Sunday, December 7, 2008

laundry

So i am doing the laundry right now. One aspect of apartment living that I truly dislike is the laundry process. I don't have a problem with the concept of doing laundry i just hate the shared machine process that comes with living in an apartment. We live in a low rise building and as such there are only 4 washers and 4 dryers in the building. Which means you pretty much have to try to avoid peak times. Any time during the day on the weekends the machines will be in use. What i have done for the last few weeks is try to get up early on Sunday morning and have my stuff down to the machines by 8 am. If you are going to be using more than 1 or 2 machines this is the just about the only time when you can be assured that the washer and dryer will both be free.

I want to outline two pet peeves i have.


1) The people who forget the clothes in the machine.


There have been a few occasions when i have come downstairs to the laundry room to find piles of laundry sitting on top of the machine. What has happened in this case is that day day before somebody had forgot to take their clothes out of the machine. Well, it's a small building and people don't have time to wait around for ever so they take the laundry out of the machine put in their own laundry and pile the other persons clothes on top of the machine. I really can't stand this. How can someone completely forget that they are doing laundry. Even if they are washed I really don't want to touch anybody else's clothing.

2) The people who take my clothes out of the machine

This may seem to contradict number 1. Let me be clear in saying that i have never forgotten my clothing in the machine for hours at a time. When ever i do laundry i take note of the time remaining on the washer or dryer and set the timer on the microwave in my apartment accordingly. I have never been more than two or three minuets late in picking up my laundry. Yet there have been more than a few occasions when i have come down stairs to find somebody else unloading my clothes out of the laundry and putting theirs in. To me there is a common decency that says you should give a five minute rule before you start touching somebody else's underwear.

It could be worse...

My brother lives in a high rise building. He told me that if you don't stay with your laundry while it is being washed then you run the risk of somebody stealing it. He told me about a woman he new in the building who bought a bed spread and took it to the laundry room to wash it and had it stolen. She didn't even get to use the thing once!

One thing i will not miss about apartment life is laundry day.

Next week ... Reading ... i mean it this time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Spoken Word

On Friday night I went to a spoken word concert with my wife and mother in law. For those who don't know a spoken word concert is basically a poetry reading. I am not a huge poetry fan but this was an all right show. This is only the second poetry reading i have ever been to. The first one i went to was actually on my second date with my wife.

It was a good performance. It was put on by up from the roots. They are a group of back poets operating out of Toronto. It is run by Dwayne Morgan. He is actually someone who i have known of for many years. I actually remember him coming to my high school during black history month. My mother in law was in town for the week and she came to the show with us. I think we paid $35 per person. So while it was not a cheap show the price was fairly reasonable for an entertaining night out.

I guess that's about it for this week.

Next week... Reading part 2.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Budgeting

So now that the wife and I have been married for a little while we have decided it is time to sit down and do some budgeting for our future. It is not the most fun thing to do but it needs to be done i guess. We are finally in the position where the last of our wedding expenses are being paid off. We picked up our wedding album yesterday. It looked good. We got 40 8x10's for us and 18 5x7's for each set of parents. At first they wanted to charge us $350 for an album. We polietly told them no way and so they offered us a display model of the exact same album for $50. We also had to pay them an extra $150 to get cd's containing all of the raw files. I am glad to have this taken care of because i know people who are paying off their wedding years into their marriage.

I already participate in the employee share program at work where the Bank matches half of what i contribute to my RRSP. I also contribute monthly to a RRSP plan at scotia. Overall I put just under 11% of my income into retirement savings. At some point in the future i would like to be able to put in the max value (18%) but for now that is not financially feasible. What we are working on building up now is our emergency fund and our house fund. We have money saved but its not in a liquid state right now. Meaning it would be hard to get at in a moments notice. We going are to be setting up some automatic deposits into some high interest ING accounts for the purposes of building a house fund and an emergency fund. Once we are satisfied with the size of our emergency fund then everything can go into the house fund. We have also examined some of our monthly expenses to see if there is any fat to trim. We are fairly responsible so there was not really anything to remove.

So that's it.

Next week ... Fantasy Sports

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy @ Work

So we are entering into the busy time of year at my work. I work for an online brokerage as such from now until late march it is very busy as we enter into RSP season. We get something in the neighborhood of 60%-70% of our new accounts during this period. In addition my company is launching RESP accounts and Tax free savings accounts (TFSA). As such there is a lot of communication that needs to get out the door. The point of all this is that I want to talk about work deadlines. I have found that most are very flexible. If you want to be taken seriously and be seen as someone who is dependable then you will do your best to meet the deadlines. However, there are times when shit just happens and deadlines have to get pushed back.

At my first job we had deadlines for a project we were working on. However, these were not deadlines that got communicated to the customers and as such we had some leeway as to when they were delivered.

At my next job we were an agency. The issue with this is that since we were vendors if we promised to deliver something at a certain time we pretty much had to. Which meant some late nights if things fell behind schedule. Since overtime was unpaid here this was not something i was in favor of. As such I almost never stayed late.

Things are a little different where I work now. Most of the things I am working on are not communicated to the clients until after they are completed. So in my opinion that means all deadlines are soft. If no one is expecting it then no one knows if it is late or on time. The project I am working on now has has very high visibility in the company. I actually had a meeting with the president of our line of business about it last week. It is the first time i have met with her. She seems interested in what we're working on so if we can make this successful it would be a big win. Plus it is yearly bonus time so finishing this up would be a good thing.

All the pieces are finally in place and i hope to be seeing the end of this project soon.

Next week ... Budgeting

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apartment Problems

So I have been having some problems with my apartment. One of the problems we have been having is that the floor tiles have kept popping out of the floor. It happened before in the summer and we called the superintendent to have it fixed. We went on our honeymoon came back and the floor was still unfixed. At this point we made a stink to building management and they finally sent some one to fix it. Unfortunately a few weeks later the floor tiles in a different area of the apartment started to pop out again. It has now been close to 3 weeks since we reported the problem and it still has not been fixed. We are thinking about taking this to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. Below is a pic of what is happening.



We also had an issue with how often they were emptying the garbage bins. They would let it pile up to the point that you couldn't even throw stuff to the top of it. Below is an example



The third issue we were having was with mold. This is more serious as mold is very dangerous to our health. The mold was building up around the windows. We called the building management and reported the problem. They said it was because of the difference in temperature between the outside and inside. This is completely ridiculous. This is Canada it is supposed to be colder outside than it is inside. THAT IS THE POINT OF BEING INSIDE!!!! They also suggested it would stop if we left the windows open. Do they actually expect us to leave the windows open in the winter?
Eventually they came and wiped the place down and repainted the effected area. We also called someone from the board of health to make sure that the place was safe for us. They said it was. Now I wipe the windows down myself every other week with disinfectant wipes.



Honestly at this point I am just fed up. We need to live in an apartment for a little while longer while we save for our first home but these issues are truly annoying. Maybe I have been spoiled by living in a house my whole life but I don't think that these things are supposed to happen.

That's it for this week.

Next week ... It's the busy time at work

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Tv

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I have no good excuse so I won't make up a bad one. On to the shows ...


Last year I wrote "this"

And I stand by that.

This year unfortunately I feel pretty much the same. None of the new shows really interest me that much.

The most hyped new shows are

Fringe

This is a show by JJ Abrams who is the creator of Alias and LOST. Since I am fan of both I thought I would give it a try. I only lasted about 20 minutes. The show is clearly an attempt to lure in the X-files crowd. Since I was not a fan of x-files I am not a fan of this.

The next most Hyped show would be the new 90210

I wasn't a big fan of the original. It ran for 10 years and i think i pulled the plug after 4. However, I am a fan of train wrecks and I thought this was going to be a huge one. Again I could only make through about 30 minutes of the first episode before I had enough. Maybe i am just to old to give two shits about the lives of a bunch of rich pampered teens in Beverly Hills.

The only returning shows i was really waiting for that starts in the fall were Prison Break and Smallville.

Prison Break should have ended two years ago but he we are in the 4th season. I still like the show but the premise behind it has changed too much. They have basically turned into a next generation version of the A-Team. in that they go on missions every week. It still entertaining it just doesn't make much sense.

Smallville had a challenge coming into this season in that the best actor in the show is not returning this season. The lack of Lex Luther is a real problem. However, so far they have kept things very interesting and they are bringing in more characters from the DC comics library. I a pleasantly surprised that I have liked everything I have seen thus far.

Most of my favorite shows are coming back in January. The ones I am looking forward to most are LOST, 24, and Battlestar Gallactica.

I am going to Michigan next week for my cousins wedding. So there will most likely be no post next week but after that I am commited to returning to my weekly post status.

