Monday, October 29, 2012

The Worst Is Yet to Come?

Monday October 29, 10:50 p.m.

Well, today wasn't too bad although the winds did pick up and there was a steady if slight rain coming down onto Toronto. I mean, getting off at my bus stop and walking home didn't even require opening an umbrella....not that it would've made much difference since the winds were such that they would've crumpled my old brolley. Not sure what it will be like tomorrow, though. I've been keeping the channel on CNN so I've been watching Anderson again being tossed around like a matchstick in a wind tunnel. Looks like New York City has been getting walloped by Sandy with the NYSE under 3 ft. of water.

The teaching today for a full day went fairly well although all of us were starting to wilt a bit near the end. I've gotten my prep work done and will now be trying to get some shuteye. I haven't heard anything from the school yet about what may happen vis-a-vis Hurricane Sandy.

The Morning Before

Monday October 29, 6:10 a.m.

Well, the GTA is now under a Wind Warning although I've yet to hear any howling outside. However, we're still scheduled to get a walloping of rain and wind later tonight. I've checked my e-mail and the school website; no announcements so far.

So, the Giants won the World Series. Looks like the Tigers didn't need Sandy to get flattened.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Sunday October 28, 10:13 p.m.

Hurricane Sandy is on its way, or perhaps to be more accurate, remnants of it are gonna be striking us over the next few days. The forecast has been somewhat confusing although I'm sure the weather folks are enjoying the excitement of it; Sandy has been doing a little of the yo-yo between tropical storm and hurricane, and then apparently it's gonna be merging with another storm to become a superstorm although the folks in Toronto say that pieces of it will be slamming into us. In any case, we're gonna get a season's worth of rain within a few days.

And just as luck would have it, I have a week's worth of teaching to do at the school. So, I'm hoping beyond hope that the TTC will be able to hold itself together. Noone's sure how intense this storm is gonna get, and I'm wondering if the school may actually cancel a day or two in response. I was doing a lot of prep work just for tomorrow's classes....a bit of a blind shot since the teacher I'm subbing gave me the bare bones about what to do. It'll be an interesting week.

And to further add to the mix, I've got a cousin and her husband coming to visit us, and they're arriving on Tuesday, one of the storm days. I haven't seen my cousin in over a decade, plus, I haven't seen her husband in about 30. We plan to have dinner with them on Halloween; there may be some respite from the storm of the year on that night.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kinton -- Don't Eat Before Going There

Line up early!
Friday October 26, 10:54 p.m.

Well, after hearing anecdote upon anecdote via newspapers and friends about this place, I finally got to go to the ramen-ya en vogue, Kinton on Baldwin St. downtown. The Anime King, Automan and The Egg have been down there already, and they gave thumbs-up.

I found the right time to go since my parents were out for the day and I had no pressing translating assignments or classes to sub (even luckier, since I was given the assignment to teach all week next week). Yesterday was all mine to do as I pleased.

With the opening time of 11:30 a.m.,  I got down there by around 11:20. There were already about five folks waiting in front of me, and during those ten minutes before opening time, even more got in behind me. When it did open promptly at 11:30, I had a paranoid second in which I thought everyone was gonna steamroller toward the narrow doorway just like whenever I had to renew my Re-Entry Permit down at Tokyo Immigration. But luckily, everyone acted perfectly politely.

I got seated right in front of the kitchen crew boiling their noodles and searing their pork. My impressions of the place is that this was the Guu-ization of a typical ramen-ya. Guu is that izakaya that I have yet to go to that's just become the cool joint to get a drink. It's an izakaya that seems to be made out as a downtown nightclub for the young and me, that sounds like the complete opposite of the clientele for the real thing back in Tokyo. I've heard that the owners of Guu started Kinton, so no wonder. There was some cool jazzy stuff emanating from the speakers, a bar which provided cocktails at the front, and staff which seemed to hyperbolize the typical banter in a ramen shop. It was all cap letters coming out of everyone's mouths. But whereas ramen shops are virtually located on every corner in Japan, the ramen phenomenon is very much virgin territory even in foodie-conscious Toronto, so a bit of showmanship a la Benihana's teppanyaki is probably not a bad idea.

Extra Pork Ramen....WOW!
As I said, Kinton seems to be a ramen-ya on steroids...perhaps not Lance Armstrong steroids...but still. I ordered an Extra Pork Ramen (probably equivalent to the cha-siu men back in Japan)...had to give the waitress my grocery list of what kinda soup, its richness and what kind of pork (belly or shoulder). She was fortunately unaware of my need to curb my cholesterol, so she suggested having a mix of both. I agreed innocently. When I was back in Chiba, I used to make it a custom to order a plate of gyoza and some seasoned rice with pork flakes. I was somewhat tempted to order at least the gyoza. But I later thanked my enryo in just sticking to the ramen only.

The wait time for the ramen was no different from my time at places like my old haunt of Foo Foo or the Kagetsu Ramen right under my subway station in Ichikawa. When the ramen came out, it looked like a regular bowl of ramen. There was the nori, the kotteri soup, the soft-boiled egg, and of course, the round shoulder cha-siu. But there were also the long bacon-like strips of fatty belly. Wow! I was cannibalizing myself. And the noodles were a bit more al dente than I've had at other places...but no problems there. I've always liked noodles with a bit more bite to them (always cook my Sapporo Ichiban for 2, not 3, minutes).

But I gotta tell ya. I am glad that I didn't order the gyoza or any other side dishes. The Extra Pork Ramen was, if I can go into geek speak here, the TARDIS of ramen....bigger on the inside than on the outside. It must've been the combination of the gorgeous pork and the really rich soup. I slurped and slurped noisily like a proper eater of ramen. Usually back in Japan, I had no problems finishing off a bowl, along with that gyoza and seasoned rice. But I started hitting that wall at about the two-thirds mark with this one...I was actually feeling mucho stuffed. And of course, it's good form to drain the soup despite doctors going apoplectic; I could usually do that with no problem but I ended up leaving a couple of millimeters at the bottom....grounds for court martial in the army of noodles. And I only had cereal and toast for breakfast....honest. Yup, I was feeling my 90 kg there.

I couldn't say it was an inexpensive lunch at $20 although I was pretty generous with the tip. But ramen in Toronto is still a relative culinary new arrival. And it was a good bowl of ramen....would like to try it again during Winter, but I think having a Kinton is something that I only need to do once every few months....that richness will last that long. And I have to say that it's about as close to authentic Japanese ramen that I've had since getting back.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fear in the old neighbourhood

Wednesday October 24, 10:12 a.m.

