Sunday, January 20, 2008

Feels like -21C

Toronto is officially too cold for clouds. The 3 month long cloud cover finally lifted today to let in some sunshine. The first clear skies I've seen here since October (and that other time I was flying above the cloud layer).

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Spent two blissful days in South Beach, Miami - away from the cold & gloom.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


A friend shared this website featuring some really trippy, twisted animation. Check out Salad Fingers and Burnt-Face Man.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


How low have we sunk as a civilization, when we can't even be trusted to brush properly on our own? Oral-B has a new toothbrush with built-in digital brushing instructions. Apparently a timer tells you how long to brush each side. Ugh.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The End of the Earth

There's a place you won't see much of in coffee table books. You won't hear about it on travel shows. You won't hear your friends raving about it, even if they're from there. You won't be bombarded with last minute vacation deals to go there. It's probably one of the world's best kept secrets - and the locals would like to keep it that way - with good reason.

The place is Newfoundland. It's a craggy outcrop of land nestled next to the north east corner of the North American mainland. Rugged and divinely beautiful, its remoteness is obvious in each lungful of unpolluted air. Located on the Eastern end of the island is the city of St. John's. It's the capital of the Canadian provice of Newfoundland and Labrador and the oldest English city in North America. I had the opportunity to visit last month.

Expecting a dull, barebones small town adorned with bad hair and bad flannel, I was pleasantly surprised. I found a very proper English city with well-maintained Victorian homes, modern infrastructure and a thriving art scene. The people are warm, friendly and speak in a strange dialect (officially called Newfenese). Irish culture is everywhere. So is maritime culture - the North Atlantic kind. Fishing boats everywhere, big and small. This is stuff you don't see much outside of National Geographic specials.

As the soft autum twilight gave way to night, the sky lit up with countless stars. More than I have ever seen in my life. The feeling was almost otherworldly. Words can't do justice here. This tourism video tries hard. You have to go there to believe it. I will again. Next week. And then back in Spring for an extended vacation.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


After two not-so brutal Toronto winters, I think I've finally acclimated. The other day I stepped out of the gym around 6:30 in the evening. I had some stuff to pick up at the pharmacy. I came out and there was a snowstorm. I pulled my hood up and kept on walking - across the street, down three blocks to the nearest Shoppers. The old me would've walked the other way into the warm confines of my building.

Speaking of snow, this year we're really getting it. Lots of it. Snow, sleet, slush, freezing rain. It's only December 4th. Nasty winter ahead. Brrrr.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One Two Three Four

Leslie Feist is a Canadian singer-songwriter with an undeniably folksy musical style. Here's a video of one of her recent singles - "1234". It was popularized in an iPod commercial. I love this video for it's simple and elegant, yet vibrant choreography. I can see why Apple chose it.

Friday, November 09, 2007


One is ablaze in all its crimson glory. Others refuse to let go. Autumn showers leave behind a gloomy haze. Deck chairs lie longingly on a rain-soaked patio. Pale white ghosts from the summer that was.

Scene from my window.


Washington, DC was never my first choice of places to live. In fact, I don't think it's anybody's. However, its insidious southern charm creeps up on anyone who spends more than a few months there. It's a lovely city with a commendable quality of life. It has some of the most beautiful public spaces anywhere in the world. It connects you with nature like no other city can. It draws highly talented individuals from all over the world who learn to make it home in their own way. It breeds a sense of community without ever really assimilating all its inhabitants.

Over my eight years in the Washington DC area, I got to know some wonderful people and made friends for life. Yet something seemed amiss. My life had gotten off track somehow. I couldn't put my finger on it. So I decided to leave and make a fresh start somewhere else. Last week, I got to revisit my old hometown and reflect on the changes over the past two years. I'm glad to say my life is somewhat back on track. I feel more at home now and more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with geography, but it has a lot to do with leaving behind old baggage and starting over.

Life is about taking chances. Some work out, some don't. The lesson here is that you don't have to be stuck with the bad choices in your life. When given the opportunity to change things, do it! I took a chance 2 years ago and I'm glad to say it worked out.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New York

There's magic in the air. The city is cleaner and friendlier than I can ever remember. Or maybe I'm just getting used to urban chaos. It's nice to see my favourite city in the world bounce back from a tragedy and prosper again.


Art is a process. Follow this process faithfully and you get something as magical as "Shortbus" - an explosion of raw, creative talent that takes you completely by surprise. You go in expecting pornography and when you come out, the only thing moist is your eye.

