Monday, January 31, 2011

The Magic Flute

'The Magic Flute is one of those works that is capable of enchanting a child; at the same time it can move the most experienced of men to tears and uplift the wisest'
Albert Einstein

The Magic Flute is Mozart's last opera, composed in 1791. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue.


--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magic_Flute


The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements; Schikaneder and Mozart were Masons and lodge brothers (see: Mozart and Freemasonry). The opera is also influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, and can be regarded as an allegory advocating enlightened absolutism. The Queen of the Night represents a dangerous form of obscurantism or, according to some interpreters, contemporary Roman Catholicism. Her antagonist Sarastro symbolises the enlightened sovereign who rules according to principles based on reason, wisdom, and nature. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos through religious superstition to rationalistic enlightenment, by means of trial (Tamino) and error (Papageno), ultimately to make "the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods".

Blah, Blah, Blah..

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The story is fundamentally a fairy tale for both children and adults. Its music ranges from simple, folk tunes such as Papageno's "Ein Vogelfänger bin ich ja" to the downright bitchy/bitchin' Queen of the Night's "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("Hell's vengeance boils in my heart").

I'll spare you a synopsis of the story, but several are available. However, for a synopsis, don't see the Smurfs and the Magic Flute (download here), cuz as I found out after watching it, it's based "The Flute with Six Holes", and not the Schikaneder/Mozart opera. (However, it is still worth watching...)



A good rendition of Mozart's Magic Flute IS available here. It's the Kenneth Branagh version, awesomely set during World War I, with the screenplay co-written by none other than Stephen Fry, and special effect by Garry Cooper.

So, just to get a feel for it, here's one more youtube video...

- Overture first! (btw, James Levine rocks the shit out of that overture)

Also, the (wtf) Magic Flute Bike Pump!



--

The Toronto show (with some inside information... haha.. maybe this is available from the website, I don't know.. ;) is set out as follows, from the Diane Paulus' director notes:

We have set the action in 1791, the year in which the opera was first performed, against the backdrop of the Enlightenment....We have sought to explore the layers of comedy, fairytale, and myth that come together in live performance. The entire opera has been re-imagined as a play-within-the-play – a performance being created before our eyes by the members of a household and their guests in celebration of the name day of the
opera’s heroine, Pamina.

--

Now, for something really cool. Einstein, Mozart and the Magic Flute...

Psychosis, creativity, and the neuregulin 1 gene. Some wild speculation on an Einstein/Mozart connection.



...Mann turned to Einstein. "It would give us great joy," he said, "to make music with you." Einstein in 1952 no longer had a violin, but the musicians had taken an extra. Einstein chose Mozart's brooding Quintet in G minor.

"Dr. Einstein hardly referred to the notes on the musical score," Mr. Mann recalled, adding, "while his out-of-practice hands were fragile, his coordination, sense of pitch, and concentration were awesome."

He seemed to pluck Mozart's melodies out of the air.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/31/science/31essa.html

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His son, Hans Albert, recalled that "whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music, and that would usually resolve all the difficulties."

http://www.allgoodthings.com/yoga/yogacats/immortals/einst1.html

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Einstein's second wife, Elsa, who confided that she first fell in love with Einstein because of the way he plays Mozart beautifully on the violin, said Einstein also plays the piano (his mom was a pianist).

"Music helps him when he is thinking about his theories. He goes to his study, comes back, strikes a few chords on the piano, jots something down, returns to his study."

http://www.vth.biz/driver/node/96

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[Albert] Einstein once said that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart's "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master." Einstein believed much the same of physics, that beyond observations and theory lay the music of the spheres — which, he wrote, revealed a "pre-established harmony" exhibiting stunning symmetries. The laws of nature, such as those of relativity theory, were waiting to be plucked out of the cosmos by someone with a sympathetic ear.

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Anyway, that's it for now. I'm SUPER excited for the show tomorrow night (can you tell??). I'm a little worried about the weather, but what's the worst that can happen?.. I get stuck in Toronto for a couple days?

http://openmedia.ca/meter

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are about to impose usage-based billing on YOU.