I'm in a holding pattern so far today. I sent in my translations last night well before the due time; nothing from the boss but he usually doesn't respond before 11. No calls from the school, either. I just whipped up a homework sheet for my Skype student and sent that off to him...something on complex sentences.

It's still plenty gloomy out there. Not raining per se but pretty darn overcast. I really have to take that walk today since I kept it all inside yesterday handling the final part of that translation.In Japan, on NHK, the weather forecaster made the rounds of the countryside. Not sure where she went but she pointed out the snow and some formation of ice in the water....she remarked that the temps were a "bonechilling" -1 degree; how cute. Tokyoites were bundled up in their heavy winter clothing as temperatures there were now hovering just over 10 degrees. They couldn't have such short memories about one of the hottest summers in recent memory. As I've said before, summer is one of the few things that I don't miss about Japan.

I saw the news report yesterday about that poor woman who had been brutally murdered in Cabbagetown in the wee hours. At this point, it seems to be a totally unprovoked attack which is scaring everyone. For me, it's been almost 40 years but I used to live in St. James Town which is literally a stone's-throw away from the area. I was on Ontario St. and the other streets of Winchester and Bleecker are all well-known to me. In retrospect, St. James Town was never all that safe even back when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s....urban planners have called it a failed project. I think it was just that they packed too many highrise apartments too far away from the major streets. Still, there were some fond memories there. School wasn't one of them but I used to remember the homemade ice rink at Rose Ave. Public School, the huge chestnut trees and some pretty scary-high snow mountains right at the cul-de-sac in front of my building. If we hadn't moved away, I would've gone to Winchester High School in Cabbagetown. Even now, though I haven't set foot in the area (aside from being in a car) for decades, hearing about this crime is chilling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Teppanyaki and Anime

Tuesday October 23, 10:55 p.m.

Dinner tonight was teppanyaki. We don't have it all that much anymore since it is rather rich in beef and oil, but once in a while, we like to overindulge. I was half-joking that we were taking a risk if the main ingredient had come from XL Foods (for those who haven't been watching Canadian news, this is an Alberta-based company which recently had to recall literally tons of beef because of the scare of E Coli). As it turned out, no problems. But the digestive pattern I'm starting to pick up on whenever I have teppanyaki is that my stomach starts a bit of a rumba when all that beef and veggie hit the hydrochloric acid. Nothing to send me to the toilet....immediately. In any case, I was still happy to have had one of my favourite dishes.

Kinda feels a bit weird on the TV tonight. Now that the San Francisco Giants have won the National League pennant and there is no football until later in the week, there were no big-league North American sports going on at all. Usually, there would be some NHL games going on that the sports channels would be showing, but we all know where professional ice hockey has gone, don't we? Just soccer on the ol' telly.

The Blue Jays have seen John Farrell take off for Boston for good. Nice guy perhaps but no least not yet. Basically his 2-year stint here was probably more of a rough-and-tumble internship with the Jays and the rest of Toronto paying for it. Now, we all wait for the next shoe to drop and see who decides to take on the job next. Should be fun. I kinda feel like one of the villagers in "The Magnificent Seven" hoping to see a Yul Brynner or Steve McQueen ride into town.

I think I know when an anime has reached a certain level of success here and abroad when even little 10-second pieces of it get featured and liked on YouTube. The latest one seems to be the one I've been enjoying myself, "Joshiraku", the just-wrapped anime featuring 5 zany rakugo girls. One very enterprising fellow with obviously a lot of time on his hands even successfully had one of the girls, the ever-blue Kukuru Anrakutei, do a Julie Andrews imitation.

Quiet Rainy Tuesday

Tuesday October 23, 2:39 p.m.

Fairly lazy Tuesday, but then again having a bowl of Sapporo Ichiban will do that to you. It's been a wet one outside for most of the day so I've stayed resolutely inside. I had a small translation assignment from yesterday which I've completed and gone over, so it's ready to hand in to the boss tonight. He said that there's probably another big assignment coming in from tomorrow, but I hope he isn't in too much of a hurry. Would like to head on out on Wednesday just for the sake of getting out. Again, may want to try Kinton downtown.

Finished off the final stage of the Haruhi Suzumiya experience last night. There was the original 2006 anime, "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" which blended the usual comedy and drama inside a high school. Then, came the straight drama of "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" of 2010 which threatened to tug at the heartstrings. Well, over the past number of days via YouTube, I got to get through the 25 vignettes of 2009's "The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya", which takes it all the way to the other end of the spectrum. Basically, this was the original anime as if it had been filtered through Looney Tunes and "The Simpsons"...just zany comedy. What makes the comedy even more special is that it stars all of the original voice actors from the anime and movie. So, a fan can get to see an even more frustrated Kyon, a not-so-with-it Haruhi and an Internet porn-viewing Nagato.

Still weaning myself off of "Joshiraku" but it's not easy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Foodie and New Anime

Monday October 22, 11:15 p.m.

It was another alternate Sunday, so it was once again time for The Anime King and I to get together for a day of noshing and anime. So, more new restaurants to look at...The King just seems to have an inexhaustible supply of places that he knows....probably even more than his knowledge of anime.

We hit a place nearby his home called Congee Wong on Finch. Probably a direct rival to Congee Queen, it was good to know that the restaurant was already open just beyond 10:30 a.m.

First up was a fried rice dish that looked a lot whiter than what I was used to in similar dishes. But it had that flavor of oil and smokiness with the only source of meat some shredded cooked scallops. The shreds of egg white further lent to its brightness. The flavor contrasted nicely with the very fluffy nature of the rice....another thing that rather distinguished this version of fried rice.

The second dish was a huge pile of chili radish cake cubes sauteed with vegetables. Man, with the rice, the cubes filled me up to the brim...almost to clogging point. Also very delicious but not particularly super spicy despite the addition of chili.

A couple of trips for coffee, and several hours' worth of anime later, we were both still feeling fairly stuffed, so we opted not to have too much food for dinner. We ended up going to a place up in Markham called Taipei Station. It was the first time for the both of us. The restaurant was apparently celebrating its 1st anniversary in business, and although we were the only ones in the place at first, by dessert, it was almost full. Interesting interior....with the upholstered booths, Taipei Station reminded me more of an open karaoke bar.