Shortbus is a story about longing and belonging. It's also the name of an underground club in New York City - "a salon for the gifted", where people come to partake all manners of sensual pleasures. Mostly they come for a sense of belonging, to find what's missing in their lives. For some, it might be true sexual pleasure. Sex is an inseparable part of our lives, yet most of us keep it locked away in a closet of shame. Shortbus puts it out there, front and centre. Yet, its overall role in the movie is merely textural.

Shortbus is also a movie about New York - a city undergoing a magical transformation after the wounds of 9/11. "This is where everyone comes to be forgiven," says an aging former mayor. There's a recurring theme of transformation and redemption. Instead of the customary aerial shots of Manhattan, you see a camera naughtily panning over a clay & cardboard model of the city. Full points for originality.

This is moviemaking at its finest. Watch it - even if the orgies offend you.


I'm back. After a protracted bout of writers block and a summer spent crawling out of my skin, it's time to crawl back under a warm blanket and blog. Thoughts are racing to my fingertips like unruly kids storming out of a classroom on the last day before summer break. Playful, yet overwhelming. Hopefully I can turn these thoughts into coherent sentences and give my readers something to relish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Au Revoir

This blog is on indefinite hiatus. I haven't blogged since May and most of you probably guesssed that much. There's a lot going on in my life and my creative side has taken a back-seat to everything else. I hope to be back someday soon. Meanwhile, I'll continue to read your blogs and comment occassionally, and of course, will alert you when I'm back!

Until then, to those of you the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the summer, and to those in the South, hang in there - warmer weather's just around the corner!

Au revoir.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Anyone missing a 737? Try looking here.

It's scary to think this heap was actually ferrying passengers not too long ago.

Monday, April 30, 2007


First Viagara, and now this. More proof that the world is run by creepy, leery straight men.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This Monday I attended my first gay marriage. It was a small, simple ceremony in an unremarkable room in the concrete tower of bureaucracy known as Toronto City Hall. A few close friends attended. A black minister in a grey academic gown presided. Vows were exchanged, rings were worn and signatures were placed on a beige piece of paper. One of those signatures happened to be mine, as a witness. V & K were united in matrimony in the eyes of the law. It took all of 15 minutes.

The fact wasn't lost on me that the piece of paper represented many years of struggle and countless hours of hard work by thousands of people across Canada and the world. It's a treasured manifestation of the equality principles enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights. Yet, it all seemed so anti-climactic. Specially after living through the endless debates on this topic in the US. It felt good to live in a jurisdiction that has turned gay marriage into a routine bureaucratic procedure.

As a side effect, the experience certainly made marriage feel a lot less intimidating. I feel encouraged to give it a try someday. Accepting applications now ;-)

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Epic That Isn't

I'm glad to say I did not pay to watch 300. It was a friend's treat, after I bought him brunch. After all the buzz and positive reviews about a movie that supposedly broke new ground, I'm not impressed. In fact, I'm mildly offended. The only thing the movie broke is my faith in Hollywood's ability to tell good stories.

300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae where 300 brave Spartan soldiers took a stand against a gargantuan invading Persian army. Spoiler alert - of course, in the end they all died, but their story inspired all of Greece and somehow contributed to the inabiity of the Persian empire to thrust into Europe.

The movie is visually unique - it uses overexposed, grainy imagery and a monochrome palette to give a period feel. The CG work is excellent. The men are buff and sporting massive six-packs. However, all the blood & gore distracts from the fundamental story, which is rather simplistic. There are no epic wars being fought, alliances being forged or nations being conquered. It's the story of one battle. There're little background sub-plots thrown in to break the monotony, but they have little bearing on the principal storyline.

The movie also goes out of its way to depict the enemy as barbarians and thus, by inference, the Spartan warriors righteous. It's really over the top. The media calls this "Hollywood's invasion of Persia". Perhaps a retaliation for the overt anti-Semitic tirades coming from present-day Iran?

What I found personally offensive are the racist undertones in the setup. The Persian army presumably invaded from North Africa, and was thus made up of slaves from the area. It ended up being a battle of white Europeans vs. brown/black Asians with references to Asian culture being inferior - the classic white supremacy theory. I don't know if this was intentional - probably not. While I adore and respect Spartan bravery, I'm glad I did not pay $10 to watch my heritage being maligned. There's an Indiana Jones DVD on a sale rack somewhere that will do the job just fine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

American Idol

While I'm no dedicated fan of the show, I'm certainly a fan of Ryan Seacrest. I first noticed him when he did an Oscars pre-show many many years ago - before American Idol. Of course, the usual rumours have been circulating about his sexuality. While he can be trumped by every other West Hollywood queen in the looks department, he has a certain on-screen charisma that I find very sexy.

