Saturday, December 28, 2013

My 2013 Winter Wonderland

This winter's freezing rain made it a memorable year. It proved that not only can Toronto and its surrounding area reach record high temperatures, but also record disastrous cold conditions within months. We had freezing rain starting around the evening of Friday, December 20, and it continued to rain once in awhile until Christmas. The result of days of freezing rain--ice. Ice everywhere!

It was dangerous to get out of the house a few days ago, because many of the trees were frozen to the point where they were breaking apart. Pieces upon pieces of trees falling on the streets and sidewalks, taking some of the power-lines with them. Areas with trees that disconnected power-lines left many homes without electricity this holiday season, along with the sad yet beautiful scene of torn and broken trees covered in inch thick ice.

Aside from broken trees and families having no energy for hours or days, there were a few other events brought on by Southern Ontario's icy conditions. I heard from friends and family that salt and firewood were sold out in stores, and right when they came back in stock, their prices rose. Would you be surprised if I told you that gas prices also rose during the freezing rain days?

I couldn't open my mailbox...

My neighborhood was one of the lucky few that still had electricity. My other family members were not as lucky: some of them still don't have power yet. One of my cousins and his family stayed over for a few days because they needed electricity to power machines that help them sleep. Another distant cousin visited a few times to charge his generator.

I found this holiday season enjoyable because I got to spend more time with family members I rarely meet, but I get the feeling that I enjoyed it because I had electricity.

If I had to summarize this winter season, it would be with: "what a way to end the year."

I hope everyone else in Toronto is doing well!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nuit Blanche 2013

I know this post is late, but I will post it anyway.

I attended the Nuit Blanche event in Toronto with friends on Saturday, October 5th. I arrived in the downtown area late at night, so by the time I arrived at several artwork locations, there were large crowds of people. It was hard to get up close to a few of the artworks, especially the bicycles statue by Ai Weiwei. My camera was going bonkers on me too (part of the reason is because I don't really know how to use it), so most of the pictures I took looked super blurry.

Here's a collection of what I could salvage from my folder of blurry images:

I was very pleased with how clean the streets looked during this year's event. I did not stay in downtown Toronto for very long though, nor did I walk around the whole Nuit Blanche map, so I cannot say for certain that this year was cleaner than the previous Nuit Blanche events.

One odd artwork was "Music Box." At first I thought it was a simple box next to a runway, but then the box opened and a set of instruments slowly rolled out of the box on the runway. When the instruments reached the end of the runway, it rolled back into the box.

I always look forward to the interactive artworks. One of my favorites this year was the origami tunnel. Nuit Blanche attendees would walk into a long illuminated tunnel and pick off a folded paper hat from one of two walls filled with hanging folded paper. I took a few shots of people wearing the paper hat, but the images came out terrible.

I expected this one to be a mini ferris wheel, but it was just a wheel with lights. It totally made me think about angles and stuff.

Here was one stage that drew people's attention. The crowd was so big, people could not move! There were a few clowns on the float walking under the balloon jellyfish. I think they were giving out balloons to people they deemed sacrifice-able, because I noticed people holding similar-looking balloons at other locations during the night.

Honestly, I had no idea what this artwork was about. Behind a small crack on the side of the artwork, there was a wax-like old man staring intensely at a television screen. Maybe it was a model home?

Yet another artwork I was confused about. A stage with a beautiful outdoor setting and actors wearing animal masks performing some sort of seemingly unorganized play.

Glowing ball!!


Nuit Blanche was an interesting experience as always. It was fun being able to spend time with friends, and it is nice to be able to freely walk around the streets with happy-looking people. I wonder what Nuit Blanche has in store for next year? (Spoilers please!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Peculiar Milk Tea

My father is a milk tea addict, so when he stumbled upon a small Asian cafe that was selling a peculiar house special Asian-style milk tea, he had to share it with me.

There are several shopping plazas north of Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East. Among one of those shopping plazas, there is a small cafe called Aberdeen Delicatessen that sells milk tea with ice made from milk tea. I tried one cup and it was delicious! The tea in the drink was very strong and the ice totally did dilute it (since it is made from milk tea itself). The drink was smooth, tasteful, and unique. Regretfully, I did not have the chance to try other items on the menu.

Aberdeen Delicatessen is located at Unit G108, 3250 Midland Avenue., Toronto, Ontario in the second plaza north of Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East in Scarborough.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Heavy Traffic is Heavier

Rush hour traffic is ridiculous, I know. It is not a new form of annoyance, but it seems that it has reached a new form of ridiculous around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I am not a driver. I am, however, a transit rider and pedestrian. Okay, I guess it does not matter whether I am a driver or a transit rider. In the end, traffic affects everyone.

I was taking the bus home the other day and instead of the usual 1 hour bus ride during rush hour, I had a 2 and a half hour bus ride home. Traffic was slow to the point that the bus driver turned off the bus, got out of his seat, and announced to all the passengers that it would be quicker to walk home. A few of the passengers hopped off the bus and proceeded to walk along the sideways in the direction the bus was headed. When traffic started to move and the bus was finally running at [what I estimate was] 30 km/h, it was clear that the people who hopped off the bus already reached their desired bus stops before the bus, because we only passed by one of the people who left the bus.

