This evening I partook in an eclectic mix of activities. After supper I went rollerblading with Chris along the waterfront all the way to Ontario Place. It was a nice night for it and I was happy to see that after almost a year of neglect, my rollerblading skills are still intact. Then I came home and wasted some time on the Internet for a bit before deciding to watch a bit of TV while adding to my France Journal. I managed to add details about my time in Lyon and the trip to Rumilly. But it took a lot longer than it should have because I was pretty distracted by the movie I was watching, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (truly a classic of our times).
I've updated my France Journal with details of my time in Nice and all the fun train rides.
Inspired by my recent viewing of the Transformers movie I've decided to download the original cartoon series and watch it. Today I watched the very first episode, and I was very very happy because of this.
I also went climbing tonight as usual, and managed to scramble up a 5.12-, a new personal best for me. Good times!
Finally, I updated my France Journal again with a description of my last day in Paris.
I made a good sized update to my France Journal tonight. I'm almost halfway through my notes, so maybe I'll finish one day.
On an unrelated note, I saw today that the mayor's plans for some random tax hikes have been delayed until closer to the municipal elections. I don't claim to be knowledgeable in municipal politics, and I don't know a lot about all of the proposed increases, but I am sad that this was delayed because I agree with the spirit of one the proposals.
The mayor wanted to double registration fees on vehicles in Toronto. Normally the province collects the fees, but in this case the city would get the same amount as well. I personally support any and all measures to get people to stop driving in this city. I think that all major routes into the core (Gardiner, DVP, Allen, etc) should be toll roads, parking and gas should be taxed extra by the city, and that fines and tickets for traffic violations should be increased. Large transport or construction vehicles should probably be exempt from a bunch of that, but all passenger vehicles should be fully milked. Also, for the toll roads, if you're driving a larger vehicle you should have to pay more (unless you have enough people inside to justify the size of the vehicle). At least half of this extra money should be reinvested into the TTC and Go systems and the remaining should be used to improve the safety and quality of the road systems (to reduce congestion from the cars that still drive in the area). This is one of those areas where I feel that government intervention is a good thing, because people just aren't getting it that it is really stupid to drive regularly in the downtown core. Perhaps if it becomes prohibitively expensive they will not do it as much.
I've been very busy lately, and so, despite having lots to blog about (not to mention finishing the France blog), I have been unable to sit down at my computer long enough to do so. This sucks, because I'd rather blog about each thing soon after it happens rather than attempting the massive summary which I find myself doing now.
Last week on Tuesday I saw Ratatouille with Jason and Alex at the Rainbow cinema near the market. We went there because Jason is still a poor unpaid intern and because it is close to work. I would have rather seen it in a proper theatre but I didn't really mind. The movie was AWESOME. Absolutely up to the high high standards that Pixar continues to set for itself. The story was brilliant and funny and the graphics were beautiful. Of particular note was the fur on the rats (very detailed) and the character animation. All of the animation was done without motion capture, but the movement of the characters was so realistic that I can hardly believe it. The animators at Pixar are certainly among the most talented in the world. After the movie we went to the Spaghetti Factory and had a good meal. We stayed right till close chatting; even our waitress left before we did! Good times.
Last weekend I saw Ratatouille again with Chris, Patrick and Toni, but this time at the Paramount. It was at least as good as the first time (perhaps better), and I was able to get a photo of Mike's name in the credits.
Monday I made homemade tomato sauce (mmm...) and had some Spaghetti for supper. Then I went with Alex and Matt to see the Transformers movie. That movie certainly isn't going to win non-technical awards, but it was everything I wanted from a Transformers movie. Basically transforming robots fighting and transforming with lots of explosions and action. The transformers themselves were all computer generated, but I've never seen CG stuff that well integrated into live action. ILM did an excellent job at making the movie extremely immersive. You never stopped and thought, "hey, that giant robot isn't ACTUALLY there." So it was awesome.
On Tuesday we had wing night obviously. We went to a Summerlicious place called "5th Elementt" up near Bay and Wellesley. We had a really good turn out, twelve people showed up. Also, the restaurant was fabulous! There was a very good selection on the Summerlicious menu so everyone was happy. I had a spinach paneer kofta, with rice and this white sauce that was soooo good. I am of the opinion that my meal was the best on the menu. For an appetizer I had foie gras with arugula salad and pear chutney. The dessert was a chocolate souffle, but it was more like an upside down cupcake and so it wasn't that special. That's OK though because everything else was amazing. After supper Dave and Jen had a guitar hero competition at my house (Jen won). They didn't stay long and I should have used the opportunity to sleep, but instead I stayed up reading some of the sixth Harry Potter book.
Wednesday was climbing of course as well as a bit more Harry Potter reading. Thursday I watched the fourth Harry Potter movie at Chris's house with Matt and that was good times as usual. I also made arrangements for Friday night.
Our closest family friends live in Ottawa and some of my best childhood memories involve hanging out with them. My parents were good friends with the parents in that family and they had two kids who were about the same ages as my brother and I. Kurtis, their son, is moving to Japan to teach English in a couple weeks so we gathered in Toronto to see him off. My mom and brother came up and we met Kurtis and his parents for supper at Pizza Rustica. We had a great meal and a lot of fun chatting and I'm sure we stayed way longer than the proprietors would have liked. By a strange series of events Mike was in Toronto this weekend as well, So after supper Alex and him met up with Kurtis and Anthony and I and we headed off to Andy Poolhall to have a night out with Kurtis and some of Kurtis's friends who were also in Toronto. The bar was great and we had an awesome night.
Anthony and Kurtis slept at my house (after we watched the Big Lebowski) and the next morning we met the parents at Cora's for breakfast. Cora's is my favourite place to go for breakfast and it's even better after a night out. I had a huge pile of french toast, sausage and eggs, plus a big glass of orange juice. After breakfast we all went to my place to chat for a bit and then everyone went home.
Saturday was also Rib-o-Rama VII, an annual event held by John from work. He gets a bunch of rib smokers in and makes up a whole bunch of ribs for all of our co-workers as well as many of his other friends. It's potluck too, and everyone from my work seem to be amazing with food, so everything was delicious. I went with Alex and Mike and we stayed from about 4:30-9:00, at which point Mike and I had to hurry back downtown to meet Chris for the new Harry Potter movie (Order of the Phoenix). We were pretty late getting there and Chris had to wait in line and get seat by himself. I felt pretty bad, but it was hard to get away from the party. I think I tried to jam too much stuff into that day. I hate when things pile up like that and you end up doing all of it kinda poorly. Anyway, we made it for the movie and it was just as good as all the others. I like that they all have a similar style. I know they're not perfectly consistent, but it's still pretty good.
Mike stayed at my house last night and we caught up a bit about all his final adventures on his trip. This morning I took him to the train station and then went shopping to try to catch some of the summer sales. There was lots of stuff but I was in a picky grumpy mood so it didn't work very well. I did manage to find one polo shirt I liked but I still felt like the trip was mostly a failure. So this afternoon I curled up with the sixth Harry Potter and finished it off. I'm so happy that the seventh (and final) book is coming out soon, because I don't think I can wait too long to find out what happens!
Tonight I am going to try to go to bed early. I really really need to.
Another trip update tonight (that's all I do on the blog now, at least until I finish). This time it's about Versailles. Check out the France Journal for new pictures, videos and random babbling.