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]

January 3, 2008

Gott Nytt År!

That's happy new year in Swedish. I hope everyone had a great holiday. Although I went through some tough moments experiencing my first Christmas far away from my family and friends, spending it with a close family friend on the other side of Sweden made all the difference. New Years in Gothenburg was a bit unusual though, as the main fireworks show went off at 5pm (spectacular though), and the "countdown" to new years involved counting up to 12... ?!?! It was quite anti-climactic as Paul and I were watching the event on TV because the counting totally threw us off and then we couldn't figure out whether midnight had already struck. That night we were housesitting the most fabulous apartment for Paul's friends — they're a gay couple and they have the such great style and taste! I loved it, it looked like those places that would be featured in Wallpaper* or something. So Paul and I made the most of our night there and prepared ourselves a delicious homecooked meal, enjoyed dessert of ostkaka with jam (literally translates to cheesecake but unlike typical cheesecake it feels more custardy), and drank some glögg, while watching a Sex and the City marathon. Ahh, what a wonderful evening it was.

Reading back on last year's year in review I realize I finally achieved what I had dreamed of doing for so many years: living in Europe. Even though it's what I've always wanted, the reality is that it hasn't been a magical ride as I had though. It was a bit of a struggle to adjust but now as I'm slowly meeting people, learning to accept the lifestyle differences, and traveling as much as I can, I'm looking forward to see where this adventure takes me this year. I've learned from my past mistakes of letting opportunities pass me by, and although I might question some decisions I've made over others to get to where I am now, there's no point in looking back or having regrets. I'm a true believer that everything happens reason.

Once again, here's a list of the things that stood out most for me for 2007:

Showed my photography at the You Are Here exhibit · my first opera Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk · finally figuring out how to do an S-curve in snowboarding · Nuit Blanche in Montreal Christian, Vanessa and Jeremy and getting into a random snowball fight with hooligans · being the proud owner of my very own Hasselblad · shopping frenzy in HK · visiting mainland China for the first time with Christian, but ending up in the hospital · my first photography showing at the CONTACT festival · photographing Siren Sounds benefit concert featuring local bands, Melissa O'Neil, and Fefe Dobson · family road trip to New England and Montreal · watching the live match of the final Argentina vs Czech Republic FIFA U-20 game · getting my first pair of rollerblades and bladed 3 hours along the lakeshore from the west end to the east and all the way back (and nearly collapsing in the end) · attending the awesome Daft Punk concert · watching a hilarious yet brilliant interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream in High Park · going to the CNE for the first time in over a decade and having a blast · racing and winning medals with Banana Boat dragonboat team · Eyal and Julie's wedding · road trip to Bruce Peninsula · staying out until sunrise for Toronto's Nuit Blanche · watching Cirque du Soleil's Kooza from the front row · making a fabulous Thanksgiving meal completely on my own · 1500km 3-day road trip (I drove the entire way!) to Pennsylvania, seeing Fallingwater House and doing mad shopping in Grove City (and randomly bumping into 3 groups of friends we knew all in the same store) · kicking butt in floor hockey with my beloved team · ate my way through all my favourite restaurants in Toronto for the last time · starting a new life on my own in Stockholm · reuniting with Jason for a weekend in Paris · seeing the amazing Christmas market in Frankfurt · experiencing Swedish Christmas · spending Christmas and New Years with Paul in Gothenburg

I hope you all can look back on the past year with wonderful memories and that any not-so-good experiences has made you a stronger person. I wish everyone all the best for an exciting, happy, and prosperous new year!

Posted by mich at 12:32 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 25, 2007

God Jul!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful white Christmas back home! I'm spending the holidays with my old family friend who's working in Göteborg (Sweden's 2nd largest city on the other side of the country). Here it's +6 degrees and rainy, yuck.

I arrived in the city on Christmas Eve and by the time my train came in at 2pm the sun had already disappeared! :( Paul took me back to his place and we snacked on different cheeses and knäckebröd (Swedish crackers) while catching up. It was wonderful to find out how much of a foodie he is and that's all we talked about until dinner when he made me a delicious dish of couscous with stir-fried veggies, raisins and walnuts. Then we relaxed by the TV and watched Sex and the City (I had never seen it before believe it or not) while pigging out on dark chocolate and drinking glögg. Mmm living the lazy life!

This morning we totally slept in and made crêpes that we ate with various combinations of nutella, cheese, honey, lingonberry jam, and butter. We couldn't really call it brunch since it was 2:30pm by the time we sat down to eat! There's a pattern that's starting to repeat itself: we just can't stop talking about food! Living in Sweden, it's so expensive to eat out that you don't really have the same luxury of eating out all the time as we would in Toronto or HK. So we just fantasize about all the food that we miss back home and just drool over the places we'd eat at when we go back to TO or HK... it's quite pathetic really! Paul however is a master in the kitchen so I'm hoping to learn some cooking tips from him during my stay :) He whipped up a simple but yummy Christmas dinner of Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Posted by mich at 8:09 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 22, 2007

Swedish Christmas

Christmastime in Sweden doesn't feel much like Christmas to me. The holiday is really family-oriented here and not nearly as commercialized or so in-your-face as in North America. I admit that the excessive commercialism of the holiday has gotten to me in recent years (especially now when Christmas decorations start coming out even before Hallowe'en), but I really miss seeing all the colourful and festive decorations and hearing Christmas tunes everywhere you go. Things here are really subtle; even in the darkest time of the year* everyone's house is just simply decorated with a 7-stick electrical candlebra that sits on the windsill or with a decorative star lamp hanging from the ceiling. That's it — no colours either, just the incandescent yellow of the bulbs. We don't even have snow yet and apparently it won't come until January :(

Back in the olden days, December 13 used to be the darkest day of the year, which was the day that Lucia Day was and continues to be celebrated. It's quite an important day in Sweden and here it marks the beginning of Christmas. I woke up early that morning to watch a Lucia concert, in which a procession of girls dressed in white and are led by a girl chosen to represent Lucia, who wears a crown of candles on head. They stop and sing Swedish Christmas songs and then continue their procession. At my office that day we ate lussekatter (saffron buns), which are traditionally eaten only during Christmas, and drank warm glögg with raisin and almonds. That particular glögg had 10% alcohol however, and although I only took about 10 sips, I was pretty much out of commission the rest of the afternoon, zzzz.

julbord. It was my first time trying Swedish food, which consists of a lot of cold salmon prepared in various ways, raw herring in different sauces, and cold cuts. There weren't many warm dishes but the meatballs and Jansson's Temptation were delicious. I did make the effort to try the fish dishes that I normally wouldn't eat. I didn't realize the herring was actually raw so it came as a nasty slimy surprise. I also tried the fermented herring, which is a very Swedish dish. I never though I'd ever eat it when I read about it before coming here, but it's not as bad as it sounds when you eat it with potatoes. I probably won't ever eat it again, but now I can say I've tried real Swedish food :P Later that evening the restaurant converted into a karaoke bar at one end and a disco on the other, which seemed pretty strange to me. People were going nuts in the karaoke area singing out of tune to cheesy Swedish 80s pop music. I've come to realize that Swedes LOVE to sing. I hear them singing out loud everywhere I go: subway trains, dinner tables, airports, bars, and especially at karaoke. The dance floor was no better; the DJ was spinning all Euro dance, which I can't stand, LOL.

Over the weekend I visited Skansen, which is an open-air museum featuring historical pioneer buildings transported from all over Sweden. You can visit each building and watch people dressed in costume demonstrating things like bookbinding, glass-blowing and weaving. My friend and I primarily went there to see the Christmas market and I picked up an English copy of a Swedish cakes and cookies recipe book that I'll be trying out this weekend. I think by the end of my year in Sweden my goal is to be able to read enough Swedish to buy myself a cookbook in Swedish :)

Good news on my housing situation: I got a new roommate from Germany, who's awesome, AND my landlady's finally moving out! Hallelujah! For a while she was being so wishy-washy about whether she was actually going to move out by the end of the month (her son had bought her a new flat, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to move there). But my roommate and I just kept persuading her with cheesy lines like her son will be so disappointed if she doesn't take the place, etc. In just a few weeks we'll be free to have pork, wine and boys at our flat, haha.

* The sun rises at 8:45am and sets at 2:45pm, depressing huh?

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

December 14, 2007

Frankfurt Weekend

Last weekend I headed down to Frankfurt on my own, mainly to check out one of Germany's oldest and largest Christmas markets. It was my first time in Germany and I really enjoyed it, but the language barrier was a bit difficult sometimes. Here in Sweden everyone's extremely proficient in English, so when I arrived in Germany I was a bit surprised at first that not many people spoke or even understood English. I've completely taken for granted the fact that everyone in Sweden knows English!

Since Frankfurt is mostly a financial hub, there's not that much historical or cultural attractions to see, but I did visit three excellent museums: Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Deutsches Architekturmuseum, and Schirn Kunstalle Frankfurt. The MMK had an amazing photography exhibit featuring the works of an American who persuaded her way into some of the most private spaces kept away from the public and documented what goes on inside, including an HIV research lab, death row facility, cryo-preservation unit, Microsoft prototype house, nuclear waste storage area, and headquarters of the KKK. The images were powerful enough on their own but reading the descriptions and background behind each shot really put me in awe. The architecture museum was small but it still had some interesting exhibits like Shrinking Cities that examined social, political, economic and architectural factors for population loss, Contemporary Architecture in Korea, and Gaudí Unseen that put some of Gaudí's unfinished works and ideas on display. The Schirn Kunsthalle's Art Machines Machine Art was the most fun and engaging of the three. It looked at artist-created machines that produce unique and random art and examined the role of artist as engineer and the machine as the art but also the "artist." Viewers were also invited to interact with the machines, thereby becoming part of the art-making process. I felt like a kid again going to all the different stations — two hours later I left the gallery with 4 pieces of original artwork :D

I spent my two evenings walking through the Christmas market. It really required those two nights to see everything in the market since it's SO massive... it goes along various streets and alleyways and spills into not one, but two public squares. I really didn't buy much in the markets, just a cute Santa Christmas ornament and a wooden figure that "smokes" when you open him up and put an incense cone inside. I mostly spent my money on food! That weekend I didn't sit down once to eat because I did all my eating at the street markets. It was the most unhealthy thing, but it was so fun to try all sorts of food from the various stalls (tasty too!) Some of the things I had included: a foot-long sausage, greasy deep-fried potato pancakes with apple sauce, dark chocolate covered fruits on a stick, humongous pretzel, broccoli and cheese pizza, corn on the cob drenched in garlic butter, apple-cinnamon glazed almonds, and a hot mug of apfelwein. I also saw my first Starbucks since arriving in Europe (there's surprisingly no Starbucks in Sweden considering they're the world's heaviest coffee drinkers after Finland), so I caved and treated myself to a 4€ small cup of gingerbread latte (but I was so disappointed they didn't have my peppermint hot chocolate *cries*).

Posted by mich at 5:13 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 2, 2007

Paris, je t'aime

Last weekend I took a trip to Paris to meet up with Jason, who was visiting from Hawaii. I figured it would be nice to see an old friend, and what better place to hang out than Paris! The temperature was a glorious 10° C and the sun was still shining at 5:30pm. I didn't realize how much I really missed daylight — I felt so happy! Poor Jason though; being so spoiled by tropical weather he was suffering in the coldness and getting the sniffles, while I was basking in the "warmth." It was also great to be able to use my French again. People actually spoke back to me in French so I guess my French wasn't so terrible.

I arrived in Paris Saturday morning after only getting 2 hours of sleep the night before, waking up at 3am, taking a 1.5 hour shuttle bus to the airport, flying for 2 hours, and taking another 1.5 hour bus into Paris. Such is the cost for such cheap airfares: the buses end up costing more and take twice as long as the flight itself. Over the course of the trip Jason and I visited the Rodin museum, Notre Dame, went up the Eiffel Tower at night (but we just rushed around the balcony since we were absolutely freezing from the 1 hour wait for tickets), shopping along the Champs-Élysées, climbed up l'Arc de Triomphe, and explored the Montmatre area. We didn't really go on a hard-core sightseeing run and so it was a pretty relaxing trip, which was a nice change of pace for me. A lot of the time we just stayed in restaurants and cafés chatting and EATING! Since I first arrived in Europe I haven't really dined out but in Paris I totally pigged out... and it felt fabulous! Duck, rabbit, pasta, fruit tarts, crêpes, and French pastries, yummy yummy! You can't find this sort of good food in Sweden :(

On our last day together Jason had a flight to catch to Rome so we checked out of the hotel at 6am. After that I was left on my own to explore so I went to la Défense in the downtown area. Since it was still too early to do anything I lounged around at a café with my newly purchased French design magazine until the streets (and myself) started to wake up. I did some shopping, exploring, took another break at the nicest McDonald's I've ever seen, and then walked an hour to the bus station (but I was told that the walk was only 20 minutes.) In any case, my back felt completely broken from carrying my big backpack the entire morning. I really didn't pack that much, but I asked Jason to help me buy a sleeping bag from the States (plus a few cans of macedemia nuts :P), and I bought quite a bit of stuff, and tons of heavy magazines. Buying the magazines before I reached the airport was actually pretty dumb because I ended up having to pay an overweight surcharge for my bag at check-in. It turned out that I could have easily found my magazines in the airport terminal, DOH! But I really wasn't sure with these tiny airports so I erred on the safe side.

Even though this was my 2nd time in Paris, everything felt so new and exciting to me once more. I completely fell in love with the city all over again. The weather was gorgeous, people were so friendly and happy (as opposed to Stockholmers), I understood the language, and it reminded me again of Montreal — I didn't want to come back to Stockholm! The saddest thing was that I had to resort to do my shopping in Paris... definitely not the cheapest option, but still considerably cheaper than Sweden!

Posted by mich at 6:06 AM | return | dreams [0]

November 12, 2007

Gamla Stan

I explored central Stockholm for the first time over the weekend and now I'm enchanted. I was a bit nervous to finally go into the city because I had such high expectations of it and I was afraid of being let down. Fortunately, I like what I see so far!