This means we're looking at a future where ISPs will charge per byte, the way they do with smart phones. If we allow this to happen Canadians will have no choice but to pay MUCH more for less Internet. Big Telecom companies are obviously trying to gouge consumers, control the Internet market, and ensure that consumers continue to subscribe to their television services.

These Big Telecom companies are forcing small competing ISPs to adopt the same pricing scheme, so that we have no choice but to pay these punitive fees.

This will crush innovative services, Canada's digital competitiveness, and your wallet.

We urgently need to send a clear message to Ottawa, saying that we won't stand by while some of the most profitable companies in the country indiscriminately add new fees to our Internet bills. Enough is enough.

UPDATE: The CRTC just made a decision that paves the way for new internet fees to be added to your bill. To stop this we need to raise our voices now more than ever.



Click here to sign a quick and easy petition:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

3 songs by The White Stripes!

Such a great album. Download torrent here, although, let's be honest; you're probably better off downloading the discography. Also, buy the albums here while they last.




What a great mike.



I put this version in cuz it's embedable, BUT, this video of Denial Twist rocks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DodG8IcnOZk


Saturday night! Going to see New Country Rehab tonight at the Mansion. No, Dan Ackroyd doesn't own it anymore. :( But first, dinner with my new Joel Plaskett friend (is it possible that she likes him more than me?.. I doubt it, but we're about to find out) Clara, who, funnily enough, is dating the bassist in New Country Rehab. Small fucking world. Even in Kingston.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So, what's going on in Egypt?

I was going to do this myself (honest), but this seems like a pretty fair assessment/cop out for me to take.


http://promotingpeace.tumblr.com/post/2969260999 (via BoingBoing)

Some additional commentary, also via BoingBoing.. comments section!.. Look out!

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/01/28/imagining-new-egypt
After a good summary of the situation, the writer adds:
"I have started getting reports from citizen journalists that government-hired thugs will make sure that nothing about tomorrow is peaceful. They say that in several low-income parts of Cairo and Alexandria, government-hired thugs were seen to be splashing petroleum over parked cars. This to prepare for protests in which they'll light vehicles on fire when the time is right for them.
"They've also heard rumours that the intelligence services will release a separate group of thugs under the name Akhwan al- Haq, or Brothers of Truth, a trumped-up extremist group, that will charge through the streets with swords and caustic acid to splash on the protesters - thus placing all the blame of a peaceful uprising gone violent on a certain kind of Islamic extremism."
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/egypt-riot-security-force-action
Guardian reporter Jack Shenker recounts his beatings and arrest by Egyptian officers. While detained inside an Egypitian police facility where protesters were being beaten, he says, when he identified himself as a British reporter, a high-ranking officer punched him and yelled "Fuck you and fuck Britain."

Update: 

 "Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. (renesys.com)

--

Basically, at this point I'm apparently content in a single media source (being lazy) and ripping off BoingBoing. Whaddya gonna do?

I swear at some point this weekend some real content is gonna make it's way up here... and if not, whaddya gonna do! ;)

Also, happy, happy Friday! See below:

Update:

A good one: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/01/whats-happening-egypt-explained

Also US implications.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And we were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife

Guess who just picked up the Bat Out of Hell album!



Other than the fact that Lord "Meat Loaf" looks like he's about to keel over (would love to see this as an SNL short, preferably with Meat Loaf himself), this is an incredible song. That's right. Paradise by the dashboard light is incredible.

1. PARADISE
BOY:
I remember every little thing
As if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake
And there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl
Looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school
They were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!
Thought it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

GIRL:
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
'Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Ain't no doubt about it
Baby got to go and shout it
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed

BOY:
'Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Baby doncha hear my heart
You got it drowning out the radio
I've been waiting so long
For you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let you know
No you're never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes I got a big surprise
It'll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!

Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Paradise by the dashboard light
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
'Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely-

We're gonna go all the way tonight
We're gonna go all the way
And tonight's the night...
We're gonna go all the way tonight
We're gonna go all the way
And tonight's the night...

