Sunday, December 31, 2006

Superhero / Villain Quiz

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Your results:
You are Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy
Dark Phoenix
Dr. Doom
Mr. Freeze
Lex Luthor
The Joker
Green Goblin
You would go to almost any length for the protection of the environment including manipulation and elimination.

Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz

Do you like me?

Don't worry I'm not that in need of approval! It's just that my new favorite thing is this: New York Magazine's Approval Matrix. Basically, they rate a handful of recent pop-culture events (everything from scientific discoveries to celebrity happenings) on two measures: lowbrow/highbrow, and despicable/brilliant. For instance, country music or the surge of NASCAR would be in the bottom left quadrant, whereas a fantastic stage play may go in the top right. If you follow the link above right now, you'll see something different than normal because they are doing their year-end summary. Normally, there would be more like 10-20 happenings on the grayscale landscape.

*Even more fun* is playing the game for yourself!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Europe Trip Planning, Stage 2

Current (oversized) plan for my 6-8 week trip with the planned length of stay in days:
- Austria: Vienna (2), Salzburg (1)
- Germany: Cologne (1), Munich (1), Rhine/Bavaria country (2)
- Switzerland: Interlaken (2), possibly Geneva (1)
- Belgium: Bruges (1), Brussels (2)
- Italy: Rome (3), Florence (3), Venice (2), Pisa (1), Milan (2), Cinque Terre (2)
- Greece: Athens (2), some islands (4)
- France: Paris (3), Bordeaux / wine valley region (2), Cannes (1), Marseille (2)
- Spain: Barcelona (3)
- Czech Republic: Prague (3)
- Great Britain: London (4), Bath (1), Brighton (1), Lake District (2), York (2), Edinburgh (2), Inverness / Loch Ness (2), Cardiff (1)

= 61 days ... it'd be nice to cut this down a bit. Perhaps I'll speed through my trip faster than I expected?
Looks like I might have to miss grad. School lets out in mid May, and grad is mid June. I don't want to travel in the peak, hot, crowded, expensive summer months of July & August, so I'm keen on going from around May 15 - July 15. This does not agree with grad at all! Guess I'll go to the one in September. Hmm.

Anyways where have you been and what do you recommend?

I Have a Library

After reading about LibraryThing on Neil Gaiman's blog, I was intrigued enough to make my own. This is a rather difficult chore when you're not sitting in front of your collection, so I just chose a few selections that I remember having. I spent most of the last 2 hours trying to remember what Agatha Christie titles I have and what their corresponding covers look like. You can see the fruits of my labor on the right side under the 'About Me' section: a random mish mash (ever changing) of covers in my library. I'd say 50% of them will be Agatha Christie until I can get home and update this. I want a cuecat scanner for Christmas ...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

PS. Merry Christmas

Hope everyone is having a good time with their family and such. Though we missed the actual day, we had Christmas the next morning. Some things I got...

From Dad in Toronto (movies, all picked out by me - with a distinctly foreign theme):
- Amores Perros (2000, Inarritu)
- All About My Mother (1999, Almodovar)
- Amarcord (1973, Fellini)
- Pulp Fiction
- Sin City
- Short Cuts (1993, Altman)
- Scoop (2006, Allen)

From parents:
- Very nice hair straightener
- Joss Whedon T-shirt
- And then there were none (aka 10 little indians)

Lots of good movie watching for us, especially including all those ones the parents got. Really all I want to see is Kill Bill Vol 2.... even though I've seen it before. Vol 1 whet my appetite. A sidebar on it, perhaps: I like violence. I mean I really, really like violence. Maybe you wouldn't guess it from my seemingly sweet demeanor but I enjoy nothing better than a good, highly conceptualized bloodbath. This is what Tarantino provides better than any other recent director because he's kind enough to include some kind of plot. I don't think KB is quite in the leagues of Pulp Fiction - it's just a bit too out there. But it's meant to be, of course. The wacky 70s music, campy dialogue (that Matt pointed out), etc. is all part of a certain style of Hung Fu that he was aiming to "Tarantino-ize". I don't even find the violence in these to be all that much, because it's all very cartoony. Lots of blood waterfalls and swordfights, but no close-ups of severed limbs or bulging eyes (although one unfortuante victim did have his eye removed...). Altogether not much realistic violence. {end sidebar}

Speaking of movies, I've recently compiled a rough draft of both my worst and best movies of 2006 lists. I still have a few more I want to see to fill out the latter (Letters from Iwo Jima, The Good Shepherd, Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men). Expect the first entry somewhere between February and March.

Avoided the plague ... sort of

I'm mostly all better now after an untimely illness struck me down at 4am on the 22nd and kept me in bed until the 26th. I still feel awfully weak; noticeable when I went to wash my sheets this morning and it took a good 5 minutes to get one pillow case off. And then I had to lie down for a bit. Is this what it's like for really old people to keep house? Because that would be really frusterating.