Next time .... Apartment troubles...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Honeymoon

So I have been pretty lazy of late. Which is why I missed last weeks blog post. So I am back now and this will be last post that will focus on my wedding.

Honey Moon

So as mentioned before I went to Honolulu, Hawaii. It is on the island of Oahu. Although the islands is one of the smaller Hawaiian islands in terms of land mass it is the most populated. We chose Hawaii because 1) It was going to be a lot cheaper than Europe, 2) We thought it would be easy to get around. It really is not very different than any other American city. If you are looking for traditional Hawaiian culture it is going to be very hard to find. I am not sure what I was expecting but I did think there would be a little more history to see. Now I will list some of the highs and lows.

Highs

Island to Island Tour

On one day we did this tour where we flew to the "Big Island". The real point of going to the big island was to see the volcanoes. We did a helicopter tour of the volcano. If you look closely you can actually see the running lava. Unfortunately because of all of the twists and turns and helicopter was taking I started to get sick. Luckily the pilot landed soon or I am sure I would have thrown up.

The Hotel
We stayed in a five star resort. We told the check in guy that we were on our honeymoon and he upgraded the room for us for free and also gave up tickets for a free breakfast for everyday of our trip.

Getting Around

It was very easy to get any where we wanted to go. Just hop on the bus and $2 dollars later you are where you wanted to get to. There is a shuttle system that even includes a narrated tour. There is also a free shuttle that takes you to one store called HiLo Hattie.

Lows

Very Little Hawaiian culture

One of our tour guides told us that there are only about one thousand 100% pure Hawaiian left. Every one else is a mix of Chinese, Japanese, Samoan, etc... I think that is kind of sad. He also said that if you can prove that you are at least 50% Hawaiian then the state will rent you land at the rate of $1 per year.

The Food

This relates to my first complaint. There was not native food. If you want subway and McDonald's then you are in heaven. No matter what restaurant we went to they didn't have much to offer us.

The distance

the island is in the middle of the ocean. And you really do lose about a day of you vacation to travel time. There is no direct flight from Toronto. As such we had to fly to Vancouver first and then fly to Hawaii.

Overall it was a really good trip and I can see myself going back there someday.

Next week ... Fall TV show premiers.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Married Life

So I've had a busy few weeks. As you all know I got married 3 weeks ago. As a consequence I've been very busy and have not been able to write a post until now. I would like to thank all of you for coming and I hope you had a great time. I would also like to thank all of you for your very generous gifts. Our thank you cards are part of our photo video package. It will take at least a month to get them but as soon I we do we will send out the official thanks you's to everyone.

For the most part I think the wedding went off well. There were a few fires with the seating but other that that I have no complaints. I tried to make the seating so that it made sense. I put people at tables were they knew other people so hopefully everyone got along well.

My in-laws were in town for an additional week after the wedding so we did not leave for our honeymoon until the 25th. The honeymoon deserves a post of it's own so I will leave it for next week.

For now I will just say the married life is treating me very well so far.

That's it for this week.
Next week ... The honeymoon and settling in to my new home.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One week down

Well I don't have much to report this week. I am glad to say that my first week of marriage has gone well. The ceremony went off as planned for the most part and the reception went well also. There were a few issues but nothing major. I know that we forgot to bow at the alter when we came in. Also, because the priest who presided over our ceremony had a fairly thick accent I couldn't understand everything he said. As such during our vows I actually said "only you" instead of "honor you". But I don't think it is that big a deal.

After the ceremony we took pictures in a park not too far from the church. At the reception pretty much everything went as planned. to everyone who attended thank you very much for being there and for your generous gifts. We won't be able to send out the actual thank you cards for a few weeks because we first have to get the pictures from our photographer. The thank you cars were part of the package we ordered.

We are off to Hawaii for our Honeymoon on Monday so I will have no post up next week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

End of the Line

Well this is it. This is my last post as a single man. By this time next week I will be married. I have been pretty busy this last few weeks which is why i missed last weeks post. My new in-laws came into town last week and came over to my house to meet my parents. I think everyone got along well so that's good.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am nervous. I am not. Maybe I should be but I really don't feel any great swell of nervousness. I see the wedding and the marriage as two different and separate things. If the wedding goes well then that's great but if it doesn't I don't really think it should have any effect on my marriage.

The only thing I am somewhat nervous about is the weather. This has been one of the most rainy summers on record. I would really like it if it is not pouring rain during my wedding. It probably wouldn't effect me too much but my bride would have a difficult time walking in her dress in the rain. It just wouldn't be very pleasant I don't think.

Other than that I am doing OK. I think just about all of the people who read this blog are coming to my wedding. So wish me luck and I will see you all next week.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Office Etiquette

So as I am sure all of you know I currently work in an office. And as such I think i would like to talk about office etiquette for a moment. When you work in an office I think it is very important to being considerate of your co-workers. Especially if you work in close quarters. For the most part my current office is pretty good and the co-workers I interact with the most are good. I do however have one beef. And it relates mainly with the kitchen space.

1) The Fridge
I'll start with the work part first. On our floor there are two fridges. Both of them are two small and neither is maintained well. My main problem is that there are people who bring food in and leave it in the fridge. My opinion is that the office fridge should basically operate the same way that lockers do at the health club. Whatever you bring in you take out at the end of the day when you are leaving. Unfortunately that is not what is happening in our fridge. People are buying long term supplies, writing there names on it an leaving it in the fridge. I can live with it if it is something like milk which finishes quickly, but that people are bringing in long term supplies. There is currently a jar of cheese whiz in our fridge. Stop for a second and consider who long it takes to finish a jar of cheese whiz. This is a product you don't eat everyday, hell probably not even every week. So why would someone bring in a product that will undoubtedly take up space in the fridge for months. And there are all kinds of shit like that in our fridges. I bring my lunch in everyday and i take my containers out every afternoon when I am leaving. I think everyone should do the same.

2) Dirty dishes

I don't really have as big a complaint here because things have improved a little bit over the last few months. In my office there is a full kitchen and a kitchenette. The kitchenette doesn't have a dishwasher. Yet there are people who like to leave there dirty dishes in the kitchenette sink instead of simply walking them over to the kitchen where there IS an actual dishwasher. I place my lunch in the kitchenette fridge because it is usually less crowded. so i have to see a pile of dirty dishes in the sink when I pass. I have carried a few over to the dishwasher myself but I refuse to make a habit out of it because it is not my job. It is actually no ones job so i don't know why we can't all take responsibility for our own messes.

I have worked in a few offices in the past few years so I know that there are issues regardless of where you work. I just hope that someday everyone will understand that we are all responsible for the environment we work in.

But it could be worse. I could be one of these guys...




Next week...
Since I am getting married soon and the post coming up 2 weeks from now will be pretty positive I think I will have next weeks post be a long and ugly rant about things that annoy me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

There isn't much to say about this movie that hasn't already been said. The only thing I can really say is that I agree completely. This may very well be the best comic book movie I have ever seen. I have a soft spot for x-men but I can't really put anything above this movie. From beginning to end it is just really fantastic.

If you haven't seen it then go see it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Resolutions check in

So as promised I think it is time to do a mid year check in on my resolutions. In case anyone has forgotten my resolutions can be found here.

1)So i will start with the easy one first. One of my goals involved my career. I has said that my goal was just basically to get progress. I think it is fair to say that that goal has been reached. I have been at my new job for 3.5 months at this point. Everything is going very well I think. My boss is pleased with my work and the things I work on are highly visible with in the company. In addition my boss has told me that my fellow co-workers trust me and are comfortable in the knowledge that if we are working on something together it will get done on time and in budget.

2) My second goal involved the very common goal of weight loss. I am proud to say that for the first time, I am actually having some success with this one. At the beginning of the year I weighed about 210 pounds. I am now tipping the scales at a somewhat lean fairly mean 188 pounds. So that is a weight loss of about 22 pounds. Which is pretty good. I had said that my goal was to be between 180-185, so I am pretty close to the high end of that range. Actually many people who have seen me notice the weight loss right away. I had signed up to a program called abs diet online. My wife was on it last year and had success. I would recommend it to anyone. A friend of mine saw my results and actually joined up also. The last time i checked with him he was having good success also. It's not really a fad diet as much as it is just a healthy lifestyle. The workouts are reasonable and it is plan that you can follow. My weight loss has slowed down in the last few weeks. It is partially because I am getting closer to my ideal weight but there have also been times when I have just been too busy to do as many workouts as I would like. On the whole though I am still averaging about 4 days a week which is pretty good in my opinion. I have lost so much weight that I have actually had to have several of my work pants adjusted to have the waist taken in.

