The AGO

   25 February 2009, early morning

Shima and I have memberships at the AGO now. I’ve been three times since joining. I am trying to make it a point of going often in order to make the most of my membership purchase. (Though, I suppose supporting the gallery is worthwhile in and of itself.) The gallery is big enough it will probably take several trips to figure out where everything is, and see everything worth seeing.

The AGO renovation is amazing, and seems like what the ROM renovation should have aspired to. I like the Crystal, but once inside the museum it seems clear that it doesn’t work that well. Gallery space is poorly utilized, and the interior just doesn’t look that nice. There is all sorts of infrastructure jutting out here and there, which ruin the the interior elements of the design. The AGO on the other hand seems like a perfectly executed renovation. The exterior is certainly nice, but the interior is where things really shine. Everything seems neat and tidy and just right. The ROM’s big success is moving its entrance to Bloor, and the new lobby which is quite stunning. Beyond that I think the renovation wasn’t a success. It certainly doesn’t seem to have captivated Torontonians the way the AGO renovation has.

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Stop Calling Me, Lady

   22 February 2009, mid-afternoon

Andrea Horwath won’t stop spamming me. She’s running for leadership of the Ontario NDP. I’ve also got more robocalls from her than any other candidate. Annoying the electorate isn’t a good way to run a campaign: If you’re going to call me at least have a real live person do on the other end of the phone line. I would think this is obvious, but apparently not. Signing up for the NDP has been a bit disappointing. I haven’t been the recipient of this much junk mail in ages. This is lame.

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Frozen Jeans

   13 February 2009, terribly early in the morning

I pulled my jeans out of the freezer this morning. They were cold, but didn’t smell as dank as they did the day before. I put them in the freezer Wednesday night, because I had worn them out in a downpour. Rain is like dirt falling from the sky. Getting jeans you haven’t washed in 5 months wet with rain water isn’t good, especially if you don’t want to wash them for another month. And so they went in the freezer. I bought my Nudies on September 1st of last year. According to my plan, I am due to wash them on March 1st, which is just a few weeks away. (I actually didn’t realize till just now how close I am to reaching the 6 month mark with these jeans.) Wearing jeans for half a year — without washing them — can be kind of gross. With my Julian Red’s I gave up early, ending my experiment a month and a half early. With my Nudies I think I can easily cross the half a year mark.

My nudies out of the freezer.

I’m wearing my Julian Reds today. Since buying my Nudies I hardly wear anything else. (Actually, I literally wear nothing else. I can probably count on my two hands the times I haven’t worn my Nudies since buying them.) These jeans are great. I think Julian Reds are well worth the money if you are looking for some Dry Denim.

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Fumio Funkakoshi

   17 January 2009, early morning

Fumio Funakoshi is on Facebook. Of note to you, the reader, would be this post from last year, entitled, Facebook Sucks Yo. Follow that by reading, God Damn Fucking Facebook. And then we come to today. I sign up for all sorts of stupid stuff on the Internet. Why not Facebook? I will just have to hate myself a little bit more. I need to take a shower.

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The Post Blackout Trip to Work

   16 January 2009, early morning

I left for work at 9:00 today. I thought leaving during rush-hour proper would be stupid since subways were not running on Bloor. Waiting was probably a good idea, but my guess that by 9:00 things would be OK was way off. I sat in Dale’s drinking a coffee for about 45 minutes, after realizing that a) the subway wasn’t going to start soon and b) shuttle buses weren’t going to empty any time soon. Buses East and West were totally packed by the time they got to Bloor and Lansdowne (Blansdowne). At 10 I hopped on a bus, which, while still quite busy, didn’t have people falling out the front door. The trip to Keele (where subway service had resumed) was uneventful, till you reached the station. Keele was a zoo. I can only imagine how bad it was earlier in the morning. Once I got to Keele, and got on a train heading West, the my trip was a lot less interesting. The train was empty, but running quite slow. My beloved 191 had stopped its rush hour service hours ago, so I took the slow but reliable Kipling and Dixon buses to make it in to work — 3 hours late.

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Blackout in Blansdowne

   15 January 2009, early evening

It’s pitch black on Bloor right now. For some strange reason my building still has power. The walk home was both creepy, and crossing the street was a little scary. The subways run during a minor blackout apparently. I was impressed. I can see sirens down the road. I wonder if people are taking advantage of the dark. If it wasn’t so god damn cold, I might have a picture to remember this by. Instead, i’ll have to use my imagination the next time I read this post.

