Hi there, welcome to my blog.

What's this all about? Well, that's a question I'm probably not even qualified to answer. I guess it started off because I had nothing better to do, but turns out that I kind of like it. So when I'm not working for The Man I like to take pictures, make videos and write about whatever else might seem like a good idea at the time.

From dragon boating to mountain biking, to road trips and travels overseas - this is me trying to enjoy life. Clock out at 5, eat, drink and don't forget to smile a lot.

The Time Machine


This is a personal blog, all opinions expressed are meant to be in good fun - if you are offended by heavy sarcasm and jokes that are in poor taste then this is not for you. If you have any copyright related issues please contact us via messenger pigeon.


Monday, January 31

Blue Mountain is too busy/still the only place to go in Ontario

It's kind of inevitable that Blue Mountain would eventually turn to crap someday. Being the biggest resort within reasonable reach of Toronto you don't really have a choice, and with the whole Intrawest thing though you knew that it'd become cookie cutter commercial in a matter of years. Walking through the village there or at Tremblant feels exactly the same. Overcrowded and overpriced is what we have to deal with now. It's a cash cow.

If you've been there lately you'd know the worst thing is parking. If you're willing to walk through the village you can use this secret parking lot pictured below which has ample space. Good thing huge snow banks hide it from most views so find it if you can - it's handy for guys like us who stroll in after 12.

Trying to cut across using the beginner lift didn't pay off this time...

Peanut Butter and Rail Jam. Not to be mistaken with the peanut better and ham sandwich - Martin you fail.

Dinner at the village was disappointing too, as every restaurant was filled to the brim. Even Wild Wings, the last one on the strip, had over an hour wait. Oh well, Collingwood had plenty of space. Guy's gotta eat.

On an equally crappy note, I'm sick and am downing a NeoCitran at this very moment.

Sunday, January 30

Banana Boat was in a Goodlife Fitness commerical...cool

Looks like Banana Boat got our 2 seconds of fame around the 0:40 mark. I knew we'd make it big someday.

Friday, January 28

Here's how I edit my GoPro video...

Looks like I'm just going to have to force it and wrap up the Japan series into one last video before leaving for the Rockies. I have no idea when I'll edit any of the Vermont stuff, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume that fellow GoPro'ers Kevin and Jon will get their edits out to tide everyone over.

Why does it take a sandbagger like me so long? Well, mostly because I'm lazy and an hour here and an hour there is usually how it goes. By my broad estimation after all the cutting and editing it takes me about one hour and 15 mins to pump out a minute of video, and that's like best case scenario. All in all though, any n00b can do it if they have a capable enough machine - otherwise they'll find it hard to sit though (like your mom).

Anyway, for like the 3 people who have ever asked me I thought I'd shed some light of the way I do things. I haven't exactly gone pro yet, but this process seems to work pretty well for me.

STEP 1 - Screwed and Chopped

This step usually involves quite a few beers because it's the most tedious part of the whole process. It's basically you sitting down with all the footage you have and selecting scened that you think you might use. So for the most part you gotta skim through hours of foolishness to get a few clips of the good stuff.

Unfortunately, since the GoPro saves video into a format that isn't immediately able to import into FCP or Premiere Pro a trick we use is just to re-save it with Steamclip. Despite what the support site says, you can just instantly save the clip as opposed to re-exporting it over again. It does result in audio lag for longer saved clips, but not a big deal to correct (Update: audio lag problem solved, my bad). Video from regular point'n'shoots are usually good to go without this step.

So download MPEG Streamclip...

Cut, cut, cut. So that this...

Turns into something that (at least) you can make sense of...

I'm particularly fond of chronological order FTW! You can see how painful this could get when you have like hours and hours of stuff to sort through...

STEP 2 - Song and Dance

It's all about the music - choosing a song is harder than you might think because you don't want people to know think you like Lady Gaga or something like that.

The song sets the tone because no one wants to hear Lady Antebellum over a clip of you shredding through the glades. I literally won't continue until I have a few songs that "inspires me" and could be useful.


And the real work begins... For me it's about plopping those clips in, rearranging them and matching them to the beat of the songs - I guess this is where the creativity comes into play.

This is the point where having a few songs picked out comes in useful because odds are that some may not fit when you actually see/hear them together. Hopefully things are falling into place at this point and you're getting something good. At the end of this phase I'm usually adding in the titles and fades and doing a bit of rough tweaking.