So overall I am pretty happy with my resolutions. There is still work to do though. I want to reach my goal weight and I am going to redouble my efforts at the gym. As for work I am just going to keep working hard and see what comes of it.


Next week ... Office etiquette.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moving and Wedding stuff & Hancock

So last week is the first week that I have ever really missed a post. It couldn't be helped. I have just been very busy the last two weeks. My future wife moved into "our" new place last week. As I have said in a previous posts I have lived in my current house my whole life. As such I have never experienced the joys of moving. To put it bluntly it sucks. I mean it really fucking sucks!!!

We hired some movers because I don't like the idea of asking my friends and family to help me move. I have no interest in trying to move heavy furniture down stairs. I don't have a problem with small stuff but when it comes time to move the bedroom furniture i would much rather just leave it to the professionals. The problem is that the professionals don't always behave very professionally. They show up late and try to charge more than they quoted. The problem is that the movers know they have you by the balls. They know you have to be out of your old place by midnight. It's the end of the month and it would be close to impossible to get another mover there in time. As such we just ended up giving the asshole his 10% fuel surcharge. My issue is that apartment we were moving to was literally across the street. They could have walked the shit over if they wanted to.

Anyways the move is over and we have spent the last two weekends getting the place together. Overall, I like it. I think the place looks pretty good. It is a two bedroom unit and the inside is actually fairly spacious. The issue over the past two weeks has really been about unpacking. Nadeene had a lot of things and it takes time to find the right place to put everything.

Of course the fun will continue in a few weeks when I move my bed and bedroom furniture into the apartment. To say that I am not looking forward to the hassle of another move would be a huge understatement.

Wedding Stuff

So this week we went to the jewelry store and picked out our wedding rings. I had briefly suggested at one time that maybe I wouldn't wear a ring. Needless to say that idea was quickly shot down. I am not a big jewelry guy. In fact the only article of jewelry I own is my university graduation ring and I would be surprised if I have worn it more than 10 times in the 5 years I've had it. Nonetheless I am pleased with the rings we chose. Mine is pretty simple. Just a fairly plain gold band. It has sort of a satin finish in the middle and a little more gloss around the ends. My wife's ring has some stones and it is the matching band to her engagement ring so she can wear them both at the same time. Apparently that is what people do. She also got some diamond stud earrings and a nice necklace for the day. We got a little deal too because the store was having a save the tax sale. The wedding bands don't usually go on sale (everything else in the store does, but i have never seen the bands on sale) so this was a good time to buy them. Overall I am pleased. We sent them out to get sized and we should have them back in about 2 weeks.

Hancock

This is the new Will Smith movie. I am a fan of his and I have seen most of his movies. I think he is a very good action star and has some dramatic talent when he is given material to work with. However, I didn't really care for this move that much. It had some really good moments. The first hour was excellent but the last 40 minutes just completely fell off the rails. I can't really give this move a strong recommendation.

Here is the trailer ...



That's it for this week.

Next Week ... Resolutions check in

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wedding Invitations

So this week we finally got the invitations done for our wedding. It has been substantially more work than I thought it would be. First we tried to go through the store "staples" to get the invitations. I figured this would be the easiest way to get things done at a somewhat decent price. We went in picked a design out of a book and ordered. They were supposed to provide us with a sample copy in a few days but after a week went by and we didn't hear from them we cancelled the order.

We decided to just buy a do it yourself kit and get it over with. My goal was to avoid doing any work at all. However, I guess it wasn't that bad. It did take us most of the day to get it done. Overall we have most of the invitations ready and I am going to drop them in the mail today. There are a few uncles on my fathers side I don't have an address for also a few on my mothers side. I am going to leave it up to my parents to deal with this. I have the invitations ready and they can mail them out when they wish.

Buying the kit saved us about 70 dollars. As the invitations workd out to a little over a dollar a piece. We had previously gone to a few stores that specialize in this stuff and most were selling for between $2.75 - $5.00. So doing it ourselves was very cost effective.

That's it ...

Next week ... fixing up our new place.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Apartment

So we finally settled on a new apartment. Actually we signed the lease about 2 weeks ago. My fiancee will be moving in during the last week of June and I will join her in August after the wedding. I am genuinely excited about the move. Originally my plan was to move out last summer. But as things progressed with my girlfriend (now finacee) I knew that chances were we would end up getting married. It did not make financial sense to me to move out for one year and then have to move again a year later after our wedding. Actually, at that point I was thinking of buying a small town home or condo. In the time since the housing market in the GTA has gone completely insane. It's at the point now where a piece of shit house can cost you 375k easily. Really a nice place will be about 415k-430k if you are lucky. There are houses down the street from me that are going for 500k-600k. I just don't know how anyone can justify paying that kind of money for a regular house.

Anyways I digress. I am just really looking forward to being out on my own. I get along very well with my parents. We haven't had an argument about anything of consequence in many years. However, that is not the point. I am simply ready to go. I have lived in this house since i was about 5 months old. I am 28 now. I never went away to college or took a job out of town. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if i would still be living at home at my age I would have said no way. I remember in college saying that as soon as I was finished and had a stable job and enough money for first and last months rent I would be out the door. It didn't work out that way. When you are young I think it is difficult to appreciate just how much life really costs. I have been doing grocery shopping with my finacee for most of the last 1.5 years and it sometimes shocks me just how much money we spend on food. Unless you survive on a diet of Kraft dinner and hot dogs, eating can be very expensive.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a price to be paid for living with your parents either. There is a price, it just isn't one that can really be measured in dollars and cents. I have lived in my house my whole life but i am very aware of the fact that it is not "my" house. My name isn't on the bills and "I" don't own it. Additionally the bedroom that used to seem very large doesn't feel so big anymore. I feel like I could just pick up the whole thing and crush it in my hands.

Additionally when you are living with someone you have to be considerate of there feelings. What i mean is that if for example i wanted to come home and throw my dirty socks on the floor of the living room that would not go over very well. I am not saying that I want to do this but it would be nice to have the option.

All that being said I don't regret the decision to stay at home as long as I have. If I had to do it all over again I probably wouldn't make any drastic changes. It will just nice to finally be out on my own.


Next week ... Home improvement.

PS. I saw Hulk this weekend. It was pretty good. Not as good as Iron man but much better than the first Hulk movie. It had a few violent scenes but not really any out and out killing. Truthfully all of the violence is computer generated so in that sense I think it tames it quite a bit.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Cousins Wedding

So about two weeks ago I went to my cousins wedding. It was in Michigan. They had a fairly short engagement. I think they got engaged at Christmas, so to pull off a wedding in about 5 months is impressive (no one is pregnant so don't even think it). I think they have been together about the same amount of time as me and my fiancee, since Sept 06. Actually, there was talk that this was going to be a really huge wedding. And to some extent it was. I think there were about 22 people in the wedding party. When I first heard the number I wondered how they were going to fit them all on the alter. But to there credit they pulled it off and everything was nice.

The bride (my cousin) chose emerald green for the color theme. Seeing as I am so fond of the green lantern I definitely approved. My fiancee and I drove up early on Saturday. Not as early as planed because somebody didn't pack the night before (I won't mention any names but it wasn't me!). We got there around 1pm. We did a little shopping and then went to lunch. Every time someone in my family gets married there is a large lunch. This time was special because I was introducing my fiancee around. I had already told her that I had large family (22 aunts and uncles) but its hard to appreciate until you have most of them in one room. She had already met most of my mothers side of the family so now she met the other half. She got good reviews.

After that we did a little more shopping and then went back to the hotel for the evening. The wedding was on the Sunday. Actually i think my cousin Mike was married in the same church. It's nice but a touch on the small side. We took some family pictures afterwards. Then it was off to the reception. It was held in the same hotel that we were staying at. The hotel was the Westin
It's a pretty nice place. Actually my fiancee and I considered having our reception in the Hilton suites hotel. The reason we ultimately didn't is because since the size of our wedding wouldn't fill three halls they would have had to run a wall through the room to split it up. I thought that wouldn't really provide a level of privacy I was comfortable with. The place we are going has a separate room for a wedding of our size so I think that is a better fit. The only bad thing is that since we both had to work the next day we had to leave early to drive home.

Overall, I had a good time.

Next week ... My new Apartment.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

LOST season 4

I was going to write this at a later point but I was actually asked about my opinion on this twice today (Dom and Chris) so I thought I would make a post.