I hate being sick, as do most people I imagine. But it was nice to not have to worry about missing school, and being easily taken care of by people who had already taken those days off.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

General Update

Well I suppose it's time for another blog entry from me, since I've had not one but two nudges already. I just haven't been in the blogging mood, jeez! So anyways here's a general recap of what I've been up to:

- I turned 20 six days ago. It was super. My wonderful parents took me out for a delicious meal. We decided to postpone the movie that usually follows because I had to get home to finish preparations for my party. I don't think I've ever had more than 5 people in my apartment at once, and certainly no real parties. I don't know if this quite qualifies either since 90% of the people that would normally have come were out of town. So it was probably more of a large gathering.
- There were probably around ... 15-20 people there, I guess? Most of my high school friends, a few from Ivey (including one professor!), and a handful of randoms. I'll tell you that story now. Around about 9:30pm, some of my guests sitting by the window announced that there were some people on a balcony across the way starring at us! So, having my new social personality attained in the summer, I proceeded to skip out onto the balcony and shout greetings and invitations to my party. They disappeared.
- 5 minutes later, I get a call from one of my invited guests buzzing me from downstairs. When he arrives at the door, he's joined by 5 people I've never met! It turned out the randoms from across the way were trying to buzz me by dialing my apt # (which I had shouted across), my friend found them and brought them up.
- Anyways, everyone was really impressed with the level of preparation: I had decorations, cookies, cupcakes, a lasagna, and tons of free alcohol. It was a good little party.
- Around 11 we left for the bar, where there was no line and most of us were able to bypass the cover. Inside, it was the perfect amount of busy: not too crowded, but not dead.
- Had a fabulous time.

Went to Toronto the next day.
- Visiting dad for a week.
- Seeing lots of movies.

Deloitte Christmas Party on the 16th. It was INSANE. I have never been to or heard of a party like this. This year's theme was Cruise Ship.
- 200+ tables set up for dinner, a full stage and band on either end of the long room (entire Toronto Convention Center)
- Open bar and buffet all night
- Midway games (huge) set up one side
- Entire casino area, with blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. Tokens, instead of money, were given for the draws.
- "Walk the plank" to get on, with the head partners dressed up as the captains of the ship.
- Mini golf
- Shuffleboard
- Ping Pong
- Pool tables
- People who would draw your caricature
- Massage tables
- Oxygen bar (?!)
- Karaoke
- At 8pm, all these balloons dropped for the ceiling as a "sail away" thing. Redeemed for prizes.
- Balloon maker
- Mariachi and jamaican bands wandering around

Anyways that gives you some idea of the scale of this event. I would estimate that if you consider the cost of the space, decorations, hundreds of staff needed, food and alcohol consumed, that it was probably a $5-$10 million party. I really hope I get to experience some more of these! (re: earlier entry).

Reviews in 5 words or less:
The History Boys: didn't go cliched route
Volver: best almodovar yet; perfect
Stranger Than Fiction: a long version of trailer
Scoop: more hilarious than people say
All About My Mother: classic almodovar; tight story
The Pursuit of Happyness: hope goes a long way
Blood Diamond: accent not so bad
Casino Royale: best bond, but not amazing
Match Point: i liked scoop better

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Facebook is great for utilizing the often superior memories of your peers. Although, I'd actually thought at Ghostwriter at least a couple times a year since it ended in 1995. Anyways through a friend's profile I found a group devoted to this television masterpiece. Through this group, I found that you can watch episodes on Youtube! Technology is fabulous.

The only downside is that the episodes come in series of 4. So far only 2 parts from separate episodes are posted, so I have no idea who was the culprit! It was great to relive this piece of nostalgia from my childhood, and now I really want to see all of the episodes! They aren't available on DVD (petition online), and only a couple episodes are available for sale on VHS on amazon. Alas. eBay has a DVD set (created by a fan) of all episodes from the first two seasons (which is 90% of all episodes aired) but it's already at $50 US and it's not even close to closing. Ah well. Maybe in a few years when every other show possible has been converted to DVD, so will this.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Marijuana is Fun, Part 2

I am now 6 episodes into Weeds Season 2 and let me tell you, it is fan-tastic. "Turning it up a notch" is an understatement. We're talking the same great dialogue, acting, and good storytelling, now complete with plot twists that will blow your mind!

So far I'd give the second season a 9.3 out of 10 (or 93 out of 100, if you'd prefer!). Not too shabby. For reference / comparability:

Lost Season 1: 9.4
Lost Season 2: 9.0

Veronica Mars Season 1: 9.5
Veronica Mars Season 2: 9.7


That with my new blog layout, it's so difficult to see the things that I've bolded! Basically the bolded text looks just like the regular stuff. See the Lost post below for example. Suggestions?