STEP 4 - Encode, Review, Fix, Repeat

Back in the day, before my computer became more powerful that I could ever imagine, it used to take me like two hours to encode a 10 min video. Playing it back on the fly in Premiere was pretty much impossible too so the process sucked back then. HARD.

Now that I have something pretty capable, it's much easier to re-watch and tweak the final cut. Usually after going through it 2-3 times, I've tweaked the timing and made whatever modification seemed like a good idea, and am good to go.

STEP 5 - Upload

I do a final encode so that it's less than 2GB and then send'er to YouTube. That's it.

See no sweat. Happy editing!

Thursday, January 27

Playstation 3 Media Server is live!

Because a big screen and my couch is seemingly better than my iMac and chair. It was actually dead easy to install once I got past my own stupidity...

I guess it really does do everything...

Pictures of you, pictures of me, hung up on the wall for the world to see.

I like the idea of forcing people to watch the lame stuff I do having something that I can show my family, friends and (at some point) kids that they might get a kick out of. Plus my memory totally sucks, so if I'm gonna be a real life Ted Mosby then it might help me get my story straight when I sit my kids down on the couch and tell them about how awesome everyone the know is.

My OAC English teacher once told us he never ever takes pictures because the most powerful and vivid memories are the ones in your head that you can replay over and over again. What an idiot that guy was.

You ever hear the saying, pics or it never happened? Well, watch out because other than not impressing high school kids and leaving your loved ones with a shoe box full of regret and doubt about whether anything you ever said was true, what's going to happen when your memory starts to fail and you have nothing to show?

I'm not saying go crazy with it and totally ruin the moment by being that guy who always gets all up in your grill and makes everyone feel all uncomfortable and stuff (because that guy is the worst). Just consider who you're with and if the moment is right and you get the chance it could be a good idea. If you're with a group of Asians then these rules need not apply.

BTW, after leaving the bar last night I almost got mugged on my way to my car because I was pretty drunk and didn't see the guy sneaking up behind me. Luckily, while he was demanding me to hand over my Rolex this other dude creeped up behind him and busted him on the back of the head with his shoe, which just happened to be a steel-toe Dakota work boot. That knocked him unconscious immediately but it was cool since it was all in self defense and whatnot. Turns out the good samaratan's name is Esteban and he's here on a work permit and trying to get his family immigrated from Panama. Anyhow, the bartender saw what happened in the parking lot and immediately brought us out beers to which we high-fived and cheers'ed right there in the parking lot. Unfortunately when we were posing for a picture with one foot on the mugger's unconscious body my cell ran out of juice so I wasn't able to get the shot. True story.


Playstation 3 - HD on a Budget...

So I managed to jury rig my PS3 to work on my secondary 22" Acer monitor in 720p. You know, despite the fact that I should be playing it on the spare (and actually HiDef) TV in the basement sometimes you just want to chill out in your room, right? RIGHT?!

Anyway, this solution cost me 11.08 dollars Canadian but saved me the cost of having to go up 2 flights of stairs a new television. Now I just need some better games...

On a different note, what the feff Apple?

Wednesday, January 26

Floor Hockey, it's a thing.

Truth be told I don't care about what's going on in the Middle East, it makes no difference to me who the mayor of Toronto is, I'm not going to watch the Oscars, I have no idea what's going on in Haiti, I don't know why people are setting themselves on fire and I could care less about following pro-sports. All I want to know is what's going on this weekend, where am I going for my next vacation, who's playing the next concert and how can I trick girls into liking me.

So yesterday when someone asked, "Where were you for the gold medal game?" I had to pause, think about what game they were talking about, say something dumb, then when I got home check when it was and then look at my calendar see what I was actually doing. Self conscious much? FYI, I was with some buddies drinking craft beer in Vermont and it didn't seem like anyone there cared about what was going on in Buffalo either.

Don't get me wrong I like watching sports and love going to games but when it comes to following some athlete or team on a weekly basis don't expect me to go out of my way to fire up ESPN or update my Fantasy Football picks any time soon. I'm definitely not the type to jump onto any sort of playoff bandwagon either.

This is why I'm a big fan of events like tennis, golf, volleyball, equestrian jumping and even sometimes figure skating (not ice dancing). Why? Because (relatively speaking) events few and far between, you don't really need to be up to date with any standings, it's easy to see who's the top dog and those sports can get intense as shit. Seriously, if you get into it, with equestrian jumping and figure skating it often comes down to one or two super difficult jump everyone is trying to do...and those athletes cry like all the time. Hell, if I could jump in the air on one leg and spin 4 times I'd probably get all the girls...or be totally gay. Anyway, these are all the reasons why I only really follow MMA (and even then I can't say that I'm a fanatic or anything).