This season was a very critical season for LOST. This is the fourth year of the show, and while I personally felt that season 3 was at least twice as good as season 2 (but not as good as season 1) this season is important. The show is not the ratings monster it was in the first season and as a consequence of this it was moved around the dial quite a bit. I never really liked the 10pm time slot it ended up with. Additionally, I personally have cut the show a lot of slack about not resolving issues over the years but by the 4th season and close to 100 episodes (85 so far) they needed to provide some answers. Finally, it has been announced that show is ending 2 years from now so they are running out of time to wrap up loose threads.

Now with all that being said on to my review.

Overall, I think the season was good. It's still not as good as the first season but it is better than at least 85% of the rest of the shows on television. The main reason I can not say that I think it is as good is because they have fundamentally changed the nature of the show this season. One of the underling things about this show was mystery. The flashbacks used by the show only serve to heighten the drama of what is going on in a given episode. However, this season they have added flash forwards. And because of this the biggest mystery of the show is solved. We know with out question that at least some of the survivors of flight 815 do in fact get off the island. This eliminates all suspense when certain characters are in life or death situations because we know they can't die because we have seen the future and we know that they are alive and off the island.

As such the mystery is more about how they got off and what happened to the ones that didn't. This is a risk, but I think they did a good job of pulling it off. They also added a lot of new characters this season. I unfortunately did not like any of them.

The best thing is that they also answered a lot of questions that have been raised throughout the season. If you want a review of what was answered check this website

Season Finale

Overall, I was very impressed. They wrapped up the major story lines of the season and asked a few questions that will have to be answered next season. The "moving" of the island is a bit more sci-fi than I want out of this show. I didn't really think it was needed. But overall i was happy with the revelations they provided and I am looking forward to the questions that will have to be answered next season. I am also very happy that they killed the Micheal character. He added nothing to this season and hopefully his death will mean no more Micheal or Walt stories. The actor who plays Walt looks nothing like he did when the show started. This is the problem with child actors. When the show started he was a 12 year old playing a 10 year old. Now he is 16 but only 100 days have passed in the time line of the series. It makes zero sense for him to have anything to do with the show at this point.


That's it

I have been busy this week which is why this is such a late blog post. I will have alot of things to cover next week.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fights on the Train & Apartment Hunting Part 2

I have seen a few very ugly incidents on the train recently. There wasn't a full blown fist fight but it was pretty ugly none the less. It always starts off small. Somebody bumps into someone else and pretty soon the two people are screaming at each other. In one case it was between a middle aged guy and a guy who looked like to be in his mid teens. The older guy asked the younger guy to move and the younger guy thought he should ask him more politely. The next thing you know the younger guy is dropping f-bombs left and right in front of every one on the train (including young kids). In the end the older guy shook his head and said he felt sorry of the other guy.

The second case was between a man and a woman. The woman felt that the man bumped her and she started to yell. I didn't see the initial bump so I am not sure if he bumped her or not. Either way it got ugly quick and ended with the woman telling the man he should go home and have a drink.

The next and final case involved a guy who I assume was homeless. He was basically going around and asking different people on the train for change. Which is fine. The problem is 1) he had a dog with him. 2) He started to get a little more aggressive than was comfortable. He didn't collect much change to say the least. Also everyone, breathed a sigh of relief when he eventually got off the train.

I have heard that GO transit is a much more pleasant experience than the TTC. However, for me right now taking the TTC is substantially cheaper (At least 40 per month or more). Since the price difference is what it is I am going to be sticking with the TTC for now but I may explore other options in the future.


Apartment Hunting Part 2

So we went apartment hunting again yesterday. It didn't go too well. We went to between 10-15 places. Almost all of them were completely unsuitable. I just don't know how some people can live like that. The ones that were cheap were truly horrifying on the inside. We went to one place and as soon as I saw the teeth of the superintendent I knew I wasn't going to be living there. I know that sounds terrible and I don't give a shit! We have been focusing our search on low rise buildings. However, as we have become more desperate we have also looked into high rises. We saw one that was nice inside but the price was really high. Also, we are concerned with bugs that might be present in a building of this size.

So far the most likely scenario is that we will go with the very first building we saw that was actually on the same street that she already lives on. We have a few more places to see but we want to get this worked out soon.

That's it for this week.

There will be no post for next week because I am going to Michigan for my cousin's wedding.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apartment Hunting

In a little over 3 months I will be a married man. And since I have zero interest in having my wife move in here with my parents, we have begun the search for a new apartment. I am really not too interested in buying a place right now. I know that in general owning is better than renting but there are other factors at play. I think that there are enough things that can go wrong in the first years of a marriage without adding the stress of home ownership. I worked with a woman at Ford who said she was married, bought a house, had a kid, and divorced in under two years. I want to just spend the first few years with us getting used to living together with no other distractions. She has given notice are her current place and we hope to find a place for her to move into by July 1st. She has a one bedroom place right now and I think it would be a little too small for the two of us so we are looking for a two bedroom.

We went to a few places that are actually located on the same street as where she lives right now. I think it would be a good spot for us because it is close to public transport and shopping centers that we already go to. I work down town right now and take the bus everyday. It really helps to limit the miles I put on my car. Which is good because I would really like to keep it for another 2 years at least if possible. We saw 3 places on Saturday. None of them really met all of our criteria.

I think the things we are looking for that are deal makers/breakers:
-double sink in kitchen
-indoor parking for both our cars
-2 equal sized bedrooms
-fast water pressure in the bathroom
-no roaches, rats, mice, ants - I am afraid of all of these.
-not located on the first floor

One nice to have thing: no pets.

If think if we find a place with all of those things then we are good to go. If we had to give up something it would be the double sink but I would really prefer to have everything else.

That's it for this week ...

Next week ... Fights on the Bus.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Man

When I first heard about the concept of and Iron Man movie I said this is a terrible idea. I am a huge comic fan and I didn't think it would be possible to do a proper translation of the comic to the big screen. I thought it would just turn into a really cheesy new version of Robocop. I was completely wrong. The movie is great and it is a fantastic way to start off the summer movie season. The suit is perfect and a very faithful rendering of the source material. My wife liked it too and she is not a comic fan by any means so I would recommend this movie to anyone.

Here it is ...





At first my plan for this week was to do long drawn out parody of a crazy weekend I had. In this weekend I would have kept bumping into an old friend named "RJ" who was actually Rick James. Then i would describe something from my life and intergrate it into Charlie Murphy's true Hollywood story. I was about two thirds finished when I decided that the whole thing was stupid. Instead I offer up the below video of Rick and Eddie being involved in one of the worst videos to EVER come out of the 1980's.

Enjoy ...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

1 Month on the Job Plus Flowers

So last week I passed the one month mark on the new job. So far everything is going pretty well. I get along with my co-workers pretty well. They actually have a much longer probation period than most companies. The probation is actually for 6 months. As of now I still have another 5 months before I am officially in the clear. So far my boss seems pleased with what I am producing. We are having a few technical difficulties. I still don't have access to one of the systems that is supposed to be a primary part of my job. My boss is getting very frustrated with the tech/IT dept. I have some conflicting loyalty issues about this. While I am not pleased that they have not resolved the problem, I use to work a fairly technical role myself so it is hard for me to side against anyone in I.T. I just hope they get it resolved soon.

On another note we finally decided on the flowers for the wedding. The place we are going with are going to provide all the flowers for the bridal party, decorate the church and provide center pieces for the reception hall. We kept the price reasonable so I am fairly pleased. This was the last big thing we had to do so I am happy. Everything else from now on is very small and easy stuff.

Next week ... Crazy Weekend

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Barack Obama

I don't know if any one who owns a television hasn't heard of him. If some how you haven't I will direct you to the following site. To put it simply he is a junior senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He is also in the opionions of many (myself included) the first black person with a legitimate shot at the presidency. Now I will point out that I have never voted in a US presidential election because I am not a citizen. In many ways the outcome of the election does not really make any big difference to me. It is true that what happens to America does have some repercussions for Canada so in that sense it does effect me. However, I think the primary focus of Canadians should really be Canadian politicians.

Now all that being said, I have been following this campaign very closely. It's hard not to because it is on the news every single day. The more I watch the election the more he has grown on me. From the outset I thought it would be difficult but I thought he had a chance. But now it looks like he has more than an chance, it looks like he will at the very least win the democratic nomination. I am very happy to see this. I say this not just because he happens to be black.

I would like to point out at this point that his mother is white and to my knowledge he was raised almost entirely by her and her family with little to know involvement from his father. This has drawn his "blackness" into question by some. I am not in the business of judging anyone else's "blackness" so it makes no difference to me.


