The Christmas Holidays & Other Blurbs

Last year and the year before I spent my Decembers studying for final exams. This year, I’m on co-op, meaning I actually have time to be in the Christmas spirit. I joined carolling at work – we’re actually planning to go around and carol to our customers in downtown Toronto in a few weeks. We’re doing 3 and 4 part harmony, which is pretty awesome, especially because we aren’t entirely serious about it. We’re doing it entirely for fun. I haven’t officially been in choir for a couple of years, so it feels great to be singing in a group again.

And I’ve even decided to take part of 3 secret santa events – 1 with my university friends, 1 with my high school friends, and 1 with my coworkers. Now, technology has come a long way… there are now websites that help distribute the names (like Elfster and Drawnames), and allow participants to create wishlists so that people can actually get what they want for Christmas. I remember back in high school when we used invitations printed on paper with fancy font, and we’d distribute the names manually (and run into possible issues like picking your own name).

Ah, those were the good days.

In other news, I finally visited The Microsoft Store at Yorkdale! Now, I’ve been to the Microsoft Store in Redmond – they all look the same.. but the awesome thing was that I got to demo some WP8 phones. As some may know, I already have a WP7. They only have the 920 and 8X available right now in Canada. The 920 is a bit large for my liking, but the 8X is a very beautiful phone. The interface on both are even faster and smoother than my WP7 (probably due to faster processor). A huge speed improvement was on app startup. The official Facebook app takes at least 5-10 seconds to start up on my WP7, and it took 2-4 seconds on the WP8 devices. Both devices have beautiful cameras – even the front facing camera. I almost want to buy an 8X right now because of the default settings on the front facing camera. I played around with some new features like Kids’ zone and Rooms, pretty cool features but I probably wouldn’t use them often. All in all, really impressed.

This past week, I also completed a Korean drama called Reply 1997. It’s a unique romantic comedy that is structured similar to How I Met Your Mother. A group of friends have a high school reunion and reminisce about the past. The story focuses on an H.O.T fangirl who has a very upbeat personality. A Pink’s Eunji is such an amazing actress. I’m impressed because she doesn’t have too much experience, either. The unique thing about this drama is that the OST is hand picked depending on what year we are in during the drama. Tons of 90’s music is played, and there are lots of 90s gadgets that they put in. Just goes to show how much technology has advanced since then.

So my co-op term ends in 2 weeks. I’m kind of sad to go because there are a bunch of things happening in the new year at work. Freshbooks is definitely a place I want to work full-time if I plan to stay in Toronto. Also sad to leave Toronto – had a great time in this wonderful city. It’s too bad I didn’t really go to Markham or Scarborough that often (kind of inconvenient to commute during the cold weather), but there’s always a ton of things to do downtown.

A Random Blurb

A couple things:

1. I wonder if Canadian elections will ever be as exciting as this year’s US election. I was actually of age to vote this year, and did so through mail. Made my mark. Woot woot. TBH I’m not huge into politics, but I do stay informed from time to time. It’s just not as riled up in Canada for some reason, I guess either people are very happy for what they have or people are simply misinformed/uninterested. It’s really unfortunate, but that’s what our country has become..

2. Reddit is awesome. It’s such a huge, supportive community, but at the same time, a great place to let go of any stress and laugh my head off. Can’t believe I’ve been missing out on it for so long (I’ve been a long time user on various community forums, all fairly small).

3. Freshbooks is an amazing place to work. I’ve never been around so many friendly coworkers, attending fun events, and at the same time, also learning a ton of cool+interesting things on the dev side.

Here’s us for Halloween (I think at least half the office participated):

Yup, the company takes Halloween pretty seriously. What I really like about Freshbooks is that everyone is invited to everything. If someone’s having a birthday dinner, the whole company is invited (we took over a Korean restaurant a few weeks ago, there were 40 of us). We have movie nights weekly and poker nights biweekly.

Oh, and as a Freshbooks employee, you will definitely improve your ping pong skills. Think I spent an hour and a half playing it last Friday..

