Category Archives: Life

The Family Funbox

About a year ago, we went to a family friend’s place to celebrate Christmas. They had a karaoke machine which was the hit of the party. The adults spent the entire night nostalgically warbling away on old Chinese songs while the kids tried in vain to block out the out-of-tune, out-of-sync din. I never realized how much my parents loved karaoke until that night.

A couple of weeks ago, my dad went grocery shopping as he always does. This time he came back with something extra. Yea, you guessed it – a karaoke machine, which I like to call the family funbox. He envisioned the four of us on the couch in front of the TV, joyously caroling to various pop songs, new and old – kind of like the image of the happy family (grandparents included) plastered with fake smiles on the cover of the songbook.

To me, however, this little gadgetry has become a nightmare. No longer can I enjoy peaceful weekend afternoons of mindless internet prowling, nonproductive hours of pointless weekend afternoon TV shows, or even just curling up with a good book. No, I must be submitted to doing the above with mind-numbingly painful “musical” accompaniment in the background. Either I suffer through this calamity at home, or I find myself begging my friends to get me out of my house.

Some of them have asked me why I don’t bust a few tunes myself. I have a feeling that if I try, I’m just going to get really frustrated with my parents’ tone deafness and lack of rhythm. Depending on the length of my fuse, microphone-throwing or head-banging may ensue.

On the plus side, they are now in better spirits on the weekends and it creates somewhat of a diversion which means less nagging. Also I think they are finally starting to improve… sort of…

The co-op life

It’s been a pretty interesting couple weeks. October 31 was end of fiscal year for banks, so the internal auditors have been pissing off my manager, keeping him busy and thus not having time to give me work. Which is okay, because I’ve been getting a million requests from other people. Anyways, I guess I’ll start from last Thursday, when we had an RBC pumpkin carving contest. This marked the first time in my life ever carving an actual pumpkin. Okay to be honest, I still didn’t partake in any carving; I just drew on the design. Here’s what we came up with:

Boo!

There is an RBC logo carved into the back, but I didn’t get a shot of it. In case you were wondering, we lost the contest spectacularly. Other groups brought a ton of props like paint, cardboard, fake blood, even small tools and such. Being noobs, we didn’t realize we could bring other things so we just had the pumpkin to work with. In spite of this fact, I’m still proud of our creation; we were the only co-op team, and inexperienced at that.

The next day of course was Halloween. After work, I went to Pacific Mall for a while with Evelyn to wait for a ride to Amanda’s house. We played some Rock Band and Singstar at Amanda’s, and I had to get changed for some Halloween clubbing. Around 10:30, Mark came by to pick me up in his “pimpmobile” (he drives a minivan which is usually full of girls). That evening was no exception; his van boasted a 3:1 girl/guy ratio. We arrived at Maro just in time to get in. It was insanely packed, so even though we were on the guest list, we still had to wait a while. Having only clubbed in Waterloo, I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of hot Asian chicks. I swear there were like 5 cleavagey girls for every guy that night. This is Toronto clubbing, I guess. There were a lot of really nice costumes. Since we didn’t have time to pre-drink, nothing too crazy happened. I had a cooler and 3 shots and got really dizzy so by the end of the night I was pretty much just swaying around the place, but still completely sober. Though I couldn’t really sway because it was too crowded. When we decided to end the night, Mark drove us home and I went to bed around 3:30-ish. I wouldn’t mind going there again, but I have to wait a while because the place is usually 23+. Also next time I will wear flats to avoid awkward leaning in photos and so I won’t be taller than half the guys there.

The past week of work flew by without much fanfare. Lis and I did some major spending at Eaton’s on Wednesday, after which we vowed to not shop anymore for the rest of the month. That didn’t really go so well, as after lunch on Thursday, we picked up a few sale items in the TD concourse. Then we again vowed to stop shopping. I went to Eaton’s again after work, but only to accompany Joanne, who managed to pick up a scarf. If I hadn’t bought anything the previous two days, I might’ve been tempted to grab one for myself.