I support him because in my opinion he is one of the few politicians who speak to the citizens like they are adults. I find that a lot of politicians seem to talk down in a very condescending tone when they are giving speeches. Or they try to use really long multi syllable words to describe the simplest things in order to try to prove their education. I have never gotten that sense with him. He has the ability to say what he is trying to say in very simple terms. In addition he has as much charisma as in politician ever. Those facts on their own are not enough of a reason to vote for him. He would have my vote because I do believe that he is offering a change. Not just of race but of thinking. To me Hillary has a sense of entitlement that annoys the hell out of me. She speaks of her experience as if she was the president from 92-00. She was first lady, not an elected official. As for McCain, I don't care how this sounds, he is too old for the job. The only credit I will give him is that I do believe that regardless of who wins the democratic nomination, I think he will do his best to keep the election civilized. I say this because he was on the receiving side of ugly politics during the 2000 campaign at the hands of Karl Rove and GWB. I don't think he would turn around and use the same tactics.

Controversy

Now Barrack has been involved in some controversy over the last few months. Most of it tied to Jeremiah Wright the former pastor of his church. I am not going to defend Jeremiah's words, and neither did Barack. I will only say that nobody's career should be summed up with a ten second clip played on youtube over and over again. The media jumped on these words and attacked Barack. The day after Jeremiah's words became public Barack condemned the speech but would not condemn the man. The media however would not let it go. In response to the uproar Barack then gave one of, if not the best speech on racism ever.



It's a very long speech so I don't expect anyone to watch or listen in one sitting. But if you do listen to all of it I can't see how you can disagree with what he is saying. What I find even more impressive is that he actually wrote this speech himself. The current president might be the most inarticulate man to ever sit in the oval office. To go from that to Barack would be a great thing for America.

There are quite a few months until the general election. I only hope that he continue to avoid the kind of dirty politics that turns off most people. So far he is doing a decent job. No matter how they come at him he has avoided climbing down into the gutter and fighting dirty. I truly believe that if he can continue to do this he will win this election and maybe change the way politics is conducted in America long term.

Next week ... One month on the Job.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kitchen Nightmares and Flower shopping

For those who don't know this is a show about a chef who goes to different restaurants and tries to turn them around. I don't really have much to say about it other than the condition of some of these restaurants before he does in is truly horrifying. It is disgusting to the point that it makes you never want to eat in a restaurant ever again. I am posting a video below. I remember screaming at the television while watching the episode because it was extremely disturbing. I could not find a clip of the really sick part but if you fast forward to the 5 minute mark you will see the beginning of it.


Enjoy



In other news, we went shopping for the flowers for our wedding this weekend. It is more work than I cared for because flowers are not something that I have any knowledge of. They also cost a shit load of money. Anyway we have gone to 2 shops so far and have 2 more appointments scheduled for next week. At which point we will have to pick one of them. After that I will be feeling pretty good because I think we will have taken care of the biggest tasks in preparing for the wedding.

Pretty simple post this week, but next weeks topic is more interesting.

Next week ... Barack Obama

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Birthday

So I know that this week's topic was supposed to be about small talk but that is going to have to wait a while because last week was my birthday. In the interests of keeping the blog relevant to my life I should probably talk about that. My birthday was on Wednesday. It was my 28 birthday and my last birthday as a single man. I suppose I should have gone out and done something crazy to celebrate, but I didn't. I had a nice quiet dinner with the wife. It was good, she made salmon stuffed with lobster. It tasted great. It occurs to me that I am now only 2 years from entering the dirty thirties. It's a pretty scary thought. I am going to have to make sure I make good use of the next 2 years before my youth is completely over. Some effects of aging are already showing up. If I eat too much the weight doesn't fall off the way it used too. I also have been finding a disturbing amount of grey hairs. Right now they are mostly in my beard so as long as I shave often no one can really see them. However, at the rate they are spreading I figure I have maybe only another 5 years before my whole head is a salt-n-pepper mess!

This week was also my second week on the job. A big part of my job is working with a Unica product called Affinium. I finally got access to it this week. So now all I have to do is get a better understanding of the underlying database structure and I will be good.
Another thing happened at work this week also. As mentioned before this week was my birthday. My new co-workers scheduled a meeting and when I arrived there was a cake and a card waiting with the rest of the staff. Seeing as how I have only actually been on the job for 10 days I really didn't expect this. It was a nice surprise. I think it was a banana and chocolate cake. It tasted very good. Maybe a little too sweet if that's possible.

So that's it for this week.

Next week ... I don't know yet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

First Week On the Job

Unfortunately I don't really have that much to report about my first week on the job. That is not to say it was a bad first week because it wasn't. I guess I am just getting used to having first days on the job at this point. Because of some of the consulting work at did at my previous job I feel like I have essentially had 3 first days on the job in the last year. So I guess I am really used to the routine at this point. There are a couple things I can go over.

The Hours and the Commute

At my previous job we worked a 35 hour week. Some people did regular overtime which in increased the hours but I rarely felt the need to. As a consequence I was in by nine and out by five sharp every day. At my new job it is a 37.5 hour week. As a consequence I either have to work from 9:00-5:30 or 8:30 -5:00. I am doing the earlier shift now as I would rather come early and leave early. However, the new job is farther south than the previous job so in addition to the fact that I start earlier I also have to leave earlier because it is farther away. This isn't really that big a deal though. It's only one extra train ride that takes about 5-7 minutes.

The Office Atmosphere

The office is ok. My previous job just completed a very extensive remodel as such it was a little more modern than my new office. Also the company is spread through out the building. The elevator does not stop on every floor. My office is on the 54th floor so if I have a meeting on the 20th floor then I have to go down the 1st floor and back up to the 20th floor. Then back to the first and back up to the 54th when it is done.

Co-workers

My new co-workers are all pretty nice. I think I am the second youngest person in the dept. We went out for lunch on Friday to welcome me to the company.

The work

It's hard to comment on this because I haven't done much yet. I am still waiting on system access to be able to really start my job. I am not concerned. It was the same thing at Microsoft and Ford. Big companies have a lot of hoops to jump through I guess.

So that's about it. I don't really have that much to say after the first week. No complaints so far.

Next week ... Small talk.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Last days on the Job

A funny thing happened this week. Some of my now ex-coworkers found my blog. Seeing as how I was leaving I had planned to give it to some of them anyway so it's no big deal. Still I was completely shocked when it happened. As I have said before there is not really anything on this blog that can identify it as MY blog but she read some of if and figured out that it is me. I suppose the picture of "Green Lantern" in the corner is somewhat of a give away but I was still surprised. Anyway, if there are any new readers this week then welcome to my blog and feel free to look around.

Now, for my last days on the job. As I mentioned before, last week Thursday was my last official day at my previous job. It is a strange feeling to be leaving a job. A lot of mixed emotions. On the one hand I am excited to be starting something new. On the other hand I am nervous about leaving a safe environment. What I mean is that although I was obviously given a job description and have been told what I am going to be doing, I feel that the only thing that can really prepare you for a job is to actually go out there and do it. So starting tomorrow I am going to be expected to deliver. It should be interesting.

My old job does this thing called "Night shift with CSI". CSI was the department I was in. Basically it just means that most of the department would go out for drinks about once per month after work. I went sometimes but I can't say that I had perfect attendance. Seeing as how this was my last week on the job I wanted to go and it was a lot of fun.

On Thursday we all went out for lunch. I can't remember the name of the restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where they cook the food in front of you. It was cool, most of the department that worked out of the downtown office was there so I was able to say good bye to most of the people I worked with most often.

When we got back to the office I finished the last project I was working on. It wasn't a huge project but I know it might have an effect on other projects down the line so I was happy to get it done. I then handed in my laptop and security card and left the office for probably the last time.

Although I don't work there anymore I think I might still come to the "Night shift with CSI" sometimes. It is only about 5 minutes from my new job so it's easy to get there.

My first day at Wunderman was November 20th 2006 and my last day was March 20th 2008. In total that is exactly 16 months. A short time but a pretty good time I think.


In other news, I picked the Tux for my wedding. Mike and Jay I will need you to send me your measurements when ever you get a chance. The pic below is of the tux. The only difference is that the tie color will change.




Next week ... First week on the new Job.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Leaving my Job

The decision to leave a job has never been easy for me. I think this can be attributed to the fact that I have never really had a job where I hated the work or the people around me. So far the all of my jobs have been positive experiences. Now this obviously begs the question "If the jobs are so great, then why did you quit them?" This is a legitimate question but one I find difficult to answer. I guess at some point in the jobs I have had I find myself wanting more. Now what does "more" mean. Again difficult to define. Money is certainly a factor because I couldn't see myself leaving a good situation to go someplace else for less money. However, I have tried to make it a point to not let money be the only deciding factor in my decisions. When I quit "The Bay" a few years ago it actually cost me some money. I was working their part time in addition to my full time job. While the extra money was good to have, working 2 jobs for total of almost 60 hours per week was completely killing my social life. Also, I wanted to have spare time to take some courses that I felt would be of help to me in the future.

