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.

Friday, July 29

Life, Love and Burritos.

A couple of my friends are getting married this weekend and it just might be one of those weddings where I could probably shed a tear, but then immediately wipe it away with sand paper because I am a real man. I've known these two lovebirds since the days when we used to underage drink at night in the park, to the cottage trips and we went through university too, so it really been a long time coming. By my broad estimation they've been together for a whopping 10 years, so it's finally time! Congratulations guys, I couldn't be happier for you!

No lie, their marriage is very well deserved, I'm super proud of them and they must know each other for reals. In all the years together they've made it past BOTH of two biggest relationship humps I can think of:

  1. The end of high school I'm going away to meet real people and experience dorm room life which I assume is awesome and the chicks will be hotter than you so we have to break up after summer, break up
  2. The we are graduating university and are more or less going to start real life with an actual job now but I don't know if I can start it with you because this might be for real, break up
Otherwise known as dealing with two of your previous biggest life events.

If you've gotten that far then you probably know each other well enough to just go all the way, full double rainbow. If not then lather, rinse and repeat. It's a hard thing investing a long time into a relationship only to see it not work out in the end, but that's all for the best (I guess).

Call me old fashioned but I just don't want to ever have to deal with a divorce, especially if there's ever children involved. When it comes to marriage and kids you gotta make the right choice, so just take your time and find the right person. Take my words with a truck load of salt though because I'm like the Toronto Maple Leafs of dating - we might be able to pull out a W every now and again but in the end we still haven't gotten even close to the finals...

You know, getting into our 30s the weddings are just coming hard and fast nowadays, so it looks I have my work cut out for me. But for now at least...burrito and a slushie - life is good.

Holy crap I need to clean my car.

Thursday, July 28

Fiio E5 + PS3 = I can use my ATH-M50

I'll be honest, despite my best efforts I still suck at PS3. I'm as clumsy with those DS3 controllers as I am with bra straps model airplanes... Although I managed to get my affairs in order (aka Pro Perks care of Double XP weekend) I'm nowhere near as smooth as I was back when I decided to make the switch from PC. I mean, that's not to say that I was particularly awesome on computer either, but at least I could justify tea-bagging fools hold my own in any lobby.

With some pretty awesome games coming out later this year it's tempting to switch back but I'll just have to cave in resist I guess. One thing about PS3 is that the pace is so slow because after each game you return have to the lobby, vote on the next map and then wait for it to start. On PC servers can run exclusive maps (ie: you can play 24/7 Nuketown, Jungle or Firing Range anytime you want) and the maps just cycle immediately after each round whether you like it or not (no pee breaks allowed).

In any case, since the sound of gunshots, explosions and 12 year olds telling me to eat their shit and die freaks my children out, I find myself using headphones more often that not. As a result I have Audio Multi-Output enabled so I can plug in a pair of headphones and mute the volume when I want.

The one problem with this setup is that there really isn't any control of the volume output from the component cable of the PS3. Aside from the in-game settings you're stuck with some pretty weak volume trying to drive your badass headphones. Kind of makes Ninja Pro more or less useless.

Solution: a $17 amp off eBay. I mean this isn't exactly an Astro Mixamp but for less thatn $20 shipped what would you expect. Bottom line it works and gets the job done.

It's not bad actually. It re-charges via USB, comes with all the cables you need and it's small enough that you could use it with your iPod.

My setup goes like this: PS3 RCA output > RCA Y adapter to 3.5mm > FiiO E5 > Audio-Technica ATH-M50

Another view. My 3.5mm headphone jack barely cleared the volume button, so beware. It's a small device but it actually makes a difference. You can turn it down low or up so high that it's unbearable so there's some real range there. I did notice a little tiny bit of distortion when it's pumped up loud though, but it only happened for some gunfight sounds and not all the time.

All in all it does make a huge difference in driving the sound without having to go all out on a $250 mixamp/headphone setup. Much more flexible than nothing and well worth it, in my opinion.

From left to right 3.5mm jack, volume up/down, power and bass boost switch.

Ninja say what?

