I kind of want these:

But I don't think I can justify buying them for myself right now. Ah, decadence!

Transient Thought

I discussed my need for a pot lid for my favourite frying pan today with a friend. It's a simple problem, but one I have yet to choose to successfully resolve since acquiring it in New Zealand.  It was a great day for an acquisition.  I'm just waiting for a great day to follow it up with a lid.

Transient Thought

Sleep deprivation grips me as I prepare to give up for the night.  It's weird when school and work are less busy than the weekend.  A long and slow bus ride back from New York through a blizzard in Syracuse and tension at the Niagara-Buffalo border to a late arrival and a missed bus in Toronto to a hurried retreat back to Guelph this morning to bake a bunch for a bake sale followed by hours of work and realising with a dizziness that I'm done.  I like bus rides.


Letters for the Ether

I sometimes need to express my thoughts in a way that no one will remember, so I like to write into the ether.  For some reason, though, they need to be available.  They need to exist in a form beyond me.  I can't just write them all in a private journal, especially a digital one, locked away efficiently.  For some reason, they need to be vulnerable and exposed.  I suppose it's because a lot of their meaning, or a lot of meaning in general, can be generated through their interaction with other people.  Other animals wouldn't appreciate it.  Other computers wouldn't appreciate.  On one half, the thoughts are private enough that I don't want to with certainty share them with another, but they're important enough to me that I don't want to keep them just to myself.

They're not grand thoughts, grand ideas or philosophies.  They're nothing special.  They're typical and derivative.  They've been felt by billions of humans before and expressed in more beautiful terms.  They're mundane.  But they're human.  Being a human, these thoughts mean a bunch to me.  And they can mean a bit to others, as they can relate.  They're thoughts that people don't generally broadcast, or if they do share them publicly, the people are derided.  Private thoughts.  Shared in a pseudo-private manner, preserving some dignity, creating a treasure, buried for those who care to look, or listen.  Thanks to technology, it's not all written any more.  It's sometimes drawn, it's sometimes hidden, it's sometimes spoken, it's sometimes nestled away where only one other person even has access but wouldn't look.

It's not that I need to share everything or be validated completely by others.  I still have an intensely private life that I've the sanity not to reveal.  Nothing scandalous, just me.  Just the type of stuff you'd like to trust another won't judge over for silly reasons. Some people are quite silly.  I have sometimes been silly.  I don't like that, so I think I won't be any more, no more unpredictable reactions when understanding and care are called for. 

So hooray for the ether, a comfortable place that alleviates the anxiety of a sealed bottle under pressure, carbonated ideas bubbling forth, but wishing not to spill and stain the beautiful furnishings that surround it.  Let the stories untold ring out and into obscurity onfold.

Transient Thought

The bus driver is being so polite as he explains to a lady with no English skills that she won't be allowed to cross the border into Canada.

Baking, so quaint

I just put my damn muffins in the oven.
- a tired friend baking, who just wants to go to sleep already


Pandas in advertising: a threat to our way of life

A friend shared this recently, and I really enjoy the concept behind the advertisements.  It's not even that they're marketing their product as being good.  It's basically a threat. :)


New York Notes

From two hours ago:
I'm eating at Maoz Vegetarian on 8th avenue, near 44th St.  I think. 
They sell pouches of falafel, eggplant, hummus, etc.  You can add toppings.
I went on a small expedition to find a digitising stylus, to no avail.
Even in NY, Staples are much nicer to shop at than Best Buy.
I've seen more Staples than I've seen Starbucks.
Passed Kodama sushi and the Algonquin hotel.
Saw the library, the big one, on 5th Ave, near 41st St or something.
Accidentally walked down Broadway.
Diverse mix of people.
A young girl has a red Totoro umbrella.
It's strange not having a camera or Google Maps.
I'm about to try a cherry coca-cola.  The can is purplish.
I took a hot pepper with my maoz.  I'm eating it slowly on the side.
Maoz is very pretty inside.  It looks like one of those salad bar joints.
They have free electricity.  Across the street is Starbucks, but I cannot connect to their network right now.  Either too far, or I used it too much earlier from within Starbucks.
Border patrol were stiff and rude: I've generally liked law enforcement.
All of New York feels rougher.  Lots of service people are rough and unwelcoming.  No one is smiling: perhaps because it is raining.
I got soaked in the rain.  And I liked it.
With the fog, the city seems like it could go on forever, receding forever into the horizon but hidden by fog.  When the some comes out, you can see the city limits, though.
Right now I'm  sitting in a Starbucks in Harlem, drinking bad green tea for the privilege of Internet.  More recently,

Finally used the New York subway system.  Grungy like Toronto, not flashy like Berlin.
It really moves people.
U.S. money feels like monopoly paper.  Perhaps having close shades of green helps protect the identity of the bills: is that a $20 or just a $1?  $1 bills? Wow!
Harlem has a lot of cool houses.
It's January, there was enough snow in Guelph to stop the buses today, but it's just wet, warm, and Novembrish here.
The streets are well-labelled (unlike some countries (cough New Zealand cough)) and the numeric grid system (8th Ave and 141st St) makes it easy to get around.
8th Ave and 81st St has a museum, I think.  It has a subway stop.
I just witnessed a lady walk into the Starbucks, pick up food, and walk out while the staff warned her that they'd contact police and she was on camera.
My friend's apartment is on the 10th story of a building.  From the one window, I can see an amazing castle.  I like castles.  I like.