Driven indoors by the cold Toronto winters, and wanting to make good use of my HD cable subscription, I've been watching a lot of American Idol this season. There's certainly a crescendo building up around Ryan's sexuality. Simon has been making jabs at him, and I've been carefully watching Ryan's responses. He's making measured retorts but doesn't get defensive about it. Today it reached a new peak when Simon asked Ryan to come out of the closet - in so many words. Wonder where this is going. My intuition tells me Ryan's going to make an announcement soon ;-)

Spring Is In The Air

The ice is melting, the wind is gentle and humid, the grass is peeking through and the earth smells of spring showers. Days like this remind me that I've been whining too much and Toronto has lovely outdoor weather for half a year. Weather that invites you to step out and walk. A lot.

Thursday, the mercury dips below freezing. I'm not whining anymore.

Friday, March 09, 2007


I need a vacation. A real vacation. Somewhere far from the bustle and close to nature. Someplace warm where I won't need five layers of clothes just to step out of home.

This winter is turning out to be one long endurance test. I am truly ready for Spring - which won't really be here till May. Sigh.

The Prestige

One of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Run to the nearest DVD store and rent it. The plot is complex and incredibly clever. The performances, art direction and cinematography are flawless. If that's not enough, the two lead roles are played by Hollywood hotties Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.

This isn't a movie to watch over dinner, or while making out with a date. This is a movie that demands 100% attention throughout. You won't have to try very hard though, it pulls you in from the very first scene. It's like watching a two hour magic trick. You're expecting to be deceived and you enjoy every moment of it. Enough said. Just watch it!

Monday, March 05, 2007


Hmm - I just realized my last three posts are weather related. I swear it wasn't planned that way but weather has been on my mind a lot. The only good thing about a Toronto winter is the fact that it tightens up your pores and keeps your skin clean. That and curling.

Ok - I'm just kidding about curling, which, for the uninitiated, is yet another pointless sport invented by the Scots out of sheer boredom. They spent their summers whacking a pebble around the meadows with a stick and called it golf. They spent their winters pushing a piece of rock on ice aided by the smoothening power of brooms and called it curling. I'm not making any of this up.

Some of you have expressed great concern at my absence from the blogosphere for - gosh - a whole month. I've been busy doing actual work for a change. Very interesting, yet intense work. This is my first normal week in a while. Hope to post more regularly going forward. Stay tuned!

Climate Change

While the Bush administration has been busy re-christening global warming as cimate change for political reasons, they might have a point after all. Warming conjures up images of heat, sun and floods. Climate change manifests itself in more ways than that. Take today for example. They shut down the Gardiner Expressway and certain streets in downtown Toronto after baseball sized chunks of ice started flying off buildings. Some quotes from today's Toronto Star:

Experts say this is the first time since 1976 — when the CN Tower was finished — that the structure has seen such an ice buildup.

The cause was a rare confluence of weather factors beginning with the March 1 storm. The accumulations of wet snow and freezing rain (about 6 centimetres of snow and another 13 millimetres of rain) got the ball rolling.

That wouldn't be the first weather-related rare occurrence we've seen in the past couple of years. While Canadians may welcome the general rise in temperatures and look forward to someday spending March-break sunning themselves on the shores of Lake Ontario, we should realize that there may not be a Lake Ontario left by then.

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore has finally made peace with himself. He may have been an average politician but he's a kick-ass campaigner for combating global warming. His movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is a taped version of his lecture on global warming, interspersed with vignettes of his life that cast him as an authorative figure on the topic. Regardless of his credentials, the arguments he makes are based on hard, irrefutable facts. It's impossible to watch this movie and still not believe in global warming.

According to Al Gore, we're like frogs in a pot of water, slowly simmering towards certain death. Parallels are drawn to the denial around the smoking crisis. His own family grew tobacco, he says, till the death of his sister from lung cancer shook them up. It's not all gloomy though, he says. We have the technology and means today to drive down emissions to pre-1970s levels. What's lacking is the political will.

Well, global warming is a real problem, whether Al Gore says it or not. Companies have been actively taking notice and buiding strategies around it. After all, climate change will impact bottomlines. The cost of doing nothing is probbaly far greater than the cost of adapting. It's a matter of getting people out of denial and to accept certain action plans.

