Just Mobile

I am sending my laptop in for a makeover. Although I do have a decrepit backup laptop, I am going to challenge myself to live on just mobile devices for as long as Ursula is still in the shop. Yes, my laptop has a name.

Perhaps this is what the future will be like. I don’t think there is anything my laptop can do that I can’t find a way for one of my devices to. I have a first generation iPad and an iPhone 4S. One day in the not-to-distant future it will only get easier. The biggest challenge will be maintaining my script heavy music blog.

As long as I can blog, all will be merry. I will keep you updated on the journey.

This post was written on an iPad.

Unfolding the Napkin- The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures

I’ve been intrigued for a while now by Dan Roam’s series of books about visual problem solving. I purchased Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures, without realizing it is actually the workbook for his first book The Back of the Napkin. However, it doesn’t really matter as it works well as a standalone book.

The book is geared towards business people who want to improve their presentations by including pictures that encourage audience involvement. The techniques are simple enough that they can be used by anybody who want to be a better visual thinker. Unfolding the Napkin is full of fun doodles, exercises and real life examples of where pictures were used to solve a major problem in major corporations. The book is divided into 4 lessons (complete with lunch breaks). The four parts make up the steps of visual thinking: Looking, Seeing, Imagining and Showing. The most helpful section to me was the Imagining section which introduced the SQVID method of thinking. It stood for the different ways of imaging how to solve a problem (although I’m not entirely what the acronym stands for).

SQVID on opening a wine bottle

The book explains how modern day presentations all suck because they are often hundreds of pages of Power Point slides that mean nothing. It also delves into the psychology of how when something is computer generated and perfect, we tend not to question it. In contrast if we doodle an idea or a plan, there is imperfection and people will comment and give feedback. There is definitely truth in that idea, and hey, I like to doodle.

I recommend this book to anybody who makes presentations of any kind and wants to look beyond just Powerpoint. I’ve always been a visual learner and I think I may dive into some more of Dan Roam’s books. I’m especially interested in Blah Blah Blah which is geared more towards personal thinking than the board room. PS. I haven’t stopped on delivering you guys doodletastic posts. More to come soon.

Book marked places to take a lunch :)

The Grimms’ Fairy Tales Taught Me Nothing

The past couple of months before bed, I’ve been reading The Brothers Grimms’ fairy tales. I had never read the real stories as a child, and I am glad I never did because I haven’t taken away anything useful from the 210 stories. The majority of which were vastly repetitive. Some were just down right stupid. Here are some recurring themes:

  • The princess always marries the first tolerable person she meets. The kings and princes always must marry a princess.
  • Inanimate objects such as beans can run away and have conversations.
  • The majority of the time there is no lesson to be learnt.
  • Ugly people always lose.
  • The youngest brother is always the best.
  • It’s okay to gruesomely kill animals.
  • You can steal from people who are evil.
  • Parents frequently abandon their children due to poverty or to teach them life lessons.
  • Cutting off parts of your toes might win you a prince.

A Wallet Full of Stories

I’ve had my wallet since grade 9 and since I’m 24, that was a long long time ago. It’s even had a hole in it for the last 5 years, but I felt no real need to get a new one.

I bought it during a childish and somewhat egotistic phase where I had to had my initials on everything. Tommy Hilfiger coincidentally used the letter “T” in their designs. When I look back at it, it’s pretty bulky and ugly but it held all the tidbits of my life, and would for the next 10 years.

Dad used to have the same tattered wallet for like 20 years (even though we would get him new ones) and I used to make fun of him for it. However, I understand now how hard it can be to let go. What we store in our wallets tells a story of who we are as a person. It’s often why we like to venture into the wallets of others.

Mine had memories of my first kiss, my first tattoo, and trips to china. There were pictures of people who I haven’t spoken to in years and buy-10-get-1-free cards from places I haven’t been to in years. It could probably tell you that I used to have a compulsive shopping phase, and that I like to hoard junk.

Today I got a new wallet as a gift, and I thought it was the perfect chance to start anew.

I was never really into overly girly wallets.

It’s much smaller than my previous wallet, so I couldn’t keep half the things I had in there. I’m not the same person I used to be, and my wallet doesn’t need to reflect that any more. A new story adventure is just beginning!

What’s in your wallet?

