Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Winter, Canada will be a lot cozier

It is very late here in Xining. Let me check... yup, it's 12:41 am. But when I heard that they were going to make it official at 12:15am, I needed to stay up for it, even if it was only by refreshing the TSN.ca website over and over again.

Winnipeg, a city that most people have never heard of, a city with a crappy CFL team, a city that, amazingly enough, I've never been too, is getting a hand-me-down NHL team!

"Sorry, Atlanta, but at least you still have Peachtree TV."

I don't know what it is. I am very happy about this. The Atlanta Thrashers are officially moving to Canada. A professional sports team from a real league (That is at least somewhat recognized in America) is moving to Canada. Someone with money said, "Hey, lets move a team from America to Canada."

This is a foreign Language in Canada. More people speak French. After losing The Winnipeg Jets, The Quebec Nordiques, The Vancouver Grizzlies, and numerous other teams that are too insignificant to mention, not to mention the Grizzlies, this is such a great thing.

For a moment, this made me forget that the Canucks are going to win the cup. It was a nice little moment that I enjoyed.

Most people want the new team to change their name to The Jets, of course. Moose and Falcons have been a few of the other suggestions. I have a few suggestions myself.

The Winnipeg Sexy Legs (because it rhymes)

The Winnipeg Winners

The Lake Province Hockey Badgers

The Prairie Area River Patrol

The Manitoba Tubas

The Winnipeg We have a team agains

The Winnipeg Winnipeggers

The Atlanta Thrasherpeggers

The Manitoba Mans

What does this whole thing mean for me? Well, not a whole lot, but it sure will be nice, this October, when I can listen to the Internet feed of the Oilers getting the crap kicked out of them by a real hockey team... from Winnipeg!

Goodnight Everyone.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Photo Phonics

I am reading a lot of books right now. Thanks to the Kindle app, I am cruising through a lot of interesting stuff... at great prices!

The one I would like to talk about is a book about photography. Actually it is called '25 Lessons I've learned about Photography... Life' and it is by a guy named Lorenzo Dominguez.

The first thing that I noticed was that it sells for 99 cents. I can't think of too many things that sell for 99 cents anymore. I remember a time when it seemed like every little thing was 99 cents. You could get a hot dog for 99 cents. There was the 99 cent store. You could go to the dollar theatre and watch a movie for just over 99 cents. The big Slurpee at The Red in Stony Plain used to be 99 cents, which would be $1.06 with the GST. I remember how annoying it was to always have to carry a dime along with my loonie while I rode my bike to the store. I was always worried that the dime would fall out of my pocket.

The next thing (this is usually the clincher for me) was all of the positive reviews. People took this for more than a photography tip book. It seemed like the author told a little about his life as well. For this little Phonics hooker, this was the ticket!

Some of the reasons why I like this book included:

The man lives in New York and tells about running around the city at night to capture interesting things on his camera.

He uses a Canon PowerShot, which is just a little point and shoot guy that allows for spontaneity and convenience. I love my DSLR camera, it takes great pictures all of the time and makes me look like I know a thing or two. But it's sometimes too bulky to carry around and be spontaneous with. Kind of like George Costanza's wallet.

The guy loves taking photos. He takes photos just because it makes his life better. He talks a lot about getting out there and living while taking photos. He likes to be able to see moments and then capture them while all of the New Yorkers are busy with their lives.

He is honest and open with the struggles of his life. I won't get into the details because you can get into them yourself for the price of a Slurpee 20 years ago.

Through it all, I have been inspired. The other day I walked all the way to downtown, snapping here and there along the way. We have a smaller littler Sony camera that I have been having fun figuring out. I took it along for the day. I have to say that it was a lot of fun.