Everyone who visits Stockholm heads to Gamla Stan island first, which is the old town and the original part of the city. It's full of wonderful medieval architecture, has a labyrinth of winding cobbled streets lined with shops and cafes, and is home to the royal palace and the Nobel Museum. I spent about 4 hours walking around and probably didn't even cover half the stuff to see. It was -1 degrees, which didn't feel to bad in the beginning but walking by the waterfront you get blasts of biting wind so it was pretty brutal. I stumbled upon Tyska Kyrkan, which is the German church and the oldest German Protestant church in the world, so I'm told. The church grounds were milling with people and kids checking out the bazaar going on that weekend and there were stands for buying cider and fresh waffles. I ate a nice hot waffle to warm me up, and then found another building that was part of the church that was selling Christmas handicrafts and pastries. I decided to rest for a bit in the dining hall and warm up with my yummy apple cake and tea while reading more on the area and writing postcards. All rejuvinated, I found the Nobel museum but I had missed the last English tour of the day and instead checked out the huge royal palace.

By 3:30pm it was already dark and I considered hopping on the metro from the island but I saw everyone walking towards the central city on a pedestrian road. It turned out that this road was Drottninggatan (Queen's Street), which is the famous pedestrian street lined with shops and department stores. It was a great walk, especially at night with all the colourful lights, but I had to stop in a store every other minute because I was so freezing cold!

I can't wait to walk around in the springtime when the weather is warmer and the sun is out until 11pm. For now, I'll need to bust out my boots and arctic jacket.

Posted by mich at 7:24 AM | return | dreams [0]

November 7, 2007

Hej from Stockholm

Here I am in Stockholm. It’s been 4 days now and I still haven’t seen the city yet. I’m living in the suburbs 20 minutes away from downtown by metro and I’ve just stayed in my area trying to settle in since I arrived on Saturday evening.

At the airport before my departure I just didn’t want to go anymore. My flight over was miserable and depressing and I had no appetite when they served us meals at 1am and 6am. I had a 3-hour stopover in Warsaw, where I became hungry and thirsty with no Polish money and so utterly bored because there was absolutely nothing to see or do at the terminal. The place actually kind of reminded me of the airport in Beijing – both felt as if it had been frozen in time in the 70s.

Flying into Stockholm lifted my spirits a little as I saw the lights from above. It was so pretty, you could see the contours of all the islands… it reminded me of glitter scattered a in a curving, swirling pattern. The first thing I noticed when I landed was the piles of snow on the runway! It had snowed the night before, but it was all melting. Lugging my two overweight suitcases from the airport to the apartment was a struggle to say the least. When I couldn’t find elevators I was forced to take my luggage two sets of long escalators down to the trains. I seriously thought I’d topple over with them, but I was able to manage an efficient method… it was still pretty scary though.

Travelling from the airport I had these first impressions: people here are pretty stylish, it’s quite multicultural, it’s not as clean as I expected (quite a bit of litter), and there’s TONS of graffiti all over the place, even worse than Montreal if you can believe that. Can’t really say much else since I haven’t been to the central city yet, but hopefully soon!

My apartment is in Akalla, at the end of one of the metro lines. It’s right next to the metro station and 3 supermarkets, and it’s a 7-minute walk to my workplace. The place has 2 bedrooms and living room housing 4 people, and I have the huge living room. Tons of space, but unfortunately I’ve got barely anything to fill it up. I’ve even got a private balcony which would be really nice in the summer. However, it’s very sparsely furnished so it feels quite barren, and the only thing separating my room from the rest of the flat is a curtain. Not bad, but it’d be nice to have a desk and a real bed (I’m currently sleeping on a futon that caves in the middle when I lie on it), but that’ll change hopefully. Still don’t have internet at home so I feel quite disconnected.

On my first day here I did some grocery shopping downstairs. Food’s pretty expensive in Stockholm but not as bad as I expected. Cashiers don’t help you bag anything and if you use their plastic or paper bags, you have to purchase them along with your grocery items. Next I checked out a big mall in Kista (pronounced shista). I love how Swedes love hardwood flooring – they had it at the airport and the mall food court. There were 3 coffee stands scattered throughout the mall but the sitting area for those areas looked more like café lounges with plush sofas and chic tables and chairs – and they all had hardwood floors for their space :P My final stop was… IKEA! It was so incredibly busy and I had a mini spree shopping for a few necessities: hangers, laundry basket, storage containers, and an alarm clock. The alarm clock was an unfortunate purchase. Since it’s a windup clock it tick-tocks really fast and LOUD that I had trouble falling asleep that night. Then I was awoken in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep from the ticking. I stuffed it under my bed to muffle the sound, but it didn’t really help. To top it all off, the alarm never rang in the morning so I woke up only 15 minutes before I had to leave for work the next morning. Argh! Luckily I got a super sweet Sony Ericsson phone from work so I’m now using that as my alarm. I’ll give a summary of my workplace after the end of the week. Oh, and back to IKEA – they don’t have the equivalent of the $1 breakfasts that they do back home!!! The food at the IKEA restaurant was quite expensive, while their products are about the same price or cheaper than Canada.

ikea_entrance.JPG ikea_dinner.JPG

Many people have been wondering why as a Canadian I’d want to come live in Sweden. “Why trade snow for more snow?” they ask. Personally I love having seasons, and I couldn’t live somewhere that’s warm all year round and especially not somewhere that rains instead of snows during the winter. The thing I’d have a hard time adjusting to is the daylight hours. The sun here sets at 3:30pm and I think it sets at 2pm in December. The funniest looks I get are when people find out I’m not a hockey fan and I don’t drink coffee (apparently Swedes drink the most coffee per capita in the world after the Finns.)

I never had the chance to write about my last week before I left so I’ll do it now. In short, it was filled with gatherings: farewell dinner with friends at Fred’s Not Here, my last good Chinese restaurant dinner with relatives, a yummy dinner cooked by chef Wen San at her brand new condo, lunch with the March Entertainment crew at Penelope’s, and having my last amazing Utopia shrimp burrito with Eyal. I also played my last floor hockey game with my beloved team and I got to end my season with a sweet goal :P

I miss everyone back home but I’m so happy to get all the emails and messages from people! Send me your mailing addresses if you want a postcard or snail mail, you know how I love writing letters!

Posted by mich at 4:40 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 19, 2007

The Final Countdown

After over 3 months of waiting I'm counting down I've entered the last couple of weeks until my departure... 14 days left! *inhaaaale, exhaaaale* I couldn't wait for this moment to come but now the nervousness is hitting. The guys over there found me an apartment with 2 other roommates, but I didn't have the chance to ask any questions about it. I've never lived with any strangers before so the idea is a bit nerve-wracking, especially considering how anal I am about my personal space. Eek.

What I'm dreading the most, however, is the packing — how will I manage to pack a year of my life into just 2 suitcases (and under 50 lbs??) Being the pack rat that I am, my room's a treasure trove of things amassed throughout my lifetime (or more simply junk, as my family would call it) and I'll feel like a part of me will be cut off. Sounds a bit silly I know, but every so often I can spend a whole afternoon going through my room and just sit there looking through photo albums, postcard collections, birthday invitations dating all the way back to nursery school, old magazines and the like. My biggest dilemma was deciding which and how many cameras to bring with me. I've finally settled on just my digital ones because I'm betting that film developing/processing is pretty expensive over there (like everything else) — so my Nikon D70s, Leica D-Lux 3, and Rolleiflex Minidigi (big, medium, and tiny) :P As for book I'm worried those will completely weigh me down: 4 recipe books, 5 travel guide books (for Europe, Stockholm, Sweden, and Scandinavia), plus my design & leisure reading books (Anna Karenina, 100 Things to Do Before You Die, Houses of the World, Mapping, The Modern Girl's Guide to Life, and of course, my sketchooks.) Then all my necessities like coats, winter clothing, boots, sheets, etc. Oi... what a challenge.

Oh, and about my new Leica... I love it. I tried it out on my Pennsylvania trip and I'm pretty happy with the pictures, especially with the wide 16:9 format. All the reviews I read complained about the noise at high ISOs, which is a bit of a drawback, but it's not as bad as I had anticipated — plus I don't shoot at such high ISOs too often anyway. The main reason I went with the Leica was because it's like a pocket-sized SLR; it shoots RAW (although the RAW files are gigantic... 20 mb!), does bracketing, manual exposure, and a whole bunch more stuff that I haven't yet read about in the manual. Plus, it's so purdy!!

Posted by mich at 1:30 PM | return | dreams [1]

October 3, 2007

Nuit Blanche 2007

The general consensus for this year's "art-thing" was a huge disappointment from last year, and I completely agree. Even though there were more venues and the event drew tons more people, I was quite underwhelmed by the big exhibits that I had been so excited for. Still, I ended up staying out until 7am (and without any caffeine!) to check out as much stuff as I could. In general, many of the descriptions were embellished and made a lot of the pieces sound much more interesting than they actually were; instead, a lot of the work felt uninspired and weren't as engaging. I really missed the creative approach many artists embraced last year in opening up private spaces to the public by converting them for different use.

MOCCA muralI started off the night at Parkdale and made my way towards the downtown core along Queen West. The first thing I noticed was the crowding — there was probably at least double the amount of people, and this year I noticed so many young kids running around (not cool for the artists who had to continually tell the kids to stop playing with their art installations.) The most interesting thing for me in that zone was Play By Hear at CAMH that was a series of horns connected together that mixes and distorts tunes from people's MP3 players. The "hub"Trinity-Bellwoods park was pretty much empty and non-eventful besides the horde of Scotiabank tents... total letdown.

Green ScreenOn the walk up towards OCAD, I went through Kensington Market in hopes to see the ASSBOOK project, where photocopier is available on site for people to photocopy their own fannies, but it was cancelled. Further down the market street I happened upon a booth set up by the Infinite Exchange Gallery, which was probably one of my favourite things of the evening. It was really low-tech, small and intimate. Each artist had an engaging project that called on collaboration from participants and in exchange for a piece of work, "buyers" would have to trade something, whether it be a story, a drawing, etc. One artist had set up a typewriter to write a letter or card to a recipient chosen by the requesting person, and in return the person sender would do a good deed. The artist would then draw up a letter of agreement stating the terms of the good deed and the details of when/what/to whom the letter/card would be delivered that was then signed by both parties. Another section of the booth was for creating BFF pins, where the artist would take pictures of the 2 BFFs and create pins so that each person would have a pin of their BFF. In exchange, each participant had to relay a story or memory of the person they brought. A third artist in San Francisco laid out a stack of homemade postcards and paint chip samples in different shades of greys and black and asked people to cut out the paint chip that matched the current colour of the sky and glue it on the postcard. The person then had to phone the artist in SF to give his/her name and address to receive a postcard with the current sky colour in her location. Really neat idea, except that the person who had called the artist before me got a message saying her voice mail was full. Bah.

White Line LightI continued through OCAD, Yorkville, U of T, the village and Eaton Centre, but everything just seemed mediocre. The hugest disappointment was Nightless City, which people had been touting as the fog event of this year. WRONG! It was was pure cheese as it was just the stores lit up in red light — a literal interpretation of a red light district. Some of the exhibits I quite liked included Ghost Station at lower Bay Station (which apparently had a 1-hour lineup early evening, but by the time I got there at 5am I just walked right in), a fun light-sensitive screen that people posed in front of to capture their shadows at the Italian Embassy, and white line light at the Old Police Station that was an eerie yet captivating light and sound installation consisting of 2 long floating electrical beams resonating with low frequency vibrations.

It was still a fun event to go frolicking about at night, but with such high expectations from last year I totally underwhelmed. If anything, this has inspired me to come up with something of my own for a future Nuit Blanche. For now, I won't be too sad to be missing the one next year, I'll just be looking forward to the one in Paris instead :D

Funnily enough, I'd say the highlight of my evening was the dinner before heading out for the night. Christian took me to The Parkdale Drink, where his friend is the head chef. So in addition to the entrées and appetizers we ordered, his friend sent out some fancy extra plates that weren't on the menu like smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill on Melba toast and a cute little risotto ball (to die for), PLUS deep fried banana dumplings and ice cream.

Posted by mich at 5:11 PM | return | dreams [1]

September 28, 2007

Weekend in the Bruce

I was utterly exhausted this past week. I came back from a weekend road-trip to Bruce Peninsula, which was fantastic except for the 13 hours I spent driving. The ride up was scenic and gorgeous; in addition to the wonderful farmlands and colourful trees I spotted 2 vultures by the roadside, a field of wind turbines, and an old-fashioned streetcar-turned-diner.

On the first day Christian and I arrived at the northern Bruce Peninsula at noon, unloaded at our wonderful B&B at Miller Lake (completely built by the owners themselves), and first headed to Dyer's Lake, which had some really interesting flat rocks creeping out into the Georgian Bay. We then spent the rest of our afternoon in Bruce Peninsula National Park, particularly around Cypress Lake where we started our hiking journey that lead us to the tall cliffs along the bay. The views were stunning throughout our trek along the Bruce Trail from the "wave pool" and caves of Half Indian Head, to rock climbing down into the Grotto (with an underwater passage to the Georgian Bay) and climbing back up to Boulder Beach, which was a huge expanse of, you guessed it, boulders. By the time we reached this area, Christian and I had just grew so tired of rocks... our ankles and feet were in complete pain after that rugged hike. The national park extends to the other end of the Peninsula so we drove over to Singing Sands beach facing Lake Huron to watch the sunset. For dinner we headed back to Dyer's Lake to eat at Applewood Inn, a quaint little restaurant recommended to us by our B&B hosts. Christian's soup and fish were delicious, but my veggie curry didn't taste at all like curry... more like tomatoes...? We shared a scrumptious fresh blueberry crêpe with ice cream afterwards which made up for my non-curry dinner. Afterwards I tried some super long exposure shots of the moonlit lake with my film SLR so I made Chris wait around for me for 30 min, hehe. I just submitted them for developing, but I hope they come out!

The next morning we woke up to a lovely breakfast of the yummiest raspberry blueberry scone (I'm trying to get the recipe from the host), fresh berries, eggs, bacon and toast with homemade jam. We high-tailed it to Tobermorey, situated at the northern tip of the Peninsula, where we took a ferry out to the Fathom Five National Marine Park (apparently this is the scuba diving capital of Canada). We ferried around the various islands and got off at Flowerpot Island, which is famous for its towering flowerpot rock structures that were carved out by pounding waves. On our way back to Tobermorey, the ferry took us to see two of the 22 shipwrecks in the park. The ferry had a glass-bottom floor so it was sooooooooo cool to see the shipwrecks. up close.

