free page hit counter

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sleepless in Toronto

Sleep usually comes very easily for me. You can chalk it up to my laziness or my uncanny ability to zone out, but for whatever reason the Sandman always seems to bring a generous helping of sleep-inducing fairy dust with him every night. Given the circumstances last night, however, even a metric ton of fairy dust would not have put me to sleep.

There has been an annoying knocking sound coming from my ceiling for almost a week now. Up until last night, I've been doing my best to ignore it, but last night whatever was causing the knocking kicked into high-gear. The trouble with the sort of knocking I'm talking about is its irregularity. It's not difficult to tune out a well-established, steady, metronome-like sound because the brain is accustomed to labelling these as white noise for subsequent filtering. But the knocking that tormented me last night had an irregular, highly aggrevating character which made it impossible to ignore. That in conjunction with the effects of the handful of chocolate-covered coffee beans I had eaten around midnight made the normally trivial task of falling asleep niegh impossible. As a result, I woke up with a rather severe headache--and the nagging belief that somewhere out there the coffe-bean and incessant knocking combination is used as a torture mechanism to slowly destroy the will of its victim to live.

It is with the absolute most sincerity that I say this: I love and appreciate the nap more than any other afternoon passtime--especially with the right pillow :) Good night, all.

Your Favorite Jerk

In case you cared to know, the knocking sound was apparently caused by a broken belt from a machine in the engineering room upstairs. Thankfully, it appears to have been fixed, so I should be able to get a nice 8 hours tonight.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Welcome to AA

This past year I've been drunk on the wine of laziness and was daily caught in a stupor of lethargy. Today marks the first of what I hope will be many sober days. Free of the potent drink called sloth, I feel energized, motivated, and keenly aware of all my senses. I feel as if I have taken the first step of a metaphorical AA program. To those who I've unconsciously but undeniably hurt in the past during my many periods of torpid inebriation, let me extend to you the most sincere of apologies. To those who have loved and stayed with me despite such a grievous flaw, I can offer nothing but my most heartfelt thanks and appreciation. From this day forth, I will proceed only on the sweet water of diligence, free of any indolent spirits. Give me a hug next time you see me, and help me stay on the wagon--or was it "off the wagon"; I never did quite grasp that idiom.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

I'm going to mark this day down

A week ago I was going to leave the world of academia with a Masters and call it a day. I wanted a different purpose, a more exciting job, a more interesting career. But that was just an excuse to avoid hard work, to run away, to quit. How silly :) I'm back now. No more running away, no more searching for "more", no more questioning. Time to shut up and put up. Mark down this day.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Prayer answered!

I went back to the Nuthouse to finish up a hurried meal in preparation for a long night at the lab. But lo and behold, when I got back to my desk I found this email sitting in my inbox. Some times, you just know Someone up there is looking out for you. Thank You for answering prayers before I have even asked for anything!


Good news, I'm not having the committee meeting tomorrow!! Last minute cancellation. The meeting was postponed to Nov. 3 or 4. I still need the results relatively soon because I'm going to the American society of human genetics meeting next week where I'm presenting a poster on this project.
So I don't need the results tomorrow morning. Later tomorrow or early Friday is fine.

Thanks again!




Saturday, October 15, 2005

Walking and discovering

It has been awhile since I wandered around this town on my own. The solitary explorer may be a lonely one, but he can also be a happy one. Sometimes I forget how nice it can be just to go forth without any direction and see where my feet decide to take me.

The weather turned out to be nice today, despite the gloomy forecasts of rain this morning. But really, it wouldn't have mattered anyway. Sometimes, I just want to walk any weather. Fairweather friends I have many, but what I need is someone who wouldn't mind walking in the rain with me.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mom's coming to visit!!!

Thanks to the Westjet/Air Canada seat sale that Peter told me about today, I managed to snag a return ticket for mom for $408 including tax. That is an awesome deal considering I paid $630 for a student fare back home this Christmas. Who says there isn't enough oil left on this planet?