Update: Well Laurence wanted photos, so one of the city can be seen below. There are a few more on my Flickr right now page.

A dark bloor.

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She's an Ace or so I'm Told.

    8 January 2009, evening time

the Machetes rocking out

The Machetes fucking rock. I said as much last time I saw them. They have just gotten better with time. I’ll have to say more tomorrow.

Tomorrow: I met Tyler, Andrea and Grant at the Drake last night to catch the Machetes EP release party. The Drake was the White like Barrie — that always weirds me out a little bit. I sat by the front and drank a beer, watched a dude do ‘punk’ magic, and then the girls were on stage. They played a short set which, as I said last night, fucking rocked. Nice. They remind me a little bit of Elastica. And they sang a slower song which was reminiscent of Hole. I’m not sure that’s particularly descriptive. Thankfully you can just listen to their music on Myspace. The drummer — who can also sing — played a set with another 2-person band she’s in, Romo Roto. It was all percussion and singing. Also good; very different. And their was a dude juggling machetes! And the girls played a second set! Talk about action packed.

Still Tomorrow: The Machetes EP is very enjoyable. If you go to their MySpace page Ace and Black Leather are particularly good. Only problem is that the CD sounds a bit too clean compared to how messy and raw the live show is. I guess that’s true of most bands though.

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2009

    1 January 2009, the wee hours

Another year, another party. We made Turkey this time. And by we I mean Patrick. The wine from the wedding is finally all gone. It only took us half a year to finish. As with last year, I finished the night playing Settlers. It was a close game. Shima is in Barrie. This is the first New Years we haven’t been together in quite some time. Hopefully 2009 begins with a new member of the Renolison clan.

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Sri Lanka 1983

   22 December 2008, evening time

me and chithuroobi in Sri Lanka

Who’d have thought I’d manage to maintain my 3-year-old weight for all these years. 1983 was the first and last time I have been in Sri Lanka. My cousin Chithuroobi is the girl in the photograph. This is one of my favourite photographs.

We were visiting Sri Lanka. I left with my family a few weeks before the riots. My dad had planned to move back to Sri Lanka, but has said he could feel the tension in the air. My cousin and her family were in Sri Lanka during the riots. She lives in Australia now.

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Wedding Ring

   19 December 2008, terribly early in the morning

My wedding ring is so tight I never take it off. I’ve probably taken it off a handful of times since getting married. Yesterday was one of those days. And now i’m at work, typing, and I realize I don’t have a ring on my hand. Without the ring i’m just a skinny brown dude. With the ring, there is that mystery, “what exactly makes this guy attractive?” How am I supposed to hit on women now?

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#hohoto

   15 December 2008, mid-afternoon

7:23 PM: Over the last little while, I would see the occasional message on my twitter feed informing me so-and-so would be attending #hohoto at the Mod Club. I didn’t bother getting tickets, because I couldn’t even image the thing would sell out. Nerds at a club: how does that sell out? Of course, it does. #hohoto seems to have become some sort of nerdapolooza here in Toronto. I don’t know what the tech community equivalent of a scenester is, but I suspect I’m going to meet a whole bunch tonight.

I’m off to meet Laurence now. It’ll be interesting to see how the night plays out. If it’s anything like any other tech event I’ve been too, it’ll be a lot of dudes and awkward conversation.

8:51 AM: #hohoto was definitely a big success. The organizers managed to raise over $25,000 for the food bank. According to Mayor Miller, this makes the group one of the top 5 donors to the food bank. (This is all the more impressive when you factor in the fact that they did this all in 2 weeks.) As a party I think it also worked well. I underestimated just how many PR and Marketing people would show up. So, to my surprise, it wasn’t just a bunch of dudes and awkward conversation. People were drinking, a few people were dancing, and a lot of people were schmoozing. I saw a lot of my friends, and they played Stevie Wonder, so I had a great time.

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Buying a Scanner

   10 December 2008, terribly early in the morning

I’ve been putting off buying a scanner for some time now, which has been frustrating because i’ve been developing black and white film at home these past few weeks. Not being able to see what my photos look like kind of defeats the purpose of taking photographs. The problem with buying a scanner now of course is that in a few weeks they may go on sale. On the other hand buying one now means that I get to help the economy, and could tell my children that my purchase helped change the course of Canadian history. I opted to buy one now, intrepid consumer that I am.