Wednesday, July 27

Montreal Dragon Boat Race Videos 2011 Edition

Video chopped and songs selected. Time to get my edit on (maybe).

I just found out why the audio sometimes get out of sync when you cut video up using MPEG Streamclip. Turns out there was a flaw in my process...actually I just didn't bother to ever grasp the concept of what a key frame actually was and why it's important. Here's one explanation of it (plagiarized off the net).

A video picture that contains all the information about the image (intraframe information), rather than just the difference between it and another image.

So when it comes down to it, as far as I can tell, if you cut at non-key frame it loses specific audio metadata and as a result the audio timeline can shift slightly resulting in out of sync audio. It's very noticeable when you edit longer clips.

SOLUTION: Use Command + K (or Ctrl + K for all you heathens) to snap to the nearest key frame. Once you lock on you can use the 'I' and 'O' keys as usual to select the 'in' and 'out' of your chopped clip. Pro tip right there.

Did I forget to mention that we picked up that gold and bronze B division dragon boat swag over the weekend? I hung them up in my cube to keep all the haters out.



Monday, July 25

Got that Montreal dragon boat swag.

Swordfish did it - Intermediate B Division Champs. That's what's up.

This was my first time at the MTL Festival and let me tell you that you're basically running on smoked meat and bagels fumes the entire weekend. Between the long drives, early races and people staying up far too late, sleep is a real luxury out there (just like showers).

It's alright though because turns out that cocaine is one hell of a drug once you get on the boat and the adrenaline kicks in, the game is most definitely ON.

While MTL is not as big as TIDBRF it was still an international festival after all and there were apparently 200+ teams participating, so it was still pretty big. The first day was all qualifiers and the second day all finals. So on day 2 there's no warming up with a last heat, just embrace that hangover flavor in your mouth and go for it.

If you don't know how it works, during the day 1 prelims teams are placed into classes (Recreational, Intermediate and Premier) and divisions (A, B...G) based on the times they throw down. So unless a team sandbags it to get placed in a lower division to purposely rape the medal race, if all goes according to plan then you should be facing other teams with similar times. From the looks of it the seeding went well.

Since there were so many teams and races for the day, the schedule also started very early. Real early. Too early for our adoring fans apparently.

The venue was actually the Olympic Basin @ Parc Jean-Drapeau, which was pretty official like and cool to race in (not that other regattas aren't...but it was a pretty nice course). So unless making girls feel awkward at the bar becomes an official sport, then this is as close as I'll get to doing respectably well at a legitimately organized competition.

Anyway, when it comes down to it you only actually race 4 times for the entire weekend. It doesn't sound like much but that's 4 all out races to get your swoll on. Combine that with being out in the sun all day and it really beats you up. If you do survive though, you can also enjoy the rewards of making it out there (I guess).

Enter Montreal at night night and it turns out a lot of teams go out despite the fact that you could be racing at 7am... Well all the cool teams that matter anyway...

Remember when I was talking about not knowing how "competitive" things would actually be when we got there? Well if the competition also included the team invading a club, getting bottles and having fun then we won that as well.

Anyway, Sunday was another early morning. Fortunately, like I said, cocaine is one hell of a drug adrenaline really helps out the situation (and drinking tons of water). I actually felt pretty good after the warm up and marshaling so I was ready to throw it down.

They also had some pretty noob moves ridiculous issues in the A Intermediate Final, which was right before us. They marshaled 7 boats (only 6 in a race btw) and had 4 start gun misfires, so they had to reset 5 times. WTF? As a result we we had some more time to recover rest up in the marshaling area before boarding the boat.

As the day went on there was actually a pretty decent size crowd forming and they were actually cheering during the races, imagine that. While it ain't exactly the World Cup it definitely adds to the atmosphere when there is any sort of encouragement being yelled out.

I'm not going to lie though, it's pretty damn loud on the water and you're pretty zoned in. So except for the air horns and vuvuzelas I couldn't really hear my babies' mamas calling out my name.

Remember kids, just follow the people in front of you and everything will be alright. Try to hit when they hit and stay smooth. Don't pull that looking out of the boat cheese because we all know how that goes...

