March 29, 2007

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Well, today's my last day of work and it's truly been a great ride. I've met some awesome people and although it's sad to leave, it's time to move on to bigger and better things. First up: my trip to China! The time has finally come after so much anticipation. My flight leaves tonight and I'm not even finished packing... what a good start! I was really excited initially for the plane ride, but this week left me feeling exhausted. Considering how I never sleep on planes, I'm not sure how I'll handle the 20 hour flight and then stay up for the full first day in HK. That's a full 2.5 days of no sleep... can't say I've even pulled that feat in school o_O

I'll try to keep an update on my travels... time for me to jet!

BTW, if anyone would like a postcard email me your addy!

Posted by mich at 7:42 PM | dreams [0]

March 26, 2007

I Own a Hasselblad!

I finally own one of these babies! Ever since university I've had an obsession with this camera. It was such a spontaneous purchase too, so I was having a bit of an anxiety attack yesterday afternoon when I realized what I had done... and right before vacation.

There was a photography show in my area yesterday, so I decided to check it out and try to score some deals on rechargeable battery packs, filters, film, etc. But the place was FILLED with all these old cameras, and I found two Hasselblads sitting on a table... the only two in the entire place. The price seemed pretty reasonable to me and after half an hour of indecisiveness, I finally decided to go for it *aiya!* As if I didn't blow enough money, I had moved onto another table full of film and cleaned out the guy's supply of Kodak 35mm film, picked up a few slide rolls, and stocked up 120 film for the Hassey. I also scored big-time on finding a $10 rechargeable battery for my D70s that I would have had to pay $60 elsewhere, and got a cheap developing tank so I can develop my own medium-format film, hooray!

One thing I wish I bought was a gorgeous foldable Polaroid SX-70 that was only going for $45 :O What a steal. Unfortunately, I couldn't justify such a purchase after having done all that mad-spending earlier. Such an expensive hobby I have *sigh*

Posted by mich at 12:31 PM | dreams [0]

March 16, 2007

Judging an Album By Its Cover

One of my favourite things to do in Montreal, apart from pigging out on gastronomical delights, is exploring the used CD shops along St-Denis and Mont Royal. I find when I don't have a particular album I'm looking for I just browse through the cover art and pick up anything that catches my eye. I reason that if the artists' taste for visual design appeals to me, then so must their music.

My first foray into this musical adventuring was in San Francisco when I found the cutest album cover and bought the album solely for the art. It was by a group called Transporter and the sound turned out to be some mellow acid jazz, which was totally up my alley.

Most recently I picked up a Sybris CD, which had a simple line drawing that I thought was quite cute. And for $2.99, how could I go wrong? The first track on the album made me wonder what the heck I had bought — it sounded like some weird space-agey bleeps. Fortunately, the rest of the album was like... the indie band kind of reminds me of a blend between Metric and Bloc Party, and it's pretty darn good.

Other good finds I picked up were Future's Burning, which turned out to be a compilation of British bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, and a white covered-album with only the title The Sound of Music, which when I turned over I found it to be the music of Pizzicato Five (score!) The only bust was an album that had b&w images of a girl surrounded with yellow pattered swirls around her. It looked like a house or electronica album to me, so I tried it out. Popping it in the CD player revealed it to be full of French songs ala Céline Dion, but much more mellow and cheesy. Ah well, you can't win 'em all.

Posted by mich at 10:11 PM | dreams [0]

Another Year Closer to 30

I'm now officially closer to the age of 30 than 20 and in the last year of my mid-20s. *cries* But luckily I had all that birthday cake — chocolate/vanilla, classic cheesecake, blueberry lemon, and strawberry cheesecake — to ease my sorrows... now it's just my waistline that's crying.

My birthday weekend was a pretty hectic one. Saturday I woke up early from a late night at an old coworker's birthday party to do dim sum in Mississauga, watched 300 on IMAX, which I thought was so awesome (since I can deal with stylized gore!), dinner at Fred's Not Here, where I had some an amazing plate of marinated grilled ostrich steak with apple, cranberry chutney/pecan drizzle and celeriac mash, and dancing at Montana, where the music was a little less than stellar. Sunday I had a little Wii party in the afternoon and my parents held a nice little dinner for me and my "almost twin brother by two days", Jon.

All in all, a fun-filled weekend, but my actual birthday was a dud — zombied through the workday then just crashed on my bed once I got home.

Posted by mich at 6:51 PM | dreams [0]

March 8, 2007

Nuit Blanche Montreal

Aaargh, I posted this entry up, but somehow it didn't get saved so I had to re-type it. *sigh*

CN DerailementI'm back from my Nuit Blanche weekend in Montreal. We were fortunate enough to have fantastic weather the entire weekend— tons of snow and mild temperatures. Because of the snowstorm last Thursday, the huge CN derailment in Pickering hadn't cleared yet by Friday so there were concerns of the Via Rail trains being delayed at least 2 hours. Christian and I were really lucky in not having to bus it up to Oshawa to catch the train from there, and only ended up being delayed 25 minutes. (As we found out later, the next train after us at 6:30 wasn't so lucky; passengers had to take the bus and then transfer to the train, which ended up getting into Montreal at 2am. Yikes.) We got in at 10pm, dropped off everything at Vanessa's place, then headed out to Rockaberry's to indulge in some massive apple and strawberry/peach crumble pies with huge heapings of ice cream. Needless to say, I had no appetite the next morning for breakfast or lunch... whoops.