Kinda like at a karaoke bar, the food was more limited to smaller dishes. The King and I shared some Beef Cubes and Rice at first. Both the rice and the beef were quite spicy with soy and garlic. I was certainly glad that I also ordered a tall glass of Strawberry-Mango Milk.

The Popcorn Chicken was a plate of smaller chunks of chicken nuggets. The taste and texture of the chicken inside was not that much different from anything similar I've tasted, but the outer coating was something else. Pretty darn spicy there...maybe the cooks were using sansho since my tongue was starting to go numb. I really would've loved to have had rice with it, but apparently that's only available with this chicken up to 2:30 p.m. only.

The dessert was Mango Shaved Ice, a fairly large mountain of very thinly shaved feathers. It was very refreshing, especially after having two very spicy dishes. Because the fronds were so thin, they immediately burst apart once they hit our numb tongues.

Not too bad in terms of price. With tax and tip, I paid only $12.

Now, the! A lot of new stuff. Apparently, the late-night anime follows the same scheduling as TV dramas in Japan. Each program gets about 13 episodes before it wraps up. That was true with "Joshiraku" and the original season of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya".
Well, "Joshiraku"is now part of history (although the King and I are hoping that a second run will be not be too far off in the future). We looked at 3 new shows that are just 3 weeks into their initial runs.

One was "Chuu-ni Byo demo Koi ga Shitai"(Even If I Have Grade 8 Syndrome, I Wanna Fall In Love). It's another one of those high school rom-coms with a hapless freshman who wants a fresh new start in his late adolescence after going through a phase of goofy eccentricity (the titular Grade 8 Syndrome) a couple of years previously. However, he and his family end up living under an apartment with two sisters, one of whom is very much in thrall to the syndrome, and for some reason, seems to have an attachment to him.

The show is made by Kyoto Animation, the same company that took care of "Haruhi Suzumiya", so there are some fairly obvious similarities between the two in terms of characters and plot. The clash between the two main characters propel a lot of the humour, and there were a few laugh-out-loud moments.

The second one was apparently derived from the Ixion computer game, but the anime version has an extra subtitle, that of "Dimension Transfer" which was created out of the blue from the Japanese abbreviation of DT which really stands for "unlaid guy". There are dollops of crotch humour, and even one more hidden-meaning abbreviation for one of the bad guys, with the initials of ED which stand for "erectile dysfunction". A game otaku ends up entering the game world and reluctantly hitching up with a group consisting of a bratty princess, a pretty transvestite and a hulky warrior.

The third anime was "Kamisama Hajimemashita"(Kamisama Kiss). This reminded me of a mix between "I Dream of Jeannie" and a screwball comedy in which a high school student ends up homeless due to her father running away but with the aid of a mystery man ends up not only becoming a reluctant priestess of a spooky temple but getting hooked up with a handsome but self-absorbed fox spirit. All of the three were fun to watch but I think this one has the best theme songs by Hanae.

So it looks like it'll be students and comedy going into Xmas.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Subway explosion

Friday October 19, 7:41 p.m.

I heard a couple of hours ago that there had been some sort of explosion on the Tokyo Metro. It was on the Marunouchi (Red) Line at Hongo-Sanchome Station at around midnight. I was never on that line at that time of night but considering it was Friday, it was probably still quite crowded with commuters coming home from a night carousing at the bars or karaoke. Luckily, if one can call it that, it was an accident involving a chemical reaction between some cleanser and the aluminium can that it had been in; a young lady had the can in her bag. She and about 14-15 others got some slight burns but nothing more major than that. When I first heard the news, my mind immediately brought up images of the sarin attack by Aum Shinrikyo back in 1995.

A few hours after the explosion on the Tokyo Metro, there was some sort of knifing spree at JR Fukuoka Station. Some 26-year-old psycho had stabbed about 5 men before he was subdued. Several years ago, there was a rash of these stabbing sprees done by troubled men who had thought the world and their lives meaningless. Luckily, the wounds at Fukuoka were all relatively minor.

Just goes to show that Japan may be safer than most countries but there's no such thing as total safety.

Transitioning on many levels

Friday October 19, 2:44 p.m.

Been a couple of quiet days. I had a bit of translation work...nothing big, just a couple of articles, and didn't need to use. I was given a heads-up from the boss about a potential Trados assignment next week, though, so I can start practicing my hyperventilation on Sunday night.

Fall is starting to get to its titular stage. The leaves are falling off the trees in large numbers due to some of the showers and wind we've had. Still, I think there's still a good chance to enjoy the Colours before the trees go totally bare. One of the big weather forecasters down south are expecting a cold snowy Winter for us other words, a normal one unlike the very cold Spring that greeted us instead of Winter last year.

Major League Baseball has taken another step forward in concluding its year by having the New York Yankees swept out of Detroit, 4 games to nothing. Unlike here in Toronto, I think the fans in The Big Apple eat professional sports underachievers. Certain players with the name of Alex may want to consider wearing battle armour when getting home. There was a small vested interest from Japan since Ichiro Suzuki was in the pinstripes, but even with all of his hits, it wasn't nearly enough to make a dent in the Tigers juggernaut. As for ice hockey, well, that brief glimmer of hope burnt into ash quickly yesterday when both sides walked away from the negotiating table muttering and sputtering. Those fans going through major withdrawal during November and December may get some solace from the street hockey-playing kids outside the house.

Finished up "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" yesterday. Since the original broadcast had the episodes shown in disorder, the final episode on the USB was actually shown in the middle of the original run, and it looked so. Just the gang doing some mundane stuff in "Someday in the Rain"; in fact, there was one endless scene which looked like security-cam footage of Yuki Nagato reading quietly in the SOS Brigade's room. Just a few more episodes before I finish up with "Joshiraku". The Anime King tells me that there are some more winners in the new crop of anime; I'm sure I'll see some of those on Sunday when I make my biweekly meeting with him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Touching Base

Wednesday October 17, 2:34 p.m.

Had my hour-long chat with The Anime King last night. Just the usual talk about anime, work and getting together for another round of food and anime on Sunday. I'm almost done with the first season of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"...I think what has made it so popular, besides the fact that it's been categorized as a moe example of the genre, is that one is not quite sure what one is gonna get from episode to episode. In the last few days, I've seen Haruhi and the gang handle an apparent murder-mystery, the annual cultural festival at their school, and now a "Star Wars"-like battle in outer space. Makes it even more of a contrast to the serious nature of "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya". Not too sure about the second season since it has the perhaps infamous "Endless Eight"storyline which didn't sit well with too many of the fans. I'm also on my way to finishing up "Joshiraku", the nutty show about five female rakugo comediennes. I haven't heard anything about a second season but The King is pretty optimistic since he's read that it's gotten a good deal of popularity

And then this morning, I got a call from The Wild One. He's back from Japan with his family. Everyone enjoyed their time in Osaka but the flight back was a domestic nightmare since the kid was caterwauling for virtually the entire trip. And people wonder why I don't have children. In any case, the feelers are back out for getting another lunch or dinner together.

