June 13, 2008

Scootering in Spain

I just came back from a 5-day trip to Barcelona, where I met up with Monzi visiting from Toronto. The weather there was actually much cooler than in Sweden, but it was nice and refreshing.

One of my favourite things about Barcelona is the wonderful architecture of Antoni Gaudí dotted throughout the city. Gaudí-designed buildings and public spaces such as the Sagrada Família, Padrera, Casa Batlló, and Parc Güell, and public street furniture like whimsical lamps and benches give the city such a unique and fantastical character.

The highlight of the trip was renting a scooter for a day and riding from Barceloneta beach across the entire city northwards and all the way up to Mount Tibidabo, where we had a breathtaking view of the city. From Tibidabo we scootered over to the western hill, Montjuïc, site of the Olympic stadium and Mies van der Rohe's beautifully simplistic Barcelona Pavilion.

I absolutely loved Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and El Born areas for their labyrinths of narrow alleyways filled with boutiques, cute cafés and restaurants, public squares, medieval architecture and random street performances. Everywhere you walk there's a surprise at each turn, whether it be a beautiful massive cathedral, bullet holes left intact from the Spanish Civil War, a cloister courtyard that was home to 13 geese (each goose represents one year in the life of the martyr Santa Eulalia), or a performer twirling sticks of fire.

I also checked out the Picasso Museum, which had been set up by Picasso himself and to which he personally donated a huge collection of his early works. I was completely blown away with his Las Meninas series, in which he painted 44 stylized interpretations of Velázquez's famous painting. Another great museum I visited was the MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona). Since I came here the morning of my last day I only had enough time to check out an exhibit on Barcelona's Francesc Torres, a multimedia and conceptual artist focused on themes of memory, culture and politics.

I was really looking forward to amazing food on this trip but was slightly disappointed. I guess we weren't going to the right places, but we encountered undercooked chicken or almost raw minced meat at several restaurants we chose x_X Thankfully Paul, who had lived in Barcelona for 2.5 years, met up with us a few days later and took us to a great place by Port Olympic and we enjoyed seafood paella on the beach. We did it Spanish style too, starting our lunch at 3:30pm and eating until 5pm — it was a fantastic meal with good food, nice scenery, beautiful weather, and great company ^_^

Posted by mich at 11:43 AM | return | dreams [0]

January 11, 2008

Holiday in Göteborg

For the holidays I had 11 days off so I spent most of the time hanging out with Paul over on the other side of Sweden. Even though Göteborg (pronounced yur-teh-boor-ay) is the Sweden's second largest city, it's really quite small and compact. I was really starting to miss Stockholm's metro system after the entire week of waiting for trams and buses in the miserable rain.

I did the typical tourist run of the city exploring the Old Town, city centre, and various museums. I was quite disappointed with the two art museums: the fine art museum only had one exhibit of mish-mashed works by a local art collective and its Hasselblad Centre featured a photographer whose works weren't enthralling to me, and the Röhsska Museum was a design and decorative arts museum but the temporary exhibit featuring a video and sound installation was the only thing that stood out for me. The Museum of World Culture was a surprisingly fantastic however, and the building itself was a gorgeous work of architecture. I spent over an hour in one of the feature exhibits called Trafficking, about the human trafficking of women and children mainly for prostitution. It was so appalling reading and watching videos of horrible stories that have taken place in all parts of the world.

Göteborg is the birthplace of Volvo so of course I had to visit the Volvo museum. Unfortunately Paul and I didn't realize how far it was from the city centre so our trip took about an hour. Since we also slept in super late that day we arrived to the museum at 3:30... and the museum was closing at 4. Amazingly there was another pair of visitors that arrived at the same time as us and the museum employees told us to take our time to explore. We didn't realize how big the museum actually was and ended up taking 2 hours to watch an intro film and to walk through all the exhibits. Although I'm not a big car person, I love looking at old-fashioned cars and I'm such a big sucker for the whimsical designs and colours from the 50's. They also had a section for experimental prototypes that was really neat. It featured environmentally friendly concept models including one that actually cleaned the air when being driven!

On my second last day in Gothenburg, the rain finally stopped and we saw sunlight for the very first time! We took advantage of the weather and took a nice ferry ride out to the archipelago to visit one of the islands. We took a quick walk around and admired the quaint traditional Swedish houses, which are mostly wooden and colourfully painted. I love them... I couldn't stop snapping away!

Since Paul's a dancer at the Opera Company I had the pleasure of watching him perform in Askungen, a fun and colourful adaptation of Cinderella. The performance was great... I think that was my first time watching a modern dance performance rather than a ballet so it was quite different and interesting for me.


