Monday, July 28, 2008

Travel Blog: Day 6

July 28

Flying out to Vancouver today (I was terribly confused on that point until yesterday... yikes).

Went to Taste of Edmonton yesterday in downtown Edmonton, and thoroughly enjoyed the public square, the food, the atmosphere, the whole cultural feeling of it all.  Even though Toronto has the Taste of the Danforth, I've never made the effort to actually go out to it.  It is events like this that make me remember that the Canadian Identity really is that great mosaic that they talk about in elementary school, instead of the "anything not-American" identity that some people like to push on us (*cough* the lib party... ignore that).  

When I get back to the Toronto area, I'll definitely be going to more events in and around the city.  Festival City has definitely shown me a good time, but I'm sure that the GTA has just as many, if not more, opportunities for cultural exploration, and just plain fun in the sun.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Travel Blog: Day 4

July 26

Spent the last 2 days down at the Rexall Edmonton Indy, the only Canadian stop on this year's IRL race schedule.  And what a weekend of racing it has been.  The crowds were great, the weather was great, the on track performances were great.  In today's main event, Paul Tracy, the Thrill from West Hill, finished in 4th, in his first race in the newly unified circuit. Gotta love PT.

Also got to see Frankie Muniz, yes that's right, Malcolm in the Middle, driving in the Atlantic Series. He didn't fare so well, but it was cool to see him zipping around the track at the City Centre Airport.

Tonight we went down to the Capital Ex (formerly Klondike Days) to see the finale concert of the fair.  Dragonette opened (which I missed.... again!), followed by Bedouin Soundclash and the evening was wrapped up by Metric.  They put on a great show in threatening weather (which never materialized, thank God).

Edmonton has billed itself as "Festival City", and I will concur at this point in time.  Not only was the Indy and Capital Ex going on this weekend, but they also have the Taste of Edmonton happening downtown.  With superb public transit specifically adapted for these events, getting to and from everything was simple and not overly time consuming.  Toronto would have managed to totally screw that up (AKA not sending enough buses to the Exhibition... for ANY event that happens there).  Kudos to Edmonton for being such an efficient host.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Travel Blog: Day 2

July 24

Well, my first full day in Edmonton has been quite eventful. Staying with Will & Colleen near the U of A campus again (a giant thank-you to them).  Highlights for the day:

The Bodyworlds exhibit at the Telus World of Science.
First thing to notice is that EVERYTHING in Alberta seems to have serious corporate sponsorship. Torontonians, can you imagine if Bell had the naming rights to the Ontario Science Centre? Regardless, this exhibit was absolutely astounding.  I am glad that I was able to catch it here in Edmonton, as I missed it when it was at the OSC.  The bodies looked fake at times, but the effect is still striking and memorable.  It made me realize how fragile the human body really is, how complicated each of the systems within it are.  They showed full bodies (devoid of skin), as well as different systems, such as the skeleton, nervous system, musculature, intestinal, etc., to demonstrate the different functionalities.  For all the super nerds out there, the process of preparing the bodies (as well as the individual systems or organs) is very very cool. Look it up, it's called plastination, invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens.  All I can suggest is that you must see this exhibit if it rolls through your city.  The exhibits on the lungs, fetuses, and the pregnant mother are worth the price of admission (almost $30).  They had a mother who was 8 months pregnant when she died.  And the baby is also preserved.  Inside of her.  Quite a moving sight.  No worries about controversies, the mother knew she was going to die, and the baby could not be saved, and donated her body to be plastinated.

MSTRKRFT & Booka Shade:  Concert @ the Starlite Room
Man, what a performance.  Went with Megan Lenz, and saw an absolutely great show.  I hadn't heard of Booka Shade until I got my ticket, and heard them for the first time at the Starlite.  This German duo were amazing, and really had the crowd going.  Unfortunately, Megan didn't get to see MSTRKRFT as she had to go to work the next morning.  And she missed one helluva set.  But the one comment I have for Edmonton's electro/dance scene... jeez, they really don't know how to dance.  Maybe I pre-judge, because I don't know the Toronto electro scene all that much (Montreal's is wicked), but other than a few bright lights, like the one dude who lit it up before the crowds got in, there was a mass of whole uncoordinated and unaware dancers. Jumping and twisting yourself has never qualified as dancing.