Speaking about feelers, it looks like both the NHL and the NHLPA are testing theirs on the latest proposal to end the month-long ice hockey strike. In a best-case scenario, it's possible that hockey may be back on TV as of November 2, but that is a gigantic IF. Fairly good timing if all goes accordingly since baseball will be gone by that time. Looks like the New York Yankees will be disappearing with a whimper, which will probably give the rest of the United States reason to celebrate. I think for me and a number of fans in Japan, it would've been nice to see Ichiro getting that World Series ring. Ironically, it looks like he's once again been surrounded by underachievers, but of the post-season variety, and not the chronic ones when he was with Seattle. But then again, the Yankees got farther into the post-season than the Blue Jays have in the last 20 years.

Lunch n' Looper

Wednesday October 17, 1:58 p.m.

Well, I really needed to catch "Looper"before it left the main screens since I heard so many good things about it. The other movie I'd wanted to catch, "Dredd", has apparently already done so according to The Anime King. Fortunately, "Looper"was playing at the Silver City on Yonge & Eglinton, so it just meant a straight bus ride for me. And of course, if I'm going to see a movie at Silver City, I will usually have lunch at one of my favourite haunts, The Sunset Grill. Being a Tuesday and all, the place wasn't all that crowded...a bit unusual to see since I've been used to seeing it packed to the gills.

Kinda surprised my waitress when I ordered a Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich instead of my mess of Corned Beef Hash, Sausages and Eggs. But the spirit of my doctor was niggling me, so I decided to go for the relatively healthy route. And as you can see on your left, there was actual vegetation on the dish. But I made sure there was the obligatory cup of joe on the side. The sandwich straddled the fence very nicely between tasting good and tasting healthy. Was awfully tempted to get that side of hash, though. The total came to $10.27 with tax...perhaps a bit high for a sandwich, but it was a damn fine sandwich. Gave the waitress a $5 tip; I only had the $10 and the $5 with me for lunch, and: 1) I didn't want to bother to ask for change, and 2) she was a good waitress, and I know from some personal experience how demanding the job can be.

Of course, to make it perfect for the urban lunch, I had to have my newspaper with me. I would've been happy with either The Star or The Sun, and since this was the issue just after (former) Premier Dalton McGuinty's resignation, there was a lot of red meat in there. Kinda surprised that there wasn't more vitriol or celebration. Not thrilled with McGuinty's seemingly final F.U. against the Legislature by proroguing it (why do I keep thinking of Ukrainian pasta shells whenever I mention that governmental term?), but I guess he decided he needed to make one final stab at protecting his party over the needs of Ontario. In any case, the sign hanging at Queen's Park is now "Closed until further notice".

courtesy of artistbyday
from Flickr
Then, it was time for the feature of the day. "Looper"has gotten some fine accolades from the critics, and certainly having it launch TIFF back in September couldn't have hurt either. I was interested in the sci-fi premise of organized crime dumping their detritus through time instead of concrete, and there were two veteran stars in Bruce Willis and Jeff Daniels, plus the new royalty of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt.
I'd been expecting a future noir, near but not quite on the level of "Blade Runner", and there were aspects of that via Young Joe's voiceover, the time travel aspect and the tragedy. But there were a lot of very sunny scenes and the final scene had that hope that also punctuated the last scene of "Terminator 2", so I couldn't really say that it was a true future noir, but nonetheless it was overall a fine movie although there was some threat of sagging in the middle. The quasi-philosophical discussion that the two Joes had in the diner rather nicely foreshadowed the final showdown. In addition, the technology didn't get in the way of the story which, I thought, changed focus from the Joes to the future Rainmaker. Not quite sure whether this is a future DVD buy or an Oscar movie, but I think it was well worth my dough.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Withdrawal Symptoms

Monday October 15, 8:03 p.m.

Supposedly, there should've been the first "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast of the season last Saturday. But of course, two groups of rich people are breaking fans' hearts right now. There was even an article in the Toronto Star talking about the psychological effects of losing hockey in Canada. I don't know about that....I've yet to see any Leafs fans looking like addicts drying out while watching a Marlies game. As for me, 17 years in Japan pretty much weaned me off the sport. Saturday nights were often used for meeting friends in Tokyo or watching variety shows. Plus, getting back to Toronto and seeing a truly horrid Leafs season and a playoff season with diminishing returns haven't exactly gotten me craving for the NHL.

Having said that, there is that warm fuzzy feeling of seeing Ron and Don on a Saturday night in the cold Autumn and Winter. I barely remember watching Ward Cornell and Dick Irvin Jr. and Foster Hewitt on the old black-&-white when I was a toddler....the thought of HNIC is seared into my brain and soul. Being back in the Great White North, it would be nice to see televised hockey again but I'm not gonna be crying into my pillow until the strike is over.

Regular Monday

Monday October 15, 7:54 p.m.

Literally blue Monday since it was cloudy all day with intermittent spits of precipitation. Dad and I went to pick up Mom. Had a more troublesome-than-usual ride on the roads due to some well-placed accidents and construction sites. Rosedale Valley Rd. was closed off due to a collision so we had to take the real long way to get to St. Clair, and then coming home was arduous since Wynford Dr south of Eglinton was all clogged up.

Ended up with Pizza Nova for dinner tonight. It's been interesting getting accustomed to Canadian sizes for pizza. Just like converting from Imperial to Celsius, the same has to be done for pizza sizes from Japan to Canada. A Japanese large is actually merely a Canadian medium. A Japanese medium is a Canadian small. Pizza lovers in Japan, therefore, will therefore swoon at seeing a Canadian large. And then we had the remainder of my niece's birthday cake for dessert. I think my doctor was probably sneezing his brains out when I took that first high-calorie bite (Japanese in-joke).

Well, what do you know? Dalton McGuinty decides to call it quits. No surprise there; he's basically burned just about every bridge. And after almost a decade, he did live long enough politically to become the villain.