On our drive up the Peninsula the previous day we encountered the funniest signs for the Tobermorey Sweet Shop (for example, "Losing Weight? Fight Back! The Sweet Shop") so of course, we had to step inside. We ended up getting a single scoop of raspberry chocolate ice cream (deeeeeelish!) but the "single scoop" was really soup bowl jam packed with at least 3 scoops! And it was only $2, woo!

Being the sole driver on the trip, I had to drive us all the way back home after our exhausting weekend... not fun. Only upside was that I was able to make pit stops whenever I felt like it so I stopped a few times to take some pictures of the gorgeous road-side scenery. I've realized that I'm completely obsessed with wind turbines. And my bf seriously needs to get his license.

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

September 17, 2007

Abandoned Part II

My family's gone on a huge vacation without me... again... *cries* The first time was a cruise to the Caribbean, this time it's a trip to Japan, HK, and China. Woe is me — I need vacation!! Being the sweet daughter that I am though I bought them a new digicam, the Canon SD750 and gave it a test run on a biking excursion from Eglinton to downtown along the Don Valley trail.

The nicest thing about the camera is the gigantic 3" LCD screen. At first I wasn't a big fan of the Canon buttons and interface (whereas Sony's interface is much more more elegant and intuitive), but after getting used to it, it's not too bad. The face detection failed me many times, so the most difficult part was getting it to focus where I wanted it to and there's no image stabilizer, so steady hands at high zoom is a must. Another thing I didn't like was that it only had a night portrait mode but no simple night scene mode so night pictures are killed by the flash. If I simply try to suppress the flash, it doesn't try to compensate for light by using a longer shutter so the picture ends up completely underexposed... big thumbs down.

But overall it was a great camera to use on the bike ride and Christian and I had loads of fun shooting ourselves scaling rocky bridge underpasses, running through open fields, and hiding in ferns that double our height. Actually it was just me doing all that crazy stuff and Chris doing the picture taking since he was wearing his super-duper clip-on shoes for his bike :P I had considered just getting a consumer point-and-shoot digi like the Canon one, but after playing around with it, I was pretty irked by the focusing and exposure problems. So today I finally ordered myself the Leica D-Lux 3 after eying it for months. The fact that it's a Leica that's actually somewhat affordable, has manual controls, shoots in 16:9 format, and it's not as clunky as my SLRs completely hooked me in. I went into a spending spree today because on top of the Leica, I also ordered a new Nikon 18-200mm lens o_O They're currently on their way to my cousin's place in the states and he'll be bringing them up for me when he comes visits in October... hey, gotta take advantage of the crazy exchange rate right? :D


During this year's TIFF I only got to watch one movie, but it turned out to be a little gem. None of the Toronto media had reviewed Son of Rambow so I had no idea whether it was actually good, but the premise sounded so precious. It's a coming of age comedy about two kids, one a bully and the other who had never been allowed to watch TV, who become inspired by the first Rambo film and set out to create their own film Son of Rambow. The movie's filled with colourful characters, hilarious muckups, imaginative fantasy sequences, and whimsical doodle-like animations. I absolutely loved the film and even cried a bit over the touching ending.

Posted by mich at 4:06 PM | return | dreams [1]

July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and FIFA U-20 Madness

Friday evening I ventured out to the Bay/Bloor Indigo to experience the Harry Potter "Midnight Magic" event for the release of the 7th and final installment of the series. I had never been to any of the other releases, but I figured that it'd be neat to check it out for once since it's the last time this sort of thing would ever happen. Bay Street was completely closed off to pedestrian, but we had missed the fun setups earlier that night like the bouncy castle and slides. Instead we got to see some live animals — some were cute, others not so much. I petted a soft barn owl, while Cass had a huge yellow snake sit on her shoulder, and neither of us dared touching the fuzzy tarantula. We didn't make it past midnight though since we couldn't even enter the bookstore without wristbands. According to the Toronto Star, that night the Indigo chain had sold 3 books per second and averaged 50,000 sales per minute.

I just finished re-reading the 6th book to refresh my memory and now I've started on the 7th. Unlike most other people who don't put down the book until it's finished, I plan on prolonging it as long as can, just a few chapters a day. I just don't want it to end! :(

Yesterday I was at the BMO field watching the final games of the FIFA U-20 tournament: the consolation between Chile and Austria, and the final between Argentina and Czech Republic. Neither of the games were as heated as the Thursday Argentina vs Chile game, but they were still lively with some brilliant moments. Argentina had undoubtedly proven themselves to be the most talented team of the tournament, and celebrated a 3-2 victory over the Czechs. It was fantastic watching the team jumping around on the field and climbing into the roaring crowds to celebrate with them.

The best part came when a crazy fan ran onto the field chased by several security guards round and round the field. He kept dodging each guard as they came towards him and at each narrow escape the crowd cheered and applauded. He would have made a great football (American, that is) player. I also finally got to see Craig Forest! He was commentating just above my section so people were trying to call out to him to show his face. Finally after the crowd starting chanting "Come out Craig, come out Craig!" did he peer over to wave at us.

Posted by mich at 10:09 PM | return | dreams [0]

July 18, 2007

It's a Miracle I Didn't Catch Pneumonia

Last Saturday my dragon boat team raced at the Waterloo regatta, which turned out to be the most miserable one to date. Not only was it cold and windy the whole day (and I was so under dressed), it started raining a lot in the afternoon. Yet, we still had to paddle! I probably gave my abs a great workout from shivering and hunching over so much. Amazingly, we did our first race in 2:12, which put us in the platinum division (!!!), but our races after that went so horrible, we ended up gaining 10 seconds by the time we reached our third race, aiya. This was the first regatta where my dragon boat team didn't win a medal. And wouldn't you know, the weather warmed up and the sun started shining after the entire festival was over. BAH.

Also last week I went out with Kris, Sandra and Christian for a lovely Summerlicious lunch at Fieramosca located in the Annex. They had some great bread and bruschetta, but their salad and linguine with mushrooms, shrimp and chicken were nothing to write home about. The best part of the meal was the gigantic slab of tiramisu we got for dessert. There was a bit too much whipped cream inside, but boy was it delish! As Kris was leaving for Australia the next day for 6 months, it was the last time I would be seeing her for a long time, and the last time all 4 of us would be together for who knows how long! Yes Sandra, we're all leaving you, LOL :P

I had the chance to catch the Argentina vs Poland game for the FIFA U-20, and it was exciting! It was the first time I've attended a live sporting event (that snoozfest of a Jays game last year didn't count). The crowd was wild and energetic, and the Argentinians were fabulously entertaining. I can't wait to go see the final games this Sunday!

Posted by mich at 1:00 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 24, 2007

Happiness Is a Pair of Yellow Shoes

At the beginning of the month I promised myself these pair of shoes if I got my project management job.... and here they are! I'm glad I waited this long though because they just went on sale last week, AND I was lucky enough to find the last pair in my size. Double score!

This weekend was a pretty busy, but still a relaxing weekend: dragonboat practice, scored my 2 Sweden books half off at BMV books, walked along Bloor between Yonge and Christie (whew!), had drinks at the Madison, tried the famous Dante's Pizza (so amazing!), played tennis, did a mini marathon of The Office, and cooked up a Red Roast Duck Curry, which honestly could rival the curry at Salad King.

Continue reading for the recipe...

Red Roast Duck Curry

[For this recipe, we only used half a duck and threw in broccoli, onion, red pepper and potatoes]

1 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 spring onions, cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) lengths
1 tbsp red curry paste, or to taste
400 ml coconut milk
750 g Chinese roast duck, chopped
450 g can pineapple pieces in syrup, drained
3 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
15 g chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tablespoons chopped mint

1. Heat a wok until very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, spring onion and paste and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

2. Stir in the coconut milk, duck, pineapple, lime leaves, coriander leaves and mint. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the duck is heated through. Serve with jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6.

Posted by mich at 11:46 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]

June 5, 2007

New England Road Trip

Last week my family took a vacation where no one was actually left behind (our first one in 7 years!). Our main destination was Boston to visit my cousin's newborn baby, but we ended up booking a resort in Cape Cod 1.5 hours away from the city. We ended up only doing one day in Boston, where we hung out with my other cousin during the day checking out the Museum of Fine Arts and MIT's Strata Centre by my favourite architect, Frank Gehry (with all the money we shelled out, why couldn't the UT comp sci students get such an awesome building like this?!?) In the evening we drove all the way up to Chelmsford, which was faaaar &mdash we were almost at the New Hampshire border &mdash to see my other cousins and to play with the adorable new baby. The next day we ventured out to Newport in Rhode Island, where we took the scenic Ocean Drive, walked along the Cliff Walk overlooking the ocean, and visited a the gorgeous Bellevue Avenue historical mansions. In the evening we stopped at a factory outlet mall in Wrentham for some shopping, but I couldn't justify any purchases for myself after my shopping craze in HK. On our last full day in New England we drove around Cape Cod visiting the various towns (Hyannis, Yarmouth, Chatham and Orleans) and they're beaches and harbours. We bought 3 fresh lobsters and made ourselves a homemade lobster dinner back at the resort, yummy! On the drive back to Montreal we stopped in New Hampshire for some tax free shopping in Manchester. I scored myself my first pair of rollerblades and my very first laptop, a Sony Vaio, yay! Gotta take advantage of the exchange rate, y'know? ;)

In Montreal I went to see the Once Upon a Time Walt Disney exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was the only North American stop. It was a fascinating exhibit that looked at Disney's various inspirations ranging from literary and cinematic sources to classical art and architecture and that included original sketches, storyboards and design backgrounds of Disney's golden era that spanned from Snow White to The Jungle Book. I never had an appreciation for Sleeping Beauty's angular and stylized medieval look, but after having a chance to see one of the huge background paintings close up I noticed all the amazing detail and graphical patterns (and only using solid blocks of colour) that went into the forest scenes, I was in complete and total awe. Another highlight of the exhibit was the screening of the beautiful short film Destino, which was a collaboration between Salvador Dali and Disney that began in 1945 and was finally completed in 2003. Of the many exhibits I've been to, this one was definitely the BEST one I've ever seen by far (but I may be teeny bit biased!) If anybody is in Montreal this month (Coach Canada even has a super duper $10 deal for trips between Toronto and Montreal!) definitely check it out since it closes at the end of June.

The main reason for our stop in Montreal was for my sister's convocation at McGill. Thank goodness her music faculty was small so the ceremony only lasted a little over an hour, unlike the U of T ones that go over 3 hours. The best part was the reception afterwards with all the amazing food that just kept on coming and the delectable desserts. After all that food we had to walk it all off with some shopping at Simons before having a late dinner at an Indian restaurant at St. Laurent/Sherbrooke, which had the best Tandoori chicken I've ever tasted.

Posted by mich at 11:53 AM | return | dreams [0]

May 13, 2007

Siren Sounds

Last night I was a photographer for the Siren Sounds benefit concert to raise money and awareness for Interval House, a shelter for abused women. The lineup featured Fefe Dobson and Melissa O'Neil along with a few local acts, but my favourite performance of the evening was by Goodbye Glory, who were so energetic and totally rockin' it with their awesome songs (although I don't know what songs they actually sang, boo). Not only was it great to be doing this for a good cause, but It was a pretty cool experience to get to shoot people doing makeup, performing sound checks, doing media interviews, and of course shooting the concert itself. It was a pretty long day for me though as I had biked out to the Beaches earlier in the afternoon, then to the Opera House where I was there from 4:30pm to 1am... my arm was so tired from holding up my camera that whole time! Thanks to Steve for hooking me up, and for making all those super awesome Viet spring rolls :P Here's a pic of Fefe Dobson- more to come!

A few days ago I tried making my first loaf of banana bread. It turned out pretty nice, but not as moist as I would have liked. Maybe it needed a bit more banana? Not too sure. But it was yummy enough that it disappeared in less than 2 days.

Continue reading for the recipe:


Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 x 5 x 3-inch or two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch loaf pans; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts (if desired). Spoon batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes for 9 x 5 x 3-inch pan, or 40 to 45 minutes for 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Makes: 1 loaf (16 servings)

Posted by mich at 7:45 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 2, 2007


All the preparations for my first CONTACT exhibit is finally done! I'm showing with 3 other photographers at the Eastern Front Gallery, where I'll be exhibiting 8 pieces from my Intersection of Memory series. The show opens tomorrow running until May 27 and the opening reception is happening this Saturday, May 5 from 7-10pm. So come and check it out, pretty please!

Posted by mich at 9:00 AM | return | dreams [0]

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 | return | 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 | return | 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 | return | dreams [0]

February 21, 2007

Oink Oink

Happy Chinese new year! I checked out my horoscope (rooster) for this year of the pig and it's quite funny how accurately it describes my current situation and the plans I have for this year.

In 2007 your energy levels rise. Roosters spend less time at work, yet remain very productive. If you have been considering a change of career or company, this year will be favorable to make the move. Remember to balance your words and frank observations with diplomacy and tact to avoid hurt feelings. Changes will take place in your life during 2007 that will set the stage for future progress. Free yourself of anything that slows your progress or hinders your joy. "Remember to forget" - your happiness is before you, not behind you. A favorable year for reunions, family matters, surprise gatherings and even some intercontinental travel.

On new year's eve I was supposed to have a big feast with my family and relatives, but skipped that for Christan's office Festivus party. "Festivus for the rest of us" as they say, but it's basically their Christmas party in February. The food was fabulous- we had leek & potato pure, roast prime rib of beef (the second best steak I've ever had), and vanilla crme brul. The party ended at 1am but there was an after party up in the hotel room so we stuck around there for a couple more hours hanging out and pigging out on junk food. I ended up getting home at 4am (I had been hoping to be in bed by 1), so the next morning when I had to wake up early to head to the temple for new year, it was a massive struggle. Gone are the days when I could handle 4-5 hours of sleep each night and still be alert the rest of the day... I'm totally slipping >_<

Last week Christian and I finally got to try out the Brazilian restaurant Caj on West Queen West and it was quite delicious. For appetizer we had camarao, which was shrimp sauted in garlic with a passion fruit & red pepper sauce. Christian had a great traditional entre called moqueca, which was a traditional Bahia stew, with tomato and coconut milk broth, sweet peppers, onions and ginger, served with Basmati rice, shrimp and fish. I, on the other hand, had a cashew marinated chicken with ginger and garlic paste. Definitely worth another visit!

