Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo Shoot at The Brick Works

I went to The Evergreen Brick Works on Saturday to take some pictures with my friend. I met her through another friend at a bridal show they were modeling at. I took pictures there too.

Anyway, we were trying to figure out a date and place to go. I thought the kilns at the Brick Works would be nice because I've taken pictures there before. It's a neat looking place.

The only problem was that the weather we've been having has been unpredictable. The one good thing about the kilns at the Brick Works are that they're covered. So it doesn't matter if it's raining. But, it's still open to the outside so if it's -10C out, that's how it'll feel there too.

It turned out to be colder than I hoped. The temperature was below 10C if I remember correctly. It wasn't bad for me since I could dress as warmly as I wanted (since I was behind the lens). But, for my friend, it wasn't so nice.

I got some reasonable shots. Some were crappy, some were alright. I'll post them on so you can have a look.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dinner with Dickie

Onion Ring Eyes, photo by Dickie

I went to dinner at Imperial Buffet with Dickie again. We go quite often because I get these coupons for the restaurant from my sister and parents. For some reason they get delivered to their homes in North York while Dickie, who lives in Scarborough where the restaurant is, doesn't receive them. The coupons used to be buy-one-get-one-free. Now the coupon is good for 85% off the second dinner. Still a good deal as far as we're concerned.

As per usual I started off with a few plates of things like fried rice and assorted meat, fish and vegetable dishes. I try not to eat too many fried things, but normally will take 3-4 onion rings. Dickie always heads straight for the crab legs. He's quite good at extracting the meat from the shell. I tried once, but gave up.

To finish things up I'll grab a plate full of fruit. Usually just the pineapple and strawberries. And then I'll grab some dessert like cheese cake and ice cream.

The food here isn't the greatest of quality. But, then again, what can you really expect from a Chinese buffet restaurant? For Dickie and I it's all about eating until you can't move.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dinner at Local

I went to eat at Local last week with one of my friends. It's a restaurant located on the south side of Danforth in between Broadview and Pape. I bought one of those group coupons worth $45 for $20 for the restaurant. I can't remember who from.

I've found I can sort of go crazy buying all these coupons because a lot of the deals are really good. Though some of the places aren't really that nice. But, after checking the Local website I thought the interior looked really good. That was a bonus.

I made reservations for 7:15 though we ran a little late. I suppose it didn't matter much because the place wasn't very busy. Though it wasn't quite the weekend yet I still thought there would've been more of crowd it being Thursday.

Here's how they describe themselves:

Located in the heart of the city, Local is one of a kind resto-lounge that embodies sophistication, elegance, and an inviting atmosphere truly authentic to Toronto. The distinct setting is inspired by the love of art, music, photography and film alongside its refined culinary approach.

The Local Restaurant & Lounge is characterized by its contemporary loft style design, exposed brick walls and palatial ceilings that act as a backdrop to a uniquely intimate space.

We started with the Dip Plate which consisted of three dipping choices - Cauliflower & Chick Pea Hummus - Olive Tapenade - Roasted Red Pepper & Feta plus pita bread to dip for $12.99.

For our entrées we chose the Penne with Grilled Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary Bourbon Cream for $16.99 and the Pan Seared Dijon Atlantic Salmon
Green Pea Cream with Roasted Root Vegetables & Smoked Apple Wood Potato Hash for $18.99, plus a couple of glasses of house white wine $10 each.

All the food was good as was the atmosphere. There was even a live DJ spinning tunes. Both my friend and I enjoyed our time there. Hopefully business will pick up once the warm weather returns.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cherry Blossoms @ HIgh Park

I rode down to High Park last Thursday to see the cherry blossoms again. It was a decent day; cool and partially overcast. But, the sun snuck out from behind the clouds every now and then. That added a bit of punch to the colours when I was taking pictures.

Since I went on a weekday the crowds weren't too bad. I was able to take photos with relative ease (without having to wait for people to pass by). There were still other photo enthusiasts (like me) and people having picnics, but not enough to be a real bother.

Anwar Knight from CTV News and his TV crew were there filming a bit with a group of people practicing Tai Chi in the park. That attracted a bit of attention from curious onlookers.

All in all it was a good day to get out and get some fresh air and enjoy the city.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Sunday

Last Sunday was Easter. Our drama group ACTS (Acclaiming Christ Through Stage) performed a short play. Their director Howard asked me to take some pictures for them.