I bought an Epson V500. They actually had a ‘used’ one at Henry’s for $200, which is what I bought. (I lucked out, in that it was probably some sort of over stock or customer return: nothing had been unpacked.) This is Epson’s entry level flatbed film scanner. I had thought about paying for the next model up, but I think that for looking at photos on a computer you really don’t need something spectacular. I don’t think I’d print from scans when I have negatives readily available. A dedicated film scanner, which is what I originally wanted, are upwards of a grand: that’s just stupid expensive. Epson has a model down from this, the discontinued 4490 that the V500 replaced. This might be a good option as well, though the V500 has an LED light source, so there are no warm up times to worry about: scanning is faster. The V500 seems to do a good job of things, based on the scans I’ve seen by people on Flickr.

Scanning seems like a voodoo art. Do you scan the negative as a positive, B&W as colour, etc? The next step is figuring out how to scan stuff properly. My first attempts worked out well enough for now.

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The Future is Cold

   17 November 2008, terribly early in the morning

Shima and I were in Barrie over the weekend. I feel like we traveled into the future to witness what the winter will bring. While Toronto remains quite dry, Barrie was pelted with a ton of snow. (And I mean high-quality packing snow.)

A snow filled scene in Barrie.

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Nov 11th

   11 November 2008, early morning

Canada is basically the greatest country in the world. And the best part about Canada is, we aren’t all up in peoples faces about it. Lest we forget.

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There Goes the Neighbourhood

    6 November 2008, early evening

the opening night for the Paul Bright gallery

The Paul Bright Gallery opened up down the road from me today. This is gallery number three to open up on the Bloor and Lansdowne corner. Richard Mercer is across the street, and Toronto Free Gallery is a few doors down. I still live next to a strip club, but I feel like the neighbourhood has lost a little bit of its edge. Mind you, i’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

You can see a reflection of a pawn shop in the window. I wonder how long that shop will be there.

Update Aug 4th 2009: The pawn shop outlasted the art gallery! Dis.

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Hipster Halloween

   31 October 2008, terribly early in the morning

It’s Halloween, and tonight I plan to dress like a hipster. This costume works for a couple reasons: I already have enough junk to dress like a hipster: skinny jeans, crazy shoes, thick plastic glasses, vintage t-shirts, etc. I recently purchased this strange vest from PreLoved which may round out the costume. (If you have any other ideas for what a hipster outfit should entail, I’m all ears. Sadly, I still can’t grow an ironic mustache. I may in fact be the only South Indian man unable to grow mustache.) Since my friends already think i’m a hipster, the costume would also be ironic, thereby cementing it as a solid hipster costume. If only I had a fixed gear bike.

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Suck it, Bell!

   21 October 2008, early evening

Use Tomato/MLPPP to Stop Bell from Throttling your Internet Connection.

So the WRT54G router firmware I linked to earlier does in fact get around Bell’s (anti-competitive jack-ass) throttling of my Teksavvy internet connection. I love my router, I love Teksavvy, and I now love Tomato/MLPPP. I haven’t been able to download torrents during the evening for many months. (Bell throttles during off-peak hours, so while I was at work my torrents used to run at full speed.) I really didn’t expect a solution like this to develop: I was waiting for Bell to get their asses handed to them in court. Clearly, relying on your government to take a large corporation to task is an exercise in futility. If you’re on Teksavvy, and have a respectable router, I seriously recommend you upgrade to this firmware. Suck it, Bell!

So how does this work? MLPPP is used to aggregate several different network links into a single faster link — i.e. you can take several DSL connections and make a single faster one. With MLPPP the client will split a packet up into smaller fragments, and send each fragment with an additional MLPPP header over different links to the server. The server will then reassemble the original packet from the fragments it receives. You split your bandwidth over all your links, effectively creating a single faster one. You can run MLPPP over a single link, but it obviously offers you no advantage, as all your data is still going over the same link. In this case, the advantage comes from the fact that (for the time being) the hardware Bell uses to track and shape Internet traffic does not know how to process MLPPP traffic. Bell doesn’t reassemble the real packet to examine what is being sent, and thus can’t decide if it needs to be throttled. As long as your ISP understands the MLPPP protocol, you should be able to avoid throttling this way.

Update: TekSavvy now charges $3 for a static IP, access to newsgroups, and access to their ML/PPP server(s).