Transient Thought

I am now in New York, and the first thing I do is leave inappropriate messages on my answering machine. At least no one else need hear them? :D


Alarm clock for the Nintendo 3DS

So, with my phone unusable, I realised last night that I don't really have an alarm clock.  Unless I want to use my laptop as I used to, but you know, energy consumption, the environment, etc.

I decided to check if my Nintendo 3DS had an alarm clock.  It has a web browser, tells the time, and microwaves me, so why not wake me up?  After googling, I was saddened to see that while the Nintendo DS came with one by default, the 3DS did not.

However, there are a few very fun ones that you can buy from the eShop!  It was $1.99, which is cheaper than a physical alarm clock, and a lot more fun.

Consequently. I woke up in time for my lab this morning. And then I did the Mario.

Transient Thought

Early stages of phone's death, last week.  The screen
is completely black these days.  Good night Nexy.


Transient Thought

"Your ambition is perpetual!" - A friend to me after hearing of my latest endeavour.  One of the most interesting compliments I've received in a while, but I'm not sure that perpetual ambition is a quality I should want. :)  They have also compared me to the average bear, which is delightful company.

Running on Roof Tops

Wow, as I was leaving the symposium, I ran into the lady I had met earlier again and she offered to take me up to the roof right then!  So I went!  And it was awesome!  It was more like a white roof than a green roof, but there were plants!  Perennials!  And past the roof's edge were lines of pink, purple and blue cutting through the horizon as the sun set.  Another adventure complete!


Feed me!

Today I am attending the Environmental Science Symposium at the University of Guelph with a friend.  The theme is Food this year.  The best talk was probably on the role of space exploration on terrestrial agriculture, but my second favourite theme has been that of urban agriculture, green roofs, and roof-top gardens.

I mentioned at the one talk the temporary community garden that appeared in Vancouver while I lived there in 2008.  I think it was the result of an abandoned development plan, thanks to the recession, but I'm not sure.  It was quite neat seeing it appear.  There were a couple other ones around the downtown, and a friend and I used to covertly use the composters from one.
The community garden at Burrard and Davie in
downtown Vancouver, near where I lived for a while.
Via Google Maps
I'm mesmerised by the integration of nature and urbania.  Apparently the new city hall in Guelph has a green roof, and so does the Science Complex at the University.  I spoke to a lady today about it and will try to arrange to go up there and see it.  I'm excited.

One problem with a lot of cool, green approaches like this are maintenance and effort required.  There are lots of things to invest my time in.  I have to be very picky about where I allocate my time now, and I'm not sure I'd have the time to manage something like this.  I do like growing things.  I have a stable of five fine plants, and a neat rotation system to indicate when I watered what.  I'm going to expand to a tomato plant.  I still hope to have a small food garden at some point.  But I still need to outsource food production, as there are other things I want to specialise in.  It might be nice to some day have an almost self-sufficient home.  I do plan on moving around a lot, but I still like the idea of a small house outside of the city with lots of growth and some water, that can generate its own power.  My house will also be neatly kitted with the coolest of sensors and ubiquitous computing technology.  Mwahaha!


Customer Disservice Hilarity

I tried to contact HTC, the phone company, about repairing the OLED in my phone which started to die yesterday.  I found the relevant web page but neither their e-mail address, nor the phone number I need, advertised there are in service.  HA!  These are problems with solutions I'd like to work on!


Rice milk chocolate bar, salsa invitation, damaged phone, late to a lab, great brew of tea, interrupted club day hijinx, good counsel, random snowman, state alchemists, frigid bus stops, crisps for a friend newly vegan, the Arkells' "free" concert, running with sticks, Dutch Blitz, parking lot drifting, snow balls, ice words, secret words, late night conversation with good friends.

This may have happened.

There is always someone better

It's a good thing to not forget.  I don't like competing with others, because there is always someone better.  I don't want to struggle to be the best.  I don't want to be the best.  I suppose I want to be accepted even though I'm not the best.

Sometimes I still try.  I try because I know there's someone better than me, but then I know there's someone worse.  If I don't try, perhaps the worse person will and we will all have to suffer the consequences.  If I try, perhaps the better person won't, and we'll all suffer under my consequences.  But there are things I care about enough that even if they won't be done right, I want them at least done well.