Posted by mich at 11:57 AM | return | dreams [0]

September 12, 2007

MFA Is the New MBA

Even though I've only committed to a 1-year contract in Stockholm, I'm actually thinking about extending my stay overseas, whether it be in Sweden or somewhere else in Europe. At first I considered continuing to working abroad for another year or so after my initial contract, but I've started looking into grad schools. The thought of getting a Masters of Fine Arts or Masters of Design has always appealed to me, but I was reluctant to commit to full-time studies after having already started working here in Toronto. But I wouldn't mind studying abroad full-time; it'd be pretty cool, especially when Europeans are such forward thinkers in art and design. The wonderful thing about the Swedish education system is that tuition is free to all (even foreigners), so I wouldn't be desperately poor.

I found one amazing MFA program that's right up my alley offered by Konstfack, University College of Arts Crafts and Design, called Experience Design. The premise of the Experience Design Group is to design time in order to create meaningful human experience using interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary art practices. However, the application process is quite arduous: not only is there the typical transcript and portfolio requirements, you also have to submit a thesis proposal complete with references detailing exactly what your research will be focused throughout the program. If you even pass the preliminary selection, then you're invited to present a 20-minute lecture to a committee on a topic related to your field of study (but different from the proposed thesis topic). Apparently there were only 8 students accepted last year, so it looks pretty darn competitive. Not so surprising though considering that the MFA is the new MBA. I've already starting some preliminary research and readings into the whole experience design area, and if I ever come up with a thesis that's compelling and innovative enough, I'll take the time to go through the application process. Time to be a keener again.

Posted by mich at 3:25 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 7, 2007

Back in the Groove

During the last half of my trip last week I was feeling pretty unhealthy and gross from eating out all week and getting no exercise. So I set on biking 50km instead of 25km for the Becel Ride for Heart that was happening the morning after I returned. Unfortunately I caught a cold the night I got home and the next morning when I woke up at 5:30am I felt horrible — I didn't even want to get out of bed let alone bike. I guess I'm a bit crazy but I forced myself to go and completed the 25k, which felt great after a week of pigging out. My legs felt surprisingly fine after biking hard but my poor nose suffered.

After taking an hour break upon returning to the starting point I biked up to Bloor for the architectural preview of Libeskind's crystal at the ROM as part of the Luminato festival. I had to wait 20 in line to get a free ticket, which had a certain entry time at which I could actually go in. So I returned in line 1.5 hours later to wait in line for another 30 minutes before finally getting into the ROM. Since the preview was to just allow visitors to explore the architectural space, no exhibits were installed yet, which was great. The final structure itself wasn't exactly how I expected it to turn out... I had preferred Libeskind's initial proposal that had the crystal structure made mostly out of glass, but due to technical and environmental factors it wasn't the most feasible solution. Nonetheless it remains a pretty cool piece of architecture and it still allows for some transparency that connects the interior of the museum to the public. I love all the skewed geometries throughout the building: the random cuts of glass slits on the facade, the criss-crossing ceiling lighting in the lobby, the slanted columns that go through each floor, and the interesting bridge walkways that intersect and cross through a dark and empty space (very reminiscent of the Void in Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin). I'm looking forward to see how the space will be filled with the exhibits along with the completion of the rest of project phases.

Last year at TIFF the film Brand Upon the Brain! was screened once in Toronto that ended up selling out so fast and was a huge hit. It returned again to show for its second time here, this time for Luminato, and I was ecstatic that I was able to score tickets for Christina and I. It was playing at the Elgin Theatre and the director Guy Maddin made an appearance to introduce the film. It was the most unique film-going experience I've had, mainly because it was integrated with a live performance. The film was shot in the style of a 1920's black & white silent movie and the entire soundtrack was performed right in the theatre — there was the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the background score, 3 foley artists for all non-musical sounds and effects, a narrator, and a castrato (although I've read that it was a joke since there are no living castrati, and that the "castrato" was actually lip-synching to a recorded woman's voice). The sound effects brilliantly executed and timed that sometimes I even forgot there were live performers. The film itself was erratically yet beautifully shot, but poor Kris got a bit motion sick from the flashing and jumping images. The storyline looked at the teen detective genre through the eyes of a young Maddin, who placed himself on an island where his evil parents kept a lighthouse that housed orphans for a bizarre purpose — it was all at once intriguing, playful, hilarious, wildly imaginative, mysterious and absurd. My favourite line of the movie was just as random as all the rest: "What's a suicide attempt without a wedding?" In one scene where the characters are trying to bend a stiff corpse back into place, the imagery along with the sound was so grotesque that I was cringing, but when I took a look over at the foley artist creating the crunching sound, he was simply twisting a stalk of celery in half, which made me burst of laughing along with the rest of the audience.

Posted by mich at 9:57 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 12, 2007

iLove

How cool is the iPhone? It's amazing how Apple always just seems to be one step ahead of everyone else when it comes to innovative design. It's so simple, yet powerful: interaction with the interface isn't limited to physical controls or even to one certain orientation. I find this sort of human-computer interaction research so fascinating. Just take a look at this example of the Multi-Touch Interaction Research. Nintendo's pen-based DS and motion-sensored Wii systems have already proved to be immensely popular and it's only the beginning of seeing more natural and intuitive interaction integrated with computers and technology.

