April 15, 2012
Went to go see Carbon Life at the Royal Opera House last night.  The costume above was about as avant garde as Gareth Pugh got with the costumes, with one very pointy tutu being the exception.
The rest of the show I think should have been separated into a Mark Ronson and guests show and a separate Gareth Pugh fashion show and dance show.  I left with my eyes crossed and a huge headache. 

Went to go see Carbon Life at the Royal Opera House last night.  The costume above was about as avant garde as Gareth Pugh got with the costumes, with one very pointy tutu being the exception.

The rest of the show I think should have been separated into a Mark Ronson and guests show and a separate Gareth Pugh fashion show and dance show.  I left with my eyes crossed and a huge headache. 

December 11, 2011
Less expectations and entitlement, more earning.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the big picture.  Climate change, the death of financial institutions and our society’s system… what will it mean for our future?  I heard a really interesting story from a Greek woman a couple weeks ago and with the bankruptcy of Greece she mentioned that people are going back to a way of life that was not unlike it was before easy credit.  People had to inherit houses from their parents.  They had mortgages with high interest rates and had to work hard.  In some cases, they had to barter.  And so I’m seeing this move back to community, to connection - and I think I like it.  It’s amazing that so many things - interest rates, GDP, etc - are invisible, yet so important to the way that we and society function. 

Yet I see a lot of Gen Yers who are coming up in the workplace, and noting that they have this extreme sense of entitlement. An expectation to work on plum projects straight out of university.  Only working on what they want to do without having done the hard work first - not realizing that you have to earn your stripes first. 

So all that to say, in the very near future - I’m going to have a 1950s mentality.  Have less expectations for those around me, so as to never be disappointed.  Put into place, including myself, people who have an unjustified sense of entitlement.  And focus on working hard and earning my keep. 

I came up with this thought this morning - thinking about how much we as a society expect of companies, of governments, etc. and I

June 9, 2011
My book idea that was quickly foiled

I had dinner with my parents last night and was talking about perhaps writing a book about the Chinese diaspora in different countries - in Vienna for example, there are 30,000 Chinese from a little town outside of Shanghai, who are known for their incredible work ethic.  But, what made them decide to move to Vienna of all places?  What is their life like?  How the heck do they pick up German? 

Unfortunately my mom pointed out to me that there is actually a show based out of Hong Kong that interviews Chinese folks in the random countries already.  For example, the 4 Chinese women that live in Israel, one of which who does farming in the Gaza Strip (!) and is married to a Lebanese man.  INSANITY.

June 9, 2011
Vienna and Budapest….

I’ve been on holiday with my parents the past week or so, and the one other thing I love about London is that you can travel anywhere pretty easily.  But the really intriguing part about Europe is that it is so rich in history.  Roman ruins everywhere, so many wars fought, people coming in and out of cities.  The Visigoths, the Celts, the Romans, the Turks/Ottomans, the Habsburgs, the Mongols, the Vikings, they all traversed across the continent or at least for part of it, fought for chunks, lost it, regained it, and on it went.  I can imagine it being pretty tiring.  Listening to some of the narrative of some of the palaces in Budapest and places of worship made me wonder how people survived so much change! 

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June 9, 2011
Evenings that make me love London

Andy and I went to check out the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the centenary of Bernard Herrmann, one of my favourite musicians and in my mind, the best film music composer of all time.  Unfortunately, they only played some of his songs - North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, Psycho, Taxi Driver, and Vertigo - but there were guest spots galore (other film music composers, his widow, Norma) and we were sitting in the choir area behind the orchestra, so we could see the orchestra peeps flipping their pages and having conversations amongst themselves.  I love that shiza.

Best part of the evening was the conductor, Paul Bateman, while conducting the music from the Psycho murder scene - he flipped his baton in his hand and started stabbing the air.  YESSSSSSS.

Also, what is it about orchestra musicians that I find so different from pop music folks?  To me, they have made a lifelong commitment - they’ve mastered this one instrument, usually from a young age, play gigs many nights a week, and in some cases, have developed physical problems from their instruments. Yet, they are also able to have a 9-5-like job with their music.  Is it music without the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll?  Maybe I’m wrong.

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May 19, 2011
Two of my favourite things…..

are snorkelling and riding a bike along the boardwalk in LA along the ocean.  Dannnnnng.

May 19, 2011
Solitude and music

I really appreciate those really quiet nights where I don’t have any work to do, and I can let my thoughts synthesize.  And catch up on some new music, and find some shiza that I really like. Here are some recent finds:

1.  Rumer: A modern day Karen Carpenter… a crystal clear voice - not quite soul but really comforting Norah Jonesy pop. 

2. About Group: a side project of Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip and a guy from Spiritualized - I think Alexis Taylor could sing anything and I would like it.  He has this falsetto that conveys vulnerability and sounds like it could falter at any moment…. but doesn’t.   His lyrics are also always so witty.  Lovely combo.  

3.  Brenda Holloway - one of the rare Motowners who were from California and was not really promoted so hard by Berry Gordy  - can you believe she toured with the Beatles?    She faded into obscurity as a housewife and recently came back with a new album.  Need to catch up on her catalogue. 