So, mom's going to be coming next month for a week. I'm hoping winter will come a bit later than usual this year so I can actually show her around without suffering frostbite. And now, back to preparing my talk.

Your Favorite Jerk

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sidetracked but not forgotten

60% of the time, I'm ghetto all the time.

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, October 03, 2005

What's on your desk?

This is what's on my desk. I think every item down to the smallest scrap of paper has some small, albeit perhaps insignificant, story behind it. I've catalogued everything I have on my desk so that I can one day look back on this post and see a small snapshot of my life. This is largely for my own benefit and will most likely prove exceptionally boring for everyone else. But regardless of that minor detail, what's on your desk? Show me some time.

  1. My phone. I got him from a Chinese store in Markham back in March at 50% off the retail price. My Chinese neighbour told me the small boy is a spokesperson for some type of candy that is popular in Asia. I was just amazed that the thing opened up to reveal a phone. And before you ask, yes, it does feel oddly disturbing talking into the torso of a small boy everytime I make a phone call.

  2. Pants (the monkey) and his favorite platypus. Pants, who I received for my birthday last April, is so named because he wears no pants. These days he seems quite happy spending his days hugging Miffyboo, his pet platypus, which Tiffy had "won" at the CNE. Sometimes I think Pants is choking Miffyboo, but the platypus has thus far shown no signs of protest or resistance to his advances.

  3. My external harddrive, modem, a business card, and a Chinese stamp etched with my Chinese name. The later was a Christmas gift, and I have since used the image from the stamp to create a series of legal tender Canada Post postage stamps bearing the image of my name--vain, perhaps, but also quite practical...and showy. Oh, I got the business card from The Clay Room on the Danforth in early May when Ames, Tomlin, and I went to paint ceramics. I think I made a mug or some such but it was a lot of fun despite my meager artistic ability. Let's go again some time, guys!

  4. One of my Monsoon speakers. I bought these four years ago when flat panel speakers with superb sound in the upper ranges were all the rage. These days consumers have decided as a whole that treble is overrated, and the market is now dominated by 5 speaker setups with subwoofers that can destroy bunkers in Iraq.

  5. My Acer LCD monitor. This was a recent purchase from Staples that I had to make out of neccessity rather than frivolity--when you bring a computer from Vancouver and realize you don't have a monitor, you are left with very few choices. I didn't pay top dollar for this monitor because it didn't have the fastest response time on the market, but since my eyes can't tell the difference between 14ms and 12ms, I didn't particularly mind.

  6. My Logitech webcam. I bought this last fall to keep in touch with family and friends back home. In its hayday this thing was called into action almost on a nightly basis. These days it sits mostly unused, serving largely as a pretty (and expensive) monitor ornament

  7. My iPod, and some TTC tokens. You can read more about my iPod here. As for the TTC tokens, I believe they are quite self-explanatory.

  8. My Shuttle box. I must say I really like this small computer. It's whisper quiet and has all the power and functionality of a larger machine. I ripped the CPU, HDD, DVD-burner, and RAM from my old computer back home and installed them in this thing over the summer holidays. Do you know how hard it is to find a Shuttle box with support for socket 487 CPUs in stock in Vancouver? For those of you interested in PC hardware, come by sometime and I'll show you the heatpipe in this thing--fantastic design, and I'll bet it's probably bigger than yours too.

  9. My small collection of Peek-a-Pooh doohickeys and two Kindersurprise Smurfs, one of which was a gift from Ames. I used to have another one but that one was given away--I hope it's not in a landfill somewhere because I really liked that Smurfette.

  10. My one and only mug (besides the guest mugs). I got this in Disneyland a year and a half ago and so far it has served me well. This mug has a nice weight to it and holds most fluids in a solid, unclumsy manner that few mugs can emulate.