We actually won our final by only 0.05 seconds. Still worth gold though. We also got Bronze in the 200m final but I'll go ahead and admit that the start was pretty messed up and we might have struggled to hold it together after that.

Here's a pic from the event photographer.

Anyhow, it was a great weekend and zombie mode has been fully engaged today. For all the haters out there, this is what Victory looks like.

Thursday, July 21

This is what dragon boat excellence looks like...NOT

See kids? This is what happens when you turn your head to look at the other boat right at the finish line. I guess at least we've been consistent E division 2nd place finishers, but all that really means is that we've just been consistently losing this year.

I guess this year's schedule might have been a little too aggressive for the noobs since we have only 2-3 practices between regattas. If you've never paddled before it takes more than two 1-hours sessions to even get some sort of technique down, so yeah, the timeline is pretty tough. And in true Banana Boat fashion, leave it to us to not have practices the week before regattas, heh.

Through the magic of MS Paint here's my analysis of what went wrong in Welland. I don't want to say that we choked or anything but HOW EMBARRASSING.

Anyway, enough excuses (for now)...

So I finally finished the BB Hamilton video. I busted it out in 2 hours the other night but I'll have to admit that the song choice was a little weird and it was a bit of slow motion overload but whatever, skaters gonna skate.

Montreal, here I come...

Tuesday, July 19


So I'm headed East with the Swordfish this weekend as we attempt to win some hardware at the Montreal International Dragon Boat Festival, and what a time it will be! Actually, I don't even know that because I'm still trying to infiltrate this new posse a relative team freshman and have never actually raced in Montreal before - so who knows.

I guess the real question is how competitive things will actually be once we get there. In all fairness I haven't really spent that much time outside the boat with these guys as I have with my other team, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that they are pretty cool customers since they decided to keep me around despite being able to do 0 pull-ups. But you know how it goes - it's like once darkness sets over Montreal things can get either weird or awesome. Call it I'm out of town for the weekend syndrome or whatever but that's what's up and you know it.

Don't get me wrong, of course I want to win, hell everyone wants to win, but at the same time we did have to take vacation time, are not getting paid and our jerseys don't exactly say CANADA on the back so we gotta have some fun too right? Maybe it's just me thinking that way, but I guess I'll have to play it by ear because I don't know how impressive it would be if someone puked on your back during a race. Just saying.

Anyway, I haven't actually spent time in Montreal since 2009. Funny enough, that Montreal video capturing our daytime antics was the first actual YouTube video I ever edited. Fast forward to now and I'm glad I was able to overcome those editing hurdles, like not knowing how to adjust the volume or exporting it in the wrong format...heh.

Since my team status is probably somewhere along the lines of random new guy who has cameras and wears crocs I probably won't make any sort of video this time around because I don't need to be downgraded to creepy new guy who has cameras and awkwardly films us either...

Short week FTW! Zits FTL - damn you sunscreen!

Monday, July 18

Feelin' hot hot hot...

By the looks of it, I'm well on my way to developing some sort of melanoma but it might be alright because (at worst) I might just have to amputate me arms and face because my farmer's tan is cool like that. Until I manage to develop some sort of ab(s) you won't see evening it out via Top Gun beach volleyball scene anytime soon, so don't hold your breath.

Anyway, while enjoying some delicious MSG laced food the other week with Clinch, he was telling me about Joe Rogan's video blogs and podcasts. I'll have to admit that I never really jumped on the whole podcast wagon...until now. As a result, I'm pretty hooked and actually watched a couple of them in full off ustream and it basically confirmed that Joe is as awesome as the stories I've been hearing.

If you don't already know, Joe's is a pretty interesting guy, practices martial arts and is a huge advocate for marijuana use. It's basically Joe, Brian Redban and some guest(s) shooting the breeze for a good 2+ hours. And by shooting the breeze I mean getting high, drinking coconut water and discussing everything you can imagine. Since they're mostly comedians they can talk well and are somehow very well informed about all sorts of stuff you might not even heard of - from string theory, to corn growing, to cars, to ANYTHING EVER (as far as I can tell).

