June 30, 2006

Caban Sale

One of my favourite stores, Caban, is going out of business and holding a blowout sale. I found a gorgeous matte black cup and saucer set with shiny turquoise glaze on the interior that I bought for 20% off. They also have my cupcake book I was eyeing at Chapters for 30% off. I think I'll go pick that up next week. Oooh, the savings to be had!

I saw Superman Returns last night. It was a great movie, with amazing efects, good storylines, humourous moments, and.. eye candy actors :P Highly recommended *thumbs up*

Tomorrow I'm off to Grove City, PA for some hard-core shopping. Happy Canada Day!

Posted by mich at 8:38 PM | dreams [0]

June 25, 2006

Batch Update

It's been a busy week leaving me with no time to write. So here it is.

Last Saturday I watched 2 World Cup games during the day before heading downt to Little Italy for the Taste of Little Italy. It was pretty fun walking down the street becuase of all the flags being waved by the football fans. Many of the Italian restaurants were jam packed with long wait times so Chris and I had dinner at Utopia for sandwiches and burgers. In the evening I skipped out on my dragonboat team's fundraiser event at Touch Lounge for Sam's farewell party at Up Lounge for one last get together before he left for Dallas.

Sunday morning Chris and I went to Little Italy for brunch at Sicilian Sidewalk Café in Little Italy and to watch the match between Brazil and Australia. The game was good, but the service at the cafe was absolutely lousy: our waitress never brought the ketchup we ask for, she didn't bring the bill until 30 min after we had asked for it, she insisted that my hot water should be charged as tea, and then wouldn't give me back the proper change because she didn't have enough money on her. What is that?? Afterwards I went into a gelato shop for some tiramisu gelato- my first taste of frozen dessert goodness in over a month! It was heaven. That evening I took my parents and relatives for Father's Day dinner at Pacific mall, where we saw our old family friends from Ottawa for like the third time in a row. What crazy coincidences- that's the only place we ever see bump into them.

Monday night was my dodgeball team's last playoff game where we completely creamed our opponent. In the end we finished 3rd out of 11... not too shabby. After that I rushed home to watch the taped Spain game, which was absolutlely thrilling. Behind a goal in the first half, then a total comeback with 3 goals!

Tuesday after work I met up with Kris to go to Sandra's convocation. Afterwards we tried out the new Tibetan/Indian restaurant on Queen called Everest. We shared samosas, a Tibetan dish of tofu, mushrooms and other veggies, and a dish of butter chicken. We met up with Janine later for the TSO performance Last Night of the Proms. It was, without a doubt, the most fun and lively evening I've ever had at the symphony. The first piece was Mavis in Las Vegas, which was full of so many different styles, from big band jazz to wedding chapel music, as it took you on a journey through the many parts of Vegas. Happy Birthday was played in different variations of styles like Hadyn, Mozard, Beethoven, Wagner, 30s film, and Hungarian folk dance. Then came the ever popular Rule Britannia, which got everyone waving their British and Canadian flags, and even doing the wave around the whole auditorium. During Fantasia on British Sea Songs, one cellist used his bow to play a saw, which sounded like music being played underwater. It was so amazing to watch him play the saw so beautifully and be able to hit all the notes with such precision. Then came Pomp and Circumstance, which had the starting brass section playing so aloof, out of sync and somewhat off-key as if they were in a high school band. Sitting above them was the choir acting as bored graduates fanning themselves and throwing pieces of crumpled paper down into the orchestra. Then came the showoff solo clarinetist who got exasperated sighs from the band members before the orchestra finally went full force into the piece. It was such an unforgettable experience.

After work on Friday I learned how to play sqaush at Goodlife. It took me a while to get the hang of the non-bouncy ball, but in no time, I was a killah! Chris and I walked over to Café Cinquecento for Cass' farewell dinner before she headed off to HK. Afterwards I dragged Chris and Cass to walk me to Union to catch the GO bus before they would head off to the Drinks Show with the rest of the party. But the walk was so long that they didn't want to walk all the way to the CNE, so we decided to hang out at the Royal York's Epic restaurant for drinks and dessert. Cass and I both ordered virgin strawberry cocktails, and the three of us shared a cake dish with 3 tiny portions of cute miniature cakes. One was this brownie tower that oozed out fudge when you pierce it, another was a vanilla mousse on caramelized waffle, and the third was a hollow timbit-like sugared pastry with chocolate coated on the inside. They were all so delectable!