I was speaking to a friend from campus about TAing and it fills her with anxiety.  I don't share that anxiety.  My undergraduate experience was filled with TAs who didn't understand the material they were sharing, or couldn't communicate, or didn't care.  If I want to spare some students that same pain, it's my responsibility to teach them.

I am part of a cool group of animal rights activists in Guelph.  I'm actually not a very fervent activist, but because I care about the issue, there are things I want to see done right, so I absorb responsibility for them.  Sometimes I mess up (sleeping in is the bane of my existence), but other times I try and I win.  I hope I've managed to contribute something to the group, as they contribute a lot to me.

Friends.  I have strange ideas about friendship.  To share a secret, on this blog I refer to a lot of people as friends who I wouldn't normally apply the term to: acquaintances on campus.  I don't mean to be a snob, but I hope to mean a lot by friendship, which my acquaintanceships don't usually call for.  I'm open to anyone becoming a friend, but I am also careful about who I consider being a good friend to: it's expensive.  Being a real friend is a big responsibility for me.  It attempts honesty, depth, sharing of secrets, adventure!, dependability, concern, good will and respect, loyalty, and caring.  Caring a lot.  And not expecting too much in return.  (If you know me and this does not sound like our friendship, it is probably because you are actually a zombie and I am a robot, fated to be forever enemies.)

People are hard though.  I'm aware of a lot of people who are better than me; better at school, better at computers, better at animals, better at drawing and writing, better at living wild and free, better at music, better at touching the soul and making it ripple, better at cooking, better at listening, better at being there, and better at being a friend.  So, should I try to be someone's good friend if I know it could prevent them from befriending someone better?  Should I consider trying to be among a person's best friends, or even their partner, when I already know that there's someone better able to fill the role out there?  It's a bit selfish, a little hopeless, a tad vain.  There's always someone better, and the least I can do is make it easy to be replaced.  But I suppose it's still good to want to try, to try to be there where others aren't, to try to be excellent for one another, even if I cannot compete.

I don't aspire to much, at least not much unrealistic, any more.  I've been developing an acute understanding of the extent of my ability to serve the causes and people dear to me.  I've had to cut back, even when it was  hard giving up on a good idea for computing at school, on intramurals, on the Internet.  But it's better than stretching myself too thin all over again, insisting on the impossible, and risking crippling stress again.  I have limits.

But within those limits, despite that I'll never be the best option for a job, I hope my earnest contributions to all my endeavours can be accepted well.  


Lost and found

I have some material possessions that are irreplaceable, and mostly things from friends.  I wasn't sure where I left a set of chopsticks I've had a few years, but apparently they've been found and I'm having them mailed to me.  They're kind of decaying, but yeah.

Transient Thought

Awesome discovery of right now: comments on Blogger are no longer a flat, linear stream, but you can now reply to comments and have them attached to it in a tree format.  Whee!

Transient Thought

I had an incredibly long day filled with TAing, meetings, vegan cookies, kendo, jodo, more TAing, and a salad.  I just want to blog. :D


A birthday past

Nom nom nom
What is today?  I don't know.  I don't understand why days go by much anymore, but I am told it was my birthday, so I went with that.  :)

Iris and hyacinth, nom nom nom
Of material things, there was a vegan chocolate cake with Duncan Hines buttercream icing (which contains neither butter nor cream).  I shared it liberally with friends and now regret not reserving a piece for myself right now.  I also acquired two new plants to my stable.  Even though the flowering mimosa didn't fair so well under my father's care, it's still alive, and now has an iris and a hyacinth as friends.  I like purple flowers.  I used to babysit a bunch, which inspired me to collect my own.  Also, I've got two books from my favourite author who I've never read: John Green's Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska.  I say favourite, because I like the lad a lot: he vlogs with his brother as the vlogbrothers on YouTube, and I preordered The Fault in his Stars twice. I'm not sure where the extra copy will go anymore, but I'm sure I can find a good home. :)  There were other minor gifts, such as the Dollarama cup I bought myself, sparklers and glowsticks.

John Green's Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska
My pet rock collection, born from a rock mound
that held up my 2010 Christmas tree branch.

Some of the best parts were naturally people.  I normally am a bit private about my birthday to avoid convenience well-wishers, but this year I decided I deserved a little attention, and hinted at it's date ("My birthday is on Monday").  One friend booked yesterday evening for skating, a "fancy" dinner out, and late night conversation.  Another for sushi.  Another joined me on 5-minute notice for a birthday expedition to Value Village and the Asian grocery store near it.  A friend sang for me and helped me paint pet rocks.  A good friend came online late tonight to chat with me on Google+ Hangout, and a random stranger serenaded me in that same hangout with a birthday guitar performance.

A paper umbrella, perhaps from Yokaiden
New, adorable chopsticks, to substitute for my precious Vancouver set
I'm kind of lucky to be surrounded by awesome people as I become 28.  Hopefully I've grown into a better person too. :)


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