RADIO BROADCAST
OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here,
Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth,
There's the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle,
Look at him go. This boy can really fly! He's rounding first and really
turning it on now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for
second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the
throw, and what a throw! He's gonna slide in head first, here he
comes, he's out! No, wait, safe-safe at second base, this kid
really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the
plate, here's the pitch-he's going, and what a jump he's got,
he's trying for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt-safe at
third! Holy cow, stolen base! He's taking a pretty big lead out
there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
glances over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted down the third
base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze
play, it's gonna be close, holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!

II. LET ME SLEEP ON IT
GIRL:
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you an answer in the morning

GIRL:
I gotta know right now
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
And will you love me forever?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever?

BOY:
Let me sleep on it

GIRL:
Will you love me forever!!!!

III. PRAYING FOR THE END OF TIME
I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
'Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time,
So I can end my time with you!!

BOY:
It was long ago and it was far away
And it was so much better that it is today

GIRL:
It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife

Phil Rizzuto!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin passes away

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/arts/music/27louvin.html




“When it comes time for the harmonies to come in, I will move to my left because my brother and I always used to use one microphone,” he said of performing solo. “Even today, I will move over to the left to give the harmony room, knowing in my mind that there’s no harmony standing on my right.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coolest postcard ever +


Just received the coolest postcard ever. Yes, that is a piece of the Berlin wall in the centre of it! Amazing.

This came from Justyna, who also just finished her Basic Outdoor Survival Course, just outside of Winnipeg.

Here's an exerpt from her email:

We spent 5 days learning all kinds of survival techniques and sleeping in all kinds of makeshift homes. One night was in a tent, for one they gave a parachute per 9 people and we slept under those, one night we piled snow for a couple of days into these huge mounds and then dug little homes inside the mounds (2people/mound) and slept in those one night. They were like a little igloo/cave combination i guess, except that we didn't cut blocks of ice and pile it, we just dug into huge piles of snow. They're called quinzees. And our last night was in little cabins.

So on the 6th day we got dropped off at the edge of a lake with a gps coordinate, a pair of snowshoes and a backpack of equipment (including a piece of a parachute, saw, shovel, radio, knife, 12 candies at 50 calories/candy and 3 little packets of juice crystals to mix into your water). Our last meal was a rabbit that my fireteam parter killed and i gutted (it was boiled rabbit though so it didn't taste that great.) Then we were by ourselves for 3 days with not much but a brain full of knowledge. Let me tell you, it was an adventure.

The coldest it got was -37 deg C. But the many tasks we had to accomplish in 3 days (shelter, continuous fire, smoke signal tower-took hours to build, rabbit snare, a number of signals for the plane to see, and continuously boiling snow over the fire in my little canteen cup) kept me very busy. Surprisingly I didn't feel hungry until the 3rd day (they had deprived us of food a bit in the 5 days leading up to it so my stomac had shrunk a bit already by solo time.) It did get a little lonely though and i got a little anxious every evening at sundown (which was around 6pm) as my pile of firewood never seemed to be big enough and the nights were long and cold. I collected wood in between every little task i did (like cutting down trees or gathering boughs-which was a never ending task as you need boughs for everything you have to build,) and giant piles up to my waist would burn out in an hour or two. i was pulling full dead christmas trees out of the ground (in the swampy areas there were many dead ones) and even those burned out as quickly as i could collect them.


When it came to evaluation time on the 3rd day, my tasks were all deemed to be good and i didn't have to re-do any of them (unlike my comrades, most of whom had to either re-build or upgrade their smoke tower signal). We all got to light our smoke signals at the end of the exercise. They were like mini volcanoes that turned into infernos (they work both for day and night cause of the massive plumes of gray smoke that come out of it during the day-no plane can miss that, let me tell you, and the fire tower that's created afterwards works great at night for a signal). Pretty cool to see!

Assuming you passed, there were 3 things you could have had written for each component on your course report: passed, barely passed or easily passed. My course report reads "Easily passed all PO Checks". Yea, that's right!

