Happy holidays indeed

I love Christmas for all its events, decorations, joyfulness, warmth, and crazy shopping. I love the atmosphere and spirit during the holiday season, and even the commercialism. I was never really one to partake in all of the celebrating, but I resolved to do as many Christmassy/wintery things as I could this year to make up for it.

I went skating at Nathan Phillips Square a couple weeks back. It got way too cold, so we only skated for about an hour. Important fact: I did not fall!  On Dec 18, RBC Capital Markets had its annual Christmas Reception. I had a couple drinks and hoarded the seafood table. It’s not as formal or glam as the accounting firm parties, but that was just as well because I had a certain concert to get to that night…

Jay Chou’s Canadian premiere was OMFG HYPERVENTILATE. There aren’t really any words I can use to describe it. The man was in all senses larger than life. The concert rocked my socks and Lily and I were non-stop screaming throughout the whole thing. Also, I was elated that Nan Quan Ma Ma was the special guest appearance. Lara looked great and Yu Hao stole the spotlight by performing his “piano battle” with Jay. After the concert was over, the Asian Invasion at Union Station was pretty funny to watch. The bewildered faces of people who had no idea what was going on were priceless, as they struggled through the massive Chinese army. Jay, Toronto loves you! Please come back :)

The next day, Friday, was my last day at work. My manager organized a little send-off for me, complete with yummy mini-cakes. After work, I met up with some other co-op friends for an end-of-term dinner at Baton Rouge, where we trash-talked and launched personal attacks upon each other. It was all in good fun, of course. After that I went home and did some last-minute packing in preparation for…

Ski trip! Saturday morning, bright and early, I set off for Horseshoe Valley with Charmaine, Tracy, Wesley, Kelvin, Daniel, and Kelv’s friend. We tried to get an eighth skiier but people kept “expressing interest” and then declining. In any case, I did not own ski/snow/track pants that fit me, so our carpool (consisting of Wes, Tracy, Dan and me) made a stop at STC so I could buy some. I found a pretty decent pair for $15 and we hit the road again. This detour still did not deter us from beating Kelv’s carpool to the destination. He got lost twice. I had never done downhill skiing before, but the guys (except Dan) wanted to take snowboarding lessons, which looked awesome, so I signed up for boarding too.

Snowboards are very tricky, as I soon learned. You can’t walk properly since your feet feel like they’re glued together, and it takes forever to go down the slope because you have to unattach the board when you get to the bottom, and re-attach at the top. These complications are all independent of falling on your ass while you’re on the slope. As it turned out, I didn’t suck at boarding as much as I thought I would. My major problem was that I couldn’t stop, so I ended up falling either forwards or backwards, and letting gravity do its thing. This, unfortunately, is very painful. We purchased 8-hour tickets/rentals and by the end of 5hrs, allowing for ample breaks in between, my bottom was in so much pain, I couldn’t sit properly on a chair.

We called it a day around 6pm-ish, and headed towards our resort. Kelv got lost from the check-in place to our suite, which baffled us all, as it essentially consisted of a single left turn. To make up for it, the residence which he recommended turned out to be really really nice. It was amazingly clean, fully-equipped, and included a slew of modern amenities. Char and I, with renewed vigor, were rifling through cupboards like kids in a candy store, while the others assumed a palm-to-forehead disposition towards us.

We dumped our luggage in our rooms and drove to some restaurant in Orillia for a late dinner. At this point I was so tired I don’t even remember which restaurant it was. We got back to our place around 10, and just chilled for a couple hours. Char discovered her inner alcoholic, by becoming addicted to hot chocolate with Bailey’s.

I woke up the next morning and was sore beyond anything I had ever experienced. I could barely move my arms and legs and was pretty much whiny for the rest of the day. Others were relatively less handicapped, but we took it easy and just went for a little tubing. We bought tickets for 3-4 rides each, but after the first run, we knew we could do this all day. We went down forwards, backwards, in a circle, spinning, etc. We mentally shrunk to 5 years old and shrieked and laughed like morons every trip down the hill.

After tubing, we decided to avoid the iminent snowstorm and left for Toronto early. This turned out to be a very good idea, because as soon as we hit the city, Mother Nature unleashed her onslaught. We went to Fairview Mall for a while to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. I think it’s worth mentioning that Kelv got lost again driving home from Fairview. The next day Char, Wes, Tracy and I engaged in a little encore by going to Yorkdale for some more shopping.