Anyhow, now that that's out of way apparently my new thing is 5-v-5 floor hockey. With my limited hockey prowess based solely on sports simulations, it's fun as far as I can tell. I'll try anything so long as it doesn't involve me getting hit in the face (*cough*theshady*cough*)

For a fiercely unfit guy such as myself, it was much more sprinting than I expected (in like all directions) but I guess some of my golf/tennis/shooting hand eye came into use as I was able to move the ball around pretty well. I also believe that I'm an awesome dancer so that last statement could be totally false.

While I did feel my dinner creeping up on me in a non-delicious fashion a couple times, at least my aorta didn't bust out of my neck at some point - thank goodness for line changes. I can see that my time spent on the elliptical and stair-master didn't translate to well to sports which involve heavy sprinting/flailing your body in multiple directions. Note to self: stretch your groin next week to avoid an awkward wake up.

Anyway, I look forward to stepping my game up and at some point getting my own stick...and eventually winning (or record is 0-2), but I've made it through even worse droughts, so it ain't no thang.

And to conclude, thanks for your input random citizen... Cheers to inconveniencing us all with your lack of fiber, but I commend you for returning with a pen to let us know...unless you already had it on you, in which case I hope you lend it to someone and they never know the truth...

Is it Friday yet?

Tuesday, January 25

Papa's got a brand new bag

Finally joined the club, time for some games...

Monday, January 24

JAPAN Trip 2010 - Part 5: Mt. Fuji, Hakone & Electric Bikes!

Part 5 is definitely the longest video so far at nearly 10 minutes, so I had to break it down with 3 songs - 2 of them by She & Him, one by Bassnectar.

This one covers part 5 of our trip, which is days 7-8. We decided to join a JTB Sunrise 2 day tour that took us to Mt. Fuji and Hakone before catching the bullet train back to Tokyo.

We met up with our tour guide Mika and headed to Mt Fuji. It was about a 2 hour drive with a short stop for snacks on the way. After entering the park, we made it up to Station 5 on the mountain where it was about 5 degrees Celsius.

After enjoying the amazing views and tourist shops there the bus took us around the mountain to Hakone, where tons of hot springs are located around an active volcano. There we caught a boat cruise on Lake Ashinoko before catching the Mount Komagatake Ropeway in Hakone-en. From there we watched the sun set over Mt. Fuji and Hakone before settling down in our Hotel. Sorry, no video from the open air hot springs but that naked experience was something pretty unique also.

The next day we basically had free time until we had to catch our Shinkansen back to Tokyo, so we decided to rent electric bikes. It was awesome as we cruised around the lake, taking in the views and having some amazing noodles.

One more left, and I can finally move on to bigger and better things Mr. Fiend.

Friday, January 21

...and the Japan video editing train gets moving again

Like I said, you gotta feel it...and not play video games the rest of the time. If all goes according to plan then expect episode 5 to drop on Sunday Sunday evening Monday morning.

I swear, Zombies is just becoming a marathon now-a-days - I'm going to have to start putting it in my calendar as an appointment.

Thursday, January 20

Clams, fish heads and snails, delicious.

I've already eaten Peking Duck thrice this year, but since my new year's resolution is to eat more duck that's OK. When I ordered it last night I'm pretty sure that they just threw it in the deep fryer rather than roasting it... because there was like no one in the restaurant and they turned the order around in like 10 mins. Oh well, the lobster vermicelli + other dishes was fresh at least.

At least I know what I'll be eating tonight.

Wednesday, January 19

Early season dragon boat shiz niz...

So I've become the blog-master of my dragon boat team's blog. I bet they saw some potential when they just happened to stumble upon my own blog, so it's not like I volunteered for it or anything like that. Obviously...

In any case, they're on the free hosted Wordpress site and it sucks. You can't modify the template or even the CSS without dropping some cash money into your account (or hosting your own). All you can really do is select a template and change the background, which is pretty lame so this is best I could do. I've deployed a few Wordpresses in my time, so having to use this limited free version is like trading a Devinci for a SuperCycle.

How about shameless self promotion - you see the synergy there?

Also, I've decided that I'm going to try out for my work dragon boat team which is a little way more competitive than Banana Boat. The tryout period is 8 weeks with one practice session a week (paddle pool/fitness) and then after that moves to the actual season with two a week practices.

Worst case is that I'll have to remove my picture from the company whitepages. Better case is that I have to step up as sub when some dude blows his rotator cuff. Best case is that I make first string. At least I get some pre-season exercise for 8 weeks right? RIGHT?