4. Grace Jones - I recently came across her when watching a Bond movie with the An Man - she played the villain MayDay - and I realized HOLY SHIT.  This woman was Lady Gaga before Lady Gaga existed.  She is both androgynous and hyper feminine and fierce all at the same time.    Her music all is as sharp as she looks. 

5.  Jamie XX with Gil Scott Heron - I love his remixes!  An excellent complement to Gil Scott Heron’s raspy voice.

Also I just realized what a huge difference it makes to have bossa nova playing while commuting on the tube - why come to the terms that you’re travelling in a crowded car with a bunch of sweaty germy people, when you can pretend that you’re strolling along the beach in Ipanema?  Sigh. 

March 21, 2011
An update….

So, since I last wrote the following has happened:

- I have started a new job at a sustainability think tank.  Some interesting work so far with two very large companies….. and two think tank pieces.

- I got REEEALLLY sick.  For about two weeks I was kind of incapacitated and had no energy.  It really sucked!  However, lots of rest and fluids seemed to get me back into shape. 

- I have started swimming at the local pool and running in Hyde Park.  Lovely!!! 

Because the past few weekends have involved sitting around in bed to get better, I will pick up from where I can last remember being social - this past weekend!  This was probably the first sunny weekend in eons, so on Saturday Andy and I ventured over to Kew Gardens for a quick walkaround.  Unfortunately, because it’s still early spring, there wasn’t a lot to see save for a few sticks in the ground and several tulips.  The greenhouses were beautiful though, old Victorian affairs with lots of clothed urns.  And even stranger, while at Kew Gardens I ran into Shayne and Kate, who I hadn’t seen in about 5 years.  How crazy! 

After that, we met up with Elder Arias and his gf for some drinks in Richmond.  How lovely is this part of town?  There is a tiny strip overlooking the Thames that is just perfect to enjoy a drink, and maybe go for a little row.  (as in the boat, not as in the fight.) 

And then we met up with Albert, Christina, Phil, and his friend Alexei and Daiwen for dinner at a Malaysian place close to us.  Yum!!!! 

Sunday was a low key affair, which included dim sum with Jon and a couple of his friends, and then schlepping over to Pimlico to pick up an ironing board (I swear, we are exciting.)

Oh!  I forgot to mention that two weekends ago we went over to Highgate Cemetery - a creepy old Victorian cemetery where people like Michael Faraday and Karl Marx are buried.  Lots of really neat Victoria design motifs to observe, and creepy overgrown graves…. I totally recommend it! 

February 23, 2011
Alas!

My excitement for affordable Chinese groceries evaporated quickly.  I walked over to the alleged address on the weekend, and where I thought it was was actually…. a Coral betting shop.  Very anti-climactic!  As I later found out, there are eight 395 Edgware Roads in London, who knew that it was such a popular street name?  I am hoping to boot it up there today during my funemployment time. 

In other news, we’ve had a few visitors over the past couple of days, and it’s almost like we never left home.  My cousin Ben came to visit en route to Germany for work, and then Sarita came over for dinner last night, and we had some good laughs. 

I start working on Monday at the think tank, and I’m excited to do so - not only because London can get pretty darn expensive when you’re unempoyed, but the work is also going to be really interesting.  And it’s not too far from where we are right now, about 4 tube stops away.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been running a few errands - we finally have our internet set up, got a shipment of furniture from Argos, and I even went to the dentist (insert joke about bad teeth).  It was very strange - the dentist warned me against eating any fruit outside of a meal because it was bad for my teeth (?!) - this was pretty much the first time that I have ever heard anyone advising against eating fruit.  Very bizarre!

Last Thursday I brought Andy along to Oli’s dance performance at The Place, which is a little theatre close to Euston station.  It really hit home to me how much I miss the arts.  What I love about them, whether its dance, music, painting, drawing, etc, is that it taps into the subconscious.  After awhile you are not really thinking anymore, it’s this strange zone where you’re just on autopilot.  The whole process of it is so unbelievably mind clearing - something that I haven’t had the luxury of doing for a long time!  And same thing, when we went to Andy’s cousin Alex’s studio in Edinburgh, I just felt so at home - there is this specific smell to art studios, something between newsprint, paint and plaster and glue, that is so comforting - it reminded me a lot the art classes that I took all through school and working at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and I realized how much I miss all of it.  Perhaps I will take some short courses again at Central St. Martin’s, since it’s going to be really close to my office! </end George Costanza architect/marine biologist moment>

On that note, I’m off to get the day started. 

February 18, 2011
Well colour me excited

Today I went out to Maidenhead, a suburb outside of London, to visit one of my former colleagues, Li, who just relocated here as well from Toronto. It was nice to compare notes about our experience here!   

One thing that has been lacking terribly here, is affordable Chinese groceries.  When you’re in Canada, Chinese groceries are super affordable.  You go to Chinese grocery stores if you need to stretch a buck.  In London, it seems that Chinese groceries are a bit of a luxury.  Li let me in on a secret that the place to get Chinese groceries in London is Wing Yip, a retail store and wholesaler that provides all the goods to Chinese restaurants in London.  WHAT!  Not only that, but I just Google mapped and it is only a mile away from our flat and they deliver.  I think I’ve just died and gone to heaven.  

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