Friday Indie Feature / Vacationer

Like Now, Now, I saw Vacationer open for The Naked and Famous in Toronto. They seemed to have a ton of fans in the crowd and I could see why: their music sounds great and they put on a great show.

From their Facebook page:

The eastern seaboard’s foremost relaxation specialists have teamed up to compile this unique collection of serenity-inducing sonic arrangements. The audio program you are about to experience was designed with the sole purpose of relaxing the listener and sending their mind on a well-deserved trip. No airfare needed, no reservations. Simply settle in, relax and enjoy; Vacation from anywhere at anytime.

Here’s my favourite song from their album, Gone: Be With You

Friday Indie Feature / Now, Now

I saw Now, Now perform live when they opened for The Naked and Famous in Toronto. Tons of energy, great sound, and their album, Threads, is fantastic from start to finish.

From their Wikipedia:

Now, Now, formerly known as Now, Now Every Children and abbreviated NNEC, is an American indie rock band formed in Blaine, Minnesota and based in Minneapolis. The band is composed of Cacie Dalager (vocals, guitar, keyboard); Bradley Hale (drums, backing vocals); Jess Abbott (guitar, vocals), with occasional touring members Britty Hale (keyboard) and Christine Sako (bass).

Here’s my favourite song off of their album, Threads: Wolf

The Naked And Famous in Concert: Better than their album!

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing The Naked and Famous in concert. They quickly became one of my favourite bands when their record, Passive Me, Aggressive you, kept me hooked from start to finish.

Live? They’re incredible.

They played every song from their album as well as a new song and a b-side, and the crowd at the Sound Academy was loving it. In addition, the lights at the show really added to the experience as they had this huge block of LEDs behind them that flashed to the music and displayed images.

They also had two great bands open for them: Now, Now and Vacationer.

Young and talented bands with amazing sounds for a night? An amazing experience that I must get more often. And now I end this post the way The Naked and Famous ended their night: Young Blood.

Great Local Coffee: Velvet Sunrise – Colombia Excelso Ocamonte

I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, but I do enjoy drinking coffee. I also enjoy supporting local companies and endeavours, so I was delighted to discover the Velvet Sunrise brand during one of my first trips to Village Grocer.

Velvet Sunrise even has an entire page dedicated to explaining their roasting process and what different roasts can mean for the flavour of the coffee.

The beans were originally purchased as a treat for my parents, as I regularly get them different beans to try out for their weekend morning coffees, but I have been drinking it for a few weeks and it is fast becoming one of my favourites. As a bonus, the bags come with a resealable top, so those of us who don’t go through 6 cups a day will be able to keep the beans as fresh as possible.

Consider me one of your regular customers now, Velvet Sunrise!

30x25m lengths by the end of March – Achieved!

I lead a rather sedentary lifestyle, being glued to a computer for most of the day (and night!) while not really changing my eating habits. Neither of those facts about my life have helped my body in any way.

I decided to shake it up a bit in March: I signed up for the YMCA, I vowed to swim every morning that I could, and I would change my eating habits. At the end of the day, I wanted to get back into better shape, have more energy throughout the day, and just feel good about myself in general.

One of the short term goals I wanted to hit was to be able to swim 30 lengths in the pool by the end of March, and it seemed really far off especially considering I started with 10 on March 5th. However, I decided to set as blistering of a pace as possible and increase that number by two lengths every day, as well as changing the number of consecutive lengths I would swim before stopping to rest.

I am proud to say that I hit 30x25m lengths today, March 22, 2012, well ahead of my goal by 9 days. I think I’d love to hit at least 40 by the end of March, but I may also stick with 30 and just increase the number of lengths I swim consecutively to build my endurance.

As a result, I feel lighter on my feet, I (usually) get better rest, and I am absolutely pumped as soon as I finish exercising.

It can only get better from here.

Below the log of my swimming activity up to today, if you are so inclined.


Number of Lengths

Weight (lbs)

Weight Change (lbs)

3/5/2012 10 188.6 0.00
3/6/2012 12 186.7 -1.90
3/8/2012 14 185.6 -3.00
3/9/2012 16 184.7 -3.90
3/12/2012 16 186.5 -2.10
3/13/2012 18 185.9 -2.70
3/15/2012 20 184.2 -4.40
3/16/2012 22 185.8 -2.80
3/19/2012 24 185.9 -2.70
3/20/2012 26 184.6 -4.00
3/21/2012 28 182.7 -5.90
3/22/2012 30 183.6 -5.00

Don’t worry about detours.