Overheard in Edmonton:
"We don't do aisles here"

No angus burger?!?!?!?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Travel Blog: Day 1

5:15pm Whatever time zone this is.

Finally landed in Edmonton. The plane from Calgary to Edmonton was puny.  The guy behind me sneezed, and the plane took a dip during our ascent.  Never before have I been scared of flying. 

Travel Blog: Day 1

8:19 am
Well, I finally sit down. NOT on my flight. So the shocking news is that I did not leave home late.  We left in plenty of time.  But the gods of traffic chaos descended on the 403 and BAM! all lanes closed.  So of course, I got here just minutes too late to check in.  And the fee to change my flight? Another $150+tax, almost the original flight cost.  And I wore the worst possible pants.  Going through security they almost made me take them off.  The security  guy with the magic wand almost got to 2nd base. 

Standing in line at Tim's I noticed a familiar face: the Honourable Tony Clement.  I should have stopped him for a chat, but he looked like he was making a bee-line for the newsstand.  I'm guessing only to pick up the best of newspapers, the National Post.

That's all for now, I'm in for a 2hr delay, then a reroute through Calgary. Fun times ahead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


In yet another attempt to delay the official beginning of my "adult" life, I'll be travelling to the West Coast of this beautiful country. Even though I've had plenty of time to try and figure out what I want to do at this juncture of my life, being at home hasn't proved to be the best location to do great thinking. So I'm headed away to see some sights and do some thrills, do some "communing with nature" (thats total BS, but I'll be seeing some nature sights), and spending more of the money that really isn't mine.

Here's my itinerary:

July 23: YYZ - YEG
I'll be flying into Edmonton, and visiting Holly, Colleen & Will. They're all friends from First Year (Sci 07!) and I'll be going to the IRL race (where Paul Tracy will be making his "debut"!).

July 28: YEG - YVR
Flying into Vancouver, visiting Jenn, Cody, my cousins over the week and long weekend.

Aug 5: Ferry to Vancouver Island
I'll be traipsing across Van. Isle for about 2 weeks, hitting up Nanaimo, Victoria, and hopefully Tofino/Ucluelet. I'm also going to make a mini trip into the states to Anacourtes. This will be the most relaxing part of the trip.

And then on Aug 18 I fly home.

Friday, July 18, 2008


More on the list of brilliant films that I have seen so far in 2008. (Which I believe to be one of the best years, in terms of the blockbuster films anyway). So all that time out of school has been put to good use. I've seen way too many movies. Most of them good. See the list below

In order of "greatness":

Rated: Far and above the rest
The Dark Knight (5/5)
Wall-E (4.5/5)

Rated: The Best (4/5)
Iron Man
Son of Rambow

Rated: 3/5 & lower (in descending order of greatness)
Kung-Fu Panda
Rambo 4
Narnia: Prince Caspian
Indiana Jones 4
The Happening

The Dark Knight

(This entry does NOT contain spoilers)

Every year I make a very long list of the summer movies that I want to see, mainly blockbusters. And each year I am generally disappointed by the lackluster performances, the cheap plot lines, and the ton of CGI used. Not so this year.

An aside, to recap my most anticipated movies of years past:
2007: Pirates 3, Spiderman 3, HP5, Bourne 3... Movie of year: Knocked Up
2006: X-Men 3, Casino Royale, Pirates 2... Movie of year: Pan's
2005: War of the Worlds, HP4, Star Wars 3, Narnia... Movie of year: Batman Begins

I just returned from watching The Dark Knight. And I am astounded. Not since LOTR have I seen an opening night audience applaud a movie as heartily as today's midnight viewing received. I usually judge a movie by its ability to make me lose myself within its action and storylines.

Tonight I lost all sense of time.

Tonight I was scared of the worst that a purely psychotic villain could expose.

Tonight I was mesmerized by a story woven so intricately that my suspension of disbelief was complete.

Tonight I witnessed a masterpiece of cinematic history.

Simply put, Heath Ledger's performance is mostly gripping. And terrifying. His portrayal of The Joker could not have been any more precise, as the perfect archenemy to the Caped Crusader. The script writers did great work with his lines; each is quote worthy. His entire being is devoted to chaos, and I genuinely feared his possible effect on humanity.

In the end, all I can say is: GO SEE DARK KNIGHT!