Can you imagine all the gasoline people collectively use while stuck in traffic? That is a lot of money being wasted, and I am sure the drivers are not happy about the gas lost to idling in traffic. I wonder why the traffic is even worse now. Are the roads that badly designed or are there just more vehicles on the streets now than ten years ago? Maybe traffic is being more congested by all the blocked lanes due to recent construction going on around the main roads, or maybe it is a bit of everything. Today's roads definitely need frequent maintenance--they seem to be falling apart every season! It is no surprise that they get beaten up quickly though. They are exposed to more extreme weather like heavy precipitation these days and there are more vehicles using them. Five years ago, I would have considered the solution of convincing people to take public transit instead of driving, but it seems that would not help today. Getting people to use public transit instead of their cars to save road space makes sense, but it does not make sense to get people to use public transit instead of their cars when public transit is overcrowded itself.

Am I asking for more roads? No. There is enough habitat loss around the GTA, and we do not need more roads that may require more money poured into to maintain. Am I asking for more public transit lines? Maybe. It would help, but I can not see where the money to do that will come from. Honestly, I am not asking for anything. I wanted to share my observations regarding traffic and how it has affected me.

What are your experiences with the heavy rush hour traffic around the GTA these days?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weather Changes

Does anyone get the feeling that the weather these days are unstable? Unstable in a way where it can not seem to make up its mind on what season it is. It is as if the climate is completely out of balance. This means only one thing: we have already past the threshold to being able to prevent and possibly mitigate climate change.

I am not suggesting that the apocalypse is approaching, but more along the lines of "we have to be conscious and cautious of the weather and how our activities affect the environment ever more now."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Free Canadian Anime Classifieds

Someone shared with me a link to an anime merchandise version of Kijiji. Its name is "Anime Buy and Sell" (ABS), a recent free classifieds website that targets people who want to buy or sell anime-related merchandise.

I have not used the website to buy or sell anything yet, but when I do, I will share my experience. I do not know how much of an audience ABS has at the moment, but I know it would not be as wide as Kijiji's. I was told that ABS is more of a local classifieds in Ontario than the whole of Canada. If you plan on buying or selling anime, manga, or gaming related items, I suggest trying to use both ABS and Kijiji.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Men's Plus Size T-Shirts in Toronto

A family friend and their family visited Toronto for awhile. They were looking for low-priced plus size t-shirts with Canada printed on them. Never did I think it was that difficult to find nice looking plus size t-shirts for men in Toronto, especially ones with "Canada" printed on them. We ended up buying t-shirts from a dollar store in an Asian plaza in Markham.

I later learned that the family friend was looking for massive t-shirts that are larger than the regular plus sizes found in western malls. If you usually purchase plus size t-shirts for men, where do you buy the shirts from?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Summer Cleaning

Hello! It's been awhile since I last posted something. The reason: I was trying to clean out old items in my room and basement. I am afraid that I may become a hoarder (which I practically am). Cleaning is taking a long time because I want to properly dispose of things rather than simply throwing everything into the trash. The basement especially had a lot of old items that needed proper disposal.

There were many nostalgic items I found in my room. One being this hand-held hair braiding machine:

The braiding machine was a gift from my cousins. I tried using it before, but my hair always easily got tangled.

There was a pair of plastic glasses with a big nose. I remember I got this from Eastside Mario's, hoping it was groucho glasses, but it wasn't. The glasses never stayed on my face, so I never had the chance to wear it for more than a minute.

There was a small collection of old led containers from my elementary to high school days. It goes to show how much led I used back in school. I switched to using pens only for school in my last year of high school.

I found some cute perfume samples in glass tubes around my desk area. This one time I forgot I had a perfume tube in my pocket. I washed my clothes and by the time I retrieved my clothes from the dryer, everything smelled like the perfume. Luckily the perfume tube didn't break.

I had to throw out empty pens from my pen collection. The grip --the exterior of the pen-- was all slimy and sticky for some reason.

There was a pile of paper and plastic bags I recycled. This one especially was decorated by a friend for me.

I also went through a pile of old artworks from grade school. I kept them until now because I thought they were adorable and interesting.

The outer space one glows in the dark.

Even after almost 3 months of cleaning, I have a lot of things to clear out. It makes me not want to clean and just let everything be. I mean, what am I to do with over 5 boxes of crayons?! Maybe I'll donate it to the nearest daycare.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Puccho and Kumamon

The Puccho Facebook fanpage needed an update, so I quickly drew line-art and added colour to it on Photoshop. A satisfying result, it is.

I added a few more icons, just for show. The page doesn't update very much.
Now back to cleaning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What I found while cleaning my room 4

I was having a bad day, so I decided to clear a small area of my room. There were some doodles I had forgotten about in that area.

Presenting doodles from grade school:

Teriormon and whoever Bunnymon is. I think I spelt Teriormon incorrectly.

Armadillo and Platypuses!


A letter to myself during the time I drew it (or maybe it was meant for my future self).

There were also doodles from high school.

I wasn't too keen on doing my math homework in grade 11.

Or in grade 12.

I think this one may be from university.

And then there's that one odd one out.

I am not sure what it is suppose to be of. Pretty sure I drew this when I was upset.

Overall, my most cherished is this sketch a friend drew for me.

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