I also don't like how narrow the posts appear on the screen with inches upon inches of empty space at the sides. Talk about inefficient.

Furthermore, where is the left pane? I want a left pane jeez! All my lists take up far too much room on the right side and it would be great to spread them out a little.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Added Labels, Blogged 4 Times in 1 Day

Enough said.

Lost fun!

Top 10 signs you're obsessed with Lost (courtesy of Letterman, of course)

10. After each episode you do an all kitty re-enactment in your basement
9. You refer to your in-laws as “the others”
8. While visiting New York, you stood over every manhole and screamed, “Good God, a secret hatch!”
7. You are halfway to your goal of licking every cast member
6. Your friend phoned during Lost. The next day you beat him to death with a hot poker
5. You pitched NBC a show about 12 people stranded backstage at Saturday Night Live
4. Co-workers affectionately refer to you as “that loser who’s obsessed with Lost”
3. Renamed dental practice “flost”
2. Your wife is getting sick of playing the bedroom game “find the castaway”
1. You sat through all 10 of these lame jokes

Why have the ratings been so bad lately? (from EW's resident Lostaholic, Doc Jensen)

So if Lost's lost viewers haven't been sucked into the mindhole that is Criminal Minds... where have they gone?

Here's my theory: I don't think they're watching anything at all. Not really. I don't doubt there are some former Lost fans who've become Lost haters — who believe the show has ''lost it,'' who seriously doubt the producers know what they're doing. But what I do hear from those who've given up watching Lost on a weekly basis — and I know more than a few — is that Lost has let its urgency slip away, most likely as a result of what TV writers call ''The Stall.'' The Stall is what happens to ongoing TV shows that are trying to tell a story that has an ending when the storytellers don't know when or if they'll be allowed to actually ever end it. Lost has definitely moved into Stall mode, atomizing storylines into tiny bits and strewing them across manymanymany episodes (like Jack/Kate/Sawyer's stay in Othersville) in order to fill the time. Kinda like a football team that's jumped out to a big lead, then adopts a prevent defense that allows an opponent to gain yards and maybe put up a few points, just to burn off the clock, which can be risky, because you also allow your opponent to gain momentum or wrest control of the game. Or something like that.

Tortured sports analogies aside, for people irritated by The Stall, Lost has surrendered its must-see status. For them, the watercooler conversation has lost its boil. At the same time, what I've noticed is that these people are still invested in the unfolding story of Lost. Yet they also know that there are other options available to them that would allow them to experience the show without having to put up with its glacial pacing and its ''answer a question with new questions'' tactics. They can bank a bunch of episodes on TiVo, then watch 'em all at once, to get the kind of full-meal deal they wish every episode could deliver. Or they can just wait until the entire season comes out on DVD and binge. In fact, I know of two people who just recently became fans of the show via the DVDs. They loved what they saw and decided to become weekly watchers when the show began its third season. By the third episode, they were burned out. One of them popped into my office and said, ''How can you stand to watch the show this way? It's so... slow.'' He decided he was going to jump off the riverboat and catch up with it downstream, when it docks at his local Best Buy. (Again with the tortured analogies!)

What Lindelof thinks about the new time slot

''I personally am thrilled. Now I can watch American Idol without feeling guilty.

''Oh. Wait. I still feel guilty.''

Depraved enough to watch some clips?

If you were paying good attention at the end of the fall finale, you'll remember ABC's promise to show some new Lost scenes in a desperate (and unsuccessful) attempt to make you watch Daybreak. Here they are:

Lost Moments 1-3

Marijuana is Fun

Did I scare you with my title? :) Don't worry I haven't, and never will, become any sort of crackhead.

I've just started watching the critically acclaimed Showcase series Weeds. In fact, I'm all the way through season 1 and will be starting season 2 shortly, seeing as I have little to do today with all the snow.

And let me tell you, it's pretty great! If you don't mind the premise (suburban housewife is widowed, turns to selling weed to support her family and standard of living), there are a lot of things to appreciate about this show.

1) The acting is pretty phenomenal. Mary Louise Parker at her best. After seeing the results of some bad parenting, she breaks down in front of her source; a great scene.
2) Tight dialogue. Couple of examples:

Nancy Botwin: You listen, you stay away from my customer base, you don't deal to kids.
Josh Wilson: They're too young to bleed, they're too young for weed, no grass on the field no grass will they yield.
Nancy Botwin: You're a poet.
Josh Wilson: You know it.

Heylia James: Serious shit calls for serious cash and your cash got a sense of humor.

3) It's kind of vulgar, like what you would expect from Showcase or HBO. But it does a pretty good job of walking the line between funny/interesting and just plain gross. Kind of like Six Feet Under, but less depressing.

