Sunday, January 31, 2010

Speaking of beauty

These bikes by Kinfolk are SO GORGEOUS. So gorgeous.

My eyes are starving for beauty

Rah-rah-rah ROM! Oh, I'm a fan. Maybe not a fan of the 25 bones you have to pay to get in, but coinage aside, I likes, I likes. Yesterday, Julie and I went to see the Cut/Paste: Creative Redesign exhibit at the ROM, and it was a true delight. The idea behind the exhibit was to create new design using salvaged or old products.

It never ceases to amaze me what ingenuity people are capable of. It's like innovation and ideas are endless. When we were going through the other permanent exhibits, (nevermind we didn't have time for the Bat Cave or the biology floors, wah!) the ones that looked at civilizations and history, my mouth was constantly agape. There are so many products and inventions humans create, it's so crazy to see only a small portion of them catalogued and under glass.

We were speculating what sort of stuff will be put into museums years from now that represent our modern inventions and civilization.

The answer? Probably a whole lot of plastic (one of the banes of my existence, but I'll leave that rant for another day).

And probably this:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I could...

bitch about how I think this homegirl is being stupid getting surgery to look like Jessica Alba in an (almost) guaranteed futile attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend.

I could also bitch about what a douchebag her ex is by asking her to change herself to look more like SOMEONE ELSE.

I could also bitch about how Asians have to stop trying to be blonde (because more often than not, they come up with brassy, tinny results).

I could also bitch about how homegirl's pretty and fine JUST THE WAY SHE IS.

Finally, I could also bitch about how ridiculous it is that this chick is going public with her "plight" to get help funding the surgery.

But I won't. It's like I'm on racial rant duty this week. It's exhausting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dan Squared

So, instead of working on something I'm supposed to be writing, I'm blogging about why I like this logo so much. Let me clarify: it has nothing to do with the delicious brownie that sat on top of the napkin.

Rather, I noticed what a fine logo it was and started to think about why I liked it so much.

For one, homeboy's riding a penny farthing. That's pretty hot, if you ask me, and the lines behind his back and basket lead me to believe he's speeding along like no one's biz. Off to deliver those delicious, delicious baguettes and present, no doubt. And you can bet your butt, they're probably fresh out of the oven. I'm surprised there are no lines coming from the baguettes. Although if there were, they'd probably risk being mistaken for stink lines. I digress...

Two, he's freaking delivering baguettes on a penny farthing. If homeboy hits a bump, you can rest assured, he'll be catching each and every one of those tasty ass baguettes because that's how Daniel et Daniel rolls.

Three, homeboy's got a newsboy cap on. Not only does Daniel et Daniel serve delicious foods and create fun events, their delivery people are apparently straight out of The Great Gatsby.

And finally, the font of Daniel et Daniel is sick. The squiggly lines around "et" lead me to believe that their events are droll, and Daniel and Daniel may enjoy a game of hop scotch when they're not baking bread or rolling around on their penny farthings looking smart.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We're a homely bunch.

One can never truly be vegetarian AND Chinese.

Well, you can. But you can't, really.

I found myself in Markham this weekend at a lively Chinese dinner, where the concept of vegetarianism meant eating fish and vegetables cooked with beef or not eating at all.

Markham, which has a huge Chinese population, is a weird place. It's foreign in the sense that it feels like a different country, yet it's not. Imagine a peanut where the shell is Canada/Canadian culture. You crack the shell and in the interior is this Chinese core. That's what I think of when I think of Canadian suburbs such as Markham or Richmond where large numbers of Chinese people settle down. And that's pretty unique.

Anyway, back to the's been a while since I've been in a suburb, so as we drove to the restaurant, I was filled with bewilderment, unease, curiosity and even a little dread. Suburbs, and to an extent FOB (fresh-off-boat) culture is a throwback to my past life. Needless to say, I felt a bit uncomfortable and out of my element.

Attending a Cantonese celebration is quite the production. There's always an abundance of unidentifiable foods and protocol that must be followed. Tea cups must always be full, the most prominent or oldest guest is served first, the lazy Susan is always teeming with steaming dishes, there are always bowls with hot liquid and lemon, there's the usual jovial yet loud banter that sounds like arguing to the outsider, the prerequisite (almost fist fight) over the bill, and the disgusting bathrooms. The loos at Chinese restaurants, no matter how clean or high class the restaurant is, are always disgusting. Mops, buckets, pink soap, fake flowers and paper littering the floors are a must.

It is damn near impossible to eat a strictly plant-based diet in the Chinese mind. Of course vegetarianism exists in China. Many Buddhists eat no meat, but they are far outnumbered by carnivores who enjoy tripe, chicken feet, cow tongues, shark fin and whole pigeons. And a vegetable or mushroom that was cooked in chicken broth or next to a big ol' slab of beef is considered vegetarian. "Here, you can eat's a tomato!" Nevermind that I can taste the cow juices when I bite down. I used to be a pretty hardcore vegan in my younger years, but I have since mellowed out. I don't think it's necessarily a betrayal of my morals, rather I'm trying to keep a cultural flexibility. A saving of face for my host. It's either this or not eating or being a big inconvenience for your host.

Don't get me wrong, I love the vivacity of Chinese meals. Everyone is always in a good mood and boisterous, and there's this unique banter that goes on. The Chinese sense of humour is hard to explain in English. It's very quick and witty. In a sense, it feels like bull-shittery and making fun of each other, yet it's purpose is to keep the conversation and laughs going. Meals together are supposed to be light-hearted and filled with lots of laughter. So everyone jabs and jokes at dinner.

