Monday, December 31, 2012

Sue's Party

Perry's friend, Sue, helped organize a dinner party on Saturday. It was out in Mississauga at someone's condo. They rented out the party room on the top floor.

There were two distinct groups in attendance. Ours was the English-speaking CBCers (for the most part). Sue's group was mostly people from China who spoke Mandarin. So there was an interesting dynamic to say the least.

Most of the music was in Chinese (except for when they played Gangnam Style, then it was in Korean). And when the organizers spoke it was in Mandarin as well. One of Perry's friends, Linda, translated a bit. There was a Karaoke machine. But, the interface was in Chinese. And I believe almost all of the songs were Chinese too.

Perry drove me with his friend, Linda, and her daughter. Dickie drove Big Jon, Donald and Steve. They came a bit late. We all waited for them before starting dinner. They were waiting for their Little Caesars pizza to be made. It was potluck.

There was quite an assortment of food for dinner. Of course there was the typical Chinese fare of rice and noodle dishes. Someone brought pasta, and Dickie's group bought pizza like I mentioned. I went to Metro and got an apple pie. That's what I usually bring to potluck dinners - pie.

After dinner they did some games. One was musical chairs. The rest were in Chinese. So we just watched.

Afterwards they played some music. Some of it was regular, uptempo music that you could dance to. But, it was in Chinese. Other times the fellow in charge of the music would play waltz or other ballroom dancing music. I guess some of them know how to dance to that sort of music. The sound system was awful I must say. It wasn't very clear and there was no treble (only bass for some reason).

Still, it was a good opportunity to meet some new people. I think that was the main objective for both groups.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My New Toy

... Well, not exactly a "toy", but you know what I mean.

I had been looking to replace my aging Canon 20D (that I bought in 2006) with the latest version, the 60D (which is actually on the verge of being replaced having come out in September, 2010).

Prices have dropped significantly since that point in time. The original MSRP for the body was $1,099 (U.S.). I believe I saw it advertised for as low as $900 last Christmas/Boxing Day (2011).

This year the trend continued. One of the first advertisements I saw was from Aden Camera. It listed the body for $834. Not bad. Vistek countered next with a price of $799. Aden then upped the ante at $769.

I took this flyer to Future Shop and they said they would beat the price. Turns out they didn't have any 60D bodies in stock, only kits (with cheap kit lenses). They did have an open box body though. The manager offered to sell it to me for $700.

I thought about for a bit and decided to go for it. The sales person put a lens on and I tried it out in the store snapping a few test shots. It worked like a charm. As well, it came with the same manufacturer's warranty as a new one.

I'll be looking to give it a workout a my next get together this coming Saturday. Stay tuned for more pictures...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dinner at Tom and Florianne's

Tom and Florianne invited a group of us over to their place for a holiday dinner last night. It's something they've been doing for a little while now.

It was nice to reconnect with a few familiar faces again. Some of them I only see once a year at these annual get togethers.

Tom and Florianne are both great cooks. So the food is always quite lovely. They put a lot of work into their parties which I'm sure everyone appreciates.

I took some photos with Tom and Florianne's Canon 60D. I have an older generation of the camera and was thinking about picking up this, the latest version. It's been out a couple of years now and the price has been consistently dropping. I thought I'd give it a test run to see how I like it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

YPG/Trader Christmas Party

My friend invited a few of us to her work Christmas party on Saturday. Two of us (Taku and myself) actually worked there before. For me, it was about 3-1/2 years ago and Taku, about 5.

The company has seen many changes in the past few years. From being privately owned by the Francis family to being acquired by Yellow Pages Group to half the company being sold by them to a British group.

The party was open to three different YPG companies (I believe) besides Wall2Wall (the new name of my former company). So there were quite a few new faces in attendance.

Still, I saw Jacky Hill, Sue Legge, Miss Dee (Dionne Fraser), Susan Maxwell and Elisa Krovblit from New Homes/Condo Guide. Those were the guys I worked most closely with.

Other familiar faces from production were the two Balas (Gnanapandithan and Menon), Greg Van Sluytman and Curtis King.

Even though we didn't get to sit with most of our friends I still had a really good time. Dinner was decent and I actually got up and danced a little.

Until next time...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Water Main Break

Late last week I was walking along the sidewalk on the south side of Eglinton near Yonge when I saw a small fountain of water shooting out from the ground. I thought it was odd, but didn't think too much about it. It wasn't a lot and it just flowed into the sewer on the street.