Last night I went to the TSO concert with Kris and her friend Jonathan to see Shakespeare in Love. After that I met up with Chris to go to May's birthday party at Up Lounge, which was a pretty fun time. The DJ played too much hip-hop and reggae though and not enough house. Bah! Woke up early this morning and went to the Canadian Opera Company's open house event. I went on a guided tour that took us onstage and backstage to see the rich people lounge, costume rooms and ballet studio. The ballet company is performing Sleeping Beauty in November and we got to see the costumes- they're 34 years old and they still look impecable (and the dress for Aurora was worn by Karen Kain when she performed in the production way back when). Pictures coming soon!

I went home in the afternoon to catch the Portugal vs Netherlands game. Is anyone as shocked as I was with the events that unfolded? You thought the Italy vs US game was bad, this game was nasty. One player injured twice, 2 fight break-outs, a head butt, 12 people booked, 4 red cards, and a captain that may very well have to deal with FIFA sanctions after the game. Oy. Hopefully Portugal still has enough in them to send England packing.

Posted by mich at 10:12 PM | dreams [0]

June 17, 2006

Series of Unfortunate Events

It's been a long week and I'm glad that it's over. It was packed with some fun activities, but sprinkled with suckiness.

Last Friday I went to the Mod Club with Kerry to see Tokyo Police Club perform with a bunch of other artists under the Paperbag Records label. They were great live and I loved all the energy they brought onto the stage. The next two bands were a waste of my time: Cities in Smoke were absolutely horrible and ear splitting, and Uncut was nothing remarkable. Magneta Lane finally came just before midnight and they totally rocked out. I'm not a big fan of their music except for one song, but they are one talented bunch of chicks. The final band was controller.controller - I love their songs but I was quite disappointed by their live performance the last time I saw them - but I didn't stay to watch because I felt like I was going to pass out from tiredness.

The next morning I went to the Goethe-Institut to watch the film 108 - Walking through Tokyo as part of the soundaXis festival. The sound collage by the soundscape artist was really nicely done as it seamlessly weaved the sounds of various places throughout Tokyo. The images, however, left me unsatisfied. Out of a huge collection of photographs that could have been selected, only a handful were chosen to match with the sounds, and many of those were repeated throughout the film. I was left either looking at the same photo for either minutes on end, or staring into darkness.

Sunday afternoon was my dragonboat/dodgeball team's BBQ party at Ashbridge's Bay. I wanted to bring my Lomo Smena 8m, but realized it was still not fully fixed when the lens popped off last year. So I took the whole thing apart and tried constructing it part by part. I had everything put back together except the very last thing to control the depth of field. I just cannot screw the lens back on without getting it stuck when I try to adjust the DOF- quite annoying. Grrrr. So I left home without it. I ended up playing volleyball all afternoon which gave my nasty purple spots on my forearms... ouch. That evening I went out for Viet food with Cass, Angela and a couple of their friends.

Monday night was our dodgeball team's first playoff game against the top ranked team. Even though our first game against them a few weeks back was sooo close, we were creamed this time around (and physically too). I was beamed in the eye with the ball while sitting on the bench, and one of my teammates was attacked by so many balls at once that he fell badly on a ball and broke his foot/ankle so I had to help drive his car back home. Later that night I went on Amazon.com to order the Rolleiflex MiniDigi. What should have been a 5 minute process turned into 45-minutes of pure aggravation when my wireless signal kept dying on me and I had to restart my order over and over. When I finally pushed the submit button, it was taking forever to process and finally I a message saying that the order didn't go through. OMG was I mad *huff* Then I went down to the basement to order on the other computer and shipped it to the states since they don't ship to Canada. Fine, done. On Wednesady I got a call from Saba saying she already received the camera. Yay. But that night when I checked my e-mail, I got 2 e-mails from Amazon saying I had ordered the same product twice, as well as 2 seperate invoices from the third party vendor for my 2 orders. WTH?! I was freaking out but I couldn't send e-mails or check my orders page on Amazon because my stupid wireless connect was going down again and would only come back up for a few seconds before dying again. In my fury I started banging my mouse - hard - before that died on me too. What can I say, I hate computers and computers hate me.

Thursday I had planned to go see the TSO performance with Ben Heppner, but the tickets were already sold out. According to Christina, it was fabulous. I'll just have wait until it's aired on CBC radio, bah.