  11. My laundry card, Sickkids employee badge, and spare change. The laundry card was given to me by someone after I lent mine to Tomlin last year. Jon, if you're reading this, gimme back my card--it's worth five bucks! :-p

  12. My pen, pencil, eraser, and pad of sticky paper. The later isn't actually mine, and I will have to return it to its rightful owner soon (I hope you're not reading this, Tiffy). I bought the pencil and eraser at the Grand & Toy in the Eaton Centre about two days after I moved in last September. They were among my very first purchases in Toronto. The pen...looks suspiciously like the ones we use in the lab...I should probably bring that one back at some point.

  13. My Rogers Pay as You Go cellphone. I bought this shortly after my Nokia froze on me--it stopped responding to keypad input and refused to turn off while on Loud mode--right before I went to a TSO concert. Had I been more popular I would have been in a tight spot at the Roy Thompson that night. In any case, the new phone is "MuchMusic enabled" which means I can download short clips of Ed The Sock berating me for paying $1.50 to download a short clip of him berating me. I love capitalism.

  14. My Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse combo. I bought this two years ago at Costco and brought it back with me last month. The setup was quite cheap but it's the upkeep that gets me: the mouse takes 2 AAs every two months or so and the keyboard takes 6(!) AAs twice a year. And it's wireless because I need the mobility...yeah you can stop talking right there.

  15. A photo of me, mom, and dad in Hangzhou. This picture was taken three years ago and I can still feel the insane humidity by the West Lake that day everytime I see this picture. I miss mom and dad :-(

  16. A postcard from Paris from Vivs (write me when you get settled in!). Maybe one day I'll get a chance to visit.

  17. Tammy!!!! Tiffy and I found her discarded on top of a Pokémon vending machine in a Chinese mall in Chinatown this summer. It seems the vending machine was stuffed with these swimmer/mini-whore dolls instead of Pokémon toys as advertised, and my guess is that some poor child threw her on top of the machine in disgust when he got Tammy instead of Pikachu. Actually, we're not sure if her real name is Tammy, but she definitely looks like a one. Once I find her a mini-trailer she'll be right at home.

  18. A ticket stub from The Wedding Crashers. Great movie, even better company. If you haven't seen this, you have no excuses. Seriously, you don't because they are selling them for $5 in Chinatown. And if that's too steep for you, I'll lend you my copy.

  19. Calling Card. No, seriously it's called "Calling Card". But who cares what it's called, I call it $3.75 for eight(!) hours of long distance calling to Vancouver. Honestly, I have a sneaky suspicion that this card is the creation of some sort of money-laundering ring, but who am I to judge.

Your Favorite Jerk

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Taking the scenic route

"Excuse me," I say to the mullet-sporting man behind the London Greyhound counter, "what time does the 3:30pm bus arrive in Toronto?" Without missing a beat, the man tells me that it arrives at 7:30pm. I don't remember taking four hours to get here Thursday night, so I ask him when the 5:30pm bus will arrive in Toronto to make sure he hadn't misspoken. "Same time as the 3:30pm one--7:30pm," he replies confidently. Now, my math isn't great but even I know that two buses leaving from the same city two hours apart from eachother shouldn't arrive at the same time, so I politely ask the man if there is something about these London-Toronto routes that I didn't know about. It turns out the 3:30pm bus stops "everywhere from here to Toronto".

It's only 3:15pm so I have some time to make a decision on which of the two buses to take. I don't fancy riding in a Greyhound bus for longer than I have to, so I comtemplate killing two hours in London before boarding the later bus. But a cursory survey of the neighbourhood reveals that, like almost all Greyhound stations in North America, this one is situated in a part of town not suited to tourists wanting to kill time. In fact, the only thing one can kill in this part of town is other people. I decide to nix that idea and get in line for the 3:30pm bus. For the next four hours, I will get a tour of rural ontario with my iPod as my sole companion.

Up till now, what little of rural Ontario I've seen was limited to the thin tracts of farmland visible from the 401. So, in a way I'm very glad that I was forced to take the roundabout slow bus today. Hey, not many people can say they went from London to Paris (Ontario) aboard a Greyhound bus, right?

<3 Your Favorite Jerk