Monday October 15, 1:28 p.m.

Yep, turned the big four-seven today. Nothing to really celebrate about except that I still have a heartbeat and not in any imminent need of medicine to take care of the cholesterol.

Got online and got a number of messages from my translation boss, including a request for me to take care of another assignment. I was willing to tackle it and waited for some more details from him such as the vital files. I stayed online for as long as I could before Dad came home for lunch so I logged off. Came back an hour later to get those files and then a "frantic" mail from him for me to make a decision on it ASAP; I put that word in quotes since he was very polite about it but the tone was in there. 

Well, I know that in my short time in it the translation biz can be rather hectic. But frankly I will not be tied down to my laptop eternally, and after checking the files and the due date he proposed, I don't think I would create anything much of the high quality that is needed, so I politely declined. Sometimes, I wonder if he just wants me to decline to check that I am showing some good judgement on accepting/refusing assignments. But in any case, I will assume that I have the day off today. And not a bad day to do so.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dragon Pearl

 Monday October 15, 12:25 a.m.

Well, it was the family birthday dinner for my niece. So we gave the Dragon Pearl a shot up around York Mills and Don Mills. The parentals and I had done takeout from there a week ago with some impressive results, so we all decided to give the buffet a try.

I guessed it was still pretty new. Not too new so that there were stumbles in the menu and service but new enough since the staff actually looked eager to please. There was a small squad of wait staff at the front to greet customers as they came in, and one would peel off from formation to guide the diners to their table.

My brother remarked on how big the dining area was. Yep, it was quite roomy inside but all the tables filled up quickly. The variety was pretty good as buffets go. About a quarter of the food on display was Western....I went up twice for roast beef and mashed potatoes. The rest of course was Chinese stuff: everything from Singapore Noodles to Peking Duck. We also got our chits to get one serving of lobster. I gave my chit to Dad since I was never a huge fan of shellfish....only because I don't want to work hard to extract every little sliver of lobster meat from the shell.

I was rather surprised to realize that I was 80% done by the second round. The mashed potatoes and the high-fiber banana bubble tea probably did me in there. Perhaps it was them or it's just age creeping into my metabolism. I used to make 5 trips easy to the buffet tables back in the day. Heck, I used to terrify the staff at The Farm Grill, the legendary buffet restaurant near Ginza. They begged me to make a reservation before I showed up. Not anymore. I went a third time to convince myself I still had something in my belly besides an overcapacity alarm going off. I didn't even go for dessert...but then again, there was my niece's birthday cake back at home.

Told the Anime King about the place, but he basically told me that it was a no-go zone for him since it just seemed to attract too many white people to convince him that it had authentically good Chinese fare. As for me, chop suey or siu mai....both worlds of Chinese food suit me just fine.

Great Week for Space

Well, all us Trekkies can proudly aim your phasers high. First off, I think millions of folks worldwide probably caught Fearless Felix Baumgartner making history by pulling off the highest freefall, breaking the sound barrier as he entered the atmosphere, and highest balloon flight, amongst other achievements. I think there was a scene that had been cut out of "Star Trek: Generations"in which Captain Kirk actually tried a similar stunt.

Then, there was the discovery that 55 Cancri e, a planet 40 light-years away from Earth, may actually consist of 1/3 diamonds. Kinda gives us further incentive to get that starship built, although even at Warp 1, it would be an 80-year round trip. I think Scotty, Geordi and Trip need to boost the dilithium matrix a bit more.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Searching for Barbie

Sunday October 14, 1:10 a.m.

Well, after the nice haircut at Monsieur, I decided to fulfill the 2nd reason I was downtown on Friday....find a Nintendo DS game for my niece who will be celebrating a birthday on Monday. My brother told me that she's been hankering for something connected with Barbie or that movie "Tangled", a re-telling of the Rapunzel story. Anything I can do to keep the only child member of our family happy.
It was a cold day...I think it only got as high as 6 degrees C so it was rather bracing, but that's the type of weather I enjoy so it was nice walking down over to U of T. The Fall Colours were coming out quite nicely.

One of the other reasons for me to head down to U of T was that I wanted to have lunch from one of the trucks. Could barely graduate a quarter-century ago but I knew my trucks. There was the Sam Ho red truck for Chinese, and there was the brown truck in front of Sidney Smith that I went for my burgers and fries. Pure comfort food for me. I chose a jumbo hot dog with fries & gravy. Ironically, my drink of choice was a V8 in a forlorn hope of having something remotely healthy. Ended up having my lunch outside in front of Sid Smith. The pigeons were out there on food-collecting patrol as usual.

I noticed a lot of white trailers all lined up along Hoskin Ave, just east of St. George. Of course, that meant filming was taking place somewhere at U of T. The St. George Campus has been a location magnet for Hollywood productions for years and years...including the last attempt at a successful "Hulk"flick. At the time I was crossing the street, I didn't know what the project was, but found out later that the re-booted "Robocop"was being filmed there.

My search for Barbie would take me further east away from U of T. On the way across via College St., I saw that ol' Fran's was still hanging in there. I used to go to the culinary institution a number of times for some good ol' diner grub. Really enjoyed their Meat Loaf and Gravy with Mashed Potatoes. I should take any of my old Japanese students there if they should ever come and visit.

I ended up searching through The Eaton Centre and The Bay for that elusive Nintendo DS software, to no avail. After talking it over with my brother on Friday night, I decided to send over an E-Gift Card from Toys R Us instead this morning. Still, it was a worthwhile day to walk around downtown.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Friday October 12, 7:26 p.m.

Monsieur Barber Shop 415 Bloor St. W.
Since I got back from Japan, one of the things I'd missed was a decent haircut. Not just the cut itself but the service that surrounds it. I have to admit that I was spoiled all those years in Chiba-ken since the typical visit to the barber there involved two shampoos, a rinse, a refreshment, friendly banter and a scalp & back a matter of course. It cost me, though. The average price at my salon would probably have come out to $55 CDN a visit. Still, I did fairly skip over to the salon every time I went.

Getting back to the Big Smoke last December, my closest tonsorial choice was less than 100 m away from my home. And at $8, it was even cheaper than the cheapest option for haircuts in Japan....the quick cut and vacuum hose near my old subway station. I went there a couple of times....nothing fancy; was done in about 5 minutes and I only had to endure a few minutes of hair pieces stumbling down my back like rappelling Marines. But my last time there, I walked in on one of the cutters just splayed over the three chairs, and when she rose up, she didn't even have the decency to look embarrassed....just looked like she woke up in her jammies. The guy who cut my hair didn't flinch one bit as he twitched me over to the chair. $8 will get you so much.