Posted by mich at 5:23 PM | return | dreams [1]

July 23, 2006

Buttons Galore!

Last night was the One Inch Punch button show, which turned out to be a huge success. There were so many people milling around the gallery checking out all the designs, and some random people asking whether I was the girl who had designed the Lego button. Apparently, these people wanted to trade their buttons for mine, so when went to the front to pick up the 5 free buttons of my design, I was told me that mine was one of the hottest ones and and that everyone was asking to have me pointed out in the crowed. This came as a complete shock to me nbecuase it was totally unexpected, but throughout the night I kept seeing people asking aroud for the Lego button. There were a limited number of button packages being sold to the public that had 5 different buttons that you had to reach through a hole to pick out a random set. A girl waiting in line in front of me picked out her set and started squealing "Yay, I got the Lego!!", which I thought was hilarious. Michelle and I each bought a set so we could trade up for the designs that we really liked. It turned out to be a fun-filled night of bargaining, trading, and re-trading until we were happy with our entire collection of buttons :)

Here's my button and some of the buttons I collected:


one_inch_buttons.jpg

Posted by mich at 3:44 PM | return | dreams [1]

July 20, 2006

One Inch Punch

I submitted a button design, which has been chosen as one of designs that will be exhibited this Saturday evening at the Lennox Contemporary Gallery. Anyone's invited to come out, and if you want a button, let me know :P

oneinchflyer.jpg
Posted by mich at 11:34 PM | return | dreams [0]

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 | return | 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 | return | dreams [0]

May 17, 2006

Hardcore Dodgeballer

On Monday our dodgeball team had a 9:30pm game all the way over by Yorkdale Mall. We usually play at Bloor/Dufferin in a nice big gymnasium. This time however, our gym was about half the length of our normal one. Balls were crashing against the walls at a million miles per hour. Needless to say, I was quite scared when watching the other teams play before us. Since only 2 girls on our team showed up that night, both of us had to play every single game (at least 2 girls have to play a game). Couldn't even break for more than 5 minutes... boy, was I exhausted. >_< Now I have some scrapes and bruises on my knees to tend to, waaah.

Last night I went to the ROM for a lecture titled "In the Skin of a Building" that discusses the importance of a building's envelope to the overall design and how it supports the architecture's programme. They had representatives from 3 architectural firms taking about their designs for the ROM Crystal, U of T's Pharmacy Building, and U of T's Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. It was a pretty enlightening presentation from the U of T building designers, but the lifeless ROM guys almost put me to sleep talking about construction building materials and showing pictures of freakin' steel rods and bolts being installed.

Hm, how was my weekend? Saturday night I went to Sam's birthday party at his condo, then headed downtown at 10:30 pm for Christian's friends' Jack & Jill party. I tried my hand at blackjack and won a bunch of hands, wooo! Much better luck here than in Las Vegas, haha. On Sunday I built my IKEA Malm Drawer all by myself!!! I also wielded a hammer without any supervision, yup yup! I'm so proud of myself! *beams* But I just realized last night as I was trying to fit in my top drawer that they gave me wrong screws for that one drawer and now it won't fit into the drawer opening. Now I have to go back to IKEA to get the proper ones from them. Oh well, now I can also pick up a Benno CD Tower and some more Lant chips (yum). That night for Mother's Day I took out my whole family for dinner at Restoran Malaysia, where we had an appetizer platter, golden chicken curry, roti, beef rendang, and pad thai. And O.M.G. my dad actually said the food was "okay la!"... no complaints, it's a miracle!

Posted by mich at 10:55 PM | return | dreams [0]

April 21, 2006

Eye Candy

I stumbled upon a fabulous blog called design*sponge that's all about home and product designs galore. Among some of the features that caught my eye were the lovely wall graphics of blue and brown and s.wert design's marriage of modernist architecture with soft fluffy pillows.

Perhaps I should first get my own Chocolate or Candy loft before I go crazy over the interior design of my future pad!

Posted by mich at 8:49 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 31, 2006

Day of Art & Architecture

Yesterday OCAD's first year interactive students Activated the Park on campus with interactive graffiti walls, human statues, Toronto memory map, paintballing a person, and garbage music making. I headed over there during my lunch break to check out the public showcase.

   

In the evening I went to the AGO to attend a lecture/discussion panel called Architecture as Spectacle. It was really interesting to listen to the various speakers talk about the re-invention of urban space, particularly in Toronto, and how architecture has become a spectacle for the purpose of entertaining and wowing.

As I'm typing this I'm watching the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother (if you're not watching the show, WATCH IT, it's hilarious) and seeing all those cupcakes being eaten by Ted is making me crave for some dessert. *drooooooooool* I'm not a pig... really.