Posted by mich at 10:49 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 13, 2007


Hooray, my FlickrMOO MiniCards have finally come in! I chose a different picture for each of the 100 cards so they are all unique. The print and paper quality are surprisingly really good. Aren't they so cute? It's pretty fun giving these out since I get the greatest reactions when they first see the cards and pick through the pile.

Blue Mountain Weekend
Last weekend was spent up at Blue Mountain, where the weather was absolutely perfect: not too cold and lots of snow. We stayed at one of the resorts in the village, which was pretty cool. I even tried the outdoor hot tub; even though I had to endure a few seconds of having to run out in the cold to the tub, it was all worth it! I spent Saturday skiing and went for my 2nd attempt at snowboarding on Sunday. My first time boarding was 3 years ago, so it felt like I had to basically re-learn everything. But on this occasion, I was finally able to do S-curves!! I still fell a lot: on my knees, butt, wrists, hip, and even my head, but I survived. The next day though I felt like I was hit by a bus... I could barely get out of bed and I couldn't walk down the stairs without looking like loser. Even the front of my neck hurt so it was painful to yawn. I'm still quite sore but I hope I can recover in time for some yoga on Thursday.

Posted by mich at 11:36 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 8, 2007

Opening Night

Last Saturday was the opening reception of my group exhibition You Are Here: The Emotional Geography of Place. It was my first reception in a gallery, so it was pretty exciting. I was surprised by how many people were actually there. The type of works varied in both media and subjects, and there were a few pieces that really intrigued me. I got to meet with some of the artists and chat with them for a while. I met another photographer who, it turns out, works at Toronto Image Works and had actually printed my photographs in the exhibition. What a small world.

Yesterday was my third Winterlicious lunch &mdash this time at Monsoon with the office. I was pretty happy with each of the dishes I ordered: confit duck and vegetable roll with Korean barbeque sauce, szechuan marinated beef (oh so tender!) with saffron rice served with wok fried greens and hoisin jus, and ginger infused crme brule with green tea meringue. I loved the crme brule and I must say, that touch of ginger really makes all the difference! That evening I went to my very first opera, Shostakovichs Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It was hella long, but the music was fantastic &mdash really dramatic and emotional. The set design was pretty interesting, as it created a 2-tiered stage that used the entire height of the set. I actually expected more from the actual story... it wasn't as soap opera-ish as I thought it would be. And I totally agree with Christina that the ending was pretty anti-climatic. I expected more deaths!

Posted by mich at 10:46 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 2, 2007


It's been a long while since I last wrote a post- I've barely been home this entire week >_< Now for a little recap.

AppetizerLast Friday was the start of the WinterCity festival so I had a Winterlicious lunch with Sandra and Christina at Vertical. My 3-course meal consisted of seared & cured scallops with fregola & sweet peppers for the appetizer (which turned out to be one gigantic scallop), then butternut squash gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts and brown butter, and finished off with a chocolate & expresso mousse cake. Overall the food was quite good. My gnocchi tasted great, but it just became too cheesy and oily for me near the end. I also wish I had gotten the passion fruit gelato that San and Kris ordered because it was fantastic... my cake was just a bit too heavy for me, especially after all that pasta.

That evening was the opening celebration at Nathan Phillips where the Italian group Kitonb performed Carillon, a theatrical piece involving dance and acrobatics. The performance was so-so; I now tend to compare all the public performances to Malaya, which was so spectacular- I haven't seen anything like that since. Later in the evening, the Philosopher Kings came on for a great show. Even though it was freezing out they managed to draw in a huge crowd and got everyone in a dancing mood. Unfortunately for me, after having stood outside for 2 hours in snow and slush, my toes completely froze over and I was left limping to a warm retreat.

WallpaperThe next day I had my second Winterlicious lunch at Drake Hotel with Christina, Jon and Faye. I've been to the Drake a few times for some lounging and art happenings, but this was my first time eating there. I must say, the food was amazing: I had mixed green salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, pecorino & pears for the appetizer, then red wine braised beef with soft polenta & fennel roasted carrots, and for dessert, milk chocolate & lemon pot de crme with whipped cream and pumpkin seed gingersnaps. I was pleasantly surprised the food was actually that good- I'll definitely be eating there again.

Posted by mich at 5:15 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 10, 2007

I'm in Contact!

After trying for 2 years to exhibit at the Contact Photography Festival, I finally got my in today! And I didn't even have to try :P So this afternoon at work I got a phone call from Eastern Front Gallery informing me that 2 of my pieces I submitted for their February show "You are Here: The Emotional Geography of a Place" was accepted. Hooray! The person continued on to tell me that they loved my work not only for the visual quality of it but they were intrigued by the concept of my series, so they wanted to invite me as 1 of 3 artists in the gallery's Contact show in May. When I heard that I almost flipped out, I think I started shaking. I can't believe I'm in Contact now: it's the largest photography festival in North America and the artists get so much exposure... I'm SO EXCITED!!

Salvaged 8 detailYesterday I visited some galleries at 401 Richmond and came across an interesting exhibit called "Rearrangements: Sculpture/Performance/Photography" inside Gallery 44. There were two architectural sculptures using various found objects and photographs of interior spaces to create this new mini architectural space. This image shows a detail of one how the artists juxtaposed the fragments. Personally I find this kind of photo-based work so fascinating. I've ventured into the mixed-media photo-based experimentation quite a bit, but it's these kinds of pieces that opens my eyes to how far you can push the practice of photography and inspires me to go beyond what I have worked with up to this point.

Posted by mich at 10:29 PM | return | dreams [1]

December 14, 2006

Christmas in the Springtime

It's halfway through December and it's been unseasonably warm with temperatures hovering between 5-10 degrees. Crazy global warming- I want my snow! I should get moving along on my holiday duties. Aside from having only just mailed out some Christmas cards, I haven't started any of my Christmas shopping or decorated my tree (but it's up!) I can't help it, I don't get into the mood until crunch time. I actually found a fun site called Simon Sez Santa which is an interactive video version of the game Simon Says. Santa will do some hilarious things if you give him the right command. My favourite is "kill rudolph".

In Flight

A couple of weekends ago I had my In Flight exhibit opening at Pearson Airport's Terminal 1. It was the public preview day for the new Pier F that will handle transborder flights (Terminal 1 will continue to expand until eventually replacing Terminal 2 entirely). The new space was really nice and the long pier led to an open space where a massive steel sculpture called Tilted Sphere The most impressive aspect of the piece was when you go into the middle or through the side passages you could hear some really great echoes resonating all around you.

The unfortunate thing about my exhibit was that the pieces were in glass frames which where then all displayed behind another sheet of glass so there was a lot of glare coming at the viewer. In any case, it was exciting to be a part of the exhibit and I ended up taking a bunch of photos of my piece along with the other works on display. Our final stop for the day was the artist reception, where we got to pig out on many delectable goodies.

Intersection of Memory


Ball hockey season ended on Monday with our final playoff game against 1maniacs (aka "whine" maniacs). That team played so rough and their guys were even body checking us girls, which was peeving me off. I was still harbouring some anger from our previous match against them in which I was tripped to the ground, body checked by guys twice my size, slashed in the ankle and elbowed in the face. So during this week's game, when one of the guys flicked up my stick to keep from hitting the ball, my stick flew up near his face. He starting whining that I was high sticking and that I almost hit him in the face. I was like, dude, you inflicted that on yourself! Yet he wouldn't stop complaining and yelling at me, so then I proceeded to call him a jerk :O No more miss nice girl. The rest of the game continued on with their ridiculous antics. We were originally losing but near the end we started to come back for a tiebreaker. I played so hard like I had never played before and we finally won in sudden death! Whoopee, all that work for 2nd last place :P Victory is oh so sweet!

Posted by mich at 10:22 PM | return | dreams [0]

November 29, 2006

And All That Jazz

Last Sunday I went to see the musical Chicago playing a 2-week run at the Princess of Wales Theatre. It was only after I had decided to see it at the last minute that I found out that Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys was in it, which made me tingle with excitement. And holy smokes, was he ever amazing- I can go as far as to say that he totally made the show. He played the role of the sleazy, money-grubbing Billy Flynn and performed the most enjoyable and entertaining numbers of the night. The set design was very simple but worked really well to create a vaudeville show feel. It was an evening of laughs, comical surprises and great songs, plus we had amazing centre seats in the orchestra section (with a 40% discount, no less)!


Tonight I just got back from a lecture at Ryerson demonstrating Apple's Aperture software for editing and managing photos (particularly RAW images). The speaker just showed some basic features of the program, which compared to Photoshop, really makes the editing workflow so much easier and faster. From my experience, just the simple task of wanting to carefully examine and compare several photographs up-close is a bit annoying to do in Photoshop, but Aperture actually has a really elegant feature to execute this. As most people already know, I'm really not a big fan of Mac computers, but I would seriously consider getting one just for this crazy Aperture doodad :O I guess it will come down to what is the most important tool I should put my money towards: Leica D-LUX 3 (no, 7 cameras aren't enough for me :P), good film scanner, photo printer, or a laptop. Decisions, decisions.

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

November 12, 2006

Really Mini!

I finally got my Rolleiflex Minidigi back in the mail after sending it in for replacement. I had barely gotten the chance to use it before it already died after a month. There went an extra $40 for shipping back and forth, haiii. That added to the burning fire that was my whole stressful one-month ordeal with Amazon.com and Adorama in getting my camera in the first place. So not worth all that trouble for this camera... but now I have it back so I better make the most out of it.

Posted by mich at 8:20 PM | return | dreams [0]

November 8, 2006

Rockin' It Like Noooobody

During our lunch break today Christian and I went over to Active Surplus to to find some headphone extensions. Instead, we found two massive buckets of Personally Yours wallets, each sporting a killer combination of flashy fluorescent colours and your own name! So we spent the next half hour digging through the buckets of electric orange, lime green and hot pink searching for specific names for our friends. I found one for myself- misspelled and everything. Now we can all be tacky wallet buddies!


I tried a muffin recipe I found in the newspaper. It asks for blueberries but since those are like 5 bucks for an itty bitty box, I replaced them with apples. I'm not sure whether you can actually call them "muffins" since they don't even have flour, sugar or butter. More like... baked oatmeal patties? They didn't turn out very sweet, but they're actually pretty nice to snack on, and they're super healthy! Continue reading for the recipe.

Apple Banana Muffins

3 bananas
1/2 cup canned pears
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup apples (e.g macintosh)
1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal

Mash 3 bananas with the canned pears in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Fold in apples and oatmeal. Thinly coat muffin pan with olive oil.

Pour batter in muffin pan and bake at 450F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Yields 6 muffins.

Posted by mich at 8:14 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 15, 2006

I'm an Exhibitionist

During work on Friday I received the best call. It was from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority informing me that my photographic piece I submitted to them was accepted for its first juried art exhibition called In Flight. Out of 150 submissions it received only 19 were chosen. I was so ecstatic, I wanted to jump for joy! Basically, In Flight is the inaugural exhibition in the Destination West Gallery of the new international pier of Toronto Pearson International Airport's Terminal 1 that runs from November to June. They were accepting work in any media so I submitted 2 pieces from my photo series entitled "Intersection of Memory". I get a $100 fee to cover part of my printing and framing expenses, which is pretty sweet, considering all the expenses for showing at Insomnia had to come out of my own pocket. One cool thing was that Susan Schelle, U of T prof and artist of "Jetstream", was one of the judgdes (and no, she didn't know I was U of T)! :P

Speaking of photography, last night I finally watched Manufactured Landscapes, which had stunning visuals. I only wished it was on a larger screen than the one we saw at the Alliance Atlantis Bayview Village. It follows the Canadian photographer Edward Burtrynsky as he documents the bleak industrial landscape of China and transforms them into beautiful images. Some people weren't as enthusiastic as I was about the film though- one guy started snoring in the middle of it.

Posted by mich at 9:07 PM | return | dreams [2]

October 6, 2006

Nuit Blanche 2006

Last Saturday's Nuit Blanche, "a free all-night contemporary art thing" turned out to be quite a spectacular event. I walked through a misty path, witnessed the divorce of two gay penguins and played in a room of rubber balls to 10-year old DJs. Although it was a bit rainy, I was determined to stick it out all night. Surprisingly there was still a huge turnout regardless of the weather. The night had a Hallowe'en vibe seeing everyone wandering the streets in the deark going from place to place. Here's how it unfolded:


Nuit Blanche officially starts and Christian and I are swept up the CN Tower to the Skypod for a one hour participatory photo installation. Basically, visitors had to make a reservation in advance in order to go up for free and the pictures taken that evening will be part of the Contact festival in May 2007. I shot as decent photos as I could without a tripod. Christian accidentally left his flash on and got a few nasty complaints from people doing long exposures. LOL. Oh well, accidents happen.