--

I think it's time I admit that my younger female cousin may be tougher than me. ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ted Talks Spreadsheet

A Ted Talks spreadsheet? Searchable, with descriptions? Links? Simply Perfect.

http://on.ted.com/23

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Awesome Baby Yoga


беби-йога, платона и лена

Link to original article here (from BoingBoing). Sometimes the video has trouble loading apparently. GO to the original link.

The first thing everybody here thought when they saw your baby-swinging video was “Holy shit!” Then they thought, is it real or fake? So: Is it real? If so, who is the baby?
The child was born in the Black Sea region. Her name is Platona, and she was two weeks old when we took that video. We have a lot of children like her here. They are early readers, singers, talkers, swimmers. You haven’t seen anything like it anywhere!! And there’s swimming with dolphins, scuba diving with them… 


At the end of your video, it looks like you’re trying to get the two-week-old baby to walk. Is mobility the goal of your baby yoga?
Yes, more mobility, and other goals. First off, more trained skills. Second, more freedom. Third, independence. We learn from nature and teach our offspring to survive.

Should Americans try “baby yoga” at home?
Americans should be able to do a lot of this themselves, in order to pass something on to their children. An immobile American loses their naturally given reflexes (swimming, reaching, stepping—they have machines that do this for them). That’s why, in parallel with their children, the parents learn to do these things: dive, swim, run, jump, bend and much more. Our workshop is called “family active lifestyle.”

Did you know that YouTube took the video down because it was in violation of their policy on “shocking and disgusting” content? What is your response to that?
Did they notice that the babies aren’t crying—they’re even laughing—and that this system has been used for over thirty years in Russia and the children are all alive and healthy? If you need more proof, the best thing is to come see us.

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If you don't think I'm trying this with the next baby I see you're obviously delusional.

Rationally, this does seem like good foundational exercise for a baby's development. Errr... but maybe with less swinging over the head.



Baby yoga users claim that it's uses are innumerable. Their children could reportedly learn to walk and swim earlier. You can see these early practices being incorporated with the two-week old in the video above. They claim that their babies become fearless. Although no studies have concluded that the baby-swinging harms or helps children.

Some comments from other sites...

SamanthaMT

posted:
20/01/2011

No child deserves to be treated in such a manner. I fear for that child and I wish I had the authority to prosecute that woman. 2 weeks old?!

Barb

posted:
19/01/2011
I think this is very harmful to a baby, if I were to do this in the United States they would want to take me to jail!!

Here's a Westernized, more estrogen infused version. I got through about 3 x 3 seconds of this crap session for bored mothers.



"Give me the baby... I'm going to swing it!!" Insert sarcastically evil yet somewhat sincere look here.

What London is doing for folks that bike to work (not cyclists... )


Watching this video is not a waste of your time.



I love the blue. Hopefully it doesn't get slippery.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/success-for-london-bicycle-superhighways-boris-johnson-video.php

In other words, London's bike superhighways are incredibly successful, as the front-page GOOD story remarks. According to the findings in study by Transport for London, there were 70% more cyclists out on the streets of London in October of 2010 than there were the previous year.
GOOD has more:
that means that the number of bikers on the streets pre-superhighways was 70 percent lower than it is now that the superhighways have been installed. That's some effective bike promotion, if I've ever seen it ... Will other cities see this information and start doing more for bike lane planning than simply laying them on the side of the street?
That's right -- bike use everywhere jumped, not just on the superhighways. The safe, elegant lanes evidently inspired more folks to dust off their old ten-speeds and hit the roads.
It should also be pointed out that the spike in cycling also coincides with London's bike-share program, which we've written about at length here on TreeHugger.

This development is fantastic -- people want to ride bikes in cities. It's cheap, efficient, and fun. But most of the time, it's terrifying. It's why I don't ride a bike in New York -- no way I'm heading into Manhattan traffic during rush hour. New York is also making strides in its bike lanes, too, however. If they work as well as London's, that's all it will take -- count me in.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/london-bike-superhighways-70-increase-cycling.php

I feel a country/gospel kick a comin'

...or something like that. Harmonies, 5ths, guitar pickin'. Kicked off after listening to Howl this morning, and getting this song stuck in my mind:



I.
I will walk with Jesus, till I cant go any more,
And I will stay with Jesus, till I can't go another mile,
And people will see all the good that's concealed,
And people must know, not to feel any sorrow,
Cos I will not stand by and watch you cry.