Posted by mich at 7:17 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 17, 2006

hic

Last night I attended a panel discussion entitled Site Specific Installation in Toronto: Past, Present and Future for the hic exhibit at Hart House. There were some pretty enlightening topics of discussion, which then made me seriously start thinking about doing a masters in fine art, visual studies, or design. After school I really haven't been doing any art work, but if I take up a program I'll be able to really engage myself in some interesting projects as well as develop and experiment with exciting ideas. Something to definitely ponder...

The installation exhibit all throughout the Hart House was wonderful. Seeing the various works installed in specific sites around the building really made me take notice of the architecture and space that I had always taken for granted. I had only used the Hart House for the gym and the Arbor Room, but it was amazing to discover all the rooms (e.g. library, music room) and nooks and crannies that I had never before seen. It was also my first time seeing the pool area, in which massive pouffy clouds were floating overhead the swimmers. That was an awesome sight... I would love to actually swim underneath them and feel like I'm flying.

Pictures to be posted in my photoblog soon :)

Posted by mich at 9:24 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 13, 2006

Take Me Back To Asia...

It seems like everyone around me is flying off to Asia this year: my aunt & uncle are on their way to Japan and China as I type this, my mom's going to HK and China in April, my sister's going to Taiwan & HK in June, and a handful of friends going at different points during the summer. And reminicsing about all the fiascos we had with Chris and Kris makes me want to go back even more! The closest thing to being part of the real thing is going to see the Mamechiyo: The Art of Kimonoshow at Magic Pony.

Speaking of shows, I'm pretty disappointed in myself for having missed the deadline for the Gladstone Hotel's call for submissions to this year's Contact photography festival. I had planned on submitting my entry last week but got so caught up in other work that it had completely slipped my mind. Another missed opportunity :(

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So last night I decided to go for Korean food at Joon's at Yonge/Sheppard. They're known for their Joon's Special, a huge plate of meat and vegetables that cooks at your table on a portable gas stove. We ordered 2 specials: chicken and cabbage with rice noodles and mozarella cheese (yum!), and seafood with veggies and long noodles. We asked them to tone down the hot sauce (I swear, it was on practically every single menu itme)... however it turned out spicy in one and super spicy in the other. You won't believe how much my dad was complaining... if it's not Chinese or French it's no good. So we just ordered him bowls and bowls of rice. We also ordered a hot stone bowl of Bibimbob (beef, veggie, and egg on rice), and although we had specifically asked not have any hot sauce in it, the dish arrived when a huge section of hot sauce embedded in the rice. Needless to say, we could have all turned into fire-breathing dragons after dinner. But if you're totally into spicy food, their specials are amazing!

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

March 4, 2006

Back To School, Again

Started my Advanced Flash course at Ryerson last week. I was the only one in the class that hadn't taken any previous Flash courses, but I basically taught myself enough things to create a whole website. Well, when I told the instructor that I hadn't taken any courses prior, he asked, "Are you any good?", to which I feebly responded, "... ummm I studied computer science..." which I guess was supposed to imply, "how hard can it really be?" Turned out that the next 3 hours of class was probably the most useless class I've ever sat in, since the guy was going over Actionscript basics, like how to declare variables and explaining what loops are. After that I realized I should have said, "Yes I AM good!", LOL. Man, was I bored out of my mind... I seriously considered dropping the course, but others have convinced me to stay just to get more practice in Flash by doing assignments and projects. And it will give me incentive to finish up the site for the fashion designer, and get me moving on building my photography portfolio site.

I just got the first magazine of my Maisonneuve subscription, woo hoo! I had ordered the special box set in December, which came with 6 past issues, a POP Montreal cd, and other cute trinkets packaged in a sweet wooden box. I've only read 2 of the past issues, and slowly working my way back... too much to read! Not to mention all those books I keep buying but remain unread on my bookshelf. Even though I have time to read on the GO train, I find myself catching up on the Toronto Star, or staring out the window at the scenery- which reminds me, I should bring my camera to work with me to take some shots on my ride.

One more week of my contract at work. I'm not sure whether they have any more projects they want to put me on, but I'm way ahead of schedule on my project (so I got a nice little bonus!). I'm keeping everything open in the event that I'll be jobless after next week. I have my second interview at Much Music on Monday. The first one went really well... I met with the supervising producer and art director and got to walk through the two interconnected buildings, which are pretty cool. The next one is with the producer again along with the technical manager and a designer, sooo wish me luck everyone.

Tonight I'm meeting with an Austrian girl that came to work here for a few months as an au-pair. One of my co-workers was looking for someone her age to take her out and around the city; I figured since a few AIESEC get-togethers are coming up, it'd be the perfect place to take her to meet with other international youths. It's kind of a weird thought to just pick up a stranger whom you've never met before at their house and take them out for the evening. We'll see how things turn out, but I'm sure it'll be fun.

In continuing my long mass-blog entry, I found these two neat websites: designbungalow, and minimiam. Enjoy.