4. Watched a couple movies this week.

Transamerica – Watched for Felicity Huffman. Omg. Her role in this movie is just soOooo very different from her role in Desperate Housewives. I dunno why they made her tone of voice be so expressionless in this movie, it bothered me a little bit, but I guess it was just the character they were trying to achieve. I really enjoyed the story line and character development. The movie is mostly about self discovery, and I really liked that the two main characters basically travelled the country while talking about life, running into random situations, dealing with their car getting stolen, them meeting the parents who disapprove of his gender change. Felicity did a great job :)

Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – Rated very low on Imdb, I really enjoyed the movie. Had no expectations going in. I thought it was pretty cute to include a crazy woman on the island, along with Simon’s personality change. Had some great character development (the whole stuck on an island situation seems to be a personality changer — or it just makes people go crazy). Had a little trouble making out the words whenever they broke into song (non-covers), but overall they did a great job with the movie.

The Real Summer Vacation

Exams ended about 3 weeks ago, and I’ve finally decided to make a new blog post. I finally had the chance to enjoy my summer!

Here’s a run-down on what I’ve been up to:

-watching a lot of Youtube, anime, reality TV shows
-family time
-boyfriend time
-a trip to New York & New Jersey
-attending the 2NE1 New Evolution Concert
-finally purchasing my Macbook Air
-getting my wisdom teeth extracted
-moving to Toronto
-recovering from my wisdom teeth removal
-getting akin with the various social networks out there
-taking advantage of the free online courses out there

Yes.. the things one can do without the worry of an assignment, test, or exam. This blog post will be bursts of random moments based on the run-down above… I apologize in advanced if it is hard to follow : )

So I watched Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood – the full series. Well actually, I started it back in 2009 when it was first being played in Japan, but likely discontinued due to my keener hard-working nature for wanting to achieve high grades (it was around university applications season). So I watched episodes 20-64 recently. Wonderful series, and I’m so happy I finally completed it! Definitely deserves a 10/10 for plot, character development, music, fan service, and all that jazz. I’m feeling lazy so I won’t do a full review. But I’ll say that I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a nice seinen series (aka. an anime that has some adult themes to it, some controversies here and there).

I also haven’t spent actual time with my family since last Christmas due to my co-op in San Francisco, and the short transition to my spring school term. So I have been at home for the most part, helping my mom do some late spring cleaning since her arm isn’t doing well. Although I’m always out and about, I still call Kitchener my home. : )

So the 2NE1 concert was the purpose of our NY/NJ trip. It was quite a blast. (Pic above taken from their official FB Page) Despite the constant thunderstorm reports, there were none (whenever we were outdoors, at least). My first K-pop concert, and definitely not my last! I was so glad that I got to hear pretty much all of my favourite songs from them, and see them on stage. 2NE1, my favourite k-pop group, we will meet again : )

I have also been slowly packing to move to Toronto these past few weeks for my next co-op work term. I moved in yesterday in my new apartment. Very exciting stuff. Most of my classmates have started work, but I don’t start until Wednesday next week (cause that’s how Freshbooks rolls!) It’s a very spacious room, with a private washroom. The nice thing is that everything is newly renovated. It’s my first time living in a room with hardwood flooring (I like it so far!) The only issue with this room is that there is very little air circulation (no A/C in the building), but I believe I figured out how to adjust the temperature via the balcony door and the fan.

I spent the whole afternoon at Indigo (a Canadian bookstore) today reading a manga called Dangeki Daisy (image above taken from MyAnimeList). I didn’t see any of the manga I’ve been following, but decided to give this one a try. It turned out to be a wonderful shoujo manga, and I am almost complete (had to leave since it was soon to be closing time). It actually has some dark concepts to it, which makes it worth the read. Unfortunately, I believe it is being put on hiatus, so I’ll have to wait awhile for its continuation. Sat on the base of a bookshelf reading it, and now my butt is sore. There were no chairs available since there are many people like me, who sit around for hours and read at the bookstore.

Prior to this, I made my first $100 jean purchase at Jean Machine. I had a 10 dollar off 30 for the store, but was really planning to just look and and not buy. Turns out that the sales associate was very sociable and easy to get along with, and I’m not kidding you, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at any retail store. Although I was only looking at jeans, she chose a few tops for me to try on so it was easier to visualize the jeans. She did not say things like “Those look great on you” or whatever the typical retail chick says, but helped me as if she was shopping with me, and sharing her expertise with me. It was just a really pleasant experience (which of course, encouraged me to buy a pair of Silver Jeans and even one of the tops she recommended me to try on).  Continue reading

Trip Down Memory Lane

What were your hobbies/interests before Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr were around? I guess it all depends on how you were brought up, what kind of friends you had, what neighborhood you lived in, etc. But I’m writing it for myself, and other people who were born in the late 80s, early 90s.