Then, I saw the latest CP24 commercial which featured the staff at Monsieur Barber Shop & Spa. After that, I looked the place up on the Net, and saw that the place was close to U of T and it had a pretty good reputation. So, I went downtown this morning to check it out. When I took a look inside, it looked pretty busy but the woman at the front (who happened to be the lady on CP24) asked me in a friendly voice to come in. I told her that I didn't have a reservation but she replied that there was no problem and just invited me to sit in the mezzanine lounge at the back of the shop.

The lounge looked a bit like a museum tribute to a French palatial salon, but there was the big flatscreen....of course, it was on CP24....and there was a coffee table with a lot of magazines. But I didn't have a chance to even read one when a friendly barber arrived to greet me, shake my hand and welcome me to the shop. I had my shampoo first which was very comfortable. I remember when I got the same treatment at SuperCuts many years ago....I was face up looking up the barber's nose; at my Ichikawa salon, there was a thin porous sheet of vanity placed on my face so that there wouldn't be any potentially awkward eye contact during the shampoo. The situation at Monsieur was even better....only had to tilt my neck back just a few degrees as my head backed up into a specially-shaped sink and then the barber showered my head in warm water and suds. Afterwards, I was led to the barber chair for my cut. I gave my request to him and he set out to work. I felt a bit badly since I had been suffering from a touch of cold. Perhaps I should've held things off until I got over it completely, but as I kept my well-used tissue at the ready under the black protective sheet, the barber kept himself professional and composed, as the mop on my head started to look increasingly trimmer. After everything was done and I got my hair blow-dried (I was rather relieved that I wouldn't have to sport hair trimmings all over my body on my way home), I got the famous hot towel on my face that people raved about. To be honest, although it was comfortable and it drained my clogged sinuses for a while, it still didn't quite reach the divine heights of getting the hot towel at a Japanese barber shop. There, after getting the shave, the barber massaged in some creamy menthol on my jaw before placing the hot towel on my face where I got to breathe in the stuff like a Vicks VapoRub....a few minutes later, the barber would take off the still-warm towel but not before rubbing the menthol in further on my face.

However, the important thing was that I felt like I did get a good cut and service for the first time in nearly 18 months. Monsieur also offers massage and other spa services. According to the newspaper article on the place, the staffer kinda lamented that Toronto men were still pretty skittish about getting that rubdown or manicure or pedicure. Yeah, I have to admit that I will probably never let anyone get near my tootsies, but getting that massage was de rigueur where I had been living for 17 years. I may take them up on that offer next month. It'll cost me but heck, my shoulders and back will be happy.

The final cost: $25 plus tax and tip. I paid $32....gladly. Perhaps a bit pricey for a haircut, but again, I have been spoiled on service during my years overseas. But even with the tip, that price doesn't come anywhere close to what I used to pay at a simple barber shop in my neighbourhood. The last thing I said to my cutter: "I'll see you next time."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Turbulence, Then Peace at Last

Thursday October 10, 11:09 p.m.

I had to go through a few more pangs of potential angina with that translation from Hell. First, I get a message this morning from the boss stating that there was NO translation with the package I'd sent him the night before. Man, I was not in a good state. Then, he sent me an all-clear when he told me that the editor was able to see the translation on his computer. He figured that it may have been a technical miscue...could've been a medical one for me. I had to pound the words for another few hours before I finally got it done after noon. And once I did, I sent it and I got the rosy message from the boss that everything was if none of that sturm und drang had ever happened. Not sure if I like that attitude but I'll take it over having a vengeful employer.

As it was, I got another assignment from him a few hours ago. Compared to my first translation nightmare, this one was a breeze. It's all done but I won't send it off until tomorrow morning. I've also informed him that I'm off on Friday since I've gotta buy my niece's birthday present and get a haircut. I was thinking of that Monsieur place down at Spadina and Bloor since it's gotten mostly good reviews (and the bad ones may just be fake sabotage) and it's gotten seen on a commercial for CP24. At $25 plus tip, it probably isn't the cheapest but it's nowhere near the regular 5,000-yen cuts I used to get in Japan. And I've had the cheapest....and it's no good. I may even try Kinton.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Quentin Tarantino Bad Day

Thursday October 11, 12:23 a.m.

Yep, it was a QT Bad Day today. I use the famous director's name since like his movies, there was an ever-pervasive feeling of tension throughout the day with a brief flash of violence. Well, no violence but there was a ratcheting-up of tension via my translation boss in the morning.

The folks at Trados can learn a thing about trying to service people in the right, say, provide a free instruction manual on how to use their translation software. I spent a lot of time and energy just to find a YouTube tutorial and download and print out a homemade 10-page manual that some fellow disgruntled purchaser had made. And yet, I was none the wiser due to my lower-than-average aptitude for computer software. I tried to make sense of the stuff on my new computer for a lot longer than I should have before sending out that SOS to my boss.

I think it was probably my first chewout by an employer in way over a decade, but then again my boss is so laid-back that his voice didn't even rise a few notes. However, it was plainly evident that he wasn't too happy with me over the phone as he walked me through the Trados minefield. For one thing, a major project was in the balance and needless to say, it most likely will be overdue although I did get three-quarters of it done by midnight. So, it was a race against the clock all day...that was the tension. Still, in my defense, I think the boss should've given me a lot more comprehensive training in the software than just a few verbal snippets here and there. According to some of the other complaints I've read, a manual is absolutely necessary. And I think it's a bit of a crime for them to charge us to attend video tutorials. I was thrown into the deep end...and I frankly don't swim.

Strangely enough, though, I did get the CD I had ordered through Amazon last week. That was the only bright scene in my day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Wednesday October 10, 12:48 a.m.

It was another Sunday of foodie-ism and anime with The Anime King back on the Thanksgiving Monday. The anime menu consisted of a couple of episodes of "Smile Precure"and the final episode of the zany "Joshiraku"...certainly hope that the producers will think about another series for that last one.

However, the theme for this entry is connected with the anime that I'm currently watching. The 2006 series of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" has been fun and is keeping me on my toes in terms of the overall story arc. Mind you, the chronological Episode 7 was far more of the goofy comedy that Episode 0 had been. I caught Ep 7 this afternoon, and I found it a bit of a nice respite considering what I'd seen on Monday.