Posted by mich at 3:06 PM | return | dreams [2]

December 9, 2005

I Wanna Flash Like That

Samsung's amazing Flash site for its Mobile SGH-Z107. I love how they used 2 windows dynamically interacting with the animation. So creative!

Posted by mich at 11:35 PM | return | dreams [1]

October 16, 2005

Design Monkey (No Longer A Bum!)

Guess who's going to Disneyworld in November?! mememe! I'm ber excited for a vacation, especially seeing how I'm going to be worked for the next 3 months (more on that later). I've booked a place through my family's timeshare called Sheraton Vistana Resort, which looks spectacular, aaaand it's located right across from Disney. Apparently, after you visit you can't go back for another 4 years because it's so popular.

So last week I applied to a job on Tuesday evening, then got a call for an interview Wednesday, had the interview Thursday morning, got the job Thursday afternoon, and started my first day on Friday. Whew. And to add to all that, on my first day I was handed 3 projects from the get-go, worked all day without lunch break until 7pm, and have to continue working through the weekend from home for a deadline tomorrow. :X

I'm working for Mindblossom on a 3-month contract to work on a holiday promotional campaign for eBay France. So basically I'm designing and producing ads, banners and whatever other promotional material for the Christmas season. I did some designing this weekend but hit a road block when I realized my computer doesn't have a font that I need to use in my designs. So now I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone from work to send it to me.

I already realized earlier this month that doing corporate/commercial/ad stuff really isn't me; if there's one pet peeve of mine, it's advertisements and the commercialization of everything. But I do think I can learn alot from this job to become a great designer/developer and maybe start my own company further down the road and concentrate on things within the arts & culture industry. Emmm, let's see how it all turns out.

Posted by mich at 3:14 PM | return | dreams [1]

September 2, 2005

Random Post For The Day

I want a Lensbaby 2.0!

So I've been hired by Princess Cruises to work as a photographer. They originally assigned me to set sail from San Fracisco (!!) Oct. 21 but I wouldn't be able to leave until early November when my parents get back from their cruise... so now I'm waiting for a reassignment. When I first heard I was hired I was so happy but now that I've been thinking about how different everything will have to be for 6 months (that's a long time), it's going to be a tough adjustment. Lots of mixed feelings, sadness especially, but I feel so lucky to even have a chance at something like this that I know I would regret it if I didn't do it now. In the meantime, I'll be so super busy... I was just hired last week to create a website for a new council at U of T for integrating all the performance and visual arts across all three campuses, and at the same time, integrating U of T into the Toronto's cultural scene, sort of trying to follow Harbourfront Centre's program. Then there's also finishing up the flash site for the fashion designer, touching up some fashion shoot photos for people buying prints from me, doing some corporate designing, and volunteering for the Toronto International Film Festival and the McLuhan International Festival of the Future. The film fest starts next Thursday! I'm super excited! I'll be working at Roy Thompson this year for various gala nights... hello red carpet!

Posted by mich at 7:09 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 29, 2005

It's Revived!

Holy moly, my domain expired and I didn't even realize it until I got back from my camping weekend in Algonquin. I'm just worried about all the e-mails I missed while my e-mail addy was out of service :S

Now I gotta start packing for my trip to Ottawa for the long weekend. Can't wait! Happy Canada Day everyone!

Posted by mich at 11:46 PM | return | dreams [0]

May 31, 2005

Doors Open Toronto

It was the Doors Open Toronto event this past weekend, so I decided to go exploring yesterday. Christian and I set out on our bikes at 11:15 and headed out west to the Gladstone Hotel, where they were also hosting a Contact 2005 exhibit entitled "Wallpaper". The space is in the process of being renovated and the rooms are each designed by a different artist, which will be unveiled in an open house "Sneak Peak" Preview event June 17-19. We got to see one that had flower patterns carved into the drywall.

Next we stopped by a small gallery beside the Museum of Comtemporary Canadian Art along Queen St., then headed to Chinatown for a lunch of congee with the consistency of glue. Luckily the downpour of rain happened while we were chowing down inside.

Afterwards we rode through U of T campus up to Yonge and Bloor to visit the Moriyama & Teshima architectural design firm. The style was very Japanese- the place used to be a service station and now the grease pit has turned into a serene pond. We then biked down to the financial district to see the Toronto-Dominion center (we just missed the last 54th floor tour), the Canada Permanent Building, and Old City Hall, where we had just missed the last courtroom tour :'( The Doors Open event ended at 4pm so by that time we hung out at Nathan Phillips Square enjoying the sunny warm weather that had arrived. And just by coincidence we ran into Gin, Faiz, Mike, Cass and Monz, who were were planning to meet up with later anyway for golfing. So while those guys drove to The Docks, Chris and I biked all the way there. I went on the driving range for the first time, and I sucked! My furthest shot went less than 100 ft >_< Then it was time for some real fun: mini-golf!! I won... *takes a bow* :P At 8pm I biked with Chris back to Chinatown and met up with the other guys at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. And so ended my day of adventure, exertion, and exhaustion!