We met up with Christina at Queen & Spadina and headed over to the 401 Richmond for the various gallery exhibits in the converted factory. At the Prefix Institute of Art was Sphere, a ceiling project of light refracted through water that created interesting patterns from a deep hum coming from speakers. Then we checked out my group show Insomnia at the Red Head Gallery. After the 401 we walked up McCaul Street and on our way we encountered How to Respond in an Emergency, a series of performances by people dressed in police uniforms doing the tango on the street. At the Harrison Baths and Swimming Pool was Roy & Silo's Gay Divorce, which was a series of video and sound installations scattered thoughout the site - lockers, swimming pool and showers - documenting the the gay penguins' love story. A fun surprise was entering the pool area and seeing a bunch of balloon penguins floating on plates over the water. In the background was a video projection of a waterfall falling upwards. We continued up along McCaul to the OCAD area, where we first stopped into Ballroom Dancing in the University Settlement House. The gym area was turned into a dancefloor filled with colourful rubber balls with music supplied by 10-year old DJs. I got struck by a ball that hit my camera, which whammed into my stomach. Ouch! That was my cue to leave. Across the park was Model for a Public Space (speaker) that looked like circular bleachers. I had no idea what the point of this thing was... people were just walking on the tracks and just circling. Apparently, it was supposed to facilitate conversations, and there were supposed to be some speakers and musicians to engage the public, but there was absolutely nothing going on when we were there. Next up was Butterfield Park at OCAD filled with games: a chess game with massive chess pieces, Twister, and marble tournament. Coincidentally, we bumped into Ben and Alice, whose pieces I also saw at the 401 Richmond. They were the only other people I had met in my art classes that had turned out to be in comp sci as well. Anyhow, it turned out that CS just wasn't for them since they're now attending OCAD :P But it was pretty cool seeing them and catching up with them for a bit. Over on the University Avenue median at Dundas, renowned performance artist (and U of T faculty!) Tanya Mars set up a honkin' long table filled with plates, cutlery, and elegant tiered cakes. Tanya Mars and a fellow performer were dressed in fancy costumes as they each sat at one end of the table and ate cake... all... night... long. It was such an interesing concept (commenting on excess and consumption) and it drew a large crowd of amused onlookers.


We parted ways with Kris as she headed home and we continued trekking up Univeristy to the U of T campus. At the brand new pharmacy building, the cool classroom pods were bathed in colourful lights that were on full display to the street level. How cool would it be to learn in a pod... it puts the CS Bahen building to shame. Futher into the campus we went into University college and Hart House, bu there was nothing really remarkable that we saw. It turned out that we had missed a lot of cool things at Hart House including the pool, which was transformed by candlelight. Next up was the most stunning piece of the evening: Fog in Toronto #71624 on Philosopher's Walk that was a fog structure created by Japanese Fujiko Nakaya, who creates artificial fog atmospher all around the world. It felt so mystical walking along the path; the fog wove through all the trees and the lights shining from various spots created some beautiful silhouettes. Further up the Philosopher's Walk was One Garden One Night One Wish that had trees transformed by silver string and wishes written on paper. The public was invited to take a wish and tie it to the branches of the tree. Over at the music building engineering prof (and human cyborg), Steve Mann, was showing off his hydraulophone, which was a water sculpture/instrument that sounds like an organ when you play it. Continuing eastward on the campus were a few more installations, including Garden of Light at Victoria College, then past a field of sheep projected on the ROM's planetarium dome, and a neon sign on the faade of Church of Redeemer imploring us to "Hold that Thought". Around the Yorkville area the only things that really struck me were Pharma©opia, three giant floating pills, and Maize Barbacoa, a corn roasting performance (free corn)! I waited in line for about 5 minutes before we were told that the artist was taking a 30 minute break. Ah boo urns... I was starving at that point and far away from Chinatown. Apparently, the lime corn was delicious and well worth the wait. We wanted to take The Toronto Performance Transit System down to the West Queen West district so we waited at the bus stop at 2:00 am. Supposedly it comes around every 20 minutes and the people already at the stop had been waiting for 10 minutes. So we waited. And waited. And waited. By 2:40 am the bus finally came around, but it had no performances (unlike a previous one we saw with silver paper plastered all over the windows) AND it didn't go all the way to Zone C. Instead, we were dropped off at Queen and John, where we had to take the streetcar. What a waste of time.


We got off the TTC in front of the Gladstone Hotel that had a bunch of exhibits on all its floors. I really wanted to check it out but there was a long lineup, it was rainy, and Christian looked so exhuasted and miserable. So I dragged him quickly eastwards along the Queen Street strip, and stopping briefly to see Istvan Kantor's Revolutionary Song / Chanson mourir in an empty parking lot, car washes-turned-cinemas, The Cinderella Project at the West Side Lofts Sales Office, and Rebecca Belmore's melting ice sculpture at Royal Car Wash. In the MOCCA courtyard, a video projection entitled 24 hour 3 Stoogers that played Three Stooges episodes in slow motion. Further into the courtyard was a performance artist sleeping peacefully in a glass box, which was really creepy because it looked like she was dead. We finally reached Trinity Bellwoods Park - the end of Zone C. I had been looking forwaed to Electronic Sky, which had sounded so cool but had turned out to be really cheesy. In the Trinity Community Centre next to the park, the pool was transformed into a Roman Bath with DJs filling up the space with music. I had also wanted to check this out, but the line up was an hour long :( So we called it a night at 4:30 am.

Overall, despite some rainy periods, the night turned out to be fabulous. There was so much energy on the streets and I was so ready to stay around until sunrise. But too bad my other half couldn't make it... maybe next year.

Posted by mich at 7:25 PM | return | dreams [0]

September 8, 2006

End of Summer

On Labour Day, instead of going to the CNE for the last day of the Ex, Christian and I headed to the Toronto Islands for a day of kiddie rides at Centreville. We rode the log ride, played 9-hole mini golf (which I won!), went on the haunted house ride, and then played a horse racing game where you have to toss the ball into holes to make your horse move. My boyfriend finally won me a toy (instead of the other way around) :P We had a picnic of homemade sushi on the other side of the island, then tossed around the frisbee and wandered around the labyrinth. On our way back to Centreville I spotted people canoeing, and we decided to rent a canoe for an hour from the boathouse nearby. We paddled all the way to the end of Ward's Island and back, which worked up quite the appetite for a funnel cake with the works: icing sugar, strawberry sauce, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Mmm... heart attack on a plate :) Afterwards we went head to head in bumper cars and then rode on the ferris wheel. I love the ferris wheel- it makes me feel like a kid on a gigantic swing. I get the funny tingles in my belly and toes.

I brought my Polaroid back to life and played around with it on the island. I've already posted a couple of piccies here and here.

Posted by mich at 12:33 AM | return | dreams [0]

September 3, 2006


I've become a big fan of California Rolls and today Christian and I rolled our own sushi for lunch filled. We stuffed our rolls with cucumber, red peppers, fake crab, avocado, and mayonnaise and topped them with sesame seeds. Surprisingly, it turned out to be really easy and fun to make.

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

September 1, 2006

Chilly in the Suds

I've been here in Sudbury since Wednesday for work and will be leaving this afternoon. Initially I was dreading the trip for fear of extreme boredom (so I packed a couple of books, my DS, and iPod), but it turned out quite alright... I haven't even touched any of my books. Most of my off time was spent either at the gym or pool in the morning or eating and exploring with my colleagues after work.

At this one good restaurant we went to for dinner called Respect Is Burning, our waiter did a magic trick where he took our bill, poked a hole through it with his pen, took out the pen and the hole disappeared. MAGIC! I was impressed.

My perception of the city was pretty dreary - polluted, dusty and rocky - but they have a really nice lake (apparently there's 300 of them in the area) and there's actually grass and trees! :P My CEO took me and my colleagues for a drive to see the Big Nickel. We went during sunset, which was the perfect time for a really nice view of the nickel and the huge gigantic smokestack off in the horizon.

Posted by mich at 9:32 AM | return | dreams [0]

August 28, 2006

Peach Crisp

Joy wrote about a recipe she tried and it looked delicious. If it's peachy, I'm all over it like a fat kid on a Smartie. It took a lot longer than I expected. I started peeling the skins off the peaches, which is pretty tedious (and wastes a lot of peach), and after doing 8, I realized that I needed 8 cups and not 8 peaches :X I was like, bahhh screw it; I'm keeping the rest of them fuzzy. And they didn't even make a difference in the end.

It was all worth it though because they came out absolutley delicious. I couldn't stop eating them- and they were even better with ice cream on top.

Continue reading for the recipe down below.

Peach Crisp

8 cups fresh sliced peaches (free stone peaches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix.

3. Pour the filling ingredients into a 9 by13-inch baking pan and set aside while making the topping.

4. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles large peas. Stir in the egg. Distribute the topping evenly over the peaches in the baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Posted by mich at 6:02 PM | return | dreams [1]

August 25, 2006

Back To Cleanliness

This past weekend I went up to a rented cottage on Lake Simcoe with a bunch of friends. It wasn't really what I expected- the place was very musty and dingy and furnished with the tackiest sofas and trinkets left over from the 70s. Camping would have been nicer; at least I would have been in a clean tent rather than sleeping on on sketchy mattress (thank goodness for my sleeping bag!) Both nights were a bit rainy, but on our second night we were so set on roasting marshmellows over campfire that we had a campfire regardless of the weather. Mmm, yummy marshies. Overall the weekend was pretty relaxing... actually a bit boring, considering there was nothing really to do at Sibbald Point Provincial Park besides a 30 minute hiking trail and canoe/kayak rentals were unavailable across the island. We amused ourselves with football by the beach and a frisbee game called Cups. The rest of the time was occupied by watching videos on the laptop, a long game of Trivial Pursuit, Poker, and cooking. And no, I didn't poison anyone with my french toast or omelettes!

Here are other events that happened since my last post:

Taste of the Danforth - I went down to the Harbourfront with my family and Lilly for a free boat tour on the Kajama ship, but it was all booked up for the rest of the day :( So we headed up to the Danforth for a late lunch and stuffed ourselves with chicken pita, pork skewers, watermelon, and ice cream crpes. I don't think I've ever eaten so much on the Danforth, or had such good food (thanks to Lilly, who knew all the good food stands)! We later went to the Eaton Centre where Lilly and I teared up the stores... we make good shopping buddies: we go fast! The evening invovled more eating; this time at New Sky restaurant in Chinatown (one of the only downtown restaurants that can rival uptown), where my parents treated Christian to a birthday dinner. What a day of WAY too much food!

Birthday party at Raq 'n Waq - The evening started off great; I was having a fun time seeing friends I haven't seen in a while and having JT played (just for Mike) :P ... until someone started having a little too much fun and I played babysitter for the rest of the night and the next day. *hai* No more birthday parties for him!

Oakville Dragonboat Festival - My team won another medal! This time we got gold in Division C. In our last race we shaved off a whopping 10 seconds from our first 2 races. We even beat the time of the winners in Division B! The most classic part of it was having our whole team go up and perform the Carlton Dance when we accepted our medals.

Visitor from California - Jason was in town last week so we got together and chatted over iced capps. I hadn't seen him in 2 years since my trip to California, so it was great to catch up. He told me he got a job in Hawaii (!!!!) that he'll be starting soon. I'm so happy for him! And now I have a place to stay in Honolulu :P

And finally, after having spent the enire summer looking for it, my mom's friend found my LeSportsac fanny pack at an outlet store in the states, and for less than half the retail price! It will be perfect for when I volunteer at the Film Fest. I'm ecstatic!

Posted by mich at 9:30 AM | return | dreams [0]

August 10, 2006


I'm back from a long weekend in Quebec City. Aside from the 45 minute walk from the train station to our B&B with heavy bags through the rain, it was a nice and relaxing trip of exploring, shopping, and eating.

Upon arrival we walked straight into a big crowd of costumed people and massive 15-foot giants being prepared for that evening's parade. Apparently, we had stumbled upon Les Ftes de la Nouvelle France, and sure enough, walking all through Vieux Qubec, streets were closed off just for pedestrians and mini villages were set up at various venues. At Place Royale we tried a caribou and duck pt, which turned out to be surprisingly good. We caught some action happening at an open-air auction where people could bid on prizes using their "card money" they earned during the festival. That evening we had dinner at Caf Times, where we tried an amazing seafood linguine. The decor was very bold and mod, but their soundtrack and video screens were playing Cline Dion the entire time, which was a bit on the weird side.

The next day we had a poutine lunch at Chez Ashton - mmm big chunks of cheese curds! The rest of the afternoon was spent walking all around Vieux Qubec, visiting festival venues, walking around the Citadel, and watching the big parade. Early evening we took a shuttle bus to Montmorency Falls to watch Spain's performance in the fireworks competition. Although we waited for 3 hours in the freezing cold, the spectacular show was worth the wait. Upon arriving back in the city, we headed to Le Bel Gauffre for something nice and warm - an amazing pizza on gauffre with herbed mayo for dipping.

On Sunday morning Christian found us a great place for brunch hidden off the main touristy streets with the cutest address: 8 1/2 Ste-Ursule (and just across the street was the street number 9 3/4!) Anyway, at this caf we tried the best omelette ever, and struck up a conversation with a middle-aged couple from Calgary who had driven 5 days to get to Quebec... wow, hardcore. In the afternoon we took a 45 minute bus ride out to Les Galeries de la Capitale solely for the purpose of getting our Simons fix (and omg, they *finally* have a website). It's one-third the size of the Montreal one, but at least it was much bigger than the one in Old Quebec. I still managed to shop there for 1.5 hours (and scored a cheap OBEY tank too!) After busing it back into the city, we walked around the Citadel and along the Plains of Abraham. For our last dinner, we ate at Le Lapin Saut, a cute traditional french country restaurant on Petit-Champlain, where we ate... bunnies :X Sounds horrible and cruel, but was it ever delicious :P We started off with les rillettes de lapin, which was a spread for bread, then I had a rabbit in two sauces: two mustards and maple. The meat was so tender and the sauces were amazing. We finished dinner by pigging out on strawberry cheesecake.

I think I always gain weight after vacations... hm, I wonder whyyyy!

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 20, 2006

A la belle province

I'm spending my Victoria Day long weekend here in Montreal, where it's cold and dreary. My parents and I left the house at 11am, but had to run errands first before actually hitting the road at 11:45. We got into the city at 6pm and my parents decided that they wanted to stop over at my aunt's house to check out the living conditions (my aunt and uncle pretty much live with my cousins in Boston now so the place rests unoccupied). Well, it turned out that my dad missed the highway exit to my aunt's place so we continued further to the next ramp. Everything after that was a scene of madness. Since my dad hasn't been back in the Laval area in a while, his sense of direction got a bit rusty. Then add in a new townhouse development/village and you've got a family hitting dead-ends left, right, and centre trying to get out of the maze. After 20-30 minutes of driving around the mini-village, we finally found an exit to the main road after asking a resident. We started heading in the right direction towards Henri-Bourassa but my dad underestimated the actual distance of the street to reach the intersection, so he turned around thinking that we had been going the wrong way. I kept insisting we consult our antiquated map from 1990, and it was only after we backtracked past where we had originally started that we realized we were initially heading the right way all along. We wasted an hour wandering around and ended up just skipping my aunt's place and going straight to my sister's. *haaaiiii*

For dinner I convinced my parents to try out the Spanish restaurant La Sala Rosa that I went to last month. This time we ordered garlic shrimp (not as tasty as last time), potato and onion omelette, chicken and seafood paella, and this evening's special of grilled quail in honey with onions and grapes. I was a big fan of the quail, omelette, and flan that we had for dessert. It turned out that the paella comes with a salad and flan, yet the first time I went we never got any flan; we were cheated! I don't think I've ever had flan that amazing before... I even considered ordering another one. *oink oink* But really, the flan wasn't that big and it was shared between the 4 of us. And on the last piece that my sister and I were splitting, she claimed I didn't cut it properly in half, so in her attempt to even things out, my half went flying across the table! Oh what a waste!!