Tuesday, January 18

It's hard times when 20 cents off means it's on sale.

The gym in January is a shit. For some reason at the Y it means that there are more children running rampant and asking you for a spot doing curls or something absurd like that. There's also a lot of adults coming in, wearing really non athletic clothes, that have undoubtedly never been to a gym before and don't know how to use the equipment. I mean everyone has to start somewhere, but I doubt that running around in dress shoes will give you the best results. Similarly, women's silk shirts are not all the rage these days. Serious lack of judgement on their part.

I even saw this one dude, I couldn't tell if he was middle eastern or mexican, but he came in wearing a doo-rag (or a t-shirt that was cut up, hard to tell) ack-ing all bad. But when he passed the cardio machines to the weight area and saw some actual black dudes, he immediately took it off and shoved it into his pants and straightened his walk. He might have actually shoved it into his underwear, I'm not sure if his shorts had pockets.

On a similar note, if you see a guy that's pretty out of breath, go ahead and ask him if the rowing machine will make your belly go away and follow him around asking him what strengthening your core means even after he tells you he's not a personal trainer and points to a guy you could actually ask. I think he enjoys it.

Monday, January 17

...and the next ski trip is booked. Lake Louise, Kicking Horse and Revelstoke here we come.

Just what you need on a Monday morning: a longer drive to work. On top of that I forgot my work bling (aka lanyard with all my access cards on it)...and I just ripped my shirt on a loose screw on someone's desk. Great.

Anyway, other than nothing much being awesome this weekend, a couple of us finally got the next ski trip ironed out and booked. It's always hard to get people to commit to dropping some cash and flying across the county ahead of time, so I guess for the meantime it will be the three of us hitting up legendary Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and Lake Louise in February. Nothing will beat the group of 12 we had in Whistler a few years back.

I've never been skiing in the interior before so I'm just expecting straight powder. I've been to Lake Louise a handful of times but the interior will be a pretty new scene for me, so I'll probably have to go and pick up an avalanche beacon so they can find my frozen corpse.

Also, I'm not sure how much of a regular occurrence it is, but the highway between Lake Louise and Golden was closed over the weekend too due to avalanche warnings and off in the distance a bunch of skiers in somewhat nearby Fernie got avalanched on...getting stuck in the mountains in any way, shape or form is probably not that great of an experience.

On a different note, Jon and I played a few games of Kino Der Toten over the weekend, and we managed to get to level 22. As per usual we died for a pretty dumb reason. Looks like we moved up the MP leaderboard...

Friday, January 14

Black Ops: Kino Der Toten 20+ strategy...sort of

Truth be told, computer games are a waste of time, but that stuff is fun and the amount of time I've spend playing them is nothing to be proud of.

With COD Zombies, I find that on the whole it's pretty damn hard to get grouped with other decent and have a good game. And when you're gonna sit down for like invest 1-3 hours playing a single game, where you can't get up to take a piss, you don't want to get screwed over with that much time put in. As lame as it sounds, it gets pretty intense and requires some serious concentration/coordination with you and the other 3 dudes.

For example my buddy called me up to talk about the next ski trip last night while we were on round 16 and I died. Guys got pissed because I was carrying the team and they were all spectating on me running laps when it happened and the death was lame. I think we were about 50 mins in at that point so it wasn't too bad, but the game could honestly last so long it's like going to work.

After that I got to lvl 17 with some awesome crew then the server actually disconnected us when we all had awesome weapons, took out time, talked and were like 1hr + in. What a pain. So then I played solo for like 5 hours and took some screenshots to write this because I didn't want to get screwed more times in one day than...

But seriously, I watched my cousins get 30+ in Der Riese and it took them 3+ hours and the same thing happens to them with the phone calls and guys will rage. It's like an investment in fun (yeah, I'll go with that), so next time I get a call mid game I think I might just hang up and hope they'll understand...

Anyhow, that's why I started to play solo in the first place, so I could take my time pause and take a dump get a drink or something if I need to. I managed to get pretty far using a general strategy and I think if you had the patience to follow it you'd easily get to 30. I think you can scale it to MP pretty well, but in my experience usually around round 15 guys start to lose their cool, stop following each other then we all die.

In any case, there are tons of people further up the leaderboard and many other strategies and this is just one of them that I've had some mild success with.