Posted by mich at 1:12 AM | return | dreams [0]

May 28, 2005

Partially Unemployed Bum

I'm employed part-time as a photographer. Wooo! Should be fun going around Toronto to explore all the architecture, neighbourhoods, and attractions. Now I can put off buying an expensive digicam since the company will be lending me their Canon Rebel. I'll get to play around with the camera and see how I actually like working a digital SLR. I was considering dropping my Fashion Photography course at Ryerson in order to save money towards a Nikon D70S... but I think I can keep it for the moment :)

Yesterday afternoon I visited Sandra with Wensan, Chris Tang, and their friend. I baked Mrs. Field's Oatmeal Raisin cookies for San, but they didn't turn out as good as another recipe I usually use (I'll post the recipe later). But I'm glad San and her family enjoy them! :) And it was nice seeing Sandra looking well, lively, and back to her complaining self :P

I had a phone interview on Thursday with The Medea Group for a programmer/designer job, and now they want to interview me in person this upcoming Thursday. I'll be meeting with the CEO and President of the company- how intimidating is that?!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend. I went up to Montreal on Sat. with my family for a mini family reunion. Did the mandatory bai san on Mont Royale, then chilled out at my sister's apartment for a bit before going to dinner to meet up with my cousins from Boston, my cousin Lawrence's new Venezualan wife, and uncles, aunts, and grandma. The next day I went on a shopping bonanza at Simons. I was in the store right when it opened at noon (and it was already a zoo), and stayed there until 2:45 :O I don't think I've ever gone that crazy before. By 1:30 I was already starving, yet the shopaholic in me kept saying, "Must.... keep... going...". So after 2 rounds of purchases I ended up with 2 asymmetrical zip-up sweaters (one of which is Groggy!!), 2 tanks, a halter top, a white sheer t-shirt w/ asymmetrical neckline, socks for my kitten heels, and a black sheer sleeveless with a pink halter underneath. I was such a happy girl afterwards. But I had to restrain myself from buying anything else while walking around the downtown shops until 5pm. Over the weekend I was pretty productive (aside from the shopping mission). I read a short book that taught me how to create a web site in Flash, and I started reading my Flash Savvy book that I ordered from Chapters.

And speaking of productive, I finally got my portfolio site up and running. I still have to do some tweaks here and there, but here it is: www.elusiveness.org/portfolio.

[Edit: added Oatmeal Raisin Chews recipe]

Oatmeal Raisin Chews

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (8 oz.) raisins
1/2 cup (3 oz.) walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking sodea, salt, and oats. Mix well with wire whisk and set aside.

3. In a large bowl blend sugars with electrical mixer set at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface.

Makes 3 dozen without walnuts, 3 1/2 dozen with walnuts.

Posted by mich at 12:55 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 17, 2005

Bumming Around

Life as an unemployed bum is hard. Too much to do... I've become a busy busy bee. Aside from a full-time "job" of building my online art/design/photography portfolio and applying for jobs, a girl's got to have some fun too!

Last Tuesday was the CSSU handover dinner at The Keg, where I learned the hard way that prime rib is really steak instead of a rack of ribs (disappointment #1). The mashed potatoes were fabulous, but halfway through I decided to add butter. However, I had mistaken my small cup of horseradish for butter in the dim light. I mixed around the horseradish and practically choked on my first bite- it was utterly disgusting. I had completely ruined the rest of my scrumptious mashed potatoes (disappointment #2). After dinner a handful of us went to Dmitre's on Eglington for dessert. I was so tempted to get the strawberry milkshake, but learning from my lesson at the Keg for not diversifying from Chris' choice, I decided to try the strawberry smoothie. It was the WORST smoothie I ever had in my entire life. It was tasteless and SOUR. Should not have diversified (disapointment #3).

Wednesday, Christian came uptown to hang out for the day. We lunched with Chris, Tony and Sandra at Ding Tai Fong Shanghai restaurant at First Markham. Watched a few episodes of 24 in the afternoon and then made dinner for my family at night. This dinner was much more successful than our first attempt as we got no complaints from anyone (and had enough food for everyone)! The night's meal consisted of rice, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, BBQ spare ribs, and baked chicken breast. The rosated veggies and mashed potatoes were delish! Gotta love my Betty Crocker cookbook :) [continue reading for recipes]

Friday is known as couch potato day... really! I swear, Christian and I left permanent bum marks on the couch from sitting in front of the TV ALL day watching 24. Ok I exaggerate. We got up to make salad and perogies with onions for lunch. Then we plopped back down. 11 episodes in a day. 6 more to go!

