Category Archives: events

Going To Any Orchestra Performances?

A friend asked me today if I planned on attending any orchestra performances, while I’m in the Seattle area this fall. I didn’t even know if Seattle had an orchestra.

Some digging later, I find myself in the possession of a ticket to see Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on October 20th. I’m so pumped.

Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Here’s a bit of background. Back in early high school, on Prince Edward Island, I was introduced to Ben Folds (Five) by a good friend, during a time when listening to punkish/cut-yourself music made one appear as though they were in touch… and so deep. A factor of the time and the age, I’m certain. In any case, the first song I heard, Fred Jones Part 2, was pretty slick (I mean, where was Part 1?!). It’s about a guy who is let go from the job that he’s had for many years at the local paper. It details his last moments at the company. Emotional stuff.

Fast forward to high school graduation: Ben Folds’ Still Fighting It was the graduation song, chosen by our class. I was a pretty big fan of him, loved the piano tunes and all that. Let’s just say, Ben Folds holds a special place in my heart, being the nostalgic that I am.

So, I was justifiably excited when I saw Ben Folds’ name appear in the Seattle Symphony Orchestra schedule. Cue the mystical destiny music. What are the chances I’m to travel half-way across the continent, to the West Coast, only to see the one artist that holds the strongest connection for me back to Prince Edward Island? Well, those odds could probably be calculated (seeing as I’m studying Queuing Theory for ECE 418 right now), but I’d rather not, and leave some of the mystery.

Woo! Ben Folds!

Photos From My First Ballgame

Last week, I went out to my first baseball game, to watch the Toronto Blue Jays face the Florida Marlins. I have very few friends who actually enjoy baseball; the majority dislike it as a boring, lengthy game. I have to admit, I’ve done my share of baseball bashing in the past without actually having seen one, so I certainly didn’t help. I was half excited for the game and half excited to do some sports photography.

7th inning stretch

Okay, so the bus ride and the tickets combined were $8, so I didn’t expect good seats, but the 500 level isn’t actually that bad. Sure it’s a bit high up, but the view of the field is still fine. Next time I go (yeah, the game was good enough that I definitely plan on attending more games), I’m going to pay up to sit in a lower level, but factoring in the price, you can’t go wrong with the cheap 500 level tickets either.

Homer

The start of the game was terrible. By the bottom of the 4th inning, the Florida Marlins held a 5-0 lead. I was getting a little fidgety. But as my baseball-loving friend often told me, games swing quite easily. Unlike many sports, which are time-based, it isn’t altogether rare for a team to get a bunch of runs over a small number of innings. And Toronto did just that. Of course, the mascot took advantage of this and got the fans pumped up.

The Bluejay

I’ve seen some baseball highlights on television before, and one of the most unnatural things I’ve ever seen is the angle of some pitchers’ elbows. It’s not surprising that injuries are fairly common among the group. Janssen, seen here, injured himself a couple games later.

Unnatural

The Jays ended up losing 6-5, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall. Rios was (if I recall correctly) the second last person at bat. Here’s him getting a strike. He went on to steal to second, but was then caught trying to steal third. The last batter for the Jays struck out swinging and that was that for the day.

Strrrike.

Luckily, I made it out to the only game with the Marlins that wasn’t a blow-out. The game on Sunday turned into an 11-3 rout. I’m glad I wasn’t there for that game, or I might have been turned off from the sport altogether.

I wrapped the day up in Toronto with dinner at an Italian restaurant. While sitting on the patio, I noticed this squirrel chomping away on his own dinner. I pulled out the camera and got a couple shots before he scampered away.

