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Monday, April 25, 2005

Radio silence this week

It's hit the fan. This week is going to be a lot* of work. I can't even describe how much I'm looking at. The presentation that got postponed till next week? Surprise! It's this week again. Won't be seeing much of me on IM or on the blog this week. But, as always "it will get done".

Your Favorite Jerk

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Stopping pucks since 1993

When I was a kid in elementary school, I used to play floor hockey with the other children on Friday afternoons. As the chubbiest, slowest moving kid I had all the characteristics of a fine goalie. All the other kids wanted to pass like Linden or score like Bure, but I was content with stopping pucks like Kirk Mclean--no razzle dazzle; just good, honest, standup goaltending. The beauty of being a goalie at that level play is that if you just stand still with your big pads and don't make too many moves, nine times out of ten the ball will just hit you and you get to "make a save". Such was my strategy, and my laziness and lack of desire to move around made me a valuable addition to any team. If floor hockey were my calling, goaltending would have been my destiny.

Last night at Delta, I was given an opportunity to rekindle my neglected love affair with goaltending. For a brief moment, as I was strapping on my big, heavy leg pads, I felt like I was in grade 5 again. All the natural goalie instincts that had been hibernating in my system woke with unparalleled ferocity: eyes on the ball, knees bent, glove up, and stick down. Okay fine, these aren't so much instincts as mere commen sense; but still, I felt a sort of rebirth taking place inside me. Okay fine, there was no rebirth, just a feeling of relief that I didn't have to run around, chasing after a ball all night--must you always burst my bubble?

The game got off to a rough start. Less than 20 seconds into the game, I let one in from what would have been just outside the blue line had we been playing on a real rink. I looked more like Dan Cloutier in game 3 against the Wings in '02 than McLean in '94, but I took a deep breath and regrouped. After a few clutch "saves"--attributable to mere happenstance, rather than genuine skill--I was back in top form. It was a battle the whole night, but in end the good guys came out on top, winning two out of the three games.

Today I noticed that both my legs are really sore. I never felt like that when I was in elementary school. But then again, I didn't sit in front of a monitor 10 hours a day back then either. Progress always has a price.

Your Favorite Jerk

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Clean cuts, low prices

Perm, anyone?Yesterday was the first really hot, sunny day since October. After I had lunch with some neighbours from the Nuthouse at Asian Legends on Dundas St., Jon and I decided to walk down to Kensington Market for a coffee. The coffee, I regret to inform you, was unremarkable--Ideal Café might appeal to the hipster crowd with its fair-trade beans and rundown décore, but I'll take a tall, valencia latté from Starbucks over its weak brew any day. However, what was remarkable was this "salon" we encountered on the way to the market.

Ever since coming to Toronto, I've been getting my hair cut--scratch that, 'hacked' is a more accurate term--at the shop beside the pho place across the street from the bubble tea place. I go there not because the I especially like the coiffeurs, but because I like the $7.00 price tag. Usually I can get my hair cut, leave a $2 tip, and walk out feeling like I'm a big tipper. But this $4.00 hair cut has rocked my world. Now I can get my hair cut for a crisp fiver and still leave behind a 25% tip. A bargain this good can only be because of three things: it's a scam, it's illegal,'s Vietamese. The former two I can't tolerate, but the later I've come to know is just a plain, good deal (see Samurai Sushi House in Vancouver). So, I'm thinking the next time I get my hair cut, it's gonna be at the Clean Cuts on Spadina. Heck, at these prices maybe I'll get a perm and a dye job while I'm at it :-p

Your Favorite Jerk

Friday, April 15, 2005


From my five day trip to Vancouver. Feel free to add comments on them as you see fit.

Your Favorite Jerk

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The long flight back

Leave at 2:00 PM, and arrive at 9:45 PM. Lose three hours of your life, and then something more. Funny what 2000 miles can rob you of.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

You mean there's more than one way?