The 24th and 25th were both devoted to spending time with family friends. The adults thoroughly enjoyed the company, but you could tell all their kids were bored to death. This was further made awkward by the massive age differences and lack of common interests.

Yesterday, I went boxing day shopping with Lis and her brother at Vaughan Mills. We arrived around 8 when the mall opened, and tried to get as much shopping done as humanly possible before invasion of the masses in the late morning/early afternoon. We got stuck in a few lines, but managed to finish our shopping by 1pm. I’m pretty happy with my purchases, as I managed to keep my total under $100. As we were leaving, there were 3 cars fighting for our parking spot. We made a pit stop at a FutureShop where I picked up a digital photo frame. I met up with Char and Wes for a really late lunch at some Chinese place where they majorly screwed up my order due to incompetence. Then we went to CanTi so Char could get some skates, but she left empty-handed.

When I got home, I found my dad and brother amidst a sea of wires and cables. They had bought a surround sound speaker system, a receiver, and an Xbox 360. I guess my dad decided he would single-handedly try to stimulate the economy. But I can now play zillions of amazing titles, OMG DROOL. The Xbox bundle came with 3 garbage games and Halo 3. I’m not an FPS person, but I will try my hand again at Halo. I swear, the gifts don’t come in on Christmas anymore – it’s all about boxing day.

That’s been my holidays so far and I’m lovin’ it. Today it’s our turn to host a dinner party, so we will be expecting guests in a few hours. I jammed this upcoming week with activities too so I think it’ll be a pretty awesome and memorable year. I wish you and yours all the best this season and a very Happy New Year!

Jay day

You may know that Chinese pop king Jay Chou is gracing us with his first ever Canadian concert appearance this Thursday evening at the ACC in Toronto. You may also know that I will be attending said concert, and that it would be my first actual concert concert, ie. mega-pop-star, legit venue, credible success, etc. Lily and I were thinking how we can make this experience extra special, and we came up with making posters. At first we wanted to design coordinating T-shirts but decided that would be too messy.

The next challenge was thinking of a theme for the posters. Should we use his song titles/lyrics to form a witty catchphrase? Draw a flattering portrait? Convey our affection/level of obsession? Welcome him to the Great White North? Use a lot of flashy stuff to gain attention? In the end we just decided to hit a dollar store and see what we could salvage.

On Saturday I met up with Lily to get a haircut in the Yonge & Finch area. After that we had lunch and stopped by a cute little salon for some minor primping. We went to Centrepoint Mall to scope out any art supply/dollar stores, and found A Buck Or Two. (The name is a lie – I saw stuff for upwards of two bucks.) After checking out the whole place, we finally decided on a Christmas-themed Jay portrait. We managed to get quite a few items and the total only came out to be $10 which was awesome. Since the public library was only open until 5pm that day, we decided to execute Project Jay at a nearby Korean café.

At first we were afraid the owners wouldn’t let us use paint/glue/glitter/etc in there, but we asked the waitress if it was okay and they were really nice about it! What’s more, they kept handing out free food to all the patrons too. And not just crappy leftover stuff either. Screw Destiny; Korean cafés are THE SHIT. In any case, Mark dropped by and he essentially became our assistant, helping us Google photo references and managing our workspace. The following is a series of photo WIPs so you can see how we made our lovelyyyyy posters :)

It took us nearly 4 hours to make the first poster, so by the time we finished, we were pretty spent. After Mark left, Lily and I half-assed the second poster. We just painted on a really lame “We (heart) Jay Chou”, dabbed on some supposedly glow-in-the-dark paint, taped on the remaining snowflakes, and randomly dumped piles of glitter. That took us about an hour, but we didn’t really care because the guys would be responsible for holding this one.

It was definitely a lot of fun (other people at the café came by our table to chat with us and even take some photos!) and reminded me of good old elementary/high school art projects. I felt it was a lot more productive than sitting at home, wasting away another Saturday in front of my laptop screen, which is probably what I would’ve done. And yes, we tipped the place generously.

Now I’m just really looking forward to Thursday :D