Snacking

Martin Brodeur – Winningest Goalie

Martin Brodeur earned his 552nd win tonight over the Chicago Blackhawks in a home game at the Prudential Centre in New Jersey. The win made him the winningest goalie of all time, surpassing my childhood idol, Patrick Roy. Fantastic game, fantastic goalie, and fantastic guy. He even cut the net as a souvenir as is often done in other sports. I’d be surprised if he isn’t part of Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

More than one record was broken tonight. Patrik Elias also became the record holder for points in the New Jersey franchise (702), by assisting on a goal by Brian Gionta.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Mahler 3rd

I went out for dinner with a couple people and then to a Toronto Symphony Orchestra rendition of Mahler’s 3rd Symphony at Roy Thompson Hall this past Thursday. What a blast! The TSO is without a doubt the most accomplished classical music group that I’ve ever heard live. Now I can’t pretend to be a Mahler aficionado, but with my limited knowledge of the 3rd, I was very impressed and entertained. I’ve played in several different bands and orchestras, but all at the amateur level. I guess it’s in my naiveté that I was so amazed by the absolute clarity and proficiency with which they performed.

The hall itself was magnificent and even at the very back of the main floor (tickets which I purchased for $12 mind you, via tsoundcheck), viewing was unimpeded and the sound was in no way negatively affected. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I think all those who’ve attended live concerts can attest to the fact that regardless of how flawless a studio recording may sound, the experience of a live concert just can’t be matched.

I’m already seeking out the next concert to go to. I think it would only be appropriate to attend something I can relate to more, Lang Lang at the piano. I’m still trying to decide whether I can swallow the $80-100 for a decent seat, but I figure it’s not every day that I’ll get a chance to hear a world class pianist in concert.

Blogging At 35,000ft

I’m at an altitude of 35,000ft as I write this, sitting in a cramped seat in row 25 of an Airbus A320. Fortunately, I have a window seat to help break up the monotony of air travel, for the less-than-wealthy. Equipped with my M1330 laptop, I performed a quick space test of the fold-out tray in front of me. There is absolutely no way this laptop will fit on it. By the same token, the 0.5” thinner profile of the MacBook Air wouldn’t fit either. It’s all about footprint, not thickness. There, I’ve had my daily jab at Apple and at the same time scientifically proven my point. I’ve even attached a photo of what using a M1330 looks like on a plane. (For some reason, I don’t think photography is actually allowed on flights, so shhhhh.) Moving on.


Really not much space, even with the notebook on my lap…

I woke up at the painful hour of 6am this morning. Morning rush hour traffic can be unpredictable, so I figured I should play it safe rather than end up sorry. After arriving at Pearson very early for my flight, I went to the Terminal 1 Starbucks to pick up a light breakfast. The thing is, I don’t drink coffee – I rarely go to Tim Horton’s even, which is practically a crime in Canada. Given that, it was only natural that I became a bit overwhelmed by the beverage choices and their weird size-naming conventions. Whatever happened to small-medium-large? I ended up with a “regular-size” (Tall in Starbucks-speak) hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant, which I quickly consumed.

I also experienced my first run-in with the metal-detector ‘wand’ today while going through security. The culprit? My belt. In what was the most troublesome security check-in for me, I also had to remove my shoes. Perhaps it was the large amount of electronic devices I was pushing through the X-ray machine: laptop, battery, camera, MP3 player, BlackBerry.

I’ve been passing the time here reading a book a friend lent to me, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. From what I’ve gotten through thus far, I think it’s prudent to pick it up for my own personal book collection, which reminds me, I need to start a book collection. I’ve also decided that we need to look at building cities in the sky, à la Cloud City from Star Wars. It would always be sunny that way, as my burning lap is telling me.

And although I’m writing this on the plane, I’m clearly not going to be able to publish this until I land at my connection in Halifax. I’m still patiently waiting for the day when Wifi becomes prevalent on flights.

Mobile Weekend in Waterloo

You can read about the event in more detail at the Mobile Weekend website, but in short, it is a weekend for developers, business types, HR, bloggers, and legal to get together, decide on an idea for a mobile service or product, develop the idea, and end up with a working prototype at the end of the two-and-a-half day event. This is an innovation and entrepreneurial event for people all around the Waterloo region. If you’re interested, tickets to the event (which will get you access to the event itself, food and drink for the weekend, and swag) can be had here. There are also some resources to help any developers prepare for potential projects on the Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, or Google Android platforms over here.