On a more personal level, I have made changes to my lifestyle in the past two years that hopefully have some impact. My car stays mostly in the garage these days. I walk or take the transit to most places. I live in a condo with substantial heating/cooling efficiencies. I choose simpler foods with less industrial processing involved. On a professional level, I help businesses communicate electronically, thus saving paper and travel. My job involves a non-trivial amount of travel but I've always taken trains and car-pooled whenever possible. Am I doing enough? Time will tell.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Today's probably the coldest day of my life. The temperature outside is about -20C. With wind chill, it feels more like -35C. How cold is that? Well, your snot freezes in about 30 seconds. If you're foolish enough to leave any part of your skin exposed, it'll freeze and fall off after about 5 minutes.

So I'm stuck at home, lounging on the couch with my personal lap warmer - better known to you as Nina. I'm bored. I could probably find places to go to in the relative warmth of my car, but I don't feel like it. I have packing to do. Tomorrow I leave for the warmer coast. San Francisco isn't exactly warm, but I'm sure it'll feel warm after this.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Blogger claims to be out of 'beta' now. Does anyone notice that it's now slower than usual? Or is it just me?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is This for Real?

This morning, I read a story in the editorial section of the Toronto Star. Not being fully awake, I couldn't figure out if it was a spoof or a true story. Apparently it's true.

The town of Herouxville in Québec, population 1,300, published some controversial rules on its website regarding new immigrants. Here's a translated excerpt:

"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here,"

"We consider it completely outside norms to... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

For more juicy tidbits, read the BBC News version of the story.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Growing up in India, the only stimulant I developed a taste for is tea. Rich, dense black tea smothered in liberal quantities of whole milk and sugar. Occassionally we indulged in a little "Madras coffee", a percolated coffee decoction, once again smothered in liberal quantities of whole milk and sugar. Of course, upon moving to the US into a dinky little grad-school pad, preparing tea the traditional way was too much of a chore. Cautious doses from the school coffee maker yielded a dark, bitter drink that required way too much sugar to make palatable. The dusty dregs of a Lipton tea bag were no better. I thus resorted to Coca Cola for the ultimate sugar-caffeine kick. Of course, when you're 21 your body can take it.

Slowly, over time, I concluded that I just was not a coffee person. It was an acquired taste and I just wasn't going to bother acquiring it. I scanned various supermarkets, ethnic and gourmet stores for good teas. If you've lived in the US, you know they don't really understand tea - they try to make it taste like coffee - yuck! However, things slowly began to change. Loose leaf teas started showing up at gourmet stores. With a few tips from the web, and a classic, white English teapot, I was soon brewing rich, full bodies black teas in my kitchen. With a touch of milk and sugar, they were little cups of heaven - my revenge at all the coffee & cream addicts around me.

A year and a half ago, I moved to Toronto where - surprise, surprise - I found wonderful, full-bodied, bagged teas at supermarkets all over. Here's an easy test for a good tea. Flip the carton over and see where it's been packed. England? Yes. US? No. I finally settled for Tetley Orange Pekoe. It's cheap and available everywhere. That's my daily breakfast tea now.

By now you're probably wondering where I'm going with all this. Well, paitience has it's virtues :-)

About a year ago, I was introduced to the fabled Tim Horton's double double. To the uninitiated, it's a cup of regular coffee with two shots each of milk & sugar. Yes, milk, not cream. That makes all the difference in taste. Also, you can get a regular sized cup of this stuff for just over a buck. It was cheap enough to experiment with, and experiment I did. Slowly I fell under the spell of coffee and acquired the taste I found so alien just a few years ago. However, the real deal-closer was Rio. The Sheraton in Barra de Tijuca serves some excellent cafe com leite. I probably downed at least 4 cups of this stuff every day during my week there.

Of course, like any crack ... err .... caffeine addict, I wanted more. Since November, I've been experimenting with various brands, styles and flavors of coffee all around Toronto (and Barcelona). I've realized the secret is good coffee + warm milk. So far, it's a close race between Starbucks and Timothy's World lattés. Timmy's carries an excellent Ethiopian coffee sometimes. I like the way their lattés still have some crema floating on top. Starbucks meanwhile really jolts you awake. They probably have the highest caffeine levels. I've been going through at least a cup of this stuff every day, if not more. I really should stop. Oh but it's SO good! Sigh.

Compact Fluorescent Liability?