I finally uploaded my pictures of my trips to Ottawa during Winterlude and Montreal during Easter here.

Posted by mich at 10:26 PM | return | dreams [0]

April 18, 2006

Easter Weekend In Montral

It was a chilly and windy weekend in Montreal and now I'm getting sick *cough cough*. I had a fun time, although my sore legs are still trying to recuperate from all the walking we did. And after my legs get better I need to hit the gym to undo all the eating we did >.<

On Thursday Christian and I took the 5pm express train where it turned out that we had business class seats. So there were plugs and tables for us to watch videos on the laptop and for me to do some Flash work. We got into the city at 9:30 and cabbed it to my sister's place on St. Laurent. The three of us then went to Santropol, a really cute restaurant that has a really unique selection of sandwiches (minted ham sandwich anyone?). I wanted to try the Sweet Root sandwich, which consisted of nuts, raisins, apples and carrots, but they were completely out :( So I opted for a yummy Millet Pie that was very wheat-y and came with some sort of sweet and spicy ketchup. After our filling dinner we walked back to Vanessa's place and watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

Friday morning I woke up early to squeeze in some Flash work before everyone else woke up. At noon the three of us walked over to St. Denis for brunch at Caf Fruits Folies, where we all ordered different variations of french toast dishes. After eating, Vanessa went to the McGill to do work, while Chris and I walked up St. Denis towards Mont-Royal. We stopped into a cute boutique called Nahika and I found a cute tennis-style Groggy tank (I think this is the third time in a row where I went to Montreal and bought a Groggy item, haha... why don't Toronto stores carry them?!). Afterwards we turned onto Mont-Royal to check out used CD stores, walked about 20 minutes down the avenue, doubled back to St. Denis, then walked back down towards downtown. Once we made it down to Square St-Louis, we veered off the main road and found ourselves on Prince Arthur, a quaint pedestrian road dotted with restaurants and cafs. We made it across to St. Laurent, down to Sherbrooke then back across to St. Denis to continue down to St. Catherine. We walked on St. Catherine towards Place-des-Arts to meet with Sunnie, but on the trek there Chris had to have his mandatory fill of poutine at La Belle Province ("the working man's fries" says he!). After meeting with Sunnie we walked to Les Ailes de la Mode to pick up Chris' friend Thuy from work, then went back to Place-des-Arts to meet with my sister at 7. Vanessa suggested a Spanish tapas place that all her friends recommended, so we decided to eat there for dinner. The only problem was that she wasn't exactly sure where it was on St. Laurent, only that it was "north of her place". Ok fine... a bit of a hike, but no one was really that hungry yet. By 8:15 we were still walking up St. Laurent looking for the place, legs sore, bones chilled, and tummies growling. We gave up shortly after that (it turns out we turned back less than a block away!), and walked another 20 mintues to St. Denis to a Caribbean restaurant called Kalalu. It probably took another hour or so before we could eat because the service was pretty slow. We had Creole cigars (spicy seasoned beef, pork, crabmeat, scallions, and pollock in a spring roll wrap)and Accra (cod fish cakes fried and served with a lime pepper mayo and a mango dipping sauce) as appetizers, which turned out to be pretty good. However, the pork of my Griot dish was too dry, so it was kinda hard to eat.

On Saturday Christian, Vanessa and I headed to St-Viateur Bagel for a bagel sandwich brunch. It was pretty cool to see how they make bagels in the wood burning ovens; and of course I had to get a dozen Montreal style bagels to take home (but apparently you can order them online too!). Afterwards, as my sister headed home to study some more, Chris and I took the metro downtown to shop at Simons. He actually thought I was joking when I said I needed 2 hours in the store. But we really stayed there from 2-4:00 while I scoured the whole store and came out with 4 finds :) Next stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out the Anselm Kiefer exhibit. For dinner that evening, we decided to give the Spanish restaurant another chance. This time, my sister had looked up the exact address and intersection of La Sala Rosa. It was only a 20 minute walk but we ended up having to wait an hour for a table >.< In the end, the wait was definitely worth it; ordered fried squid, garlic shrimp, fried goat cheese, potato and onion omelette with spanish sausage tortilla, sauted zuccuni, peppers and tomatoes on a nest of potatoes, and finally a chicken paella with vegetables. The food was absolutely scrumptious, but the fried cheese was definitely... interesting, to say the least. Later in the evening Christian and I headed to his friend's birthday party at a club called System. I didn't realize how smoky the club would be (they still allow smoking in bars/clubs) so I had to leave after half an hour because I was seriously suffocating. Yes I'm a big party pooper. So we headed back to my sister's area and met up with my sister and her friend at Frites Alors! for greasy snack at 1:30.

The next morning Chris and I walked over to Rockaberry's for drinks/lunch/dessert. My sister wasn't exaggerating when she said the pies there were amazing. I couldn't believe the selection they had, and it took us a while to finally decide on the apple crumble pie (warmed up, of course!) with a big hunk of ice cream. Christian's friends from the previous night dropped by to hang out for a bit. Afterwards, we went over to Schwartz's deli to endure the 20 minute lineup to get a piece of their famous smoked meat. Our final destination was a walk around Vieux Montreal before going to the train station to head back home.

Posted by mich at 5:44 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 25, 2006

I Heart Coldplay

And I heart Christina too for taking me to see them, thanks babe!

So Thursday evening was the big night. We dined for two hours at Monte Cristo. The restaurant was so nice and stylish, but I can't say that my meal was amazing (I should have ordered what Kris got!). We were ALL OVER the bread and vinegar; you should have seen the look on Kris' face when she was in the middle of finishing her piece of bread and the waiter took away our vinegar... big wide eyes full of shock following the dish being lifted up from our table out of sight and a a big puppy dog frown, AWWW!

Anyway, attention back to the most important part of the evening... Coldplay! We were stuck back in the rafters, and although it's definitely not the same feeling as being right up at the stage where you can see Chris Martin's sweat, I still had a great time. The show started off with an amazing setup where Chris and the band were silhouetted against a white screen of counting numbers that reminded us exactly of Tatsuo Miyajima's Counter Void in Tokyo's Roppongi area. The rest of the show was just as spectacular and we were singing with their songs until our voices cracked. We each bought a Coldplay t-shirt, mine being brown and pink with a cute puzzle piece logo. It was only when I was admiring it in the mirror at home when I realized that the pieces actually spelled X Y! Hahaha, I'm so blind... after that discovery I love my tee even more!

I took a whole bunch of pictures: a few with colour film and the rest with black and white. I'm still trying to finish my B&W roll, but my colour roll will be back on Tuesday! Stay tuned for pics!

Posted by mich at 6:39 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 17, 2006


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 :(


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 7, 2006

Being Published Again

Back in December I had posted up pics of my DisneyWorld trip on my Flikr site. A few weeks later, I had received an e-mail from an editor of a book called Scrapbooker's Guide to Walt Disney World asking for permission to use a bunch of my photos. I thought it was pretty cool that someone just found my photos and wanted to use them... and of course I gave permission. Over the weekend I received an e-mail from the author saying that I'd get a free copy of the book and inviting me to the book's launch party in December at Walt Disney to help sign autographs. Pretty exciting! Now if only someone will help sponsor me to go to Disney o_O

I always knew that March had the most birthdays of the year, but I didn't realize how crazy it actually is. For some reason this year, it seems like everyone's celebrating their b-day on the same day as me (ok, I exaggerate... only THREE). So now I have three friends who can't come out on Saturday because their friends had planned their b-days way in advance. Oy, seems like next year I need to start booking people one month ahead!

Posted by mich at 6:39 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]

February 16, 2006

Look Ma, I'm In A Mag

A while back I submitted a few of my x-processed Disney photos to a photography magazine and just last week I
got an e-mail of acceptance :) There's a party tonight at the Red Room to launch the mag's second issue where
everyone will get to see what it all looks like.

UI_cover.jpg UI_disney.jpg
Posted by mich at 12:59 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 12, 2006

It's An Indoor Rainforest!

Last Thursday Dennis and I stumbled into U of T's brand-spanking new Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building and oh my was the architecture stunning! Wide open spaces with splashes of vibrant colours, and... mini forests on the first and second floors. When you first step in through the doors you enter a bamboo forest through which you can meander. We had no idea where the time went but when we finally left the building, an hour had already passed. I'm a big fan of the Bahen Building but this pharmacy building puts it to shame!

That evening Christian and I went to a murder mystery dinner and show at Mysteriously Yours. The whole atmosphere was so nice and the dinner was pretty good! I had cream of cauliflower soup followed by herb roasted chicken with mashed sweet potato and veggies (yummm, but waaaay too much chicken!) and finished off with chocolate-cherry cheesecake (but it didn't taste very cheesecake-y). During the dinner the characters started coming out and introducing themselves, during which one character gave me a line that I had to say during Act II. The show was hilarious, and throughout it all they had audience members popping up with funny lines and actions. Aaand, I correctly figured out whodunnit!

Posted by mich at 11:13 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 8, 2006

Curse You Global Warming!

This past weekend Christian took me on a trip to Ottawa for Winterlude... but since it was so unbelievably warm and rainy, it might as well as been called Waterlude! :( It looked promising as we rode the train up Friday morning and saw snow out the window, but once we arrived in Ottawa we were greeted by rain. Because of the terrible weather, most events and activities were cancelled. In sum, most of the weekend was spent indoors eating (much to the chagrin of my waistline).

On Friday we had taken the early train at 7am and got into Ottawa at 11:30. We located our bed & breakfast in ByWard Market, and my goodness, the place was absolutely stunning! It was the kind of decor I admire in those architecture mags: stylish, minimalist, European with funky accents and colours. It was a 3-story place where our bedroom was on the first floor, kitchen, dining and living room on the second, and 2 other bedrooms on the third. I spent the next little while taking pictures of the house. Oh and I must talk about the towels. So thick and soft, you can't even keep them tied around your body because they're SO thick! And the blankets... soooo soft! Haha ok I'm finished. We had lunch at Blue Cactus in the market and had the worst waiter who kept ignoring us. Then we walked around Chteau Laurier and neared Parliament Hill, but the weather was dreary and rainy that we headed into the Rideau Centre for some shopping. Afterwards, we chilled in our room while pigging out on poutine and watching TV. Tom Cochrane was performing at the Snowbowl stage on the canal in the evening so we checked that out for a bit, but we didn't know any of his songs. The canal had been opened that day just for Winterlude, but it was only safe to walk across rather than to skate. So then we walked down to Confederation Park to check out the ice lounge and ice carving competition that had started that day and was to continue until Sunday at noon. For dinner neither of us were that hungry so we decided to have some small apetizer dishes at Milestone's. For over 30 minutes our blind waitress didn't even acknowledge us so we were just sitting there starving away (what's with all these bad waiters?). Finally the host that had seated us realized we had been ignored and got another waiter to serve us. The only upside was that everything we ordered was on the house as an apology. Sweeeet. That evening I tried ice wine for the first time, and it was surprisingly bearable- doesn't burn like the normal wines! I managed a whole half glass worth and I didn't even end up with a pulsing headache... miraculous!

Saturday morning we woke up at 8:15 for breakfast upstairs. Our innkeeper, Anthony from New Zealand, turned out to be an amazing chef and had made us yummy orange strawberry smoothies, and a plate of fruit florally arranged and eggs benedict with creamy hollondaise sauce. *smacks lips* We had been exhausted from the day before and I had problems sleeping with my really puffy pillow, so we just crashed for another couple of hours after breakfast. In the afternoon we took the Sno-Bus to Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, where they have Snowflake Kingdom, North America's largest snow playground. But once we arrived, all we saw was mud, melting mounds of snow, and people standing at the closed entrace letting everyone know that everything was cancelled. How sucky is that? We considered stealing a Bloc Qubecois sign (unfortunately they were secured too well to the lamp posts) before heading back across the river. There was no point in travelling to Dow's Lake either since everything was cancelled there too. We had lunch in the market again at Zak's Diner, where their meals are really fit for two people. We had a yummy strawberry milkshake (dessert #1) and each ordered a sandwhich but we could only manage to eat half: that's how big the meals are o_O. We hung out for a while at the Rideau Centre, then went back to our B&B, where the sleepy head crashed for another 2 hours while I surfed the internet looking up Shih Tzu dogs that I want. His name will be either Puppy or Guiseppe, but Christian suggested Max()... LOL, nerd much? :P I had my hopes up that perhaps later in the evening the canal would be fit for skating, but because of all the rain it was completely closed >_< We walked back to Confederation Park to check out the progress of the ice sculptures. Some were turning out great, but everything was slowly melting. You could see everything dripping; I felt so bad for the sculptors working so hard when their pieces probably wouldn't even see the light of the next day. We saw a CTV reporter commenting on the Winterlude activities, declaring that the only thing you can do this weekend is to see the ice sculptures... for now. We walked up and down Elgin, back up to the Snowbowl and caught a bit of a fire busker performance, then took pictures of the cute Ice Hog mascots running around amongst the crowd. We headed back into the market where we stopped into Oh So Good!, where they have a craaazy assortment of interesting cheesecakes. *droooool* So many to choose from! I decided on a mango raspberry cheesecake (dessert #2) and had a nice peach black tea to warm me up from the cold. We went back to our B&B (I love how it's in such an amazing location!!) where we rested a bit before heading back outside to get Beaver Tails (dessert #3). This time, however, it ended up pouring rain and we had to run back home protecting our poor beaver tails from getting soaked. I enjoyed my scrumptious apple cinnamon tail while we watched a funny chinese movie called Kung-Fu Mahjong.