Over at the King's house, he showed me a Season 2 episode which was vital to watch before he showed me the movie "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya". Then it was on to the main feature. Over the months, The King had been telling me about the glory of watching this movie. After first watching Episode 0, aka "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina", I was rather wondering if The King had been exaggerating about how good this movie was.

But I have to say that "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya"was about as far away from "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina" as "The Quatermass Experiment"was from any episode of "The Big Bang Theory". Although I have read differing opinions on the movie since I'd watched it, I have to say that it did deserve the accolades it has gotten as a masterpiece of the genre and the clear anime winner for 2010.

The plot itself wasn't original. The idea of the protagonist (in this case, Kyon) waking up in an alternate world where all of his friends have gone has been in a lot of Hollywood flicks from "It's A Wonderful Life" to at least a couple of episodes in the "Star Trek"franchise. But the director told the story well. There was a definite upgrade and improved fluidity to the animation compared to the TV series which hadn't been any slouch either. Camera angles and movements seemed to emulate those used in live-action pictures which added to the upgrade. And the director and writers made a very bold move by making "Disappearance" absolutely dramatic. Film versions of anime TV have always tended to bring over the basic patterns of drama interspersed with goofy comedy, but this film almost completely eschewed any opportunities to inject (with the very tiny exception of Mikuru being dressed in a Santa suit) any humour into the proceedings. Any of the verbal sparring matches between Kyon and Haruhi were kept as such.

The other bold move was to yank out the title character who had been the heart of the series for most of the movie. This would've been insanity in other productions, but in this case, the ploy worked because the other half of the power duo, Kyon (the soul of the series), was taking on the burden of carrying the movie. This was a Kyon story, as he (and we) discover over the span of 2 hours and 45 minutes that all that has happened is due to him and his feelings about the SOS Brigade. It's truly a large arc as the initially grumpy Kyon comes to the realization that he needs and appreciates the motley group of friends that he's had for several months.

But at the same time, it's a Yuki Nagato story as well. The emotionless artificial humanoid interface has been the brains (and at least in one TV episode, the brawn) of the operation, and at least to me, her arc was even more interesting to watch at points as her story starts to resemble that of Pinocchio....after he gets turned into a real boy.....while Kyon becomes George Bailey and Marty McFly. As I eventually discovered her role in the story, there was definitely a feeling of pathos surrounding her, and seeing the subtle emotions that surface on her face in her completely humanized form made her the most deserving of our sympathy. Both arcs finally converge at the end of the movie as both Kyon and Yuki still get something new from each other. And I was left wondering at the end of the movie, if Kyon's romantic directions have gotten further muddled and even though she reverted back to her old self, whether Yuki may have evolved a little.

"The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya"left a lot of philosophical questions for me to mull over which is often a sign of a good movie.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finish for the day

Sunday October 7, 12:02 a.m.

Well, got my music blog done and finished up with Mr. Moriya for his usual biweekly lesson. Got his  payment for September as well. Good session with him. All's well that ends well.

Tomorrow (or later today to be more accurate), I've got my brother's family coming over. But Mom really hasn't done turkey in some years since neither she nor the rest of the family aren't really into the big bird (I'm the lone holdout). So we'll just head on over to the local Swiss Chalet. If it weren't for the fact that I love the place, I'd be a bit depressed right now.

I'm gonna have to head to the ATM as well since I owe my brother some bucks for the toner for my printer. That's fine...I can always do with some extra walking.

James Bond at 50

courtesy of pollplace
from Flickr
Saturday October 6, 8:38 pm

The 50th anniversary of the James Bond movies has arrived, and not surprisingly, one of the movie networks was showing the first two movies with the latest 007, Daniel Craig. I enjoyed "Casino Royale" immensely (despite the theme song), and the debut of the really tough Craig did much to redeem the title from the 1967 weirdness. I wasn't as enamored with "Quantum of Solace" but after seeing the whole thing again today, things may be looking a bit more up to me. Initially, perhaps I hadn't liked it as much because it just seemed a little less exciting than the first movie. But now, I think the first sequel may be more along the lines of Sean Connery's 2nd outing as Bond, "From Russia With Love", which I actually do like. The second movie is more focused on the internal dynamics within Bond and within his relationship with people (especially with M). Unfortunately, outside of his boss, people who did get to know him tended to end up dead in "Quantum".

My favourite of the whole bunch of those select actors was indeed Sir Sean. The saying goes that people tend to choose their Bond from the one they grew up with. Well, I think it is more accurate to say that I chose my Bond from the one I saw on TV. Roger Moore was the one I grew up with but it wasn't until his very final outing in "View to a Kill"that I actually saw a 007 flick at the theatre. I was weaned on Connery from watching a lot of ABC Sunday Night Movies via his appearances in "Dr. No" and "Thunderball".

I will be catching "Skyfall" when it comes out. But first I've got to catch "Looper" and "Dredd", the latter more because I got the request from Movie Buddy back in Japan.

Thanksgiving Day Weekend

Saturday October 6, 5:37 p.m.

Not quite yet but the Autumn Colours are starting to form. I think once the nights get plenty cold (starting from tomorrow night, I hear), the leaves should be turning quite vibrant for the next couple of weeks before the inevitable peel off from the branches.

I took my usual hour-long walk and took some pics of the area. I'm lucky to be living in Toronto where even in the city, there are huge swathes of forest. Some people say that Tokyo has the same, but either one has to travel one hour all the way to the western end of the megalopolis to Mt. Takao or settle for the big mass of green in the Shinjuku area. There are parks there but they are very cultivated and tame, nothing like the real forests here in The Big Smoke.

And of course, Tokyo doesn't have the oodles of squirrels that reside in Toronto. I kinda like the critters although some of my acquaintances over the years have referred to them as rats with bushy tails. Yep, I realize that they're not too safe but I generally keep my distance. Y'know....I leave them alone, they leave me alone. There are about 2 or 3 of them at any one time bouncing around the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, I see a number of "former"squirrels on the road as well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Finally....Decent Chinese Takeout

Saturday October 6, 1:40 a.m.

Well, will wonders never cease? After having come back to Toronto after 17 years overseas and thinking that good Chinese takeout was about as alive as a T-Rex, my family was somewhat relieved that a place still exists. It's called the Dragon Pearl and is located on York Mills just east of Leslie in that big Galleria mall. The Cantonese Chow Mein actually had a goodly amount of toppings instead of the sparse material that had adorned some of the other mein from other places. And the Lemon Chicken's batter-to-chicken ratio was actually favourable. I will have to inquire The Anime King about this place, although I have a feeling that he will probably pooh-pooh it as being too Canadian. Still, gonna have to try the buffet there someday.