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), more commonly known as energy efficient bulbs hit the market about 20 years ago as THE solution to the world's energy problems. A 11W bulb delivered the same light as a 60W old-fashioned Edison-era bulb. That's almost an 80% reduction in energy use. Sounds like a no-brainer - right?

Over time, these clunky, mini-tubes were shrunk & packaged to look more like household bulbs and could fit into a standard lamp. Adoption rates increased, volumes increased and prices dropped. These days you can buy a CFL bulb for not much more than a glass bulb. Problem solved - right?

It's not quite that simple. There's a fly in the soup. First, let's look at the energy efficiency argument. Edison found a way to turn electricity into light and heat. A household tungsten bulb typically converts 40% of the energy consumed into light and the remaining 60% into heat. Unfortunately, in most cases, we're only interested in the light. The heat goes to waste. Or does it? Not if it's freezing outside and you have the heating on. The heat from the bulb simply offsets the heat that would otherwise be generated by the furnace.

Secondly, let's look at the environmental impact of making CFLs. These are not simple devices by any means. The light-emitting piece is a thick glass coated on the inside with toxic chemicals and filled with a trace amount of mercury. The base consists of complex electronics that charge the tube. Some CFLs are then encased in special plastics. Overall, each CFL is a complex piece of technology that draws heavily from the petrochemical industry. Compare this with a simple glass bulb that's nothing but tungsten, glass and tin. I'm betting that the environmental cost of the former is much greater than the latter. And this is only at the manufacturing stage. After the CFLs fade away, there's a huge disposal cost as illustrated here.

Yes, CFLs do make sense in hot places. Yes, they do help shift heating loads from the electricity grid to other fuel sources like gas and oil. However, we must move forward cautiously while looking at the overall environmental impact of this technology.

Bigger & Better

To those who had the misfortune of arriving in Toronto from the US on Air Canada or United, I offer sincere apologies on behalf of all of Canada. I am sorry for the 20 mins of sensory deprivation you experienced as you got off the plane and made your way to customs down a cold, dimly lit hallway. I'm sorry for that sudden twinge of panic as you wondered if your plane had entered a wormhole and landed in the former Soviet Union - in the 1960s. I'm sorry for the detention cell ... er .. customs hall where you waited and watched your hair turn gray. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

Yes, Terminal 2 at Toronto's Pearson airport was that bad. A relic from the 60s (probably designed by cruel British architects - probably the same ones who built Heathrow T3), it was a national disgrace that sent American tourists scurrying back home on the next flight. I can finally talk about it freely because two days ago, it saw its last flight. Yes folks, T2 is history. The nightmare is over. We are safe to fly again.

To mark this occassion, Peason airport held a "wake" of sorts for T2 this Sunday. I was half tempted to go, considering that T2 is where I officially became a Canadian resident. Of course, other priorities prevailed.

So what happens to the building now? In true Canadian fashion, there will be no bulldozers & earth movers. Instead, over the next two years, the terminal will be carefully recycled - down to the last block of concrete.

To make up for past indignities, we now give you this ultra-modern, bright, spacious masterpiece. I've flown through it a few times now and it's a sheer joy. Makes you feel good about being home. Designed by Moshe Safdie, who also gave us the National Gallery in Ottawa, the airport is the epitome of good planning, design & engineering. Everything's exactly where it should be. Everything works. It's also future-proof - the structure can be easily expanded to accomodate two more piers larger than the current ones.

Pearson T1 has another claim to fame. Pier F, which opened Monday, is the only North American airport to offer airside transit facilities to international passengers. While European airports have offered this for ages, the concept is new to North America. Given the increasing US security/visa/customs regulations, Pearson hopes this will make it the stopover of choice for non-US flights.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mary Had A Little Lamb

Poor Nina spent a little too much time in boarding in the past few months. The end result? A bad case of matted fur. The groomer had to crop it all down. She now looks like a miniature sheared lamb.

She hated the whole experience - the clippers, the vacuum, the bath and the dryer. She came home really, really pissed off. To make matters worse, it's winter and the poor thing is cold. I tried a jacket on her yesterday and she detested it like "the Donald" hates Rosie. She refused to move in it.

Neither of us slept well last night. She was probably too cold in her usual sleeping spot, and I had to wipe pee off the floor at 3am. Today's been hell trying to clean up the frequent mess at home. During my much needed evening nap, I finally caved in and took her up on the bed with me. That's been my one hygiene rule so far - no Nina on the bed. Well, she just seemed so cold & miserable today, I couldn't leave her out.