II.
I will stay with Jesus, till I can't stay any more,
And I will stand with Jesus, till I can't take another stone,
And people will see all the good that's concealed,
And people will know, not to feel any sorrow,
Cos I will not stand by and watch you cry...

EDIT: This song has been on repeat all morning. So awesome. 












Mom, DO NOT read into this, but do enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brief Moments

My buddy Mitch, who's currently studying down in Chicago, posted a video recently, "Public Light and Space", where he parallels his art, change, and criminal law, or, more specifically, the idea of rehabilitation.




"...of being able to replace old ideas with new ones..."

Mitch is one of those dudes who is talented and works hard. He's not only pro-li-fic-ic, but is responsible for my favourite Nuit Blanche installation eva:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Well, that didn't take very long

Ya know, all my life I've been resistant to change. I'm not sure if most of us are, but I really didn't like it, even to my own detriment. And almost every single time I've had to change something, after the initial adversity and discomfort, it's pretty clear that the right decision was made, and that it turned out for the better. I'm not sure if it's a function of making bad initial choices (or a function of making better choices now), or just something that comes with age and confidence. Doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing, but doing it really clears things up and makes things easier in the long run. Don't get me wrong, I still have my moments of indecision and doubt, but I find I'm better able to handle these moments, and they certainly don't hang around like they used to.

Anyway, coming back up to Kingston was a tough change for me, and again I felt it after the Christmas break. I mean, leaving Toronto, my family and friends, was a bit of a tough thing to do, and almost immediately after the change I felt a little off. But, after a good (but short) visit from Jeremy, a couple drinks with good friends up here, some good chats and some good marks coming back from December exams and courses, I feel like what I'm doing up here has been reconfirmed. Despite the absolute God-dump of snow we've been getting, Kingston is once again feeling like one of the best decisions I could have made. Sure I miss Toronto, but whatever is important about it will still be there whenever I get back. In the mean time, there's work to be done.

But first, some awesome photos from an awesome Christmas break.

 
My place in Kingston, after coming home from writing the Public exam. 

Ahhh... a well deserved trip to Montreal with my friend, to visit some of hers, and to have a good time there in reward for a completed first semester!

When I look in the mirror, I can't believe what I see
Tell me, who's that funky dude, staring back at me?

Walking around Montreal...


Lost my lens cap after taking this picture, but was fortunately convinced to go back for it after realizing a few blocks later... and luckily enough, it was there.

Drive back to Toronto.

Back home, dinner with some of the family. Mussels and duck, if I remember correctly, and both underwhelming. Luckily the company was good. La Petite France, I believe. What also made this night great was that this was the first night I got my bike back.

Afterward at Ckris and Donna's.


A Christmas Story, one of my favourites (one of everyone's favourites, no??!!), on a 5x9 foot projection screen, feet up, and a Corona. Needless to say, I passed out in that chair.

Next night back on the bike to Sara and Jowi's, where a dinner party broke out over fresh made gnocchi.




I, uhhh, grated some cheese! Also, got to meet some really interesting people and had a fascinating conversation or two! In the past I'd often avoid dinner parties; I prefer meeting new people in groups of one or two -- I find it more personal. I mean, it was/is always a function of who's going to be there, and I couldn't feel more comfortable at Sarah and Jowi's place. Also, I think the combination of some really great and friendly people (who were also open to meeting me/new people -- this is not a giveme -- I have a few good stories I don't mind sharing over a beer...), and me getting better/more comfortable with 'mingling' (it's a law school thing ;), really made this night something special. Also, as almost an aside, I don't think I ever had such great gnocchi. The fresh red beet ones were definitely my favourite; they went great with the champagne..