I't pretty much actors, comedians, porn stars, all sorts of people who are Joe's friends just giving their perspective on things and telling ridiculous stories. For all you racism fans Russel Peters fans, he was on there a few times and turns out the guy is pretty rich funny in real life too. Anyway, it's it's funny stuff so check it out NOW if you're interested in that type of thing.

Montreal this week but I got a lot of shit stuff to take care of. Time is money...

Friday, July 15

Just call me Mr. Inconsistency

Second week in a row that I completely missed a fly ball in the outfield, aka looked like a complete jackass with his laces tied. These night games are straight messing with my eyes because my depth perception seems to go haywire in the bright lights. I'm not talking dropping a ball that hits my mitt, I'm talking me calling it out and then the ball landing like 6 feet away from me. SHAMEFUL.

The one thing about slo-pitch is that EVERYONE hits huge. The scores usually get pretty out of hand because it's not that difficult to crush an underhand lob. As a result the outfield gets a ton of traffic which, unfortunately for me, is a lot of opportunity to choke.

I can make the plays (sometimes), but every now and again I pull a real noob move that just cancels everything other diving catch out - it's the worst. Anyway, leave it to me to do something awesome then screw it up at the last second. At least my hitting isn't struggling because I can get on base and hit homers like a boss. Chalk all that other noise up to inexperience I guess because it is my first season after all. Yeah, that's it...

On a different note I guess this is why Leica is so expensive? Fuji X100 FTW.


Thursday, July 14

Think of me in the depths of your despair...

If there's some sort of phobia for people who are in constant fear of dick-holes damaging their cars for no apparent reason, then I'm pretty sure I have it. I have to admit that it's got me Shawn Desman'd shook because I can't help but to constantly check for that shit and park as far as possible now. That kind of crap is the definition of "BS from things you can't really control" because it's basically jerks and reckless people disrespecting you behind your back, making you spend money for no reason and then running away. You know, it wouldn't have been so bad had it happened a few months down the line but less that even 3 days... Knickerbocker please.

But I guess maybe things might actually be alright because (maybe) not every single person on the planet is up against me...at least my dent guy doesn't seem to be because he had mercy on my soul felt my pain and gave me a break. So I highly recommend him if you need a contact...

Anyway, I was also looking through the race videos from the past weekend and they're pretty brutal. I guess normally they might actually have been posted somewhere by now but that stuff is barely watchable. And by that I mean that some girls gotta get some huge traps stronger neck muscles. And by that I mean that it's the most head-bobbing-est footage that I've seen yet.

Now check out these cheesy wedding jumping pictures. Kind of not exactly what I envisioned and we didn't really have a decent wide angle camera but it was pretty tiring fun to make.

Just so you know, different girls (and one dude) were wearing them for the different races. So instead of fingering blaming one of them I will just blame all three for that failure...

Anyway, I'll see what I can do. If you've never sat drummer before let me tell you that it's actually pretty dangerous cool, but come on keep it together because it's not like...

Finally, if you haven't already, sign up for your free Sausagefest tickets. I would have posted the link earlier but I actually want to get those tickets this year...heh.

Monday, July 11

The world is full of haters because 2nd place is just the first loser...

Mang, my body is just straight hurting today. After nearly 2 weeks off paddling we had an intense full day of races in Hamilton - 200m, 500m, 2000m - in what turned out to be another savage beating at the hands of some fogies great learning experience for the team.

If you don't know that's a lot of all-out paddling for one day - some dude's tricep even detached from his arm and my guess is that it probably hurt a little. As a result, my rolls of fat fragile body is just plain sore and that might be why I wiped out twice riding on Sunday. Well technically I fell once on the pump track and crashed into a tree once on the trail, but neither were very smooth moves. Consequently, two children had to ask me if I was alright...it was pretty embarrassing awesome being covered in extreme sweat mixed with dirt all day and walking around Greek Town like that afterwards. Even my post-riding t shirt had holes in it so I probably looked like a legitimate hobo that afternoon.

Anyway, more on my recent series of suck further down...

I like Hamilton, it's one of the more scenic race venues, has a nice course and they have great technology and refs to capture our slow times.