When I left my job at flagship the goal was to make somewhat of a shift in careers. I was working pretty much entirely as a programmer and I wanted to do more database work. Wunderman allowed me to do that. However, after about a year and a half i feel that I want a change again. I think i want to manage larger projects. I want more responsibilities. That is not to say that I am ready to completely divorce myself from technical stuff. I just feel that I want more control. I want to be involved in decision making, and have greater influence on the final outcome, success or failure of whatever I am working on. Now this is where it gets sticky. I told this to my manager at Wunderman a few months ago. And he actually explained to me that that there was a project coming up and that I would be able to really take the lead on and be the face of the project. However, there was no set time for when this project would start. All I knew is that it was scheduled to start in the new year. Well, in January after a few weeks passed and the project hadn't started I got restless. I thought maybe I could just test the job waters so to speak and see what's out there. I applied for about 8 jobs that looked interesting to me. I didn't make my resume searchable and I didn't send out scores of job apps. Just a few specific cases where I thought I would be a good fit. I was surprised by how quickly I got a response. I had a phone interview and then over the course of the next 3 weeks I had 3 in person interviews. By the end of the second in person interview I knew I had the job if I wanted it. This was around late February. At this point there was still no major movement on the project I was suppose to take over at Wunderman. Then BMO made me a really good offer which was a substantial pay increase over my salary plus the potential for bonuses and other perks that come with working for a bank. I accepted the offer on my lunch break, went and signed the papers and went back to work as normal. The offer was conditional pending a reference check and a security and credit check. This was an awkward situation. Once you sign an offer acceptance you can't help but to mentally check out a little bit. However, I could not officially give notice until after I passed the checks. It was very awkward, I would be in meetings at Wunderman talking about upcoming projects and what my role would be when I knew that I had already signed else where and would be quitting soon. Then things got worse. The day after I signed the offer my manager called me and a few other people into an office and said that the major project that had been mentioned before had finally received client sign off. The plan was for me to be project manager for this project. I felt about 2 inches tall. I was very quiet in the meeting. I had signed an acceptance else where but could not really say anything yet. If that's not bad enough it got worse. A few days later I was in a one on one meeting with my direct manager to go over goal setting for the next year. Goal setting is where your manager talks to you about what your goals for the next year are and what he/she can do to help you reach them. I was just fumbling my way through the conversation. When the meeting was over I went back to my desk and checked my personal email. And there was the note from my new job finally saying that I had passed the security checks so I could officially give notice now.

I got up and took a walk for a few minutes to clear my head. Then I went to manager that I just had the meeting with and told him that I was leaving Wunderman. So basically, all that goal setting stuff we were talking about earlier was bullshit because I am quitting. Needless to say he was shocked. But to his credit he took it well and said he understands my reasons.

So that's why I left Wunderman. I do not regret my decision to leave, I only wish the timing could have been better. When I left my previous job I was working on a project and I made sure to finish that project before I even looked for a new job. This time I am kind of leaving in the beginning. It could be worse of course, I could be leaving in the middle of the project. But then again I don't think I would do that. BMO is a very large company and there is plenty of room for advancement. My hope is to be able to stay there for at least a few years because I don't want to be seen as a job hopper who can't stay still.

That's it for this week...
Next Week ... My last days at Wunderman and a little wedding stuff.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Big News ... Sort of

Well as promised this week I have some news. The reason I added the "sort of" to the title is because I am no longer sure the news really is that big. I say this because a comment on last week's blog was comparing my supposed news to my upcoming marriage or the possibility of a pregnancy. Let me clear the the air right now. My future wife is NOT pregnant.

Now, on to the news. I got a new job. Seeing as how this new job will be only my third professional, career type job, I thought it qualified as pretty big news. Anyways, my new job is at BMO Investorline. For the purposes of my American readers I allow me to go off topic a bit.

In the US, basically any group of people with a pot of money can get together and decide to open a bank. Conversely up here north of the border there are essentially only a few banks. These banks are known as the Big five Banks. They are (in order of market capitalization)

* Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Financial Group)
* Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank Financial Group)
* Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
* Bank of Montreal (BMO Financial Group)
* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

So as you can imagine, because there are essentially only five real banks in the country they are among the largest employers in the country. I should note that there are technically other banks but they are so much smaller than the big five I won't bother to mention them.

Anyways one of my new years resolutions was to be more aggressive with regards to my career so, I think this fulfills that requirement.

I will give a more detailed break down on why I decided to leave and what my last days at Wunderman were like in the next post. I can't do it now because my last official day at Wunderman isn't until March 20th. I tried to be a professional as possible so I am actually giving them almost three weeks notice. Short of not quitting at all I don't think there is any more I could do.

Next Week... Why I left Wunderman and the advantages of BMO

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wedding Update

I know I promised big news this week, and I do in fact have some big news but it is not 100% confirmed yet, so I will next until next week to dispense the news.

So instead I have decided to give an update on how my wedding planning is going. Actually I am very pleased with the progress we have made so far. I have been very hands on and have been involved with just about every decision. I know a lot of husbands to be kind of shy away from the responsibility but I want to be involved. After all it is my wedding too. That being said I have no interest in turning into a groomzilla if there is such a thing. Here are a list of things we have taken care of so far.

Reception Hall
Church
Organ Player
Wedding Dress
Dress Alterations
Limo
Photography
Videography
DJ
Brides Made Dresses
Decorations
Park Rental
Live entertainment for reception (Steelpan player)

Here are a list of things we still need to take care of.

Suit Rental
Invitations
Wedding Flowers
Wedding Cake
Make up Artist
Church Programs
Thank you gifts (Bonbonnieres)
Marriage License
Wedding Bands

I am pleased because the only things on that list of things we have left to do that I feel are time dependent are the flowers and possibly the cake. That meaning if we don't get them soon they might be booked up on the day of our ceremony. Next week we are going to look at tux's for myself and my groomsmen. Mike and Jay if you are reading this I promise to choose something tasteful. There will be no hot pink vest and tie like at certain wedding we went to a little while ago.

If anyone can think of something that is missing from my list of stuff to do please feel free to let me know.

That's it for this week.

Next week ... Big News (I promise)


p.s. John, I watched Knight Rider. Feel free to delete it from your PVR without watching it. The car looked OK but overall the story was week and the action was poor even for a made for TV movie based on an 80s TV show.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mid Season Shows

My intention was to write a long diatribe about all the shitty shows that the public is being subjected to this mid season. Usually there are at least a few note worthy shows. This season there really aren't any. The only thing that I guess is even worth mentioning is "The Sarah Conner Chronicles". This is the TV version of the "Terminator" movies. I am a reasonably big fan of the movies and I really had my doubts about turning it into a TV show. My main thought was that the movies relied heavily on special effects. I didn't see how it would be possible to reproduce this on a weekly TV show budget. However, so far I must say that I am fairly pleased with the show. The effects have been used sparingly but when they are used they are usually pretty good. They are not as good as the movies but overall not bad. They have also done an adequate job of tying in the story line from the movies. The show had the potential to turn in to a very cheesy terminator of the week spoof show, however, they are taking the subject matter as seriously as you can take something this silly. So overall, I would recommend this show to anyone who is a fan of the series.


That's it for this week.

Next week ... BIG NEWS... maybe

Monday, February 18, 2008

DVD's

Hello, My name is Duane and I am a dvd addict. It has been approximately 8 weeks since my last DVD. LOL, I'm just kidding of course.