For solo: rounds 1-3 hold up in the main room, line them up body shots and knife for max points. Take your time, make them line up to save bullets and rebuild if you want. Buy the quick revive asap and don't wast money on shit guns. Basically hoard some points and when you're pretty much out of ammo move top floor all the way to the staircase and buy a mp40 (750 + 1000 + 1000).

Yeah the shotgun is better for dogs and 1 shot = one kill, but you don't get as many points as mp40 - and you can keep it until like rd 10.

Once you get that you just outlast around that room until you can open up two doors to the theater and you've pretty much executed the plan. Once there you open the curtain, which creates a full circuit of the map. Buy juggernog and speed cola (seems like double tap is a waste) and the bowie knife if you want (1 hit up to rd 10, 2 hits up to 20 (I think)).

At that point you start running laps and hopefully you'll have run into the box by then. If not, you'll have to open the other half of the map to find it. So at the end of higher rounds, leave a crawler, link the pads and do what you gotta do before getting ready and starting the next round at the stage.

So with this loop, the general strategy is start each round at the stage and stay there as long as possible, when you're getting overrun head down the isle and lead them in a line like Peter Piper and smoke them at choke points. Don't forget to watch your back

When they're lined up, use the choke points to turn and shoot. If you did it right you're going to have a dense line of zombies which you can just unload on and rack up the points.

This plus always moving are the main keys. Stay in one spot too long then you get zombies spawning all around instead of behind you. With speed cola you can walk all day, because if you go to fast they'll turn back and flank you instead of following you around.

I guess the other important thing is weapons, because grabbing crap guns off the walls won't help you much in later rounds. Get something good from the box and pack a punch it when you're low on ammo since there's no other way to get more (you also get max ammo at the end of every dog round). This is why you link the teleporter at the end of the rounds so you can bail if you need to as well.

I personally like the HK21/H115 Oscillator (750 rounds) or RPK/R115 Resonator (500 rounds) + either the thunder or ray gun. You won't need to upgrade the thunder or ray gun until later rounds since they're pretty powerful anyway and can clear a path through the loop.

Probably two of the best guns in the game are the ray/Porter's X2 and the thunder gun/zeus cannon. Both because they can clear rooms like me drunk on a Tuesday, but also because it doesn't take a lot of ammo to do the job, especially once upgraded.

You'll always get some stragglers in front of you when running laps and need to make quick work of them - if you stop to shoot too long the pack will catch up and you're toast.

Pretty much once you're at that point you just outlast the game. Eventually you'll die for some lame reason or don't follow the plan. If you're like me then probably because you decide to stop running the plan and eventually get trapped/surrounded/gang banged, die while teleporting or you think you can go grab a Popsicle before the crawler catches up want to see how many knife strikes it takes to kill a crawler on round 25...

The strategy works the same for multiplayer but usually falls apart because people end up doing their own thing and you get separated which causes you to get surrounded. Usually we'll move to staircase at round 5, play 2 up 2 down (including second floor staircase) until round 8 or so then when you get overrun fall back to theater.

Once you're in the theater you should get 1 guy watching the back window and 3 up front. When everyone can afford pack a punch and juggernog or when the guys up front start to fall the back window guy will pull power, link teleporter and you begin to lap together (you can revive anyone who dies on the way back). You should all go hunt for the box as well if you don't have a ray gun or something at this point.

Multiplayer is pretty aggravating because you get stuck with lamers a lot of the time and they'll end up just running around like chickens with their heads cut off or back up in a corner or leading a hoard towards you or opening doors without telling anyone.

The absolute worst is when you're pretty far and 1 or 2 guys will be running laps (aka carrying the team) and the host will rage quit because they just die every round and have to spectate for 10 mins.

Other than that get your damn colas. Quick revive - 500 (you can only get it three times) juggernog - 2500, speed cola - 3000. The most important are the quick revive, since you're lone wolf, and the juggernog, since some jackass is going to lay a claw on you while you run around and herd them up and you're toast after another. In solo and multiplayer juggernog is a must.

But that's pretty much it. Laps, leave one half locked down, get your colas and good guns. Like I said I'm no pro, but man I just want to make my way up the MP leaderboard.

Then there's also the ammo hack which totally sucks. Everyone's leader board score is so bloated it's ridiculous. No joke, I played with a guy who had level 306. THREE HUNDRED AND SIX! Playing normally he couldn't get past rd 12. LAME.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, January 13

I just want to eat burritos all the time

I'm considering getting one of those Burrito Boys cards so I can get 5% off each purchase, but I'm holding back because I'm kind of embarrassed  I don't know a single person that has it. By my broad estimation it would probably save me $250/month.