Friday evening I went to the patio of Peter Pan for dinner with Chris, Christina, and Wen San before Kris and I headed over to the brand new Four Seasons Centre for a night of the opera. Although the building is pretty nice, as a piece of modern architecture that's supposed to house spectacular and extravagant performances I was pretty disappointed by the plainness of the space. It's one thing to be minimalist (and be able to make a bold statement), but quite another to be bland. Nonetheless, the actual show itself was amazing. I was completely blown away by Aline Kutan's breathtaking performance of Der Hölle Rache where it seemed like she hit the highest note on a piano. Seriously. The celebratory show ended at 9:20 so I tried to rush to Union to catch the 9:40 GO bus back to Richmond Hill. Unfortunately I missed it by 2 minutes. The ride would have been super quick :( And when I started walking to the TTC to catch the subway, I realized I had left my beloved water bottle at the opera house, noooooo. Man, double whammy.

Posted by mich at 12:54 PM | dreams [0]

June 9, 2006

Football Fever

The World Cup has finally started, woooo! Although my next week is completely booked solid, I'm leaving Tuesday free for the must-see game between my team Brazil and Croatia. Right now I'm watching the exciting encore game between Germany and Costa Rica. And for anyone who works downtown in the financial district, fans can head over to the BCE Place or Goethe-Institut to watch at noon :)

Also at the Goethe-Institut is the film Walking through Tokyo that I'm going to see tomorrow morning. Sounds really interesting! And especially after watching the finale of The Amazing Race where they went to Tokyo, I'm longing to go back again.

Posted by mich at 7:49 PM | dreams [0]

June 7, 2006

In a World of Pain

My body's only just starting to recover from a painful last few days. Sunday morning was the Becel Ride for Heart along the Gardiner and DVP. Christian and I woke up at 6:45am and biked down to the CNE to meet with his corporate team. We had a small breakfast then hit the Gardiner at 9:15 and reached the halfway point of the 25km route at 10. We rested for 30 min waiting for the rest of the team and took a bunch of group pictures before turning around to head back to the CNE. Thank goodness I didn't do the 50km this year; even though the 25 route doesn't have the massive rolling hills like the 50, I was still getting a bit grumpy. I did not want to repeat my miserable mood from last year's 50k- I don't think I even looked at my bike for a month afterwards. This time was a bit better- a week break from my bike shall suffice :) We finished the ride at around 11am and rested and ate while waiting for the rest of the team. A few of us later biked to Old York restaurant for a filling brunch where I had some french toast covered in apple compote with fresh fruit.

As if we weren't already exhausted enough, Chris and I headed over to Queen/Sherbourne for a double dragonboat practice- one hour pool training and one hour dry training. In the pool we were taught proper paddling technique. I had no idea how strenuous it is to paddle... there's no way I can do a whole race! My back and shoulders were killing me after that. Dry training was even worse: 2 laps around the soccer field, 5 laps around the gym, situps, push-ups, 2 minute plank, then a game of tag and dodgeball. In the evening our whole team had a BBQ at one of the captain's backyard, so that was a nice relaxing break to end the day.

The next morning, I kept waking up from my sleep every time my body moved because it HURT SO MUCH every time I moved an inch. Can we say itai!!! I literally had to roll out of bed since I could not bend anything in my body. I had a dodgeball game that night and I was so pumped to play even though I was aching all over, but come the afternoon exhaustion and a headache had set in. I really should have just gone home, but the crazy person in me still told me to play. And I did play, just not that hard :P The upside was that playing made my headache go away... or maybe I was just so much more sore that I forgot about the headache o_O

Needless to say, my initial plan to play badminton on last night was scrapped. And Eyal had actually wanted to bike downtown to work with me this morning, but I was like helllllllll nooooo. This girl's gotta rest. ZZZzzzz...