A lot of people in this city don't like getting their picture taken. I figure that they own it to me since whenever my kids go out they are usually bombarded by camera phones in their faces. But, alas, if someone refuses a photo opp then I just dust off my feet and move a long. Others love to get their pictures taken. Others wonder why I am taking pictures. I am sure that some of the back streets that I walked are foreign to picture taking. I guess I'm sort of doing my part to document this ever changing city.

Another thing about Lorenzodom's photos is that a lot of them are nothing special. He has over 30 000 photos up on his Flickr account. A lot of the photos are amazing and composed very creatively, but a good amount of them are pretty normal. I am sure that he just likes sharing the whole experience with the viewers. A lot of the photos have a little story to go along with them. A lot of his photos seem to be experiments. Sometimes they don't always work out, as he suggests in the book, but that doesn't stop him from storming out there the next day.

I think that the main thing I have learned is that taking photos is mainly for the photographer himself. If you take photos to just be awesome then you will often times be too picky to see great opportunities. Moments are happening right now that should be captured. As we sit, beautiful photos are going unclicked.

I think Lorenzo is a great example of someone who saw this and decided that he was going to do something about it. I'm going to join him, and if you like taking photos, then you should too.

To see my photos, go to my Photostream.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This week in the neighborhood

I've been taking a lot of photos of the area, along with the kids and such. Check them out on flickr if you'd like:



Miles likes to walk around the apartment in a t-shirt and underwear. Yesterday, when I noticed that there was a small wet spot on the side of his underwear, I asked him about it. He said, "Well, dad, I think that it's from when the sunshine came out." I'm not sure what that was all about.


I know that people love olives. I know that some of you can't put enough cilantro on your Mexican food. I've heard that there are people out there who actually like playing Volleyball. There is a fashion trend now where people without the need for glasses still wear them but without the lenses. I like Hip-Hop music as much as the next guy who doesn't like Hip-Hop music. This, the preface for...

In hockey, the Canucks are into the Stanley Cup Final. I wish them all the best and hope that they can treat the whole event as a learning experience for when they really win the cup long after I have passed away. Olives, Hip-Hop, diarrhoea, melted ice cream, The Yankees, dead bunny rabbits and the Canucks. No offense, Towel Power Nation.


Back in China, my teacher is still wearing the black contact lenses. I guess that I've kind of gotten used to them, just like how I've gotten used to the bathroom smells that waif into the classrooms. There are just so many annoying things about that school that have slowly turned into slightly fond familiarity.


A few weeks ago I had a trifecta of unfortunate pant malfunctions. 3 of my top 4 pairs of pants are ripped in the crotch, all on different days in the same week. Can you believe that, Harold Camping?! Anyways, I have 3 other pairs of jeans that I could wear if I lost a little bit of weight. I got them as hand-me-downs from some skinny guy who moved away. Lately I have considered to trying to slim down into those bad boys and there has been slight progress. I am down from 229 lbs to 220 in the last month. I am not insecure about any of this, and besides, my friends insist that I am not fat but just a big and sexy man.

The icing on the low fat cake is that some friends bought be some new jeans off of the Internet. They are cool and they almost fit. So, I am going for it. More bike rides. More sit ups. Less Coca Cola and a few more stair climbs and I should be good. Actually, I might need to construct a more concrete plan. Maybe lifting concrete on a construction site would help?

It's not a midlife crisis, I just don't want to buy another pair of pants when I have 4 perfectly good ones waiting for me all cuddled up in the wardrobe. And, I am still planning for my midlife crisis. I think that I still have 5 or 10 years to come up with a good one.

I think that I just might try to track this on the blog. It might help keep me committed to it. The goal? I would like to tumble all the way down to 200 by September. Impossible you say? I like those odds!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Black contact lens Mystery: update!!!

I wondered if my teacher would show up to class wearing the black contact lenses again.

If you don't know what I mean, click here.

Well, on the way to class I stepped into the elevator of my building. There was a lady in it already and she looked familiar. I looked again and she was quietly laughing at the fact that I did not recognize her. It was my teacher... with the lenses in!