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Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program

   11 October 2008, late evening

We made it back home. Our flight was delayed 4 hours, which meant we missed our connection. Quantas booked us on the 10:00 PM flight out of LA. (That would have taken off 10 hours after we were supposed to have left.) Go Quantas! Our flight was split between Quantas and Air Canada, so we thought, may as well see what Air Canada could do. Air Canada didn’t drop the ball, and got us on a 3:00PM flight. I can’t believe Air Canada showed up another airline. I think Shima and I were both stunned by this, and the fact the staff on the flight were young and good looking.

All in all it took something like 28 hours to get back home. People aren’t meant to travel that long.

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Delays!

    9 October 2008, early evening

Shima and I are sitting in the Quantas Transit lounge. Our flight was delayed 3 hours. I’m not sure if the free internet makes things better or not. Hopefully we aren’t stranded in LA. That would suck.

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Almost Over

    7 October 2008, late afternoon

Shima and I are here for a few more days. I haven’t read my Google Reader news in 3 weeks. I’m not sure if I should go back and see what I missed or not. I also haven’t been on MetaFilter in weeks. I suppose these things are both signs of a good vacation. Shima and I are heading off to the zoo shortly, which should be the last touristy thing we do in Sydney. Then it will all be loafing about with my cousins and family before taking a damn long flight back home.

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3.80 for a Coke?

    2 October 2008, late at night

I have yet to be charged less than 3.80$ for a coke when I’m out at a restaurant. That is way too much. Everything in Austrailia is expensive, but that just seems excessive.

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OZ!

   21 September 2008, early evening

Shima and I are alive and well in Australia. It will probably be quiet here till I get back. The cousin I’m staying with doesn’t own a computer. (I know, I couldn’t believe it either.) The weather here is great. We’re on what i’ll call our first official day out, as yesterday we arrive and slept for most of the afternoon and evening. (I’m writing this post in an Apple store downtown.) I love Apple.

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IVONA - princess of burgundia

   29 August 2008, terribly early in the morning

I watched IVONA – Princess of Burgundia last night. It’s an old absurdist Polish play that was re-imagined by Ted Witzel and the Red Light District theatre group, and put on at the Gladstone. It was a strange ass play. I suppose that was to be expected. The play was certainly entertaining and funny. The story is about a prince who feels compelled to marry this wretched lady that annoys everyone with her wretchedness. I thought the second act dragged a little bit, but it picks up at the end. The dance numbers were awesome. The actors stay in character from the time you arrive till the end of the play. They wander about before the show starts. Checkers, the maid, was particularly funny. She is cleaning and setting up the set when you arrive, and spends most of the play in a small side room closet thing, doing her own thing. I thought everyone did a great job with their roles. The play is probably worth checking out if you’re into theatre. I quite liked it.

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TIFF 2008

   26 August 2008, terribly early in the morning

I need to head off after work to pick up my order book for the Toronto International Film Festival. Getting tickets for TIFF is an involved and convoluted process. It involves a lot of lining up, filling out forms, and more lining up. Mezan thinks this is to discourage people who aren’t that interested in movies from coming out. He’s probably right. The film festival begins in two weeks, but the TIFF website still doesn’t have descriptions of what is being shown. Their web site usually sucks, so I don’t know why I expected this year to be any different. (Why they don’t ask the Hotdocs people for help, I don’t know.) Last year I didn’t see many films, which was a bit disappointing. This year there are already a couple that sound interesting, in particular the Ashes of Time Redux. Anyone else going to the festival?

Update: I watched the following films at TIFF 08:

My friend L ended up watching the following two films with me too:

And then went out to watch a whole lot more:

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Usain Bolt is Fast

   18 August 2008, terribly early in the morning

I called Rishi on Saturday, and left a message on his voicemail asking if he wanted to meet for brunch. He called me back a few minutes later: “Is it too early for a beer?” Is it ever? So we went to Beer Bistro, where I got to have both a beer and brunch. While waiting for Rishi to show up I got to watch the best thing i’ve seen at the Olympics – by far – the men’s 100m sprint. I arrived just as the race – or perhaps a replay of the race – had finished. People in the bar were going mental. I figured I must have missed something awesome. So I waited, and then watched as they replayed the race. Holy shit, Usain Bolt is amazing. That’s how you win a race. For those who missed it, try your best to find a copy of the race, which features: Bolt winning by an embarrassingly large margin; Bolt looking back, seeing he’s winning by an embarrassingly large margin, and thus deciding to cheer his win before crossing the finish line; and finally, Bolt letting up early to cheer and yet still managing to get the world record. He ran the race a full tenth of a second faster than Ben Johnson did in 1988. And Johnson didn’t get to keep that record. Go Bolt! Go!

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