The next morning for breakfast Anthony had made us berry smoothies and AMAZING custard french toast using thick french bread. [Aside: I tried out the recipe on my own when I got home, but the egg mixture didn't end up soaking all the way through the bread :( Continue reading down below for the recipe.] In the morning the weather was 6 degress so there was no way anything would be going on for Winterlude. After eating, we packed up our bags then took the bus to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The place looked a lot smaller than what I remember 12 years ago, but inside was totally renovated. Although the Ontario Science Centre here is a lot bigger, all the exhibits are old and grungy that I remember being scared to touch something so dirty and germ-infested. The museum turned out to be so much fun and I actually learned some really neat things (like what the heck Sanford Fleming is famous for, haha... omg I'm such a nerd). We stayed there for 4 hours and took the bus back downtown. By this time it was 3pm and we were starving, but all the restaurants in the market were closed in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. After walking around the whole market trying all the restuarants, we finally went back to Zak's again (it's open 24 hours on the weekend, y'know!), where I had a Chicken Fajita wrap with onion rings (<--- sooo gooood!). Again, the wrap was so massive that I ended up saving half of it for the train ride home. Aftewards we went into Zone, a house and home store that carried some amazingly designed kitchen ware and home decor. I bought myself a mug with an infuser, the first time I've seen one since I bought one for my dad 5 years ago. We picked up our bags from the B&B and walked to the bus stop. We were so close to Confederation Park so we decided to go down and check out the finished ice sculptures. Poor sculptures!! So many of them were destroyed, and a few sculptors had given up on their works. By the time we finished circling the park and headed back up to the street I finally saw a taffy stall, but we had no time to make any! :( We took the 6:15 train back home and arrived to Union at 10:30; then I travelled another hour back home and got in at 11:30.

Snow sculpture on Friday night
(man's right hand already broken)
  Snow sculpture on Saturday morning
Custard French Toast

5 eggs
2 cups of milk (whole or 1/2 & 1/2)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
French bread cut into 1-1/2 inch slices

1. Combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla & Nutmeg
2. Place sliced bread in a glass cassarole pan.
3. Pour egg mixture over bread - spinkle with additional nutmeg. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. Cook in greased pan until golden brown on both sides. Top with powdered sugar, fresh berries and a dallop of whipped cream.

Posted by mich at 9:11 PM | return | dreams [1]

January 23, 2006

Put On A Happy Face

According to British psychologist Cliff Arnall, today is considered the unhappiest day of the year when you take into account the weather, debts from holiday shopping, the time since Christmas, and abandoned New Year's resolutions (and maybe since it's a Monday too). Throw in the federal elections into the mix and you might get a very unhappy Paul Martin by the end of the evening (but let's try to be optimistic, folks!) :)

I must tell you all about this new snack I'm obsessed about now: Terra Chips. I tried the Mediterranean flavoured exotic chips that uses a variety of vegetables like taro, ruby taro, sweet potato, yuca, batata, and parsnip. Mmmm, yummy and colourful! They have them at Loblaws, but when I saw them in Kensington Market for half the price I was all over them like a fat kid on a Smartie! We also dropped into Moonbeam Caf while strolling around the market and I saw Sook-Yin Lee at one of the tables. I'm pretty sure she lives in the neighbourhood, so it would make sense. But Christian doesn't think it was her. I just think he's blind. :P

I just found out today that Carl Zeiss is coming out with lenses for Nikon SLRs!! I am absolutely ecstatic. I'm a huge fan of Zeiss lenses; although I can't afford the Contax 645 and I can't mount my Zeiss lens from my Contax RTS onto my digital, this is the happiest news ever!

Posted by mich at 5:56 PM | return | dreams [1]

December 1, 2005

Lighten Up

I stumbled up some of Ken Rockwell's humourous articles entitled Seven Levels of Photographers and Seven Levels of Artists. He also offers his opinion on why Your Camera Does Not Matter. While I agree that compelling images are captured by the photographer and not the camera, sometimes a really terrible camera/lens can make a potentially stunning image look like garbage (I unfortunately had to use one of those when I broke my camera). On the other hand, I do know some people who are all about their equipment and lusting after the newest set of expensive lenses (and who happen to be in CS, no surprise) who have only snapshots of friends and family to show for all of it. I guess I'm in the middle of the spectrum- I'm pretty picky about the camera equipment I invest in, but I love playing around with different toy cameras and experimenting with ways of using film.

Posted by mich at 6:09 PM | return | dreams [0]

November 23, 2005

I Miss Disney (already)!

I got back from Orlando last Friday only to be greeted by a nice flurry of snow! Throughout the week of vacation I enjoyed comfortable weather in the low-mid twenties (perfect summer temperature for me!) with the occasional light shower scattered throughout one of the mornings. It was the first time I ever got to sport summer attire during the autumn/winter season :) I've come to the realization that November is the best time to travel for a number of reasons:

1. November's the worst month of the year here- a dreary, sombre mood of remembrance that falls in between the glorious fall colours of October and the joyous winter wonderland that arrives in December
2. Low season = cheap airfare
3. Southern locations are comfortably warm and not too hot
4. Less tourists = no lineups in Disneyworld = more fun in one day!

Overall the trip was super fun, yet exhausting. Our schedule for 6 days were as follows: wake up at 7am, make breakfast, catch shuttle bus to Disney, play play play, return to the resort at 10 or 11pm, prepare lunch and dinner for the next day, sleep at 12 or 1.

Daily Highlights

Day 1: Toronto to Orlando
Woke up at 3:30 am for 6:30 am flight, ate the best bagel I've ever had in my life (french toast flavour from The Great American Bagel), arrived in Orlando at 11am, stopped at Outlet mall on the way from the airport to the resort, shopped shopped shopped with huge backpacks still on our backs, pushed around huge backpacks in carts while grocery shopping, running around taking pictures and videos of our massive resort suite.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom (Part 1)
Took ferry boat to Magic Kingdom, snapped a billion pictures of everything upon entering the park, figured out the magic of FastPass, went through Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and a bit of Fantasyland, got sopping wet on Splash Mountain, bought funny Splash Mountain picture, ate Mickey Mouse ice cream bar, realized that It's a Small World is actually a great ride.

Day 3: Epcot (Part 1)
Rode a boat ride through a greenhouse where we saw Mickey Mouse pumpkins and 9-pound lemons, went on a hang-gliding simulation ride, waited an hour through technical difficulties only to experience a yucky space simulation ride that applied a G-force of like 5 million on you (that was a lowlight), visited Mexico, Norway, and China Pavillions, travelled 65mph on Test Track, met Tigger and Eeyore in the UK Pavillion, watched fireworks.

Day 4: Animal Kingdom
Rode an African safari through a wildlife reserve, explored detailed African and Asian villages, had the daylights scared out of me being chased by dinosaurs, rode a cute spinning roller-coaster, meeting holiday Eeyore, Tigger and POOH!, pigged out on yummy Ghirardelli cheesecake sundae in Downtown Disney.

Day 5: Magic Kingdom (Part 2)
Endured 90 minute timeshare presentation at the resort, rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh twice, visited Minnie Mouse's house, met Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Chip & Dale, rode Splash Mountain and Buzz Lightyear twice each without lineups, bought Minnie Mouse ears, watched a spectacular fireworks show.

Day 6: Disney-MGM Studios
Screamed my head off on the Tower of Terror (who knew it was actually a pretty good ride?!), played in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, watched a super crazy car stunt show, sat as an audience member of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, learned to draw Goofy and Stitch in animation class, watched the Fantasmic light show, walked down New York street dressed in millions of Christmas lightbulbs along with sparkling snowfall.

Day 7: Epcot (Part 2)
Took a greenhouse tour and held a Mickey pumpkin, visited Canada, UK, France, Morocco, Japan, US, Italy and Germany Pavillions, shopped at Mitsukoshi dept store in Japan, had a beautiful crane carved out of candy by Miyuki, had yummy Mickey ice cream bar and funnel cake, ate our only non-homemade meal at Landry's Seafood for dinner.

Day 8: Orlando to Toronto
Woke up at 5:30 am for 8 am flight, rode with scary cab driver to the airport, arrived in Toronto at 10:30 am, had my first taste of Chinese food in over a week (I was deprived)!

Take a look at some of the pics here.

Posted by mich at 8:29 PM | return | dreams [1]

November 10, 2005

The Happiest Place On Earth!

Early flight tomorrow morning. *yawn* See y'all in a week!

Posted by mich at 10:07 PM | return | dreams [0]

November 6, 2005

The Power of Photography

This evening on CBC Newsworld I watched the documentary Born Into Brothels, about a filmmaker/photography who lives in Calcutta's red light district to document the lives of the women who live there. Instead, she stumbles across a whole population of children living in the area and introduces them to the camera and the art of photography, which brings hope and empowerment to their impoverished lives. The images the kids capture are absolutely stunning as they reveal the conditions in which they live from the whimsical perspectives of a child.

It's repeating this Saturday, Nov 12 on CBC Newsworld at 10pm. Watch the film.

Posted by mich at 11:30 PM | return | dreams [1]

October 5, 2005

Update On My Boring Life

My life is so blah right now I don't even have the motivation to write about it on a regular basis. So now I'm doing batch updates :P

I volunteered a bit for the McLuhan International Festival of the Future that was last week. Not very fun since there wasn't a big turnout and because everything was super disorganized. The upside was that I got to go to the events for free and got to attend some really interesting talks and discussion panels.

As for the status of my contract with Princess Cruises, I was assigned to leave from LA on November 12, but I'll be deferring it again to start sometime in December. If my sis and I get assigned to the same ship that'd be pretty cool.

I just got a tutoring job last night through Sam to tutor grade 9 French twice a week, so I'll be starting that tomorrow. Holy cow, I can't believe I'm actually going to making some money, woohoo!

Two weeks ago I attended a fashion show by Amber Delicious to celebrate the opening of her store. Here are a few pictures I took that night:

Posted by mich at 10:47 AM | return | dreams [0]

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]

August 12, 2005

Aggravated & Banana'd

Aggravation round 2. The night after I last blogged I had 3 bad dreams that were pretty much attributed to my anxiety. They were all about actual plans and meetings I had lined up for the next couple of days. First, the fashion shoot I had scheduled went SO bad- I had forgotten my camera, all the models were running amok and by the time I got my camera it was broken. In my second dream, I totally forgot to meet with my art prof to do some printing and instead went out to dinner with my friends. During dinner I realized that I was going to miss the Blue Man Group show that I was scheduled to go to with Christian. Then in my last dream, I was to meet with one of the makeup artists I worked with to give her my prints. I was running around forever trying to find her... and when I finally did, I realized that I had forgot to bring the prints with me >.<

Aggravation round 3. I had scheduled to meet my art prof on Wed @ 5pm after her class so I could do my printing. I got to the computer lab at 5 on the dot but it was locked. I went to her office, but she just left a sign on her door saying she was in the lab. I went to the lab and no one came to open it. Tick tock. Tick tock. I was siting there waiting and waiting, sweating in the non air-conditioned haunted building. After 30 min of waiting I was extremely annoyed. Christian can probably attest to that since I was practically yelling on the phone complaining to him :P It turns out that the prof's class went WAY overtime and she came out at 6pm. Apparently, she had left the printer out for me, but had locked the door. And she forgot to leave me the paper anyway. Sheesh. So I spent a little over an hour in the lab trying to get all my stuff done then rushed to meet Christian to make it for the Blue Man Group show at 8pm. We were in such a hurry that all we had for dinner was chinese bakery buns >.< On a bright note, the show was great! We had front row seats... unfortunately, we got mashed bananas spewed all over us. Out of everyone, Christian got the worst of it since we were sitting directly in front of the bananas *yeeeeuck*! At the end of the show, streams of paper came rolling down the audience from the back to the front. The end result was a massive pile in the front row and us being buried over our heads in streamers.

Aggravation round 4. Woke up yesterday with massive knee pains... I could barely even walk. I haven't had knee pains in a while and I didn't really do anything to aggravate them. So for all my pain I blame everyone that streesed me out. I had the fashion shoot in the morning to early afternoon, and it turned out pretty well. I had a lot of fun working with the model, but I just wish I had more time to photograph and work with more ideas that I had. I would have liked to work more with less styles but I also had to please the designer with shots of more designs in more boring, "catalog" poses, if you will. The makeup artist was really good and she came up with some great hairstyles, but she just ate up way too much time. The shoot went overtime by an hour and a half but the model was so great about it. The only problem was after the shoot I had to rush to drop the car off at my dad's office and try to make it downtown to meet a makeup artist to give her my print. I ended up rescheduling the meeting for 30 min later, and it was all good. I even remembered to bring the print with me :)

Posted by mich at 1:59 PM | return | dreams [0]

July 18, 2005

Buzz Buzz I Wunder Why She Duzz?

Time for another batch blog!

Wednesday I went down to Roy Thompson Hall with Cass and Kim to sign up for shifts for the Toronto Film Festival. This year, instead of working at the Isabel Bader Theatre, I'll be at Roy Thompson (for the opening gala!) and the AGO. I'm looking forward to it... I had so much fun last year :) Later in the evening Christian and I had a summerlicious dinner at Canoe that consisted of Citrus Cured Mahone Bay Scallops Sweet Shrimp, Honey Mushrooms, Tarragon & Truffle Oil for the appetizer, Roasted Tenderloin of Pork Parsnip, Granny Smith & Maple Black Pepper Jus for the entre, and Wild Blueberry Cheesecake that was to die for. Mmmmmmm.

On Friday afternoon I went to see a Fringe Festival play called Boygroove with Vanessa. It's part play, part musical that basically spoofs the whole idea of boy bands. It was soooo hilarious: the music, the characters and the storyline! While waiting in line for tickets, I bumped into Jen who was volunteering at the festival and gave her a spot in the line (shhh!).