Well, there was more to it. The usually flashy dresser was wearing a track suit. She had just gotten back from playing basketball. But, facts are facts, and the fact is that with those contact lenses in I could not recognize her.

On the way to class I asked her if her husband liked her new look. An emphatic "no". Then she figured that I didn't like them either. I backtracked and said that I had just never seen them before.

Also, a confirmation that they are for style purposes. She could have gotten clear ones or even brown ones, but she went with "midnight" black or "Is there a soul in there" black.

Here's the whole situation explained for us by a bunch of idiots:

Scary, scary stuff. Soon enough we will be seeing horns and antlers as an acceptable fashion trend. Or, maybe a furry tail? How about gills? Maybe rabies; people foaming at the mouth? Or maybe letting boogers trail down your nose will help give a little "drama" to your look.

Okay, too much. Where is the "delete" button. Oops, that's the "publish" button, let me see if I can fix this before it l

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pack your bags!

what goes on in that brain behind those beautiful eyes?

Over on my other blog Born in the month of May I will be going on a journey to celebrate my 30th birthday. The journey will be in my memories. Join me as I take a look at the first 30 years of my life. Click over there to find out more.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

And the hits just keep on coming!

As mentioned somewhere around clicking in this area, I have had a difficult time getting to school. Besides red lights, there have been other strange things going on as well. They include:

1. The size of my class fluctuating from 8 up to 12 and then down to 1 and now leveling out at around 6 most of the time.

2. A Korean student brings their kid to school. This is great because we can her him/her crying in the hallway while we are studying Chinese. Did I mention that this is a University?

3. Instead of "Sincerely" or "Regards" the foreign student liaison ends every bulletin board announcement with "I hereby notice that!". He also sends me invites to "Netlog", some sort of Chinese social site. Oozing professionalism. I might have to ask him to stop attaching my email address to the other 130 foreign students that attend the place.

The latest in the humor department showed up in listening class (听力) today. We were going through the usual; listening to the dialog tape, filling in the blanks, etc. when I noticed that my teacher was at the desk in the corner with her contact lens case out. She said that she rubbed her eye and that it irritated it. That is a reasonable enough excuse, and if it were true that would be fine. But, my friends, it was not true at all. You want to know how I know? Well, I'll tell you.

When class started everything was normal. I have had my teacher for 2 semesters and I know her quite well. Sees a really nice lady. Her family lives in our building complex. I even complemented her on her haircut one time, something that I usually do not notice on most people, especially my wife since she is always beautiful and that is unchanging, therefore, not noticeably different. Anyways, something was different when she returned from her contact lens case in the corner. Something in her eyes seemed darker. Black, actually. She had put black contacts in her eyes halfway through class! The craziest thing about it is that she thought that we wouldn't notice. I almost jumped out of my seat. Noticing that she was trying to act casual about it, I was able to calm down and act casual with her. But for the rest of the class I could not look her in the eye. She looked like one of those creatures in the scary movies.

Maybe she got the order in the mail and couldn't wait until she got home to try them on. Maybe she was bored. The question I had at the moment was why on earth would anyone want to put black contact lenses in their eyes?

I went home and went straight to Yoda... Um, I mean, my American neighbor Joel.

My neighbor told me that he's seen this before. He asked the lady about it and she said that some Chinese women do it because they think it will make their eyes look rounder. I would disagree with that idea. More demonic? Yup. More like a souless robot? A little bit. Rounder? Not really that much. He then figured that, in the US, if a cop pulled someone over and the driver was wearing black contacts the cop would take them in, assuming that they are high on goofballs. I did the math and, yes, he figured correctly.

So, now people are wearing black contacts to try to improve their appearances. I thought that the earrings and makeup was complicated enough. I wash my face and brush my teeth.

Now I wait and see which one of my teachers shows up on Monday morning; friendly fashionable lady or friendly fashionable scary lady.