Random Things that are Awesome

Friday, March 23

I was trying to think of a Thursday review for this week and it was just too difficult to find one thing to review out of my life recently so I've decided to take a decidedly optimistic stance to counter some kinda sad things going on these day and tell you about a few awesome things I discovered recently.

1. The Teenagers remix of Au Revoir Simone's Fallen Snow

I heard this, loved it and proceeded to buy Au Revoir Simone's cd, Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation and then hunted the internet for more of The Teenagers who are more than entertaining in their own right. Search out their song homecoming for a little ridiculousness in your head.

Possibly still downloadable here:

2. Excel Spread Sheets
Yeah, super geek I know but I'm on a new project at work and crunching through data like crazy. Excel drives me nuts but seriously what did people do before it?

3. The Wind That Shakes The Barley

While I was a little disappointed in this movie it is pretty thought provoking and worth watching just to get some history on Ireland and a fantastic inside look of what it must be like trying to form a country out of a resistance movement. There are some great scenes of debate that force you to think about which shade of grey you'd be willing to stand up and fight for.
nicholas, 4:54 PM | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday Review - Near Death & Detox at Bikram

Tuesday, March 6

Bikram Yoga Class
Near Dundas West, Toronto (the studio name has been omitted for reasons of anonymity)

I didn’t get around to doing a review of anything the last couple of weeks so even though it’s not Thursday I think it’s about time to write one. Plus I’m currently not on a project and looking for a new role at work which leaves me with the strange and relatively foreign sensation of boredom…

Jodie recently got a job at Lululemon which is a big chain of stores selling yoga and athletic wear. As a side note the company was originally started in Vancouver and is now a huge chain across North America. As part of her job she is encouraged to go to yoga a couple times a week so on Saturday night I accompanied her and her friend Emily to my first ever yoga class (I don’t count the one I got in India where I learned all about the philosophy of yoga in a dark and slightly creepy basement and had a chai with the instructor who never actually got around to teaching any poses).

I was warned before the class that it would take place in a hot room and I should bring a towel and a change of clothes. I disregarded the towel comment, how hot could it be? So I headed out with an extra tshirt in my bag. At the studio we quickly got changed and headed up the over crowded room. It was pleasantly warm and as a lay there with the lights off I thought, This will be a nice relaxing class like a day at the beach or something. When the lights came up I looked around and saw everyone one laying on towels and the instructor shirtless turning up the heat and cranking up the 4 space heaters that were in each corner of the room. I was luck enough to be in the back corner right next to one of them.

The instructor was a tough looking guy from some Mediterranean country I’m guessing and he timed out our poses making sure no one was cheating while he went around the room adjusting us. As we moved through the first few poses my clothing began to slowly change color along with my face. On the third pose I was about ready to pass out when the instructor gave us an encouraging pep talk about how well we had done and that the warm up was almost over! An hour later in a pool of my own sweat the class ended where it began with me lying in the dark room on my back. After litres of water and some recovery time I went out into the winter wearing my soaked through capris workout pants hoping to cool off. With my tshirt seeping through my bag I froze on the way home but it was a welcome reverse from the dizzying heat of the past hour.

In the end I enjoyed the yoga but the heat seemed a little unnecessary. Apparently my body is now detoxified which left me with an overwhelming urge to have a beer afterwards.
nicholas, 8:49 AM | link | 4 comments |

The Daily Commute

Monday, March 5

After finishing Virginia Wolfe’s, Orlando, a couple of weeks ago I decided to pick up a book I’ve been meaning to dig into literally for years. I wrote an essay on T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) back in high school after seeing the movie and reading about him. I got a book that is a shortened form of his diaries originally published in 1923 called, Revolt in the Desert. It says in the forward that it’s a shortened version of his more famous writings, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It’s an interesting read and makes me wish I was with my friend Kent over in Egypt to so I could get a little taste of the desert life and what it used to be.

For those who haven’t seen the movie or heard of T.E. Lawrence he was a young British Army officer, trained as a linguist I think (oddly enough, I noticed my copy of The Odyssey was translated by him). He was posted to what is present day Saudi Arabia / Syria … during the First World War to help with the Arab revolt against the Turks. He became a bit of a leader in his own right among the Arabs despite having no real combat experience. His descriptions and what I’m sure are exaggerations are very amusing to read and it’s a whole different kind of military autobiography compared to some of the writings from people in the trenches. His comments on Arab culture, tribal warfare, long desert caravans to bomb train lines and trying to find your place as a foreigner are very interesting and can’t help but make you romanticize the whole thing a bit. At least if like me, you think it would be pretty cool to go for weeks riding a camel hoping you’ll have enough water to reach the next well and eating nothing but bread baked in hot sand with the odd lamb and camel who didn’t make the trip.

It’s worth reading if you’re interested in TE Lawrence or that whole forgotten part of history. But then again the movie is pretty spectacular so might as well watch it, especially if you have a huge plama TV. I think I’ll pick it up and see how it looks on my little LCD.
nicholas, 11:19 AM | link | 1 comments |