Feeling Flush

Friday October 5, 1:33 p.m.

It's been a pretty good few work but free time to decompress a bit after a busy translating September and 3 days of teaching. Met up with the translation boss last night at the usual place for an hour of powwow about Trados, my progress (such as it is), and the translation industry as is. I'm grateful that the boss has been as patient and encouraging as he has been; it's been a humbling road thus far. But he has reassured me that I'm at the level that everyone on staff has expected me to be at as a novice translator. He then gave some further advice and my Trados the biggest paycheque I've seen in many, many years from the culmination of the projects I've done over the past couple of months. It was quite the pleasure to deposit that sucker into the account this morning.

Haven't heard anything from the boss so far today although he had told me last night that there could be some work coming in. I will be getting a morning assignment on Tuesday at the school; I'll be getting a bigger paycheque than usual from the school because of my 3 days there last week. Might be time to check out some CDs on Amazon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Quiet is Deafening

Wednesday October 3, 2:01 p.m.

It's my second straight day of blissful relaxation from work. No calls down to the school and no frantic e-mails from the translation boss. I'm sure that will change by the end of the week. Usually, the school staff call me on Thursday or Friday, and the translation boss did say that he wanted to have a powwow either tonight or tomorrow night. Well, I'm not crazy about going out with only a few hours' notice so it'll have to be Thursday night.

I did get a nice e-mail from the teacher for whom I subbed stating that she would like to have me back sometime in the next couple of months since she'll be away again in November and December.

Despite my enjoyment of relaxation, I don't think I can really take a 3rd consecutive day sitting at home, so I will probably head on out tomorrow for a downtown walk or head over to St. Lawrence Market to get my bag of bagels for me and the parents. I may even decide to bring home some samples of that lovely Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich from The Carousel Bakery.

Well, The Blue Jays (Boo Jays, Blooper Jays?) end one of their worst seasons (19 years without a post-season appearance?! Shameful!) tonight. I read a diatribe by one of the Star's reporters, and I'm sure the front office will be getting together for a commiseration session. The disgruntled fans at Skydome (still refuse to refer to it as The Rogers Centre) would probably yell "Go Leafs Go!"as a rebuke, but that horrible team and the rest of the NHL aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

The Cosmic Barber 2

Since my most popular entry to see has been that for The Cosmic Barber (love him, too), I've decided to throw in one of his more recent videos. About twice as long as the first one as well. So, get that cup of tea, relax and be prepared to vicariously enjoy your massage for the day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Doctor Who-ops!

courtesy of
from Flickr
Monday October 1, 7:40 p.m.

Haven't really talked about my favourite Time Lord since I started this blog. Kinda too bad that it's a bit of a pan for the latest episode which saw his representative companions leave.

As a preface though, I have to say that I haven't caught any of the 2nd series with Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor...just the opening year when it was just Amy Pond with him, and then the last couple of episodes of this 3rd series, including the aforementioned "The Angels Take Manhattan". For the past several weeks leading up to the broadcast of "this very special episode of Doctor Who", much was said that there wouldn't be a dry eye in the house of any Doctor Who fans by the end of the ep.  Well, I caught it yesterday through the SPACE website here in Canada, and I gotta say that I was somewhat more frustrated than saddened by the Pond swan song.

The technical stuff like the lighting and the backdrop of New York City was gorgeous, and of course, The Weeping Angels always come off as scary. However, all of that leadup with the film noir detective in the overly long pre-credits sequence was just one big useless red herring. And I'm not usually the sharpest billiard ball on the table when it comes to detecting plot holes, but the one with the Statue of Liberty slowly "sneaking up" to the building rooftop took the proverbial cake. Lady Liberty's stroll up Manhattan made more sense in "Ghostbusters 2". And then the entire cheat at the end where the Ponds have the major scene of jumping off the building to save everyone only to survive the paradox then only to end up dying (in a way) after all.....that struck me as being very manipulative....cue tear ducts. Sorry, Moffat, you ain't getting any of my brine.

But the worst thing about "The Angels Take Manhattan" was that the all-mighty Doctor ended up being emasculated. He was just a cipher in this one for all of the existential sturm und drang.; he got slapped by his wife, kept wringing his hands at every dire chapter heading written in the special novel, and finally ends up selfishly begging for Amy to stay when it was obvious that she would (and should) join her husband in the past. He did absolutely nothing. River Song ended up driving the TARDIS while he pouted on the steps. Speaking of whom, I just found Song to be not all that appealing in this ep. Certainly, she had never been meant to be written as a perfect character (Doctor Ten and her were bickering in their first meeting) but for some reason, she was even haughtier than usual in this if she were sticking it to Eleven that she could still visit the Ponds and he could not. However, the one insightful thing she did say was that phrase insinuating that the two of them were psychopaths.

It was a rather sad coda when compared to the rip-roarin' start that was "The Eleventh Hour". Giving the Doctor about as close to a real family traveling with him in the TARDIS was fine, but perhaps it's time to get him back on his horse and solve the problems of the universe with that new companion at his side. It's one thing to give the Doctor some rough edges and flaws to well-round him but I think enough is enough after watching this latest farewell to companions. Not every companion has to leave as a tragic basketcase.

Y'know, when it comes down to it, I think I will always see "The Power of Three" as the proper farewell episode for The Ponds.

Finished the Stint

Monday October 1, 7:28 p.m.

Well, woke one more time at the stroke of dawn to teach another full day downtown. And that was it. I've done my duty for that teacher. The morning class was a bit arduous but I had already known that back on Thursday, but at least the afternoon class stayed true to form and was quite nice. I preferred that way than vice versa. I give back her classes and get some added sleep. Teaching does tend to steal quite a lot of energy, so I've already gotten a nap in the armchair after dinner....just like an old fogie, I am now.

Supposed to be meeting Shard tomorrow for that boot handoff. Just not sure when he's planning to give me those snow boots. Hopefully, it'll be around noon so I can take him to the nearby Pizza Hut for lunch. Although I won't be making any income, I will appreciate the day off.

October has indeed come in but we're getting some unseasonably warmer weather. Nothing like the summer, thank the heavens, but pretty comfortable out there. However, once the Thanksgiving Day weekend comes by, the temps will be plummeting.