On Friday, I went up to Yonge and Bloor for lunch with Evelyn and Wei. Evy found this small, comfy Japanese place that served this AWESOME omlette-like dish. Unfortunately it was a bit small, so Wei and I ended up sharing a second dish. In general the food was really good and I’d recommend the place…if I only remember what it was called. Wei had come to Toronto to pick up his European visa and renew his health card, so he had to drop by ServiceOntario at College Park. I mentioned that I had been wanting to take my G1 test there for a while, but couldn’t find a convenient time. So Wei goes “come with me” and I was like “what the heck, okay”. And so I ended up spontaneously writing my G1, which took about an hour of waiting in line and ten minutes of actual writing. I passed, by the way. So yes, it only took about five years of “you still don’t have G1?!!?!!?”, “health card is not a valid form of ID”, “HAHA you look funny on your citizenship card!”, “LOUISE, WTF, GET YOUR G1!” and various other embodiments of the previous statements for me to finally get my G1. I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, all the people I’ve ever worked with…for annoying the crap out of me to get off my lazy ass and write the damn test.

Later on that day, a bunch of co-ops decided to chill at Turf Lounge, a popular after-work hangout for Bay Street bankers, as an end-of-week social thing. For one reason or another, we all had to split up for dinner so it winded up just being me and Mark. We walked down King Street West looking for a suitable place to dine and found some puny cafe to squeeze into. Seriously, the place was so small, I could easily elbow the other patrons sitting beside me. In any case, the food was quite good, and not too crazy expensive. After dinner we realized we still had an hour and a half to burn, so we just aimlessly walked around downtown. I picked up an umbrella from Royal Bank Plaza because it started to rain. This turned out to be a very good decision, as it started raining harder. After wandering through Metro Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, 7-Eleven (not my idea), and Nathan Phillips Square, it was finally time to meet up with the others at Turf.

I was pretty impressed with the lounge. I have a fondness for vaulted ceilings – they make any room seem so much prettier and more spacious. Since the place mainly catered to the fat cats of Bay St, the service was very…er…high-class? When we came in, the hostess was all “GIVE ME YOUR JACKETS AND UMBRELLA” and proceeded to practically strip us, but of course in a very hospitable disposition. I’ve encountered these types of hosts before, but I just don’t really like strangers removing my clothes…

It turned out the place only had food and wine menus so we had to order student-budget drinks (ie. cocktails/beer/coolers) off the top of our heads. Sadly we couldn’t really name any, so I went safe with a mojito while others literally Googled the contents of a “sex on the beach” on their iPhone. In total we had about 13 people, so we all mainly chatted/ate/drank. One of Turf’s features is Woodbine horse racing broadcasting, and thus, betting. After a while, we asked Lily to teach us how to bet on horses, because she had priorly done so at a company event. A couple people placed bets but nobody won anything.

Around 10pm, people started leaving. I left with Lis, Ray, Sunny and Matt at 11ish because we all lived in the same area. This is when things got interesting. When we got on the train, there was this crazy hobo talking random shit. I couldn’t tell if he was drunk or just psychotic, but he was proclaiming stuff like “I sailed from Japan to Canada” and how his boat always goes “WHOOSH”. Then, egged on by an amused bystander, he started telling guys to “do their homework” before dating women, and how he “didn’t do his homework” and hence he is still single. The whole thing was just really hilarious. Everyone in that car was watching/listening to him and laughing, all of which he basked in and continued rambling. He kept almost getting off at the wrong station, and when he finally arrived at the right stop, he left in a whirlwind of cheers and farewells from his spectators, and announced “I’M GOING TO MARS!!!!”

I hope I see him again on the subway someday…that guy is awesome. TTC: The more eventful way. After that episode, we all hopped on a bus to Matt’s house and he drove us home. And then I did nothing on Saturday and Sunday. Except a lot of chores, so now my house is very clean :) So this concludes my recount of the past couple weeks. Thanks for reading and I hope you haven’t gone blind/fallen asleep.