I actually had a chance to practice taking shots at their rehearsal on Friday after Good Friday Service. That came in handy when my memory card filled up part way through the Sunday performance. I missed a few shots in the middle while putting a new card in.

I thought I had made enough space by deleting a few pictures off the card at home, but I guess I didn't empty the trash. Anyway, I was able to use a few of the practice shots to fill in the ones I missed on Sunday.

After Tom's sermon there was a baptism and confirmation. And the children sang a song for everyone while offering was being collected. They're always adorable.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

I went to Earth Hour at the Distillery District this past Saturday (March 31st). It's an annual event that's held in many cities around the world. For a one hour period participants are supposed to turn all their lights off to promote climate change awareness.

I've attended the event here in Toronto a few times. It seems like the venue is getting smaller each time. In 2008 it was held at Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. In 2010 they downsized to Yonge-Dundas Square. And now, in 2012, they've shrunk it again. And, no disrespect to the performer, Andrew Huang, but I've never heard of him before.

I walked down and back. It made more sense than driving. I figure that would have left a larger carbon footprint than leaving all my lights on for an hour at my condo. I supposed I could have taken the TTC, but I didn't. According to Google maps the trek was 8.2 kms each way. Not bad, eh?

After the event I hung around a little longer and took some more pictures around the area. You can see them on my page.

I noticed the city did look darker on my way walking back up Yonge Street. I was encouraged by that. Even though it looks like interest in the event is waning enough people and businesses still showed spirit and shut their lights off. I heard on the news that usage was down compared to last year, so that's good.

Friday, April 6, 2012

MWS (Media Withdrawal Syndrome)

Last Wednesday I slept over at my parents' place. They're currently away on holidays. On the days I wasn't working I was going to do my sister a favor by dropping off my youngest nephew at the bus stop in the morning for school.

Normally she drops him off at their place on her way to work at around 7:45 a.m. and they walk him to the bus stop at 8:15. For me to get to my parents' place in time I'd have to leave my condo before 7:15. So, instead of doing that, I figured I'd sleep over.

One thing I don't like about staying over at my parents' place is that, for me, there's nothing to do. They don't have a computer and only basic cable. So there's no e-mail, no chatting, no Facebook, no Discovery Channel, TSN or much of anything else. I'm devoid of all outside contact. It's like be stuck in the wilderness with nothing to do except ponder the meaning of your own existence.

I did a few Sudoku puzzles they had lying around from the free papers they pick up. I listened to the news on the radio for a short time. I considered reading a book that was sitting on the coffee table about living with cancer. But, instead, I turned on the TV and watched soccer on Sports Net then caught the news on CTV. I have to tell you I really don't like watching soccer. But, with little else on that's how desperate I was.

It's weird how alone you feel in situations like this. When you're so used to being connected electronically to the world around you. It's funny to see how we've become so conditioned.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Allan Gardens

I went to Allan Gardens last Sunday after church. It's been quite a long time since I last visited, so I thought I'd go have a look.

I remember the last time I went it was to try a "new" used film camera body I bought to replace an old one that I got wet when I went canoeing at Algonquin Park. That was probably sometime in the mid-90's I'm guessing.

This time I went to do the same thing–take photos. This time with my current camera a Canon 20D (which itself is somewhat dated since I bought it in 2006).

Allan Gardens is located between Carlton Street to the north, Gerrard Street to the south and Jarvis Street to the west and Sherbourne Street to the east. If you take the TTC you can get off at College Station on the Yonge subway line, walk east on Carlton and pick up some snacks at the newly opened Loblaws (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) along the way.

From their website:

Allan Gardens Conservatory is over 100 years old with a garden-filled greenhouse that covers over 16,000 square feet. This garden is open to the public year-round. It contains tropical plants from all over the world from palm trees to cacti. There are also seasonal plantings throughout the year.

I have to say I don't remember too much about that previous trip I took. But, I somehow thought the place was bigger than it turned out to be. If you were to walk straight through all the greenhouses without stopping you could probably do it in 10-15 minutes tops.

Of course, if you were like me, and you liked taking pictures... well it would take you much longer. And, for me, that was the case. I took a long, long time. But, I think I got some good shots, so that's what was important.

On my way out I bumped into an old friend from church, Phyllis Chong. She was visiting with two of her friends. I hadn't seen her since the mid to late 90's. She's now attending The Stone Church on Davenport.

Unfortunately they arrived as the Conservatory was closing. So, for them, they'll have to come another time to view the plants they have there.