Keyword analysis tells me what search phrases bring people to this blog. Sometimes they are informative, other times they are hilarious, still other times the are simply gross. Rare is the time that a search phrase can be all three. Behold:

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Your Favorite J3rk (there, that should fool the search engines)

Friday, April 08, 2005

The redeye flight

It's 3:40 in the morning, and I decide to preempt my alarm radio by getting ahead of my scheduled 3:45 wakeup call. I have a long day ahead of me--before noon, I will be in Vancouver--and there is still some last-minute packing that I have to do. I didn't sleep well the night before because it seems my body doesn't take kindly to being forced to go to sleep by 10pm (many hours before my normal bedtime). Still groggy from fighting with my stubborn body all night, I stumble out of bed to get everything sorted out. 30 minutes later, I have finished washing up and I'm quickly putting the remaining needed items in my backback. After a quick call to my oblivious partner in crime (:-p) I get on the elevator to meet my 4:30am airport bus.

To my surprise, the temperature outside is not cold, and I find that the cool early morning breeze has a refreshing effect on me. I don't stand on the corner of the street a lot at 4am, so I take the opportunity to have a look around. To my right, I see a group of hoodlums standing outside the building next door. They look quite menancing, so I decide to start pacing--obstensibly to keep warm, but really so I can I have running start should their attention turn to the tourist-looking guy (me). My fears of rampaging hoodlums are soon allayed, thankfully, when the Express bus pulls up to whisk me away to the airport--by whisk, I mean drive slowly to about 8 other downtown hotels, before actually getting on the Gardener Express.

It's now 5:40 and I'm at the Air Canada ticket counter getting checked in in record time. 10 minutes later, I find myself in line to go through security, but here I begin to worry. In my backpack there is a metal Oakley container that is shaped like a giant Howitzer shell, and beside that is a bag full of batteries and wires for my cellphone, camera, and iPod. In my head I picture the reaction that'll be on the screener's face when this beauty passes the X-Ray. Buried deeper in my head are images of me being questioned, restrained, and finally given a full-body orifice search by the RCMP. The security woman waves me through the scanner, but I don't hear so much as a peep. I am at once relieved that I won't have to be gang probed for weapons, but also alarmed at the pathetic security at the airport. It's still early in the morning, and my head is not going full pace, so I let that whole episode slide and step onto the moving sidewalk for gate 139.

The sky outside gradually turns from an inky black to a pleasant, pale blue as I wait in the all-glass terminal. The two hours of sleep that I managed to get prior to coming out is proving to be less than enough. I'm running on fumes and I can't wait to get on the plane so I can go to sleep. When my row is announced, I board as soon as I can and plop down in my window seat beside a small, sour looking man of about 40. He looks like he might be a talker, so I adopt the universal "I don't want to talk" stance: eyes closed and arms folded across my chest. It seems to work well enough and when I open my eyes again, we are ascending to a cruising altitude of 36000 ft.

The inflight movie is Ocean's Twelve--either that, or I'm dreaming about Brad Pitt in my high-altitude sleep (no comments, please. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes Brad Pitt smoking a cigar is just Brad Pitt smoking a cigar. End of discussion.) It's now 9:00am (or whatever time it is wherever we are flying over), and the sun is shining right in my face. I use my window-seat powers of executive decision and pull down the blinds. Sour-man looks displeased as this sudden theft of sunlight reduces his ability to read the National Post. That's the power of the window seat, my friend--learn it, live it, love it.

It is now 10 minutes before noon (or 8:50am in Vancouver). The plane slowly descends, offering a nice view of UBC and downtown. The sky is clear, save for a few clouds, and the sun is largely unobstructed. This is Vancouer-in-the-summer weather, and I am ecstatic about the next five days that I'll spend here. Soon, I will be back home with a few surprises in store :-) Here's to safe trips, fair weather, good company, and pleasant surprises for many years to come.

Your Favorite Jerk

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How not to sell a Whopper

Few can resist the temptation of a Whopper--thick, charbroiled patty; juicy, unnaturally large pieces of tomatoe; fresh lettuce; sesame seed buns that melt in your mouth; and who can forget the special sauce. On Wednesdays, the siren call of the Whopper is even harder to resist because the drug dealers at Burger King sell the delicious sandwhich at half price. Let's be honest, even at full price you don't have to try very hard to sell a burger that has 700 calories. Something this deliciously decadent and addictive should practically sell itself--much like crack.

But this is how NOT to sell a Whopper: put your storefront directly under a speaker connected to the hospital announcement system. I don't care how delicious your burgers are--and I don't deny that they are very very delicious in a make-your-knees-weak sort of way--but if I'm in line to get a 700 calorie burger, the last thing I want to hear is "CODE BLUE: 15 ALPHA". It's not that I don't understand the urgency that a heartattack (code blue) naturally demands, but come on, pleae don't remind me when I'm waiting in line for my cholesterol fix.