4) Perhaps what I love most about it is the business aspect. Ivey has trained me to think this way, and really it's just a profit venture, regardless of what is being sold. Nancy (MLP) figures this out too and expands geographically, implements somse product diversity, experiments with target markets, wrestles with the competition, and gets political with the DEA.

Anywho, that's my little synopsis of a pretty good show. A solid 8.4 out of 10, methinks. I'm excited to see what the second season brings, because it reportedly "turns it up a notch."


This is particularly exciting for me as I was scheduled to have an exam at 8am this morning. Actually, funny story.Last night around 8pm we get an email from our accounting prof saying we may have to cancel the exam because the heating system is broken at Western. Hopes up, I became quite apathetic about studying. But alas, not half an hour later they got the heat up and running again.I wake up at 6:30 this morning (after an unfortunate 3 hours of sleep for the second night in a row) to the radio saying all schools, UWO, and the bus system is closed today. The first snow day in 4 years! My theory is that someone at Western was praying really hard to not have to write their exam today. 7,000 of the 32,000 UWO students were schedule to write something today - that's a lot of happy campers.

My exam has been rescheduled for January 19th ... talk about some extra study time! Good thing too, cause I definitely started studying for it yesterday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Um, Do I Still Have a Job?

I shouldn't be blogging, I shouldn't be blogging, I shouldn't be blogging .... sigh. Ok now that that's off my chest (exam at 8am tomorrow btw), on to more pressing matters.

Today it was officially announced that Deloitte lost it's biggest client, Nortel. This represents over $80 million in annual revenues for the Toronto office, and over 2000 jobs. One of which, because I am specifically employed by the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications group, may be mine.

Deloitte had been Nortel's auditors since 1914. The file will be going to KPMG, which reportedly drastically under bid the Deloitte audit fee rate.

To make matters worse, Nortel shareholders are suing both the company and it's auditors (Deloitte) for all the accounting trouble (endless restatements) that have occurred in the last 5 or 10 years. Fortunately, I know enough about the audit to know that the trouble is with their control systems, not suspected maliciousness. In other words, they are ridiculously disorganized, not trying to hide something. Nevertheless, depending on the findings of the court case and outcome, Deloitte could potentially go under like Arthur Andersen (Enron's auditors). Now isn't that something to look forward to with your first full-time employment?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Some clarifications on last night's episode of Heroes

I was confused, so I did some research on the internet and I'm here to present my findings.

1) Sylar didn't kill Eden, Eden killed Eden. Sylar revealed his intention to take her power, so she made one last heroic move and took her own life, making little pieces of her brain. So Sylar will thankfully not have the power of persuasion.

2) Sylar could use his powers because either Haitan or HRG can deflect others' powers, and both were MIA during the Eden visit.

3) Peter was sick because Matt's powers are making Matt, and hence Peter when he's in the vicinity, sick.

Other thoughts:

- Overall a fairly decent episode.
- Still LOVE Peter + Claire, despite the fact that this has been laughed at by Milo in the press because of the age difference (12 years in real life). I think he just personally finds it incestuous, plus Hayden is quite the annoying little brat.
- Other heroes who should bite the dust soon: Matt, Nikki/Jessica and family.
- Peter is so not dying, I am not worried. Consider this: if he was really the bomb and did he exploding thing, wouldn't all the other heroes around him immediately perish and then there would be no more show!

Friday, December 01, 2006

My Future Roomie

I'd say it's 90% settled. I mean, it's still 10 months away so who knows what could happen in that amount of time, but we've agreed to room together. Who is this you ask? One of my lovely co-workers at Deloitte, Azadeh Alemi. She sounds foreign, and she is, but in an "I've lived in Canada my whole life" way. She's the one on the far right in the 2nd picture. The first picture is kind of strange because of the effect of the camera on her eyes (very cat-like).

She's really nice, and quite social, and not very particular about anything. She'll still be in school (co-opping at DT in September for 8 months, than an extra semester of school at York), so probably won't be able to afford as much of the rent as I will. This actually works out well, because then we can get a 1 bedroom+den or a master bedroom+ small 2nd bedroom, and she can have the smaller room.

We're looking to live in the Yonge & Eglinton area because it's located on the subway line between my work (North York --- Yonge & Sheppard) and downtown. In fact, I made a whole list of what I'm looking for in an apartment:

- 2 bedrooms or 1+ livable den
- $1600 budget (including utilities)
- 700 square feet +
- cats allowed (?)
- washer/dryer en suite
- on the Yonge subway line
- safe neighborhood
- close to grocery store, shopping

2nd tier requirements:
- hardwood flooring
- indoor pool
- exercise room
- 24 hr security
- close to the highway, but not too close
- fairly new building / recently renovated
- balcony

Would be nice:
- 2 bathroooms
- walk-in closet
- fanciness