Posted by mich at 9:44 PM | dreams [1]

June 2, 2006

Doors Open 2006: Day 2

Last Saturday evening my cousins, aunt and uncle from Bostom came to visit, so on Sunday I did a little tour around Toronto with my cousins. We first hit up the BMW building for an architectural tour. The tour was conducted by the actual architectural designers so it was really interesting to learn about all their design decisions and architectural features. It probably only lasted about 30 minutes, but we ended up staying there for like 1.5 hours 'cuz the guys were poring over every single car and motorcycle >_<

Our next destination was the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. We made a little detour to pick up Christian, after which everyone wanted to eat lunch. We ate at Bar Italia in Little Italy which took another 1.5 hours since Alfred is the slowest eater on the planet (yes, even slower than me!) By the time we left the restaurant, it was already almost 3pm and I had the sinking feeling that we weren't going to make it again into the chocolate factory. We arrived at 3:15 to see a swarm of people trying to get in line but getting rejected. Oh well, that's 2 for 2. After that we drove up to Bloor to walk around Yorkville, where we enjoyed some homemade Summer's ice cream. I had to opt for a sorbet instead because I was scared to aggravate my stomach further with dairy... *cries*

My family and relatives had a big dinner planned for 7:30 so my cousins and I went uptown a bit earlier to shop around Pacific Mall. I bumped into Gin who I haven't seen in like a year and caught up a bit with him. During dinner at the restaurant, my family bumped into our family friends that used to live on our street back in Kanata. Although they live in Oakville now, we ALWAYS bump into them at either this restaurant or at Pacific. This time they were with their kids so I got to do some catching up with them too.

Posted by mich at 9:35 PM | dreams [0]

June 1, 2006

Doors Open 2006: Day 1

This weekend was a super busy one for me. It started Friday evening when Cass begged/forced me to go to the Blue Jays games that night. I had never been to a baseball game and didn't really care to, and even though I was feeling exhausted after work and was so ready to go home, Cass somehow managed to get me to go to the game. Our seats were actually really really good, but we were mostly chatting throughout the game. Christian made me believe there were such things as "sin bins", where the players go if they were bad during the game-- when, in actuality, they were really the pitchers' practicing area (why must he torment me so?!?!), so he and Cass had a great laugh at my expense, HMPH. I left early with Cass because my stomach was still feeling icky, and missed being part of an awesome wave that went around the stadium twice :(

Saturday and Sunday was the annual Doors Open Toronto event. I arrived downtown Saturday morning at 9:30 and biked with Chris to the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre for the 10am tour. It's the last operating double decker theatre in the world- I didn't really know what that meant, until I realized that they're 2 completely seperate theatres stacked upon one another. It was my first time in the Winter Garden Theatre, which is the top-most theatre. It was absolutely gorgeous with real oak leaves hanging from the ceilings and soft-coloured detailing in the balconies and ceiling - it really gave the impression of being in a moonlit garden.

The tour lasted an hour after which we headed into the Eaton Centre for a quick breakfast at McD's, then walked to the Toronto-Dominion Centre. We did a tour of the 54th floor walking through the Canoe restaurant, various offices, and the boardroom. Mies van der Rohe's building is considered the pinnacle of Modernist architecture in Canada, and being able to do a walk-through made me feel like I had stepped right into the 60s. They even have his iconic Barcelona and Brno chairs too dotted all throughout the space. I couldn't get enough of them, they were so cool! Oh yeah, the panoramic views of the city weren't too shabby either :P

Next we biked down to the waterfront to visit the Redpath Sugar Refinery, where we learned about the whole sugar refining process, visited the museum, and walked into the raw sugar "shed". The shed's actually a warehouse the length of 2 football fields filled with mountains of raw sugar. We got to see a huge tractor pushing all the sugar, it was some wild stuff.

Afterwards, we went to Queen Street to have a late lunch at Hosu. We should have just grabbed a quick bite to eat though, since we ended up biking like mad to get to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory before last admittance at 3:30. We got there are 3:20, but they already cut the line, which was a total disappointment :( So we biked down Gladstone and along Queen to head back to Chris' place, during which we stumbled in front of the new Westside Lofts sales building located just across from the Drake Hotel. It's a funky little building with colourful amoeba-shaped windows and designed by, not surprisingly, Will Alsop (the OCAD guy). We spent a while inside checking out the model loft and floorplans. Forget about the Chocolate Lofts, I'm moving here!

Later in the evening I met up with Christina, Justine and Brad for the TSO Sonic Bloom 4 concert with Jacksoul and Collective Soul at Roy Thompson Hall. Simply put, they were amazing performances. There was an after-party after the show that had fancy catered desserts (yum!!), and a band playing fun oldies music. We also got to take home the pretty colourful flowers that were used to decorate the lobby, but a mean old crab took away our test tubes of water for them!

Posted by mich at 11:04 PM | dreams [0]

Super Mario Brothers

Check out this hilarious live rendition of a Super Mario Brothers level. Oh the nostalgia!

Posted by mich at 7:35 PM | dreams [1]