The only sketchy thing about it all is that the start line is pretty far into the bay, and when the wind gets going it gets pretty hairy. Our boat is ridiculously left heavy and so we nearly tipped. Personally, I think it's the closest I've ever come to flipping in a dragon boat and I even panicked so much that I stopped paddling (noob move).

It was so not raven and I think I peed my pants a little but luckily I got pretty wet during the race so nobody noticed...

We did step it up to a higher division this year (and that felt pretty good) but since we didn't take home any hardware it only means that we were more respectable losers. I'm having a hard time convincing the girls on our team to take testosterone so we can gain that extra edge.

Anyway, we came second in the E division throwing down 2:26.17, 2:39.40 and 2:32.03 in the final. No doubt we are masters of inconsistency.

We also came in 3rd in our 200m heat with a 0:57.8 (fastest 0:53.2) and 7/14 in the 2000m heat with 12:06.2 (fastest 10:51.9). Pretty good considering we never practiced either.

On top of losing I also got pretty sunburned. Being a man I never wear sunscreen...or at least until it's too late but that's besides the point. Shit gets in your eyes, it stings and it also makes me break out like I'm in grade 10 again. Bruises on top of burns #winning

"Hey, put on some sunscreen. You don't want to end up like..."

I also managed to get out and do some riding on the DVP Sunday, but it was 100% struggle and I was barely holding it together. There's a lot of cliffs and ledges on the DVP so I got pretty nervous on several occasions.

Some dude was watching us ride this small bridge and while Kevin made it through pretty easily I choked. Dude was all like, "Finally someone else my skill..."

I did not high five him.

I also forgot to mention that not even 3 day after getting my first dent repaired, some hater wouldn't even let me go a week with a nice looking car. Can you even believe that?


All the limited edition Pop Rocks and chocolate covered espresso beans in the world could not drown the sorrow caused by that type BS. I might have to put Operation: be paranoid and just damage every other car next to me in a preemptive strike because fate is brutally unkind to me into effect. Hopefully I don't get cheesed when I get to Montreal next week. Taking time off work only to get BS'd would be total BS.

Despite at least having some fun, I can pretty much sum up my experiences this past week through this Tiny Tower reference...

Like seriously, right?

Friday, July 8

Got cake?

Banana Boat hits the Hammer tomorrow. We need to win, we have to win...

Wednesday, July 6

Nitro Nationals Drag Racing Pictures @ Toronto Motorsports Park

Drag racing isn't exactly for everyone so I won't try to BS you (much) and tell you that it's not full of rednecks white people country folk and mullets. It's not surprising how many people you'll see wearing tee/golf/dress shirts with their sleeves cut off walking around with beers in cooler sleeves, talking nonsense and enjoying the scene. And I'm not just talking about us alone.

I also managed to dust off the old SLR - hello friend, it's been a while.

Although they do call it a family event (lol) what it all comes down to is hanging out with the guys, getting sunburnt, crushing beers in a field (aka the parking lot), eating junk food and watching bad-ass cars drive in a straight line. Despite the security and laws and whatnot, setting up lawn chairs in the lot, eating BBQ and drinking out of the trunk of your car is generally accepted at events like this.

Like I said, not for everyone. Hell, I like it but only enough to actually go to one about once a year...

I will, however, try to convince you that it is LOUD.

Trust me, when a "car" with over 8000 HP is doing like 500+ km/h down a 1/4 mile strip, it gets pretty loud. When you have two of those racing each other it would be a pretty safe bet to say that it's the loudest thing that you'll ever hear in your life. It only lasts a few seconds but I'm pretty sure people would start vomiting and convulsing if they were exposed to that kind of noise/vibration for too long. Turns out those cars register around 2.3 on the Richter scale coming off the line.

Folks just don't want to believe me when I try to explain it to them because I failed grade 11 English it's hard to describe what it feels like to have nitromethane exhaust blasting you in the face. According to unconfirmed internet facts it's louder than a 747 at takeoff too.

If you try and BS me and say that you've been to a club or stood next to a stack at a metal concert and they're way louder I might just kick you in the ovaries and spit on you while curled in the fetal position (unless it was Manowar or KISS concert then I'd give you a high-five because it was probably pretty loud). You're just kidding yourself otherwise.