Your Favorite Jerk

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My life as Jane Goodall

For those who are new to this blog, let me tell you that once a week during exam period I proctor the upstairs study room from 10pm to 4am. Officially, this is called the night shift. Some of my fellow proctors call it the graveyard shift. I simply call it the shaft.

The hardest part of this job is that it isn't hard. There is nothing stimulating to challenge me to beat the clock besides the thought of getting my paycheque at the end of the month. To keep busy, I read novels and watch movies on my laptop. But there is only so much of that I can do, and usually by the 5th hour--around 3am--I am bored out of my wits and I have to play mind games to stay awake and alert. Lately, I'm playing this game where I pretend I am a zoologist studying the behaviour of students during exam period--not unlike Jane Goodall studying her chimps, only my subjects don't revel in picking and eating lice off eachother's backs.

So far, I've found that most of the students who study in my 27th floor ecosystem fall into one of the following categories:

The Hardcore Keener
This creature is the bane of my existence. He is the reason why I must stay till 4 in the morning without any hope of being able to leave earlier. Unlike other students, the keener will arrive at the study room at 4pm when it opens and stay until last call at 4am. The keener is a predominantly nesting creature, and can be seen with a large assortment of books, clothing, and food scattered across his table. Fiercely territorial, the keener does not take kindly to other creatures encroaching on his space. When confronted, he will often use the awkward but deadly defense of claiming that he is saving seats for his friends--to date, I have not seen these mythical "friend" creatures.

The Social Butterfly
Though gracious in movement, this creature is very annoying, often engaging in chatty courtship rituals that prevent other students from grazing and studying. The social butterfly can be spotted by her distinctive plummage: UofT hoody and trackpants. It is not unusual to see this creature holding a Nalgene water bottle in one hand and a small novel in the other for purposes of "studying". The social butterfly enjoys circling the room and often makes several exits and entrances over the course of an hour. Though loud and obnoxious when gathered in groups, the social butterfly is harmless and when cut off from her social group, will quickly become quiet, wiithering on the vine until she finally decides to leave.

The Snack Eater
This creature has a voracious appetite for both savory and sugary snacks. Recently, biologists have been fiercely debating the classical classification of this creature as a student because he does more eating than studying. Like the hardcore keener, the snack eater is extremely possessive of his territory. However, the snack eater adopts a unique defence mechanism to product his territory: he marks his table and surrounding area with plastic bags, food crumbs, and sticky residue from various sodas and fruit jucies. Most other creatures, upon seeing this clear demarcation of space, will avoid the snack eater's stronghold at all cost.

The Loudmouthed Whiner
This creature possess abnormally keen hearing, and unbearablly shrill vocal cords. At even the slightest sound or temperature fluctuation, she will voice her dissatisfication with an ear-piercing voice and jackhammer persistence. Unlike other creatures in the study room, the loudmouthed whiner has a very narrow temperature range within which she can survive. Anytime the thermostat drops below 20C or rises above 22C, be prepared to cover your ears if you are in the vicinity of the loudmouthed whiner. To spot one, look for these distinctive traits: constant frown, thick glasses, tidy hair (firmly clipped), and very well organized binders and notes. As a special note, if ever a loudmouthed whiner and a hardcore keener are in the vicinity of eachother, bloodshed is almost guaranteed. Though the fighting style of these two creatures will appear awkward and almost comical, it is never* wise to attempt to break it up; these are very deadly creatures and either one can destroy an untrained civilian.

Well, that's all I've found so far. When I discover more about these amazing creatures, I'll be sure to let you know.

Your Favorite Jerk

Sunday, April 03, 2005

These are a few of my favorite things

Forget raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens. These are only good if your name is Maria and you've been sent to raise the seven unruly children of a stiff, aristocratic, Austrian ex-navy captain. Me, I'll take a long four hour nap on a snowy Sunday afternoon, while listening to jazz coming out of the clock-radio as it tries in vain to wake me from my rendezvous with entropy. Best. Nap. Ever. And now, for a bowl of pho. Let's see you make that* into a song, Messrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Your Favorite Jerk