Simple task, epic FAIL

L: Malcolm Howard; R: Adam Kreek

L: Malcolm Howard; R: Adam Kreek

This is not just any random buttshot. There is a story behind it. Trust me. Yesterday after work I met up with Albert, Evelyn and Matt for dinner. We went to Salad King, where I proceeded to finish a Pad Thai and still be hungry afterwards. Apparently their servings have become less filling than I remember. I think shitty Waterloo Asian food has lowered my standards, so I found the taste to still be top-tier.

After dinner, Albert drudged off to his night class, Evelyn headed home, and Matt and I merrily skipped off to the CBC building to watch the first taping of the last season of Royal Canadian Air Farce. On the way, we stopped by a Dominion’s to pick up some non-perishable goods for donation. This was our first time being part of the audience so we didn’t know what to expect.

When we arrived, there was already a long line-up formed. We were lucky in that they were seating by blocks and there were only two of us, so we were still able to nab pretty good seats. Roger Abbott did the introductions and mentioned that there were some special guests present at the show: four Canadian Olympic medalists. Hearing this made me even happier that I came down (why didn’t they advertise this on their tickets page?).

The first sketch of the night was a parody of the Canadian electoral debate, which, interestingly enough, was being broadcasted that very moment. The first couple sketches weren’t really funny. The ones that stood out for me were the Wall Street one, “a special message from McCain and Palin”, and Elliot Friedman interviewing the Olympic athletes, only because Alan Park screwed up twice. Simon Whitfield (triathlon, silver), Malcolm Howard, Adam Kreek (both rowing, gold), and Adam van Koeverden (kayak, silver, also Canadian flagbearer) were present, all uniformed in their skin-tight athletic wear. No, the athletes were not funny. Also, I may or may not have been staring at their crotches most of the time.

After the show, there was about ten minutes of mingling between the stars and the audience. I must point out that Howard and Kreek are FREAKING TOWERS in real life. People were crowded around them like ants to a crumb. Since we were standing behind them, we decided to be completely immature and digitize their fine Olympic asses, which you see as today’s featured photo.

I remembered seeing van Koeverden being interviewed during the Beijing 2008 closing ceremonies and my mom acceding my observation that he was rather good-looking. Therefore we sought out van Koeverden and found him awkwardly hanging out by himself behind the two rowing giants (checking out their derrières?) so we each happily snapped a shot with him on my crappy cellphone cam. Then Matt whined for a photo with Luba Goy, his idol and unrequited lover, so he got a photo and her autograph.

We walked back to Union Station – I went to the trains, Matt to the GO buses. It was there, standing by myself among the silent buzz and stuffiness of a late night subway platform, in the glory of downtown Toronto, that I casually flipped through my photo album on my cellphone and realized the horror. There was the photo of that tight gold medal ass. I hit ‘next’. There was Matt, with a wobbly grin beside van Koeverden. ‘Next’. Matt again, with Luba Goy. Where was me with van Koeverden? And then it hit me. He didn’t save it. MATT DID NOT SAVE MY PHOTO!!!!!!!! HE TOOK IT BUT FORGOT TO SAVE ITTT!!!!!!!!! THE ONE AND ONLY PHOTO OF ME!!!!!! OHHHHHHHH MYYYY FREAKINGGGG GODDDDD WHAT A MORON!!!!!!!!!!

Lucky for Matt, YRT was still on strike and he had to take GO home. If he was standing beside me at that moment I might have been instigated to push him off the platform. I furiously texted Matt to declare my misery and anguish caused by his asininity (not really… I had to write a draft, save it, and send it when I got to Rosedale ’cause there’s no signal underground). Numb and defeated, I stepped onto the Yonge train and slumped down with a sigh. As I stared out the window, I eww-ed at my own reflection ’cause it was so freaking dark outside I solemnly mused upon what could have been: elevated moments of self-pride as I shove a photo of me beaming beside a sexy Canadian athlete under my annoyed friends’ noses when they didn’t even ask for it.

And that is my story. The end. Matt, you owe me an Adam van Koeverden.