Well that small leak turned into a torrent by Friday evening. When I returned from hockey early Saturday morning Eglinton east of Yonge was blocked off. The water shooting out of the ground there flowed onto Eglinton and the overflow went south on Yonge past Sudan (the set of traffic lights).

I was a bit concerned that my condo might be affected in some way. But, when I got home my water was still on and I didn't have any other issues. After putting my stinky hockey gear in the washing machine I headed downstairs to take some photos.

By this time the police had blocked all traffic going both east and west on Eglinton between Yonge and Holly. There were a few news vehicles there too. I stayed on the north sidewalk and snapped some photos. No one bothered me there.

I overheard the TTC subway was flooded. The buses had to be diverted down Holly while they looked into fixing the problem. Surprisingly, the street was opened not long after.

I didn't hear anything else regarding the break until Monday when I was doing deliveries up Yonge for Sid. Dr. Soll's office (in the new Minto south tower, a minute or so from my building) was still without power. They had some extension cords hooked up to the hall outlets in the building to supply their computers and other things. But their unit was basically off the grid. Hopefully it didn't take too long for Hydro to restore their electricity.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Greedy, Greedy

Greedy owners + greedy players = No NHL hockey = Disgruntled fans who, at this point (nearly 90 days lost), really don't give a hoot any longer.

It's quite astonishing that seemingly intelligent, grown men cannot come to some sort of a mutually beneficial agreement over a nearly three month period (not even including off season negotiations).

And even more ridiculous is that the combatants aren't poor, struggling peons, but billionaires vs. multi-millionaires. People with too much money to shake a stick at yet their disagreements are affecting many, many others who really need the income. People like those who run concessions and support workers at the arenas or sports bar and restaurant owners and their staff. It's pretty sickening.

Me? I put most of the blame on the players. I know the owners are more than loaded. But, they're the ones who've built their franchises and took a chance investing in their respective teams. The players make a great living considering what they do.

If you think about it, what other options would most players have if they weren't playing hockey? Dishwasher? Janitor? Stock person at a grocery store?

When so many people are either struggling to find or keep menial jobs, you're going on strike because 2, 3 or 4 million dollars a year isn't enough? I don't feel an ounce of sympathy for you. I hope you all lose your jobs and see what working in the real world is like. Then you'll realize how lucky you really were.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Atomic Green Beans

Atomic Green Beans - No, it's not some post apocalyptic food item, it's the name of our current Cornerstone Multi-Sport team (aka - the Beans). We're so named because of our bright, lime-green sports jerseys if you must know.

Our season began at the beginning of October. We played a variety of team building games. The following week was Thanksgiving so, of course, we had it off. After that we started eight weeks of volleyball.

Our team did well in volleyball. We had the best record during the regular season. The playoffs were a different story. We skipped directly into the semis where we lost the best of three series 2 games to 1 to Michael's Yellow Team (the eventual winners).

We ended up winning the rest of the games we played that evening unofficially ending up in third. That's alright... it was fun. We put in a good effort.

The picture (above) is from our team dinner at Holly's place. We met up on the first Sunday in December. It was hard finding a day where most people could make it especially in December (close to Christmas). Unfortunately Ken and Brian couldn't come. Freda came late.

Dinner was a little sparse. We didn't really coordinate it as well as we could have I suppose. Winnie and Andrew bought duck and roast pork. Jennifer made a vegetable platter with some dip she bought at the One-of-a-Kind Show,  Holly made some pork and a pot of rice and I bought a tray of sushi with the $50 the Multi-Sport organizers gave us.

For dessert Danny bought ice cream and pie, I bought pie and Joe and Karen bought two tubs of ice cream. Needless to say we had a lot of pie and ice cream.

After dinner we headed to the basement to play board games. I don't remember the names of any of the games we played, but they were fun. Holly has a lot of games.

Our next idea for a team outing is skating at Harbourfront. That ought to be fun.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Sisters Brothers

I just finished reading The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. Though I have to admit I don't read an awful lot, it was a bit of a departure from what I might normally choose.

Set in California in the 1850s, The Sisters Brothers is a western about brothers Eli and Charlie Sisters. They are hired killers who work for a rich and powerful man known simply as the Commodore. What he commands they do, no questions asked.

The novel tells the tale of their adventures in seeking out and confronting their next target, Hermann Kermit Warm. Along the way they meet a varied and motley group of characters with varying consequences.

As well, Eli begins to reflect on his chosen profession and wrestles with his choices in life. Though they are generally self-serving, cold blooded killers they do have a human side and I found myself warming towards them.

deWitt's style of writing fits the timeframe of the story well. At no time did I find myself getting weary of reading (as sometimes happens with me).