Tonight, I've once again put the jacket on her, hoping she gets used to it. It's been an ordeal. Aside from a few steps to fetch a treat, she's refusing to move. She's been in the same spot for the past 15 minutes, giving me the "how could you?" look and emitting heart-wrenching whimpers once in a while. I'll take the jacket off now and resign myself to one more day of cleaning crap off the floor.

Days like this make me wonder if I made a mistake.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007


Pictures speak a thousand words, but sometimes the heart just wants to sing. Enjoy this photo essay.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Park Guell
Originally uploaded by fotoluvr.
Click to enter the whimsical world of Antoni Gaudi.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


visa: noun
1. an endorsement made on a passport by the proper authorities denoting that it has been examined and that the bearer may proceed
2. an entirely unnecessary & protracted bureaucratic formality

At least me thinks so. Today I can Google someone's name and find out all kinds of thing about a person. For a few dollars, I can instantly search public government records on the Internet. Why then can't border/customs people do the same for travellers? In this day and age of instant-everything, it's silly to require a tedious, tree-unfriendly, slow process just to ask permission to ask permission to enter a country. No, that's not a typo. Barring few countries like the UK, a visa is merely a permission to ask permission to enter. Why then should one have to photocopy one's whole life story, fill out a four page form, pay a fee and wait in the dark as the mysterious bureaucratic gears turn in eerie slience?

I have spent the last three days in a state of perturbation thanks to the bureaucratic inefficiences of the government of Spain. Nothing ranks lower in a government's list of priorities than issuing visas to travellers. It's very obvious in the customer service, or lack thereof, at consular offices throughout the world. The consulate of España decided to move offices just as I finished printing a whole forest worth of paperwork for my application. So, I hauled a trunk full of paperwork to their new office the day it re-opened and got merely a promise to try to process it on time. A phone call this Monday got me a callous, disheartening response: "I've processed your visa but waiting on approval from the ministry. I don't expect to get it before Christmas". Click.

I digested this fact in horror as months of preparation, not to mention expenses were hanging by a thread. If they didn't get the approval by today, I would not make my flight on the 27th. Lots of frantic emails flew around, potential workarounds were thrown out and I finally decided the sane option would be to stay home if this fell through. I had resigned my fate to the inevitable. My friends responded with party invitation and alternate plans for New Years eve.

Today was D-day. I put on my crappy/happy face, grabbed a latte and somehow, between here & Bloor, managed to pull it together so I wouldn't punch Señora Torre in the face. I carried my sour face up to floor 12 and spelled out my last name to an oldish Spanish lady. "One moment", she said. "Ah - here it is." And right there, just like magic, was my passport with a shiny new visa!!! I conjured up a happyish face, said a polite thank you and walked out staring in disbelief at the document in my hands.

Barcelona - here I come!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Migration Complete

After several weeks of constant prodding by 'the Google', I moved this blog to blogger beta. Also decided it's time for a new template. Hope everyone can find their way back here eventually.


I've been in a bloging slump these past few months. Well - I've generally been in a slump. A friend just pointed out that it's obvious from my blog entries (or lack thereof). So, I thought I'd blog about that :)

Somewhere over the past year, I've seen my carefree, jovial state of mind erode away. This year, I've actually had to apply myself at work. Also, some changes this summer led to a more focused effort on my part to be successful. Obviously this has come at the expense of my personal life & sanity. It's time to stop this and return to a more 'normal' existence - i.e. getting drunk 3 nights a week.

Just kidding. It's obvious I need to find a better work/life balance. How does one go about doing that?

Lots of questions and decisions ahead. I hope the two weeks off will help clear my head.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Light & Dark

I was told this is the reason the CN tower is practically invisible at night.

I think it's a bit over the top - akin to stopping all construction work because hibernating squirrels might suffer in the process.

Lights have been fundamental to human culture for millenia. We build things, we decorate them, we light them up. Light is scientifically proven to stimulate the mind and prevent depression. It's even more important when you're in the upper reaches of the temperate belt and average 8 hours or less of daylight each day.

Toronto also has some of the cheapest electricity in North America. Yet, we pale in comparison to most North American cities when it comes to lighting up our public spaces. Public spaces are just those - spaces for people to congregate, celebrate and feel good about life and the city they live in. Yet, we give them dour, dark spaces to call home. Take a walk down Yonge St and you might be forgiven for forgetting it's Xmas season. Where's the cheer? It's a thousand feet up in the sky with the migratory birds.

(Disclaimer: This piece was written by someone prone to SAD).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


She loves sticking her tongue out like that.