Yesterday I was chatting with my boyfriend – and an interesting topic came up. What did other little girls do in their spare time back in those days?

I grew up watching a lot of TV. I preferred cartoons over any other type of TV until I was in 6th or 7th grade. Back then, there were the kids who went directly home from school, and there were the kids who stayed out to hang out and do outdoor things. I stayed home a lot until about 6th grade (when I met a different group of friends). It was a normal thing for kids to spend a lot of time watching TV, I mean, there are a ton of “You know you were born in the 90’s when ____” groups on Facebook, and it really does surprise me how those kinds of things change over time.

I think I spent most of my 1st to 6th grade childhood watching things on YTV and eventually Treehouse when that channel started showing up. I wasn’t into music until late 5th grade, and I was sort of just trying to be like my classmates who listened to Hilary Duff and Kelly Clarkson. Many little girls seemed to watch Friends and have sleepovers, personally I never changed the channel from YTV, so I never watched Friends growing up.

3rd grade to 6th grade was a huge card game (Pokemon, Yugioh, etc.), Beyblade, GBA phase for me and some of my classmates. I bought all the Pokemon Walkthrough guides, also went on IGN guides a lot, all of that fun stuff. My parents were never willing to buy the larger consoles for me though (GameCube, PS2, etc.)

4th grade was a Neopets phase for me. If you go on their website right now, you will see that – yes, it’s still around! And they are updating daily. I am rather lazy to check how the site activity is, but I am surprised that they are still staying strong. Back then, web apps were just getting a little better, people actually created games out of very simple web technologies, and it was an impressive and entertaining thing to have. Remembe Gaia Online? Thinking back to that, the graphics were terrible.

In 5th grade, I started my anime & Japanese culture phase. This went on for a long time, probably until late gr 11/12. This is how people got their information before Facebook: Continue reading

new arrivals. & other blurbs

So earlier this week, I got my Yesasia package in the mail (finally!) There was a 2 week delay due to an out of stock product t that my friend wanted. I only got one thing – 2NE1 mini album 2.  The hype slightly died down since it’s been awhile, but I thought I’d buy it just to support my favourite girl group. The CD came with a bunch of square sized postcards with cartoon-style images of the 4 members (as seen in their MV, Hate You). It also came with a YGFamily Member card, which confused me. I don’t read Korean, so I’m not really sure what it’s for. … Never mind, found some information:

HQ images:


Just a few of the postcards : ) and the YG Family Card.

They’ve been releasing good songs all summer, and now debuting in Japan. I wish them good luck, although personally I want them to keep things in Korea.

In other entertainment news, there’s a new Taiwanese drama with Ariel Lin. It’s a different flavour of drama, showing more of a work life, though the first episode had a long flashback to a high school scene. The funny thing is that all summer, I’ve been watching a ton of new dramas involving people in their late 20s. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence with the trends, or just me stumbling upon more “mature” dramas. They’re usually a lot more worthwhile to watch, since they’re less predictable (at least to me, since I’m not even in my 20s yet).

I also just recently finished Scent of a Woman, a Korean cancer drama. No no, it’s not your typical cancer drama. It was very well filmed, and the ending was very realistic. Many many sad moments, and you really come to see everything in different POVs (great directing). The ties with Salsa were great, definitely spiced up the drama. This one is up there on my list, but still nothing compares to Can you Hear my Heart. My top favourite for the year.

The last movie I watched was How to Train your Dragon (2010). It was a pretty cute kids movie, good animations and storyline, although predictable for the most part.

I was planning to catch up to some manga this summer, but it never happened. Time just flew by.

Also got my G license in the mail today, apparently there’s still an expiry date. Well that’s interesting. I’m expecting a few Blackberry accessories to come in later in the week, too, wondering when they’re going to come in..

Clubs day was late last week, it was as crowded as Night it Up in some sections, but wasn’t too terrible. Signed up for a variety of clubs including TWSA, Poker, Mobile, VSA, FOCUS, and Web Design. I’m a little more motivated to meet new people this year, a little nervous but a little excited.