September 2004 Archives
September 29, 2004
I fixed my brother's digital camera and saved myself $160. That's how much it cost me to get the camera repaired at an authorized service centre the last time the same component broke. See? That computer engineering degree isn't going to waste!
For the record, if you're young and active, don't buy a Samsung digital camera. They are pretty affordable compared to other cameras with the same features, but they are far too fragile. They are also quite slow, and not suited for spontaneous photography. The image quality is fine, but if you don't keep your camera constantly on, you'll miss a lot of special moments. Leaving the camera on isn't a good idea, either. My brother's Samsung Digimax V4 eats batteries so fast that he has to bring at least 3 extra sets of batteries to last an entire day.
Ironically, all of its shortcomings make it an ideal digital camera for my aging parents. They're a little more laid-back and will only snap a photo or two after much deliberation (as a result of years of film camera usage) so speed is of no importance to them. In fact, speed often confuses them, and they'll take another picture if they don't think it worked the first time around. They handle all electronic gadgets with utmost care because they have the notion that small things break easily. (In this case, they are right!) Its set of fully manual features makes my once-amateur photographer dad very happy... and for such a low price, any frugal Chinese parent would be pleased!
Two years ago, I picked up a first edition copy of "Banana Boys" at the UW Bookstore. I thought it was one of the best books I had ever read, because it touched me on a personal level.
Last summer, I was invited to watch the play reading of Banana Boys. I was quite impressed with the reading as well. The script captured all the best parts of the book, and the actors brought the characters in the book to life.
Then last night, I went to see the real stage production. I was totally blown away by the entire experience. Even though I thought I knew what the script was like, it felt like I was watching an entirely different play. It's amazing what lighting, props and a few song and dance numbers can do to transform a performance.
The acting was awesome.
The characters were cynical, just like real Waterloo students.
They liked drinking, just like real Waterloo students.
They even liked sitting around and whining about their dissatisfaction with their own lives, just like real Waterloo students!
You can really tell that the actors did their homework, as UW campus trivia rolled off their tongues during the campus tour scene. The only thing that threw me off was a brief mention of "lectures in Needles Hall"... which is actually an administrative building. (But nobody knew that except for us Waterlosers.)
I can easily match the 5 Banana Boys with people I know in real life, but none of the students I know have the wit to glamorize their lives in full theatrical glory. Shame on the nerd who said he�d rather save himself the cost of the ticket and look at himself in the mirror for 2 hours instead! (I swear, someone actually said that!)
The creative use of props made for a surreal spectacle. My personal favourite was the TV screen. I would have to say that this element alone, kicked up the artistic level of the play a few notches. Another favourite was the ever-versatile stretcher. I appreciated how its many uses left something to the imagination, much like what one would experience when reading a book. If there were actual items for each of the things the stretcher represented, the play wouldn't have been as much fun.
All in all, Banana Boys is a must-see for Bananas and friends of Bananas.
Banana Boys is only playing for 5 more days, so go out and see it before its run ends on October 3rd.
Art imitates life: after the play, we saw Insurp Choi (one of the actors) ride off on his bicycle. Art keeps imitating life, even after the show is over! That�s exactly how I get home after a long day on campus! Okay, that's a little stretching it, but what I witnessed underscored the fact that actors are humans too. What a way to snap out of the play-induced trance upon leaving the theatre!
Art mocks life: Every time Michael (in the play) mentioned his ex's name, my friend Mina (a guy) felt a little funny hearing his own name in a female context. I couldn't see the expression on Mina's face because the theatre was dark, but I bet it would have been priceless. Tee-hee.
September 18, 2004
I'm going to see the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow. Normally, I wouldn't go to a baseball game, even if it was free. I'm making an exception this time because it's a good opportunity to catch up with old friends. The game will merely serve as a backdrop for our meet up.
To the uninitiated, this outing may sound more exciting than hanging out at a shopping mall or the local Second Cup, but this isn't the case. I expect that the game will be boring. The Jays will most probably lose. My entourage and I will probably end up leaving the game early.
I remember a time when baseball was the most popular spectator sport in Toronto. The kids in my class memorized the names of every player on the roster, just to prove how cool they were. This was before the Raptors came to town. The Leafs weren't terribly exciting. And no body ever cared about the Argonauts. Most importantly, the Jays didn't suck.
The Dome is mostly empty these days, except during games where there are free corporate sponsored tickets. Tomorrow will be one such day. I wonder how the team feels when they're playing a home game and no one's in the stands to watch them. It must really put a damper on team spirit, which will negatively affect the outcome of the game. Then even fewer people will come out to watch them. It's a vicious cycle.
Last year, the Toronto Star ran an article that accused the Toronto Blue Jays of being the "Whitest" team in Major League Baseball. I remember heated debates on the radio about the article. Most of the listeners who called in were furious, and thought it spurious.
Diversity doesn't necessarily build a winning team, but I can't help but wonder how many more fans the Jays would attract if there was a single Asian player on the team. It doesn't matter if he's Chinese, Japanese, Indian, or whatever, but judging from the ethnic make up of Toronto, I don't think having an Asian player could possibly hurt attendance levels at home games.
September 16, 2004
Hammies like nuts. Especially Unix nuts.
September 12, 2004
Out of nowhere, I felt a sudden urge to take the 1/9 train down to the Container Store on 6th Avenue. Alas, there is no 1/9 train in Toronto, no Container Store, and no 6th Avenue. I guess a trip to the local Wal-Mart will have to do. I need an "ex box" -- perhaps a Rubbermaid container -- something for me to store the mementos I have accumulated throughout my previous relationships.
If it was your first time chez Winona, you'd think I was a player who collected men as trophies. Most apparently, there are framed photos of my exes strewn all over my bedroom. Photos of my current love however, are still packed away in my moving boxes from Waterloo.
The truth is, I haven't lived with my parents in Toronto for a long time. Over the past couple of years, my room has become a warehouse for all the possessions that aren't a part of my nomadic lifestyle. It's time for me to clear the clutter and start anew. I'm thinking of holding a garage giveaway. (I doubt anyone would pay for some of the stuff I want to get rid of.)
September 10, 2004
From the website:
Banana Boys, the new stage adaptation by Leon Aureus, of the novel by critically acclaimed Toronto author Terry Woo, is a smart, contemporary and wickedly funny play that breaks down stereotypes and paints a candid picture of what it is to be an Asian-Canadian male. The story centers on the lives of five regular Chinese-Canadian guys in their mid-twenties. Trapped by parental obligations and societal expectations, these CBCs are neither fully Chinese nor Canadian. From the joys of beer and video games, to the frustrations of being stereotyped in mainstream media and passed over by Asian-Canadian women, Banana Boys captures what it means to be a �Yellow Guy� in the Great White North.
I'm arranging for a group of Waterloo students to see this play (probably next weekend) so let me know if you would like to join us!