On Sunday I was accomplice to a shopaholic spree at the Eaton Centre. I got to take Christian shopping for grownup clothes! He cleans up pretty nicely... from a bum to a lang jai all in one afternoon :P

'Twas a pretty long day today. Transported my bike downtown in the morning, grocery shopped in Kensignton with Christian for picnic lunch things, then prepared lunch. Early afternoon we went out with Joseph for a light lunch at a Tibetan restaurant where I tried some Momos (dumplings). On our walk back to Chris' place, a pigeon pooped on Chris' shoulder... yucky! (proof #1 that bad things happen to bad people). We took out our bikes and biked down Bathurst Street to Queen's Quay then along the lakeshore all the way to High Park. We biked around the park and in some forested areas then lunched on our yummy yummy sandwiches (I love that creamy Havarti cheese!). After that we visited Christian's best friend's family and socialized until the evening. During dinner, Chris sat on a stool that broke right when he sat down (proof #2 that bad things happen to bad people). Hm, I think I'm onto something.

Back to portfolio-ing.


Mashed Potatoes

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

1. Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut into large pieces. Remove the margarine from the refrigerator so it can soften while the potatoes cook.

2. Add 1 inch of water (and the 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired) to the saucepan. Cover and heat the boiling over high heat. Add potato pieces. Cover and heat to boiling, reduce heat just enough so water bubbles gently.

3. Cook covered 20 to 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the potato pieces and the type of potato used. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

4. Return the drained potatoes to the saucepan, and cook over low heat about 1 minute to dry them. While cooking, shake the pan often to keep the potatoes from burning, which can happen very easily once the water has been drained off.

5. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl to be mashed. You can mash them in the same saucepan they were cooked in if the saucepan will not be damaged by the potato masher or electric mixer.

6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer until no lumps remain. Add the milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. You may not use all the milk because the amount needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on the type of potato used. Add the margarine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Beat vigourously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.



Roasted Vegetables

1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound mushrooms
Olive oil-flavoured or regular cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, if desired

1. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise in half, and cut out seeds and membrane. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 strips.

2. Peel the onion, and cut in half. Wrap on half of onion, and refrigerate for another use. Cut remaining half into 4 wedges, then separate into pieces.

3. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut off and discard the end of each mushroom stem, and leave the mushrooms whole.

4. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the sprayed pan. Spray the vegetables with cooking spray until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

5. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn vegetables over. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender when pierced with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | return | dreams [1]

April 23, 2005

Random Thought Of The Day

I realize I'm really into square plates.

Posted by mich at 3:35 PM | return | dreams [1]

April 16, 2005

8 Months, 5000 Lines of Code, and 1 Last Sunrise

I'm officially done with school FOREVER as of today. Kinda sad actually because I really enjoyed being a student. This week really sucked since I had the freakin' CSSU yearbook to work on and 2 projects due, one of which being Capstone. I swear, I only went outside my house for the first time after 3 straight days of monkey-coding. But alas, after an entire school year, my Photocollage System is finally finished... woo hoo!

Monday evening I worked until 6:30am and saw my last sunrise. To mark the occassion I took some pictures :P I couldn't fall asleep since it was so light outside and when I opened my eyes, I saw my room bathed in this warm fuzzy glow that changed the wall colours... so for another few minutes I laid there admiring light.


I guess these pictures can represent all the memorable (not!) all-nighters throughout my university career, which are enough to last a lifetime... really!

Posted by mich at 12:46 AM | return | dreams [2]

January 27, 2005

Sweet Childhood Days

This quote is so true: "When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood". I remember visits back to my old house in Kanata and being so struck by how tiny it looked. As a kid, it seemed like this huge place with an infinite of places to hide. All growed up, it looks like a doll house. Curious how childhood memories are so whimsical... I want my childhood back!

My first section I created for my Exquisite Corpse assignment:

Posted by mich at 11:58 AM | return | dreams [0]

January 20, 2005

If I Was Rich...

My house would be furnshed with some funked-out designs and colours like these:

   

This morning I made some yummy Cinnamon French Toast with Maple Syrup for brunch :) Continue reading for the recipe...

Cinnamon French Toast with Maple Syrup

4 eggs
8 slices extra thick sliced cinnamon bread with raisins
1 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
LOTS of 100% pure maple syrup (none of that yucky Aunt Jemima stuff)

In shallow bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add salt.

In larg skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter. Dip bread, 1 slice at a time, into egg and let soak for several seconds on each side. Lift out, allowing excess egg to drip back into bowl.

Fry soaked bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Add a little more butter to skillet as necessary.

Serve with a huge puddle of maple syrup :)

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 12:52 PM | return | dreams [3]

November 10, 2004

Groovy

Interior space of the Tea Shop 168 at Yonge and College. I love this design... it's got a futuristic look with a slight retro twist. I took a walk on the wild side and ordered a hot milky mint green bubble tea. My, was it yummmmmy! Oh, anyone wanting to know why the number is 168 rather than some other arbitrary number like, say, 167 should just ask Christian :P

Posted by mich at 10:21 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 26, 2004

I Love My Frothy Basement

My basement has finally been finished! Meaning more storage and play room :) I did a cartwheel for the first time since like grade 8 or something. With all that empty space, what else do you do? So how's my basement frothy you ask? The colours I picked for the rooms (light yellow, mauve, and seafoam green) give you the feeling that you've stepped back into the 1950's or something. Nifty! I'm definitely looking forward to decorating the space.

