick (Nick's your buddy/pal2). These were all names that went through my head on the way home. It wasn't until I noticed that the hamster almost escaped out of the box and almost got squished in the bag that a name from the Great Escape was going to be used. If the hamster had a hamster sized baseball I could see it bouncing the ball off the wall in the box (had the ball not eaten it first). Captain Hilts "The cooler king". Yeah.

It wasn't until later that I found out the the hamster was a she. On top of that Captain Hilts is probably trademarked or something being that it's from a movie. So instead I changed the name to Captain Hill. Partially named after Hilary who is one of my more adventurous friends and who would escape out of a box had you put her in one. She might not eat her way out... then again who knows?

1James Blinn is a computer graphics guy who used to write a column in the IEEE computer graphics and applications magazine I used to read in high school (if I could get my hands on them). I named my first hamster James Blinn after this guy (yes, geeky I know) hence today's hamster would have to be named James Blinn the second.
2 See the movie "The Sure Thing"

The road to chocolate crossaints

Wow! But it's not tuesday.

After doing the internet search for work I decided to get the heck out of my house and get some fresh air. Granted at the end there would be chocolate croissants if things went my way. Access denied. The place I go to just south of the Trinty Bellwoods park had sold them all out. Booo.

It's Nilla.

As a plan B I went across the street to Sanko, a japanese food store. Between the two shops I popped into see Nilla. She runs a spa for moms called Sunny Mummy. After a few attempts, I had walked by before, she was in. It's difficult to catch her on a whim like schedule such as mine.

Sanko, a Japanese food store.

After talking to Nilla for a bit I went across the street and bought some Onigiri. They were about $2.30 each. I picked up three of them then walked over to the park.

Onigiri, a ball of rice with stuff wrapped in seaweed.

Listening to my iPhone, eating these things, and watching people play tennis was pretty good. Between all this I was playing Words with Friends on the iPhone. This, plus the playing of music, drained the battery. I have found that the iPhone power lasts for maybe four hours before needing a charge (P.O.C.!!!!1). While I was there I put some things in my brain in order for how I was going to tackle the job hunting next week.

Listening to tunes in the park.

With the battery almost dead I returned home listening to "Do anything you want to". Kind of poetic.

Somebody misses somebody.

P.O.C. - Piece of Crap!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pork chop express

A long ramp into the No Frills

The high light of the day was going to the no frills grocery store and buying a 3.5 pound picnic slab of pork for $4.75. For under the price of a Big Mac I could stuff my face with a large hunk of pork. A pork roast wouldn't be complete without apple sauce. I bought four apples (they were from the States). I generally like to buy Ontario apples to support our farmers but the no frills didn't have any.

The cooked pork slab with apples underneath.

To cook pork whey say to bake it at 350F for 20-30 minutes per pound. So if you have a pork piece that's 3.5 pounds, you'll want to cook it for 1 hour and 45 minutes approx. I cooked mine at 400F for two hours just to be safe. You can check here at the Ontario Pork site.

To keep the pork juicy I kept the lid on for the entire time in the oven. You don't have to add crazy amounts of spices to pork to have it taste amazing. But you don't want it dry and cooking without a lid and without basting on a regular basis would do that.

Basic Pork Recipe


3.5 pound pork roast
4 apples


cut up apples into slices, getting rid of cores, line baking pan with apples.
place pork on to apples.
cook at 400F for two hours (or whatever time is specific to your pork weight - see Ontario Pork site).

Take out of oven serve with mashed potatoes or rice or nothing.

That was pretty simple huh?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Big Chill

Didn't get around to doing much today. Did some job hunting on the internet in the morning following by some errands in the early afternoon and ended up getting an ice cream at the local ice cream shop, the Big Chill.

I liked the table design.

Other than that, allergies have been a non-stop distraction today. I'm not sure what started all the sneezing, nose blowing, teary eyed madness. It's like the cat upstairs was purposely pushing dander into the vents of the apartment or something.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010



Didn't really do a lot today. The high light was getting a call from Rebecca to go over to her place to walk over to the LCBO and take photos of her pet lizard. We ended up taking the photos and not venturing out for booze.

Wooter, the lizard, was pretty good at staying in one place to pose for the camera. We photographed him on the kitchen counter with a single SB-800 flash for light. To make things interesting Rebecca fed Wooter some worms (that resembled something more like a hard crunchy centipede). I tried to take a few of the lizard eating but after the second worm Wooter had had enough and ignored the rest of the food given to him.

leftover worm

I left after taking about 75 photos.

Monday, September 06, 2010

CNE air show 2010

Dundas street ripped up for renovations

I got an email from the now seemingly elusive Darryl. It was a invite to meet up with Roman of MC2 at Roman's apartment to watch the air show. It's been at least 15 years if not more than I've seen Roman. Gads, has it been that long since working on speaker support. Seems like a lifetime ago now.

The Bathurst bridge

Way way back when, before photography, before working in visual effects, back when I was a programmer (that is a while ago) and the world wide web was still in it's infancy, I used to code speaker support type projects in the infuriating Macromind Director. It would be later that Microsoft's power point would come out and destroy any quality speaker support work because "anyone could do it".

Among the list of employers I used to freelance for, a large number of them if not all of them no longer exist, was a hip artie company called MC2 made up of Roman Milo and Richard Cortez (see where the M and C come from?). They were great to work for and I have many fond memories talking to another employee (Ron, who went off to work at Pacific Data Images) about the best pizza places you could go to in Toronto and what the best crust was. It's thin crispy crust by the way.

view from the apartment looking down at the traffic near the CNE.

Roman's apartment is one of the new condos located down near the lake. The view was pretty good but the planes were pretty tiny. I ended up shooting a lot using the 70-200mm lens with a 2x doubler.

Darryl and Roman

The meeting was actually a clever way to get a bunch of people together to form a co-op company. While the planes were buzzing around in the air Darryl, Roman, me and two girls (I can't remember their names) tossed around some preliminary ideas. Very preliminary. I mean we all want to work (for money) but didn't have any real direction to get us there.

Overall the meeting was still fun and interesting. We'll have to wait a few days, weeks, to see if anything comes to fruition.

Old US navy planes in formation

Roman on the balcony

Snow birds.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Food with Friends

I was trying to think of something to do when Emmanuel called suggesting we go for lunch at a new noodle place near Dundas and Bay. "What food? Yeah! Sure!", twist my rubber arm. Twisted it was.

Kenzo, the japanese noodle place, had a bunch of photos in the front window of the different types of noodles and soups you could order. We didn't really look at it long. We practically ran inside.

While tasty, the noodles weren't that filling. Not because of the portion but more because I was famished. Had it been a regular day I'm sure it would have filled me comfortably.

Later on in the day I went for a popularity (mushroom) burger at Toby's. The weird thing about this is that I thought all the Toby's locations went extinct. There used to be a chain of them all around Toronto. I was kind of surprised that there was one left and it was located near my house.

For dessert (ice cream and waffles) Peter and I ended up at the Sicilian Cafe. Another place located near my house. How convenient.