Next night or two, wrapping Christmas presents, and Wigilia. For Poles, Christmas Eve is a night of magic when animals are said to talk and people have the power to predict the future. It’s a time for families to gather and reconcile any differences, and to remember loved ones who have gone before them. (via here)





"Look busy! Look busy!" Haha... I'm not sure what Chris considers looking busy, but I dig it.

Wine and boardgames in a poorly lit room.

Boxing day! Eric Changstein!!! For anyone that would listen, they knew that Eric Chang was coming over from Japan for the first time in like 4 years, and I'd have him exclusively for like 2-3 days. So, this is a story of him and our adventures. Errr, most of them anyway!

Chinatown. It's where I take all my visiting asian friends.

Boy, did we tour the city! Actually, it was pretty great, but boxing day shopping was just incredibly horrible in the major chain stores. However, we did manage to almost lose my camera, buy a pair of shoes, and I got a sports jacket from Tom's Place for pretty cheap ("I need something that will go well with these jeans" - "how about this designer $600 jacket?"... "Errr, I believe I'm looking for something much much cheaper." hmmm.. it was funnier in person.)

That night, Anna joined us as we stayed in, had a few drinks, and caught up. Fantastic night. With Eric, we always pick up exactly where we left off, despite miles and years apart.



Next day, time for some music! We recorded a track or two; it's currently in post and should be ready in a few weeks, given motivations and perspirations.




We also went for a walk in the ravine! I don't think I've been down there for 6-7 years now, and we ended up taking it all the way down to James Gardens, with a few BBs fired off at things that we thought would make cool sounds.






I think we ended up spending 6 hours down there that first day!



 For some reason, when I have two rifles (ok, bb guns) in my hands, I can't resist making this pose!


Matching sweaters! Also, that day (or the next) I managed to hit an acorn cap from 15 meters!

Anyway, it was really great to see and hang out with Chang, and I wish he and I could have had more time together. He's already thinking of a summer visit though... :) Also, at some point I'll have to go back out East.


 Yeah, we went back to UCC.

And a parting shot of Muffy, the cutest dog in the world. He's had her now for must be 12 years; got during his time here at Queen's. When I saw her over the break she definitely remembered me, jumping with that bad back of hers like she was 1 again.

We did manage to fit in a lot on his visit (despite falling asleep on the couch together at 8 pm one night), but still, it'd be better to have him around more than once every few years for a few days.

Next day, must be now a few days before new years, met up with the Beals to play some pool and hang out.



Hockey Hall of Fame! I've never gone, and Kris hadn't been in years, so we decided to head on in.




Kris took a couple of shots, and not included here are Kari's play-by-play calling clips, but if you ask nicely I'd gladly send you the links!




My two favourite players.


The Vezina trophy actually has a little mesh net in it!


Connection? Kris is headed to Thailand to coach hockey, or something like that...

Did you know that Greztky won a most improved player award?

Chillaxing afterward... then off to my favourite Toronto bar.















Ronces...The Local kicks some serious ass.


Yeah, this seems like a good idea...




I can't imagine why there are so many pictures from this night...?!






Awwwwweee....

Bahahaha!....


Now look at my new filling! Ahhh... what a great night....


New Year's Eve dinner. "No, don't spin that box on your finger!... oh dear... "

Still gonna eat it.

The Sadies at the Horseshoe brought in the New Year.


In the new year, mom set up an afternoon luncheon with the extended fam for one last free feeding before heading back up to Kingston.

Also, and I really got into mathdoku over the break as well... errr, or more accurately, around exam time. It's like Sudoku, but with math! Trust me, it's awesome, and I think it's a free download. Provides hours/days/about a month and a half so far, of entertainment...

So yeah, how's that for an awesome break?! Two weeks was not enough. I don't even have everything documented up here... Not included in pictures is a beef roast at Adam and Claire's (including the formidable Deadfall), a stroll (and nap) in High Park (it was warm in December!), Unloveables, and did I mention tons of bike riding? Hopefully that gets carried over to Kingston come September, but more on that later... anyway, great holiday vacation, and I'm sure you could see why I wasn't gung-ho about getting back up here. However, as mentioned, sometimes change is really for the best. Errr... at least a little change ;)