Imagine this: you’re driving in your car and you drive right past the street you were supposed to turn on. Many people, myself included, have probably panicked and attempted to haphazardly correct their error without any regard to safety or proper driving techniques.

Just today, I watched a man in the passenger seat of a car yelling at the (rather young looking) driver for being in the right turn lane when he should have been going straight. He almost caused a severe accident in the middle of a very busy intersection.

As I stood there, mouth agape from almost witnessing an accident, I thought to myself: the potential price of immediately correcting an error doesn’t seem to justify the time saved by having to take the detour. In this particular case, would saving two minutes making a few left turns to get back to the correct direction be worth taking a rather damaging impact to the driver side of your car?

That thought caused an entirely different tangential line of thought to bloom: why should I push so hard to be right all the time, the first time?

You see, I absolutely hate when I miss goals and/or expected performances. I can’t take it. I need to meet and/or exceed damned near everything that is asked of me, especially from myself. I get sick in the stomach and disappointed should that not be the case.

And yet here I am, thinking about how trivial it would be to take a detour. To not feel like you must correct an error at the point where it occurs. Pot, kettle, black, etc.

I am pretty sure it stems from a lack of patience. “If I can’t have it now, it’s completely ruined!” is what my brain is thinking, and that has been the case for as long as I know.

Well, no more, silly brain.

I am determined to fix this weird behaviour (starting with myself) that we need to be on the right path from the start. We all want to end up somewhere in particular, but does it really matter that you have to take a different route to get there? Does it really matter that you’re going to get there a little later than you had intended?

Don’t be silly. It will still be there when you do arrive.

(Unless it’s a limited edition Pokemon card.)

Feels good, man.

Awesome person, Pearl Chen, just pointed out that one of my photos for Ladies Learning Code made it into an episode of Penny Arcade TV’s Extra Credits entitled “So You Want To Be a Programmer (Part 1).”

It’s not exactly a stunning achievement, but it feels good to know that something you’ve captured gets used for something as awesome as Extra Credits.

Bonus: it’s a great video for anyone who is curious about or wants to become better at programming.

Great Burgers in Scarborough / Markham: Big Moe’s

Good burgers in the northern parts of Scarborough, where I live, can be hard to find. In fact, up until November 2011, my only real option within 10-15 minutes of driving was Moxie’s, who make a mighty mean “Xtreme Burger.”

Well, burger-lovers rejoice: Big Moe’s has opened up at Kennedy and Steeles.

Big Moe’s
3517 Kennedy Rd
Scarborough, ON M1V 4S4

I ordered the Juicy Lucy burger, which is a patty stuffed with cheese on the inside, and then I went “Big”, which means I added an extra burger patty. The burger was mouth watering-ly good, the patties were perfectly cooked (though I’d ask for a little rarer next time), and I think I pretty much inhaled that thing.

Grabbed some fresh-cut fries to share as well, and they were basically cut and fried in front of us. Well seasoned, cooked just right, and disappeared in a manner of minutes.

Ended the night with a 6″ funnel cake with ice cream and strawberry sauce. I used to get these at Wonderland, and I miss them very much. The dough was cooked just right, but I would have preferred less ice cream and more strawberry sauce.

The food at Big Moe’s was great, one of the best meals I’ve had in this area. More importantly, Big Moe’s is a local restaurant that produces great food for very good prices.

Give them a try and let me know what you think, I’m definitely going back!

Safe Travels, Andrea

I’m not good at expressing how I feel about people. I love many people, and I hate when any are gone for a long period of time. That’s about as far as I go with expressing myself.

Imagine my dismay upon learning that one of my favourite people in the world, Andrea Liew, was going to be spending a year in Guyana. Seriously, a whole year.

I am not a patient man. A year is forever.

My own selfish feelings (and silly post intros) aside, Andrea is going away for a year to help indigenous women in Guyana improve their agriculture and craft-making businesses with accounting, finance, marketing and product development. In other words, she’s making the world a better place.

Andrea is going as a volunteer of Cuso International, and we should all show her our support: Donate to Andrea & Cuso International!

She’ll be gone for a while, and my blog will be counting the days that she has spent making the world a better place.

Safe travels, Andrea. I love you, I’ll miss you, and I am tremendously proud of what you are doing.

So long (for now), and thanks for all the fish.