After dinner, I went to my first FOB bar. For one, it was strange to be in a place where I wasn't a visible minority. These strip-mall bars are filled with booths, games, weird bong-like beer dispensers, vending machines with toys and Chinese snacks. When we sat down and ordered beer, they gave us this dice game. It's meant to be a drinking game, and of course it involves math. How stereotypical...Asians can't let go of their math even when drinking!

My big Markham outing was like reverse culture shock in many ways. Like I said, I haven't been in a suburb in a long time, and it's been even longer since I've been completely surrounded by Chinese people. My life in downtown Toronto is pretty different, and as a CBC (Canadian-born Chinese person), I've been accused of being white-washed or a banana (white on the inside, yellow on the outside), but I don't think that's fair. My work, schooling and interests have me running in mainly western (or at least non-homogeneous) and diverse circles, so I can't help it if I don't necessarily identify with FOB culture.

Sometimes it's difficult to balance who you want to be vs. what others expect you to be. Because I'm Asian, people look at me and have certain expectations of what I'm like. Chinese people expect me to be more Chinese. Non-Chinese people expect me to be more Chinese but in a different way.

Maybe it's about picking and choosing, when you straddle two cultures. I suck at math and don't know much about Manga, but I like rice and drinking warm water. I can pick up things with chopsticks, but I don't know how to play the piano. I can't read Chinese, but Chinese New Year's is one of my favourite times of the year.

I guess there's not much you can do, other than be true to yourself. You can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

I love hanging out with Pras. He's tops and a smarty pants. We came up with some (very general) conclusions over festive beers last night.

All women really want is to be appreciated.

All men really want (aside from the obvious) is to have a lady/fella stand by him and indulge in his various peccadillos.

Keep in mind these are gross generalizations and obviously there are exceptions, but I'd say it sums up my life and the peeps in it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Offensive Offense

I may have to start using 'Avatar' as a gauge of people. If you liked it, then no dice! We probably can't be friends. I hated it. Yes, the special effects were spectacular, but does that really excuse its racist and colonialist undertones? Not to mention cliched story line. Who's seen 'Fern Gully'? Anyone? Hands up? And 'Avatar' is done will less charm.

Yeah, the 3-D and new camera/computer techniques are cool. But does it make up for the shitty acting, atrocious writing and ridiculous Papyrus font? Really??? So long as a movie looks good, I guess it doesn't matter how offensive it is because 'Avatar' is turning into a box office behemoth And now there's word of an 'Avatar' trilogy?! Someone pull that USB hair braid out of the beast and put me out of my misery!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I saw these wooden toys by Josh Finkle and wanted to die. Extinct style, like the animals they're modelled after. Everything about these toys is wonderful---from the wood to the way they stand to the packaging to their cute little paunches and curved snouts. Simply perfect. And I love wooden toys. There's an elegance about wooden toys that screams quality and class. Wooden toys were lovingly made to last.

The other thing that has me squealing these days is The World's Smallest Postal Service. For a mere 8 buckaroos (U.S.), you can get a mini handwritten letter, mini envelope complete with a mini wax seal and a magnifying glass to read the letter. Now, everyone join me in a collective squeal alternating with "aww!!!"
And finally, not squeal-worthy, perhaps more like chortling or snorting or even the occasional gag, this gem of a blog: Nic Cage as Everyone

I am both laughing and barfing and shuddering at the same time. For realz.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Num8er5 G4me

Two posts in one day? I must be working late in the office...

2.11 -- Amount spent on grapes and tomatoes
4169672600 -- Phone number I called
49 -- Minutes it took to walk to work today
-9 -- Current temperature in Celsius outside
19 -- Minutes in the shower
7 -- Bars of Ritter Sport Erdbeer Joghurt Inga brought back from Germany
91 -- House number of the address I'm going to later
2 -- People I saw pick their nose today
177 -- Days until my birthday
My day in numbers. Priceless?

You know what else is priceless? The fact that I found this Radiolab podcast on numbers. Take a listen!

Words of wisdom

I was reading Ellen Lupton's "Thinking With Type" book. And even though it's a book mainly aimed at designers and typographers, she included some free advice at the back of the book that translates well to the writer as well as life in general. Some of my favourites include:

Say more, write less.

Spend more, buy less. (Cheap stuff is usually cheap because of how it's made, what it's made of and who made it. Buy better quality good, less often.)

May your thoughts be deep and your wounds be shallow.

Make the shoe fit, not the foot.

It is easier to talk than to listen.

Build the discourse. (She's talking about design being social and living in society, but this can cross over to writers and any kind of creative community such as artists, musicians, magicians, spoken word performers, etc. Essentially, join/build a community of like-minded folks who are committed to the same thing you are and to share that with the world whenever possible.)

Go forth and reproduce. (You can take this any which way you want. Be it sexy times or reproduce creativity...)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Won't you join me in some cubicle/chair dancing?

Some oldies but goodies:

I love the lyrics. How do you go wrong with lines like, "Without 40 ounces of social skills, I'm just an ass in the crack of humanity"?

And of course, The Zombies. I sing this song to myself all the time.

And finally, these two have been on my roster lately. It aids in making that 3 pm hump go by faster:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mole-y Mole-y Moley

Adrian Mole is the best. I started reading the books years ago, and I still hope someday I'll be able to describe cucumber sandwiches as "poncey" and my tea as "weak as a sailor's arsehole."

Thank-you, Sue Townsend!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Doesn't matter if you're black or white...

Other uses for TVs


Soon-to-be Big Papa

Watch out for this Peeping Tom

Faces in places


Kalimba in action

Post-apocalyptic hope