Snowed InOn our walk through McGill towards the Eaton Centre, we randomly bumped into Karman, who was just visiting for the weekend as well. We decided to meet up again later that night for the evening's festivities and went our own separate ways. I only had one destination that afternoon, and it was Simons of course! This occasion was quite record-breaking... normally I spend at least 2 hours in the store, but this time I was in and out within 30 min (so unheard of, eh?!) I wasn't too wowed by the collection this season, and I also felt really reserved in spending money on clothes, knowing that I'd be going shopping crazy in HK soon. I just ended up getting a turquoise knit sweater with nice big buttons that was on sale :) We killed the rest of the afternoon walking up St-Denis, strolling around the plateau and picking up our mandatory bagels from St-Viateur. For dinner we went out with Vanessa and Jeremy to Chinatown to try Restaurant Uyghur, which features cuisine from China's Xianjian Uyghur Autonomous Region, a remote, Muslim region in Western China. The food's an interesting blend of Chinese, Russian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Turkish cuisine. We had fresh hand-made noodles served with stir-fried lamb and vegetables called Laghman, fried meat dumplings (a little on the cold side though), stir-fried green onions and beef and a hot pan of curry chicken with veggies. Overall the food was pretty good, and nothing close to the typical Chinese food I'm used to.

Boingy BoingyDinner went on a bit later than we wanted so we missed the 8pm fireworks at Vieux Port. Our group made our way to Vieux Port where we met up again with Karman and Rick at the Montreal Science Centre, then walked around checking out a fresco on ice decorated by public participation, a silent disco dome and buskers at Place Jacques Cartier while eating our freshly rolled tire sure neige. We waited in line to get into City Hall where we watched some professional ballroom dancers strut their stuff, and later on, watched the public learn some moves.

Jérôme Fortin's Paper SculptureThe highlight of the evening was definitely the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was free all throughout the evening. The lobby was host to Les Imprudanses, an improvisational dance match between two professional dance teams, while the upper level showcased a set of 3 exhibits entitled Ingenious3 featuring Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Jérôme Fortin, Guy Ben-Ner. We saw some amazing kinetic, sonic and visual installations by Gauthier, massive wall pieces by Fortin that were constructed using rows upon rows of tediously folded printed material like mangas and maps, and a humourous instructional video by Ben-Ner that complemented his treehouse sculpture made with IKEA furniture pieces.

DovesAfter a good two hours at the museum we walked along Ste-Catherine to St. James United Church for The Organ Ogres performances. Not being a huge organ music fan, I thought it was just so-so. At 3am we went across the street to Édifice Belgo, an old building full of small gallery spaces, which really reminded me of U of T's art building on Spadina Circle. The best exhibit was the fantastical Foulard en Cou, where walking through a set of pink gauzy curtains revealed dreamy paradise filled with a raining cloud fountain, a swing set hanging from the ceiling, a video projection of a woman in a peacock headdress playing the harp, a fluffy cave, and white doves freely roaming around. I held a dove and it liked me so much that it wouldn't let go for the longest time, so I ended up walking around with a bird on my hand.

FloatingOn our way back to Place des Arts we happened upon an impromptu snowball fight between us pedestrians on the sidewalk and some strangers atop the balcony. I was doing well avoiding the snowballs, and even ducked a huge slab of snow coming towards me. Jeremy, however, decided he wanted to "protect" us from the slab and punched it, which flew towards my face. That was swell, thanks buddy! :P Finally, we checked out a small music performance and grabbed some greasy fries from La Belle Province before calling it a night at 4:30am.

We slept in until noon the next day, bought our stash of smoked meat from Schwartz across the street, and brunched at an great place Jeremy discovered called Caffè ArtJava on Mont-Royal. They're really well-known for their coffees, but their breakfast plates are absolutely fabulous. We tried each others different dishes and each was such a unique take on traditional breakfast fare. I must say that the french toast I ordered stuffed with cinnamon apples was the best french toast I've ever had. I must go back next time!

Posted by mich at 4:30 PM | dreams [0]

March 6, 2007

I Didn't Cheat, I Swear!

I guess everyone now knows of my goal to move to Europe in the near future, particularly Sweden. I'm open to other countries and have considered a few others that I know I would love, but I thought taking this fun quiz would help me narrow it down, and it worked :P

Your Inner European is Swedish!
Relaxed and peaceful.
You like to kick back and enjoy life.
Posted by mich at 7:11 PM | dreams [0]