In the evening Christian and I biked to the Distillery District for the PartiGras that kicks off the annual Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival. It was my first time in the area and I really liked the quaint atmosphere, which was nicely complemented by all the great jazz performances. I got home a lot later than I had wanted. I was so tired and I had to wake up at 7am the next morning for my second fashion shoot, but I wanted to discharge my camera batteries in order to have a fully charged battery to use. I should have just left it as it was because there was enough juice in it to last me the day- I was just really unsure how long it would last because the first 2 charges didn't give me a lot of battery life. By 1:30 am I was so ready to hit the sack and I was uploading and re-uploading pictures onto my computer to use up the batteries, but it didn't seem like it was doing much good. So for the next TWO hours I sat there shooting off my camera with the flash. Click. Click. Click. I was absolutely dying from tiredness but I had to keep going... and finally it was done!

Unfortunately, I ended up sleeping in until 8am the next morning when I had to actually be downtown at 8:30 :O Whoooops. Made a mad dash out the door and when I arrived at the studio, I found out I was switched to another team, where my partner had arrived as late as I (at 9am), and we were frantically trying to put our sets together in time for the shoot. However, it turned out that our model still hadn't arrived yet and we had no idea when she was going to be in. So we ended up shooting one of the model's sister, who was just there to watch everything. We actually had a pretty good shoot with her and I finished off a 1 GB card (and even had to delete some bad pics to shoot some more). Before lunchtime while my partner was shooting I went to Future Shop nearby to buy another memory card, but they were out since it was on sale for a really good price. I had no idea where else to get a cheap memory card, so I ended up TTC'ing all the way back up to North York Center to meet with my parents who would help me buy one at the Future Shop there. And thennnn, TTC back down to Ryerson to immediately start setting up my set for the next model (I had completely missed lunch). The next model was really pretty but she needed a lot of direction ("raise your right arm- no that's your left arm!"); it got to the point where I had to go in and move her body parts. Overall though, I had a lot more fun during this shoot than last week's. I felt a lot more comfortable, and I actually got to shoot for more than 30 min! I'm in the process of reviewing all the shots for my critique tomorrow, so I'll post them up when I get them all together :)

Posted by mich at 4:53 PM | return | dreams [1]

July 10, 2005

My New Toy

Haven't updated in a long time so this might be a long entry!

The big news first: I finally got a digital camera! The Nikon D70s.
Yup, I've crossed over to the dark side, but it's come to the point where I it's about time I go digital. Especially with the fashion photography course I'm taking, digital is the way to go.

Ok now let's recap on my last few weeks....

The last weekend in June I went camping at Algonquin Park's Mew Lake. I got attacked by vicious black flies, but other than that, the trip was fine and dandy! We got into the campsite at around 11pm Friday night and ended up having to set up our tents using the car headlights as our light source. The next day we rented canoes and paddled around Canoe Lake, then did a little hiking trip to an outlook. Unfortunately those were the only outdoorsy activities we got to do. Most of our time was taken up being iron chefs.

For the Canada Day long weekend Christian and I went to the nation's capital. We got in by bus on Thursday at midnight. We stayed at a cute B&B about a 15 min walk from Parliament. On Canada Day we checked out the events going on at Parliamnet Hill and Major's Hill Park, walked about Byward Market, and went to the National Gallery for the Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence exhibit. We took a lunch break at Byward Market for Chris' mandatory poutine meal, then headed back to the gallery to look at the permanant collections. At 3pm we headed back to the B&B to rest while it rained outside. Mr. Sleepyhead passed out for a couple of hours and left me to go off walking around by myself! When he came to, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant at Byward, then headed to the Hill to catch Sam Robert's performance and the fireworks. The scene after the fireworks was nuts. We were pushed and shoved around and packed like sardines walking down Wellington St. We made a pit stop for Beaver Tails at the Market before attempting to meet Thy at the Aristocrat Suite she was staying at for the night. Unfortunately, with a faulty set of directions we totally missed the hotel and walked all the way down to the Museum of Nature area. By the time we figured out where the hotel really was it was already 12:30 and we were beat so we just headed back to the B&B :(

On the Saturday we watched a bit of the changing of the guards on the Hill, visited the Museum of Contemporary Photography, made necklaces at Sassy Beads in the Market, and had a patio lunch at Black Tomato, where I had a tiny bit of alcohol with my meal. Big mistake. I developed a headache and was so tired after lunch that I needed a nap nap in Major's Hill Park. That evening we took the bus to Kanata, met up with Jon and we visited our old houses- they looked sooo much smaller than we remembered. The good ol' days... *sigh*! We went out to dinner with Jon and his parents at a Texan restaurant then retired early with plans to wake up at 5am the next morning (haha, yeah right!) The next morning we woke up at 6am and explored downtown during sunrise before heading back to the B&B for breakfast. We didn't do much else that morning before we had to head to the bus station back to Toronto.

This weekend has been quite busy as well. Friday night was the opening ceremony for the Toronto Street Festival. Chris and I checked it out at Yonge Dundas Square- we saw Great Big Sea perform and Les Girafes Urban Operetta, which was basically a parade of red elephants on the street. Not as impressive as the Malaya Winterfest closing performace, but still a fun spectacle nonetheless. Yesterday morning I had to wake up at 7am to make it down to Ryerson for our first fashion shoot with models and make-up artists. Everyone was split up into pairs except my group, which consisted of 3 people. More people to split up the time with the model plus a SUPER SLOW make up artist didn't leave our group members much time to photograph. I only got to start shooting after 3:30 (we were supposed to finish by 4). It was pretty stressful and that day only confirmed how uncomfortable directing and managing people. I did come out with some nice shots though... hopefully everything will go better during the next shoot. Later in the evening I went to the Harbourfront Centre's Electronic Music Festival with Chris and Mike, and later met up with my sister and her friend, and Tony. We ended up having Indian dinner in the eastern part of the city at 11pm. The food took FOREVER to come which was driving me crazy. To top it all off, I asked for my dish to be mild, but it turned out to be spicier than everyone else's dishes! It's official- no more Indian food for me EVER AGAIN! Five strikes. Thanks again to Tony for driving me and my sis home :)

Today my family and I went to E.D. Smith Farm in the Niagara Escarpment for cherry picking. It was pretty fun aside from the burning heat, my out of control allergies, and the 40 minute wait in line to get into the fields.

Posted by mich at 10:49 PM | return | dreams [2]

June 11, 2005

Yet Another Camera To Lust For

So you think photos from a camera phone are so sucky that there's no point in even putting the two together? Take a look at the Sony Ericsson S710a phone... the pictures are quite impressive for such a little doodad. They even got the famous photographer Robert Clark to venture out on a trip across the US and Canada for a few months capturing pictures solely using the cell phone. Take a look at the photos in the gallery. Some of the images are absolutely stunning. I want!

Posted by mich at 2:04 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 6, 2005

I Miss Japan!

Today marks one year since the beginning of our adventurous Japan trip. I can't believe how fast time flies by. The next time I go back, I want to spend at least a month exploring the entire country from one end to the other... but only after I'm rich enough to support that kind of living! :P

Looks like my student career still hasn't ended yet. I just registered for a fashion photography course at Ryerson instructed by Struan. I'm pretty excited for it. I don't normally do people photography so this is a fun opportunity to explore and learn about this specific style.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | return | dreams [0]

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]

April 8, 2005

Last Official Day of School

Today was the last day of school yet I still have 2 extra classes next week to present final projects. On top of that I need to have the CSSU yearbook pretty much done this week. I feel so overwhelmed now... school's supposed to be over!! :(

Wow, I been really bad with keeping up w/ the site... I'm like blogging on a monthly basis now. I guess once I'm no longer a student I'll have plenty of time to waste :P

Last Saturday evening was the Transverse exhibit opening at Artists' Play Studio where I showed my series of 5 combination prints entitled "Mechanization". It was pretty neat to see everyone's works invovled with the journal and to see my work actually published! Here are some pics from the night:

Posted by mich at 10:29 PM | return | dreams [2]

February 5, 2005

My New Camera of Choice

Would anyone like to donate to the "Help Michelle buy a Hasselblad 500-Series Camera"? The goal is $6000 US... much appreciated!

I learned how to use one of these babies today in photography class and I instantly fell in love with them. The viewfinder shows the image with layered depth, the shutter sound is so rich, the camera body looks so classy AND the lens are Carl Zeiss. *heart flutters* I guess I'll just have to settle for playing around with Vanessa's Holga medium format for now!

This evening I watched Wintercity's closing ceremony show, Malaya at Nathan Phillips Square. It was simply amazing. There were a few instances where I nearly got ran over by a wheeling cart or stilted characters but it was such a unique experience that integrated the audience into the performance. The show lasted an entire hour but unfortunately I ran out of film halfway through. I was trying to save my last frame for an amazing shot, but there were just too many gorgeous visuals to capture! :(

It's playing again Sat and Sun night @ 7pm so go see it peoples!!

Posted by mich at 1:06 AM | return | dreams [0]

November 4, 2004

I'm in Love

I never thought this would happen, but... I want a digital camera! :O More specifically, the Olympus Stylus Verve. It comes in some really bold colours- it's just so darn sexy! And you all know how I'm a sucker for nice design (heck, I'll even buy a CD just for the cover art). For those of you with your jaws still hanging on the floor, don't worry, I could never replace my trusty SLR and other Olympus camera! I could just use this one for fun, plus (as everyone's been trying to convince me) it's convenient, especially considering its size. I've always been wary of picture quality when it comes to digicams, but since this is Olympus, it should be pretty good compared to other ones out there of the same calibre. Have I provided enough justification for getting a digicam, even though I already have three cameras? It's just too pretty to let it go.

In other shocking news... I've decided to learn how to become a decent cook over Christmas break. :O Seeing as I'll have a bit of free time, I'm gonna finish my Japan scrapbook, update my photography sketchbook/journal, and cook up a storm. And I found the perfect book to start learning: Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence. Looks like I'll be turning into a Martha Stewart in December (minus the whole criminal activity part).

Posted by mich at 11:05 PM | return | dreams [3]

October 23, 2004

Trigger-Happy Shutter-Fingers

The Shift Gallery is showing an exhibition entitled Trigger Happy Shutter Fingers featuring artists' photographic works using different LOMO cameras.

Each artist will be working with a different LOMO camera, all concentrating on distinctive themes to accentuate their respective cameras strengths. Erin Seaman turns dreams into reality with the Holga, Fotongrapler challenges the XYZ axis with the SuperSampler, Liz Cowie shall repaint the world with the Colorsplash while Fauxreel will play with your perception of perspective with the Pop 9. Originating in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Leningradskoje Optiko Mechanitschskoje Objedinnie (LOMO) company has been manufacturing single-lense cameras for over twenty years, with a lean towards multi-lense cameras since 1998. During the exhibition, The Lomographic Society of Canada will be accepting images for an on-site LOMO wall, as well as having cameras available for loan and for sale.
Runs until October 31, so I must must must check it out sometime this week... I love lomography! ;)

Last night went to Sandra's b-day dinner at Le March at BCE Place. I've always thought the food there was so-so, but the stuff I ate last night was super yummy. Had chicken fajita, BBQ chicken pizza, a bit of apple cinnamon waffle with *real* maple syrup, and of course, some b-day cake :P Gotta love those chinese fruit cakes, where every bite contains a delightful surprise!!

Posted by mich at 4:27 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 6, 2004

Photos Galore

Got my photos back on Friday :) I developed my own as well as rolls taken with Cass' camera. I only ended up taking 8 rolls on my camera (I had brought 18 rolls for the trip) because I dropped my camera numerious times and it finally broke on the 6th day. Oops. :( I ended up using Cass' APS camera for the rest of the trip, but I didn't go nearly as crazy with shooting as I did with my own camera.

My photos came out pretty well; I'm quite happy with a few of the shots. Especially the one in Shibuya overlooking a crowd of people crossing the world's busiest intersection. As for the pics from Cass' camera, they turned out really dark and grainy with really dull colours... it's depressing to even look through them! Darn it, I would've been better off with disposables :/

I watched the third Harry Potter movie today and I thought it was great; way better than the previous two. The cinematography was amazing, with creative shots and entrances into scenes. Too bad this director won't be directing the next one.

Posted by mich at 1:19 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 14, 2004

My Foray into Darkroom Photography

I worked in the darkroom for the very first time on Thursday for 4 hours. It was so fun! I love putting the photo paper in the developer solution and watching the image just magically appear. I had a lot of misses though, where some images were either really underexposed or overexposed so I have a lot of white or dark/black images. I did come out with some great prints though, including this one.

The funny thing is, the reason why I've started using the darkroom is for my chemical photography class. The university has a camera club that allows members to use the darkroom whenever they want. I had been sort of reluctant to sign up on my own because I had an image of darkrooms as being dark, cramped and spooky. I always had a freaky image of myself developing pictures and seeing ghosts appearing in my prints. Haha, I guess I'm over that!

The only thing I don't like about the darkroom is all the nasty chemicals that get absorbed into your skin and hair. It leaves a filmy residue and a not-so-pleasant odour. Yech.

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

October 12, 2003

Algonquin Park

Last Saturday I visited Algonquin Park with my mom to see the lovely fall colours. Here are some pictures:

Posted by mich at 6:39 PM | return | dreams [2]

September 28, 2003


I signed out the art department's Nikon Coolpix 5000 for the weekend to experiment a bit with a digital camera. After having some experience with a digicam, I still prefer film cameras over digital ones. I just can't get a handle on all the controls and menus... it's a pain to set everything up for a shot. Plus the response time on this camera isn't exactly that fast. I also don't like how the camera also limits the f-stop range you can use. I ended up getting some nice shots with the Nikon, but I still like my Contax camera a lot better!

View of Highway 7 from the 404:

Pretty sky:

Grocery shopping:

Posted by mich at 9:36 PM | return | dreams [1]

June 19, 2003

The Next Picasso?


I pass by this building every day on my way to work. It looks really nice in the early morning and late afternoon but I took these shots during the middle of the day so it didn't look that pretty. I hated how the sky came out... it's so white.

I created this for one of my assignments that was about grids. But it's not really grid-like (unless you want to say that all the grid elements were broken up and pieced back together) so I made something else to hand in.

Posted by mich at 8:59 AM | return | dreams [1]

June 18, 2003




Here is my lovely clarinet that's broken in half. You can't see the crack in these pictures though :P I was experimenting with the focus and lighting using my old-school camera, a Contax RTS.

Posted by mich at 9:20 AM | return | dreams [2]