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Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I forgot to post pictures from my weekend conference in Halifax a couple of weekends ago, so here are a few to make up.

The biting cold in Halifax made every minute there seem like an hour--which in retrospect was both a terrible nuisance as well as a blessing since I only had about half a day to see the city. Judging from what little I saw of Halifax--in between ducking into desolate downtown buildings to thaw out my extremities--I think Halifax might be a very pretty city during the more hospitable seasons. I really would like to go back in the summer one one day to test this hypothesis. But in the winter, the following bit of conversation between me and a cab driver should give you a pretty good idea of what the place is like:

Me: I'd like to go to the harbour please.
Driver: You're not from around here, are you? This time of year, the harbour is cold! Ain't nobody down there. Where you from?
Me: I just came in from Toronto a couple of days ago. I think it should be okay. I don't plan to stay by the water too long.
Driver: Toronto! Ha! Trust me, buddy. This here ain't no wussy dry cold like you're used to back home. The winds from the water'll freeze you to the bone! On a day like today, it'll feel like -25 all the way through. Harbour, right? Here we go!

It turns out the driver was right. All the locals, save for a stoic Theodore the Tugboat docked by the boardwalk, had long abandoned the harbour and none of the stores were open. I ducked into a seafood place for lunch after about 20 minutes and took a cab to the airport right after that. Halifax, I barely met ya.

Your Favorite Jerk

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


How do you choose between two equally enticing options with different payoff schedules? That was the dilema I faced this morning as I woke to the irritating cacophony of my cellphone alarm clock. Before me lay two choices: the first, more immediately enticing option was to go back to sleep; the second, potentially more rewarding option was to get up and run quickly to the local Best Buy for a chance to purchase a Nintendo Wii system. Though I was still groggy, the thought of missing yet another Wii shipment was disconcerting enough to render the first option effectively unavailable.

I got up, got dressed, and walked briskly against the cold, unwelcoming wind of a January morning toward the Best Buy on Dundas street, where I presently find myself at the end of a long, snaking line creeping ever so slowly to a bank of cashiers, where a metal cage housed a small number of Wiis. By my rough estimate, there are roughly 15 people before me, and a similar number of Wiis in the cage. I realize there is little margin of error here, and I wait anxiously for the line to move.

The whole ordeal reminds me of the times when five year old me used to line up with my mom at the local outdoor market in Shanghai for eggs and other essentail food items that were always difficult to acquire. I suppose the fact that nearly two decades later I find myself waiting with equal anxiety for an entirely frivolous toy is either a testament to the progress that society has made, or an indication that the decadence of first world living is leading us to a dangerous precipice. But my mind is too preoccupied with the matter at hand to wax philosphical about such trivial matters as the consequences of unchecked consumerism. Instead, I am alarmed by the steady decrease of supplies in the cage.

At last, I arrive near the front of the line. Behind me is a river of agitated fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles who are just as keen on getting a Wii as me. I see a Best Buy employee walk timidly towards us, with an expression that suggests bad news. "There are only three Wiis left," he says weakly, before quickly ducking behind a counter. I quickly do a count of the people in front of me and realize to my horror that there are exactly three people standing in front of me. As a let out a sigh of defeat and turn to leave with the rest of the disappointed crowd, one of the women in front of me excitedly tells me she's in line for a remote having secured a Wii earlier. In mere seconds, my system is flooded by a strong coctail of serotonin and adrenaline. Finally, at 9:35AM, after weeks of fruitless searching I get my hand on a Wii.

Your Favorite Jerk

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hockey Day in Canada

Thanks to Tiffy's largess, I went to my first ever Canucks game outside of GM Place. I will leave the sports writing to the professionals, but I will say that the final 6-1 score for the Canucks made for a very entertaining game to watch. At least a fourth of the spectators were Canucks fans, and that proportion increased to almost half the audience as dejected Leafs fans trickled out of the ACC in disgust after Salo's power play goal in the third period. When Naslund scored to make it 6-1 for the Nucks the ACC sounded like the Garage as the Canucks fans--by now a full two thirds of the crowd--started giving Raycroft the Bronx cheer without any rebuttal from the remaining Leafs supporters. Go Canucks go!

Your Favorite Jerk


The Canucks kid sitting two seats from us was the most annoying part of the night. If he were ten years older, I'm sure he would have been stomped by angry Leafs fans in the parking lot. Good natured jeering is fun, but sometimes you have to show some respect when you're in the opponent's building.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The new season of 24 is breath taking!

I was going to write a little blurb to recap the past year, but while I was doing that I got side-tracked by the first four episodes of the upcoming season of 24. If you have access to bittorrent, I encourage you to go check them out yourselves.

The episodes start off a bit slowly because Jack Bauer has turned soft after two years of being worked over by the Chinese. But by the fourth episode, things get very heated very quickly. In fact, even though I had to witness the death of one of my favorite characters in episode four, it is by far the best episode of 24 I've ever seen.

Your Favorite Jerk