As of now I own 173 DVDs. Blogspot does not allow me to post a file so the list is as follows

Movie,Genre,MovieOrTelevision
Casino Royal,Action,Movie
Battlestar Galactiaca Razor,Sci-Fi,Television
Heroes Season 1,Sci-Fi,Television
Gargoyals Volume 1,Animation,Television
Gargoyals Volume 2,Animation,Television
Run Away Jury,Drama,Movie
The Break-Up,Comedy,Movie
Roger and Me,Documentary,Movie
Platoon,Drama,Movie
Gridiron Gang,Drama,Movie
Da Vinci Code,Drama,Movie
Rocky Balboa,Action,Movie
Rocky ,Action,Movie
Rocky 2,Action,Movie
Rocky 3,Action,Movie
Rocky 4,Action,Movie
Rocky 5,Action,Movie
LOTR: FOTR,Fantasy,Movie
LOTR: TTT,Fantasy,Movie
LOTR: TROTK,Fantasy,Movie
First Knight,Action,Movie
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves,Action,Movie
King Arthur,Action,Movie
Gladiator,Action,Movie
Troy,Action,Movie
The Last Samurai,Action,Movie
The Scorpian King,Action,Movie
The Mummy,Action,Movie
The Mummy Returns,Action,Movie
Transformers (2007),Sci-Fi,Movie
Transformers the Movie,Animation,Movie
Star Wars: A new Hope,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Wars: Return of The Jedi,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1,Animation,Movie
Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2,Animation,Movie
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Trek: First Contact,Sci-Fi,Movie
Star Trek: Nemesis,Sci-Fi,Movie
Men in Black,Sci-Fi,Movie
Men in Black 2,Sci-Fi,Movie
Matrix,Sci-Fi,Movie
Animatrix,Sci-Fi,Movie
Matrix: Reloaded,Sci-Fi,Movie
Matrix: Revolutions,Sci-Fi,Movie
The Terminator,Sci-Fi,Movie
Terminator 2 Judgement Day,Sci-Fi,Movie
Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines,Sci-Fi,Movie
"I,Robot",Sci-Fi,Movie
Minority Report,Sci-Fi,Movie
King Kong,Sci-Fi,Movie
War of the Worlds,Sci-Fi,Movie
Independence Day,Sci-Fi,Movie
The Day After Tomorrow,Sci-Fi,Movie
Back to the Future,Sci-Fi,Movie
Back to the Future 2,Sci-Fi,Movie
Back to the Future 3,Sci-Fi,Movie
Ghost Busters,Sci-Fi,Movie
Ghost Busters 2,Sci-Fi,Movie
Blood Diamond,Drama,Movie
The Departed,Mob Movie,Movie
Wall Street,Drama,Movie
Transformers Season 1,Animation,Television
Aladdin,Animation,Movie
The Lion King,Animation,Movie
Team America World Police,Animation,Movie
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy,Comedy,Movie
The Manchurin Candidat,Drama,Movie
The Island,Action,Movie
Collateral,Action,Movie
Heat,Drama,Movie
Face/Off,Action,Movie
Con Air,Action,Movie
The One,Action,Movie
The Run Down,Action,Movie
The Shawshank Redemption,Drama,Movie
The Shawshank Redemption Special Edition,Drama,Movie
Double Impact,Action,Movie
Undercover Brother,Comedy,Movie
Austin Powers: Goldmember,Comedy,Movie
Scream 3,Comedy,Movie
Basic Instinct,Drama,Movie
Basic Instinct 2,Drama,Movie
xXx,Action,Movie
Freddy Got Fingered,Comedy,Movie
Open Water,Drama,Movie
Crocodile Hunter Colision Course,Comedy,Movie
The Program,Drama,Movie
Showdown In Little Tokyo,Action,Movie
Analyze That,Comedy,Movie
Anger Management,Comedy,Movie
Not Another Teen Movie,Comedy,Movie
Head of State,Comedy,Movie
Total Recall,Action,Movie
Sin City,Super Hero,Movie
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Super Hero,Movie
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the OOZE,Super Hero,Movie
TMNT,Super Hero,Movie
League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen,Super Hero,Movie
HellBoy,Super Hero,Movie
CatWoman,Super Hero,Movie
Batman,Super Hero,Movie
Batman Begins,Super Hero,Movie
Superman Returns,Super Hero,Movie
Superman The movie,Super Hero,Movie
Superman 2,Super Hero,Movie
Superman The Animated Series Vol. 3,Super Hero,Television
Justice League Season 1,Super Hero,Television
Justice League Season 2,Super Hero,Television
Justice League Unlimited Volume 1,Super Hero,Television
Justice League Unlimited Volume 2,Super Hero,Television
Superman Doomsday,Super Hero,Movie
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie,Super Hero,Movie
Ultimate Avengers 2,Super Hero,Movie
The Invincible Iron Man,Super Hero,Movie
Doctor Strange,Super Hero,Movie
Ghost Rider,Super Hero,Movie
The Punisher,Super Hero,Movie
Fantastic Four,Super Hero,Movie
Elektra,Super Hero,Movie
Dare Devil,Super Hero,Movie
Dare Devil Special Edition,Super Hero,Movie
Hulk,Super Hero,Movie
Blade,Super Hero,Movie
Blade 2,Super Hero,Movie
Blade 3,Super Hero,Movie
Spider Man,Super Hero,Movie
Spider Man 2,Super Hero,Movie
Spider Man 3,Super Hero,Movie
Xmen,Super Hero,Movie
X2: Xmen United,Super Hero,Movie
X2: The Last Stand,Super Hero,Movie
Jurassic Park,Sci-Fi,Movie
Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World,Sci-Fi,Movie
Jurassic Park 3,Sci-Fi,Movie
The Godfather,Mob Movie,Movie
The Godfather Part 2,Mob Movie,Movie
The Godfather Part 3,Mob Movie,Movie
Casino ,Mob Movie,Movie
Goodfellas,Mob Movie,Movie
The Untouchables,Mob Movie,Movie
Pulp Fiction,Mob Movie,Movie
Road to Perdition,Mob Movie,Movie
Scarface,Mob Movie,movie
Carlitos Way,Mob Movie,movie
Carlitos War: Rise To Power,Mob Movie,Movie
Oceans Eleven,Comedy,Movie
Oceans Twelve,Comedy,Movie
Charlies Angels,Action,Movie
Dog Day Afternoon,Drama,Movie
Boyz In the Hood,Drama,Movie
Menace 2 Society,Drama,Movie
And Justice For All,Drama,Movie
Training Day,Drama,Movie
Narc,Drama,Movie
Traffic,Drama,Movie
A Few Good Men,Drama,Movie
Exit Wounds,Drama,Movie
Appolo 13,Drama,Movie
Cast Away,Drama,Movie
Forrest Gump,Drama,Movie
Catch Me If you Can,Drama,Movie
The Aviator,Drama,Movie
The Truman Show,Drama,Movie
Saving Private Ryan,Drama,Movie
Pearl Harbour,Drama,Movie
Insomnia,Drama,Movie
Identity,Drama,Movie
Jason X,Horror,Movie
Showgirls,Drama,Movie
Gigli,Comedy,Movie

I think I have a pretty good mix there. I am really a typical guy in that the vast majority of these movies are action related. Although I do have some standout drama's.

One section I am really proud of is my Super Hero section. I have almost every super hero movie made in the last 30 years. The only big missing pieces are super man 3 and 4 and batman 3 and 4. I refuse to buy these movies because the are completely horrible from beginning to end. They do not do justice to the source material in any way. At the risk of sounding like comic book guy from the Simpson's, I now pronounce these films to be "THE WORST MOVIES EVERREEEEE!!!!"

I also like to keep a few intended flaws in my collection. Those of course would be movies that are so bad that they are good. Those movies in my collection are Showgirls, Gigli, Jason X, Crocodile Hunter Collision Course, and Basic Instinct 2. These movies are so terrible that one has to wonder who possibly thought it would be a good idea to make them. I would have included Catwoman and Elektra in that list but as I said early I like to buy comic book movies regardless of whether they are good or bad.

My next movie will be Justice League: The New Frontier. It's a direct to video animated movie. DC and Marvel have been producing direct to video movies of their characters that would have a difficult time being translated into a live action film. I am really looking forward to it.

Well, that's it for this week. Pretty light post I guess.

Next week ... Mid Season Shows

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Scarborough

This week was supposed to be about DVD's but I have decided to put that off for another week. Instead I choose to write about my home town. For those who don't know The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can be broken up into many small sections. One of those sections is known as Scarborough.

Scarborough (pronounced /skɑrbroʊ/) is the area that forms the eastern part of the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was a separate city for over 200 years, but has been part of the 'East District' of Toronto since 1998. The Scarborough name is still used by most local residents, and is recognized by Canada Post as a municipality name. Scarborough has characteristics of a suburb of old Toronto, but retains much of its own character and flavour. Certain neighbourhoods in Scarborough are popular destinations for new immigrants to Canada, who bring part of their own culture to that of Scarborough. Because of the topography of the Bluffs, the Rouge Valley and the other creeks and many minor tributaries, Scarborough is said to be the greenest and leafiest part of Toronto.