I mean it's not just the noise - I'm talking so loud that I'm pretty sure your organs get slightly injured because the pressure, vibration, noise and heat raging directly on you is so intense (especially if you're riding the rails all day aka standing against the fence right next to the track).

I wear full blown NRR 30 dB earmuffs because even with ear plugs you still need to cover your ears (some people wear both at the same time). Yeah, noise is part of the experience but I remember the first race I went to I didn't bother to really protect my ears, and after the first top fuel passed by I think my hearing was impaired for about a day and a half. So I wised up and use my shooting earmuffs nowadays.

It might only last 4 seconds but that's 4 seconds of sensory overload, which is why I think people like it so much. I can only imagine that those guys driving the things are pretty deaf already.

So you get it? It's loud. Just take my word for it...

Now some fun facts about Top Fuel:

  • NHRA Top Fuel dragster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than 0.8 seconds, almost 11 seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach the same speed
  • NHRA Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral
  • Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free & for once, NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated $1,000 per second

No wonder why tickets to these things are always so expensive. Anyway, if you are interested the full set is HERE.

Tuesday, July 5

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.

It's not like I drive a Challenger R/T or anything but I like to keep my car clean and good looking (kind of like my pubes). You can't even imagine how much I raged not impressed I was when I discovered that ding on my door.

Using my detective skills I determined that it was done purposely by some demented child at the YMCA that gets regular beatings from his mother. Fine, it's not exactly a crater but on black it's a real eye-sore.

Do what makes you happy right? Turns out $60 will buy you 10 years of experience and about 5 mins of work, go figure. Nice job from a real friendly and straight up guy - hopefully I'll never have to do business with him again...

Cars = Expenses. Sure there's many more of these to come in the future, but mang, I just got the thing...

Monday, July 4

Everybody's working for the long weekend...

I dunno, the last few "events" I've gone too lately have just been overkill. Most of the time I just want to relax, have a beer and hang out, but man it's just been outrageous crowds stressing me out for no good reason. I mean once in a while fine, but man I don't need to get barraged like every time I go outside...

I swear, after the fireworks it was such a mass exodus that I'm pretty sure it took people 4 or 5 hours just to get out of Niagara. I even saw some car full of chicks drive up and get stuck on a median separating the two directions of traffic (it was one of the most embarrassing/obvious failures at a driving maneuver ever (and in front of crowds to boot)). Then some random woman hater totally stopped them from escaping, ratted them out and called the cops on them. For real? If that were me I'd just be out of that heat so fast no matter what the damage was...

Anyway, rewind a few hours...The Falls were pretty busy during the day...

But once the darkness set in it just became ruthless. In what might have been a bad call, when the fireworks started we decided to ditch our sweet balcony spot only to make it just across the street before grinding to a complete halt. We could barely see the fireworks, but at least everyone could barely see the fireworks.

Once that was over then the relentless traffic started and never seemed to end. Everything was packed but we managed to get into a couple bars because we're so smooth like that.

One place we ended up in advertised having the "coldest beers in Niagara"? I'll admit, it just might have been because that sweet nectar practically turned to ice once it hit my lips.

Outside? Still just massive people traffic.

Booking a hotel was a pretty good call because it would have been impossible to catch a taxi, let alone drive out of that area. The genius cops ended up closing the roads anyway since people were just flagrantly disobeying the laws and doing whatever they pleased aka rampaging all over the place. Poor saps who got that prime parking during the day got trapped/screwed big time because everyone was all up in their cars flooding out and they could not get out of the closed streets. Suckers.

The next day before heading out to the races we managed to get some fuel for the road in this restaurant shaped like a flying saucer - $1.99 early bird special if you could make it in that early...

More on that once I sort though the photos. Anyway, today is Monday and we're back to work. Time flies...

And talk about suck. I can't believe how hard it was to transfer files from my BB to anything. WTF RIM WHAT A BAD CAMERA.

Friday, July 1

Happy Canada Day all you good looking people!

Now get out and do something.

That gem was found by Scott, lol.