Mobile Weekend

I heard about the event through a co-worker yesterday and was immediately interested in the idea. I visited the site, looked through some of the Innovation Toronto and Startup Weekend events that it’s based on and decided it would be a fun and exciting event to contribute to, if as nothing more than a web developer/blogger/idea generator. The first Mobile Weekend event will be held in Waterloo on the weekend of April 25-27th. A subsequent Mobile Weekend will be held in Toronto, with the date to be determined at a later time.

You may not be from Waterloo, or even the southern Ontario region, but perhaps you know someone who is and would be interested in this sort of event. Let them know! This will only be a success if lots of bright minds get together to work on all aspects of the product or service, not just the geeky, techy side of it.

Novembre

I feel like I should be keeping up my French so there, that’s my quota for the month.

So maybe you had it where you are as well, but at Bell Mobility, it was Bring Your Kid(s) to Work Day today. Now maybe I did or maybe I didn’t write about this in the past, but a co-worker made the joke that when they first saw me at the office, they thought it was Bring Your Kid(s) to Work Day. It obviously wasn’t back then, but today, I feel like perhaps many people thought the same thing again, except this time seriously.

Allow me to put this in perspective.

In the land of lots of people (Ontario), they mostly become unfriendly; that means no saying hello or chatting with (almost) strangers. Working on the Bell campus with multiple thousands of people pretty much guarantees that I won’t get to know more than a handful of the employees. It also means that I rarely say hello to people. Well not today. As I was standing around waiting for a few friends to go out for lunch, I had a couple employees smile and say hi to me in that ‘oh you’re much younger and very innocent’ sort of way. Clearly they thought I was some person’s son, there at Bell Mobility for the day. I even got quite a few looks from the kids, no doubt wondering who I was, and why I had a full employee pass and not the visitor pass they were wearing. Keep in mind, these kids are in Grade 9. Oh how sad.

So aside from that, and playing foosball with some of the kids, I had a pretty uneventful day. Towards the end of it, I got ridiculously tired for some reason. It just sort of hit me all of a sudden. I was feeling fine during the morning, but around 3-4pm, I couldn’t function. My brain couldn’t comprehend any of the inputs it was receiving. I was reading a research paper on mobile messaging and I don’t think I processed one word from all the stuff I ‘read’. I’ve been sleeping pretty well so the only explanation is someone put something in my water.

What else could it be?…

Headache

I arrived this morning at the office to be greeted by a flurry of emails, press releases and articles about what had just happened. The company had annouced that it would be converting to an income trust. Yes, BCE Inc. Canada’s largest telecommunications company would be reorganized into an income trust to increase shareholder value and stay competitive with Telus, which has also recently announced that it would convert to an income trust. It hardly (actually that should read does not) affects me since I hold no options or shares of BCE, but for most of the full timers there, this has a big influence on their holdings. Hopefully it’ll be for the best.

I’ve been getting the recommended 8 or so hours of sleep each night this past week and I feel great. No more drooping eyelids during the afternoon at the office. I feel totally awake just about all the time now. It’s great not to have to fight off yawn after yawn. If you’re feeling tired all the time, seriously, just catch a little more shut eye. I bet you do have the time if you just plan your day a little better. An hour or two is really not that hard to waste at all, but an hour or two can really make a difference when it comes to sleep.

But I guess I just can’t be left alone. I awoke Tuesday morning with a rippling headache on the left side of my head. Now this in itself is slightly worrying as I extremely rarely get headaches. When I do get that occasional dull pain, it usually goes away after an hour or two at most. This time would be different. It lingered with me the whole day, which already got me worried. I thought a good night’s sleep would make it all better, but to no avail; I awoke this morning with the same headache around the same area of my head. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s getting better I think, but it does pop up now and again. A two day long headache cannot be normal.

I wonder what could be wrong with me?