For more info on Scarborough click here

The reason I am writing about my home town is because we have been in the local news quite a bit lately. Simply put crime has risen over the past 5-10 years. That is not to say that my area was ever perfect but it has risen recently. In fact my ex-coworkers used to kid me about living in Scarborough (All in good fun of course). That being said, I have no great desire to leave my little piece of Toronto. I think Scarborough is like any other major city. Which means there is going to be some crime and there are going to be some places that you should avoid going to unless you have a good reason for going there. I have been to California and Compton really isn't that geographically far from Beverly Hills. But anyone with an ounce of common sense knows enough to stay the hell out of Compton. Now that being said even the worst parts of Scarborough are a million times better than the best parts of Compton. We have ghettos but are ghettos are small and contained. Also, geographically the area of Scarborough that I live in is very close to major places of business so getting to work is not a problem. We also have great public transit. I get pissed at the TTC sometimes but when I compare it to the transit systems of the surrounding suburbs (Markham, Vaughn, Oakville, etc...) I realize that I have nothing to complain about. If I lived even 10 minutes north of where I live now getting to work in the morning would take forever and cost a fortune.

Now all that being said I am not 100% tied to Scarborough. When the time comes my wife and I will have to sit down and really think about where we want to live and raise children. It's a big decision but it's one I don't think I will have to think about for at least a couple of years.

Anyways ... That's it for this week.

Next Week, DVD's for real. I promise.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dirty Jobs

Years ago when I was deciding on my career I had specific criteria. I wanted to make a good salary obviously but I also wanted to work in a safe clean environment. That means absolutely no manual labor. No construction, plumbing, auto repair, etc ... Now I am well aware that some of these jobs can pay very well. In fact they probably all pay more than what I am currently making. However, to me the work is tough. The heaviest thing I will lift in any given day is a pen and I very rarely have to do that. There are consequence to this of course. Chief among them is that I get very little physical activity in a day. As a consequence of this I had put on over 20 pounds since college that I am trying to take off now. In addition I am rarely outdoors. I leave to get to work in the morning when it is dark and by the time I get home it is dark again. Now in the winter time it is not that bad. But in the summer I think it might be nice to be outside and get some fresh air.

So, where am I going with this? Over the last year or so I have been watching a show on discovery channel called Dirty Jobs. It basically has the host traveling the country working a day in some of the dirtiest jobs you can imagine. The stuff he does can really turn your stomach at times. But if someone doesn't do these jobs then society would simply shut down. In one episode he was emptying septic tanks. He had to climb in and scrap it off the walls. He was literally waist deep in shit. GROSS!!! I can not imagine doing something like this every day for 30 or 40 years. I don't know what these people make but I hope it is a good salary. I am not saying they should be millionaires or something but they definitely deserve good incomes.

I will leave you with a clip of one of the dirtiest jobs I have ever seen. 1:46-1:54 is disgusting.



Next Week ... DVD check in

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fake Asses

I think some people might see the title and assume I am talking about fake people. As in people who are phony are disingenuous. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about people who literally have a fake ass. Just like in the 80s when breast implants were all the rage it seems that over the past few years there has been a steady rise in butt implants.

I will start by posting a few images of women who are suspected of having a fake ass.

Number 1) Kim (Ho-Dashian) Kardashian




As you can see she has an abnormally large ass. Which is questionable to say the least. However, As large as this is, my next suspect has her beat hands down.


Number 2) Angel Lola Luv


This ass has to be fake Period! Human beings are not built like this. I don't know how she even walks with out falling backward because of all that ass.


Finally, I have a pic of the only women who I know has a confirmed FAKE ASS!!!.
Nicole "CoCo" Austin



I know for a fact that this ass is fake because I have seen before pics. Unfortunately I could not find a before pic as of this writing but I assure you all that NO ASS is meant to be this big.

The last thing I will post is a youtube video of a young house wife who thought it would be a good idea to enlarge her booty. BIG MISTAKE as you will see.



Next Week.... Dirty Jobs

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Life Downtown

I will apologize in advance because this is also going to be a very short post. But to make up for it I promise that next week will be a very funny post.

This week I want to talk about life downtown. I have been back working downtown out of the Wunderman head office for 2 weeks now. I must say that I enjoy it. I had been away from the head office for the previous 3 months. Although my time at Ford was mostly enjoyable there are things that I did not like. The top being the amount of distance I had to drive. The time it took to get to work really is about the same as the time it takes to get downtown. The difference are that at Ford the day starts at 8am and at Wunderman the day starts at 9am. There were times that I found it very hard to be completely alert that early in the morning. Since it is pretty dangerous to be not alert when going 130k on the highway I am glad that I do not have to do it anymore. Conversely I take the bus and train to work downtown. If I am not awake it's no big deal. In fact I have fallen asleep on the bus twice already. I can't miss my stop because my stop is the station. Since my bus stop is one of the first stops on the route I always have a seat. It's a good system.

I also missed working in the city. There is always something going on and I am more likely to bump into people. I bumped into my father on the bus going home one day and on the train going home another day. I bumped into my girl friend on the train also. Also working down town allows me to do some reading. I read on the bus and train to and from work. Since the round trip is 2 hours I can get a good amount of reading done. I have already read 2 novels and 1 graphic novel since I have been back down town.

I should also mention one other story. When I get off the train at bay station there was this one homeless guy that is always in the hall of the station. I mentioned to my older sister that I always pass this guy and never give him anything or even acknowledge his existence. This is before I left to work in Oakville. So my sister is less cold hearted than I am. I was content to leave him there for all of eternity. She kept saying that I should do something for him. I believe it's the governments job to do for the people that which they can not do for themselves. So, the government should be helping this guy not me. Anyway long story short after many discussions I agreed to buy this guy a coffee and a muffin as a gift for my sister. When I got back down town I was surprised to see that the homeless guy was no longer there. I assumed he had either moved on or died or something. However, on my first Friday back he showed up. I had some change in my pocket that I was going to use to buy a peanut butter cookie and a coffee for myself. But since I saw the guy I decided to keep my word to some extent. I gave him the money instead as well as the rest of the change in my pocket for a total of around $6.50. I couldn't bring myself to walk to the coffee shop, wait in line to buy something and then walk back to give it to this guy. Hopefully he uses this money for food. Either way I have done my good deed for the year. Also, since peanut butter cookie and high fat coffee would violate my diet so, I guess giving the money to him was a good thing. Now my sister is talking about asking my to volunteer at the food bank for a day. I don't think that is very likely but we'll see.

I guess the post wasn't that short after all.

Next week ... Fake Asses.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Free Running

I hope everyone who is seeing this has seen the latest James Bond movie Casino Royal. At the beginning of that movie there is a chase sequence. It was really quite shocking when I first saw it. It was a real departure from recent James bond movies as usually didn't even have enough pace to disturb Bond's hair. I got the DVD of this movie as a Christmas present so I recently we watched the chase. I have found out that the guy being chased is a top performer in a sport he help to invent called Free Running.

As such I have decided to post a few Free running videos. Enjoy :)






Next Week ... Life Downtown

Monday, January 7, 2008

Goals and resolutions for 2008

When I originally listed this as the topic for this week I thought that I would have a long list of things to write. However, the truth is that for the most part I am pretty happy with my life. There are not really a long list of things that I can think of that I would want to change.

The biggest change for me in the upcoming year is going to be my marriage. However, this is not a resolution and I am not sure if I view the success of my wedding or marriage as a goal. It is really a given. I am 100% confident with the decisions I have made.

As such my only two goals for 2008 revolve around my career and my weight. I will start with weight. For several years now I have made the same resolution about losing weight and getting to the gym on a more regular basis. This has to be the year when I accomplish this task. Once a upon a time (back in high school) I was a pretty good athlete and as such I was in pretty good shape. Those days however have long since past. Now, by no stretch am I fat. But there is room for improvement. At the beginning of 2008 I weighed 210 lbs. My goal is to be between 180-185 by the beginning of 2009. That is a 25-30 pound weight loss but it is not an unreasonable goal in my opinion. My logic for the 180-185 goal is that a light heavy weight boxer has to be under 185lbs. I am substantially smaller than Roy Jones Jr., so I think i should weigh less than him also. I have signed up to the abs diet on-line. It gives me a meal plan and workout plan that I will do my best to follow in the new year. Wish me luck :)

My next goal is about my career. Basically I want progress. I am not really sure how to define and describe this. It's not just money, although I would be lying if I said that is not part of it. I want to be in charge of larger projects as opposed to just being a worker on them. I have been assured that this is something that will happen in the coming year. I also know that I am in a point in my career/life in general where I have more options than I am likely to have again. I made an earlier posts about different career paths available to me (See Business Analyst) so I won't do it again. But what I mean is that I now have the experience to find jobs in lots of companies. Additionally, I don't have any kids i have a decent amount of money saved, so if I lose a job its not the end of the world. So I need to make some progress this year. I am going to be aggressive and see what happens.

That's it for this week
Next Week ... Free Running