My mom gave me space for all my artwork and other junk; I get my own closet for storage, but it'll be in the bathroom. Ok that's cool, I'm happy with that... until I think about possible leaks and spills from the bathroom creeping along the floor and into my closet :O

I really want to move into the basement now. The bedroom down there is like 1.5 times bigger than my own and has TWO walk-in closets! What girl doesn't want all that storage space?!

Posted by mich at 8:24 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 18, 2004

Back In Business

Woohoo, I finally got my MT upgrade all fixed. I like the new version a lot... the interface is so much prettier and it's got a wackload of new features.

I should be studying for my CSC 343 test, but instead I've been photoblogging and doing some more online quizzes. :P

thepixies.jpg

You rule. in 15 years, you won't be as known as you
are now, but most of the people that will know
you then will like you (or else I'll beat them
with a stick). You're nice to listen to.


What band from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Posted by mich at 9:46 PM | return | dreams [0]

July 7, 2004

What in the World...

I came up with design for the CSSU agenda cover a couple of days ago. Can you see what the picture is? Some responses included teeth and last year's formal, but it's a picture of the inside of a computer. It actually doesn't bother me that people can't easily distinguish what it is; I quite like the effect and the slight ambiguity. I modified it again last night with a few suggestions from Jon (thanks mr. graphic designer) so that some squares are tilted and the type is more balanced. I definitely think this is more dynamic and interesting than the original, where the squares where falling neatly.

Ooh, I bought a Norco bike yesterday. It's sorta like a mountain bike, but not designed for hardcore mountain biking. Basically I'm going to use it to ride around my neighbourhood and some bike trails (don't know of any yet). I tried a hybrid bike but the wheels were too thin; I felt kind of wobbly and was scared I was going to lose my balance! That's the main reason I went for the bike I have now: thick wheels = michelle staying on the bike :)

In geek news, I've just started using the Mozilla Firefox browser today. I found out about it when I had to do some testing at work; it's pretty similar to IE, but without all the security flaws! The thing that I hate about IE is the organization of bookmarks and how they're managed (which is the reason why I kept using Netscape for the longest time). I mean, the names of the bookmarked sites aren't allowed to have characters like : | / ?... etc. so they'd be replaced with underscores. I know I'm probably the only person disturbed by this, but it's so ugly and the name of my bookmark does not match the name of the website title anymore! Plus now I get to use separators for my bookmarks again, yipppeee. And you can have themes for the browser too with cute littel icons and such. Luvly!

*Updated with a picture as requested by Tony :P *

Posted by mich at 11:03 PM | return | dreams [1]

January 17, 2004

Photo Albums

I finally have some albums set up in my albums page. I still want to add more to my php scripts so that I'll have descriptions associated with the images. But one step at a time... :P

Posted by mich at 8:57 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 9, 2004

PHP Pundit... ?>

Yayayaya! I just coded my first significant chunk of PHP code for my photoblog! It's going to handle my images from different albums that I didn't enter as blog entries. I was looking around on other sites that handled albums of images and I thought everyone coded the stuff themselves, but it turned out they use an image organization system to do it all. Well, if I knew about that before I would've saved myself a lot of trouble! I could've gone the easy route and used one of the systems but I already spent so much time and energy trying to figure out PHP. But now that I got it working finally it feels GREAT! And now I know PHP :) I still want to add some more functionality to my pages and make them look pretty first though so I still have a bit of work left to do...

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

January 4, 2004

And the Work Pays Off...

Woohoo, after a week of working until 3 or 4am each night on my site I've finished two more sections! *Jumps for joy* I haven't made links to them on this page yet, but that will come soon. I had been playing around with so many different things, including working with iframes in my about section and PHP in my photoblog. I still have a few additions to make to the photoblog but otherwise, everything is pretty much done :D

Now to start working on that skirt... gah.

Posted by mich at 6:09 PM | return | dreams [2]

June 20, 2003

Site Design

Woo hoo, I've got the new design up! It's not perfect- I still have to do some tweaking and fix up a bunch of things, but this is the overall look of the page. It took me quite a while to do the title graphic and all the style sheet elements. *So sleepy* Would anyone like to QA this site? LOL. Comments and suggestions (and bug reports :P) appreciated!

Posted by mich at 12:57 AM | return | dreams [1]

June 17, 2003

Finally!

Wow, I actually have my own domain name! *Cheese* This is so exciting!
Well I finally got this blog up and running... now it's just a matter of re-designing the page to look sexy ;)

Posted by mich at 6:26 PM | return | dreams [0]