Fusion Hot Dogs and Manic Coffee

I found Fusia Dog one day when I was wandering downtown. We decided to try it. Located in the Entertainment district, this mini joint puts an asian fusion twist on the hot dog.

I ordered the Fusia Dog which had kimchi, daikon carrot salad and coriander wrapped in a paratha. For a hot dog, it was very light and refreshing. There was a wasabi mayo that had quite the kick. For some reason I thought the hot dogs would be over $10, but it was only $6.95. I finished it in less than 5 minutes.

Nash ordered the Boston Dog. It had more American toppings with baked beans, cheese, crispy bacon and fried onions. I stole a bite and it was delicious and surprisingly not too heavy.
Fusia Dog on Urbanspoon

It was another concert night and since we finished our hot dogs way too fast, we decided to hit up another local coffee joint. We ended up at Manic Coffee at College and Bathurst. I ordered a mocha.

It’s amazing, how many coffee joints there are in Toronto that aren’t chains. I think I’m going to make an effort to support more little places. Not only are they cheaper than Starbucks, but can be more delicious too!

The Future of Music- A Book Written in 2005, Read in 2012

I won the Entertainment Marketing award when I graduated Metalworks Institute and it came with a $300 gift certificate to Music Books Plus. I’m slowly plowing through my books, but I recently finished The Future of Music- Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution by David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard.

I read the entire book, but it didn’t take me long for me past the prologue to ask “When the hell was this written?” It was written in 2005.

While the book had some interesting points, such as music should be as easily accessible as water, there were predictions that were hilarious. Napster with a legal streaming service that works? Sorry, it was dead since it was sued. In 2005, Facebook was only a year old and the iPhone wasn’t even released for another 2 years. It’s strange to see how much has changed in 7 years, or even in my lifetime. I lived through vinyl, cassettes, CD players, MD players, mp3 players and now that has all shifted on to one device.

While the book does mention how our entertainment hubs will combine into one, it rarely mentioned Apple. It’s a well written book for someone who isn’t as knowledgeable about the music (or even entertainment) industry, but for someone like me who’s been through schooling, it was a little redundant and stating the obvious.

While technology has changed a bit, there are things that remain somewhat similar. Media companies are still trying to fight the consumer for downloading media, which as stated can only have negative impact. In addition, the book stresses the revolution of streaming music, which last year at every digital music summit, still seemed like a big deal. However, as some artist’s have stated, it takes thousands of listens to make a couple of bucks.

Even though there are a lot of things in this book that are laughable. I really liked the idea of future music being as ubiquitous as water. We pay for water without thinking about it. It’s routine. We even pay for premium water (in bottles, Evian etc..), with the guarantee that it is better than what comes out of taps. iTunes and streaming services are closer to a way of music being so easily accessible but not everyone is ready to pay for it like we do for our water yet, nor the most simple way. Whatever lies in the “future” of music, isn’t going to be a singular solution.

For your entertainment purposes here’s a list of other things that didn’t exist in 2005:
– Twitter
– iPad (or any other useful tablet for that matter)
– Youtube was a baby
Hypem had only just started
– PS3
– Justin Bieber

Photoset: Playful Teddy

Yesterday I was taking Teddy for a walk, and he started limping. We carried him home, took him to the vet. While we were waiting for the results from his x-rays, I was shaking. I was scared that I may have pulled too hard and broke a bone. Luckily, it was nothing serious. He is just as playful as ever.

Acrobatic Mother’s Day

I had no idea what to get my mother for Mother’s Day. On Thursday, I decided instead of something superficial, I’d give her a night of entertainment, an experience. That’s how I live my life! Somehow I had managed to score tickets to the National Chinese Acrobats’ Saturday evening show at The Sony Centre. We had pretty decent seats for last minute.

We were actually much closer than this photo makes it seem.

The Acrobats were collaborating with the Kitchener-Waterloo orchestra, the same group that I had seen perform the Final Fantasy Distance Worlds concert for my birthday. The acrobatic stunts kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Man, did some of those feats make me nervous!

Even with all the visual distractions, I was really appreciating the classical works performed by the symphony. They played some classics like Stravinsky’s Firebird and Berlioz’s Hungarian March. It irked me a little when people clapped (although understandable) during some of the beautifully quiet string solos and passages. It was an experience that was both aurally and visually appealing. Mom enjoyed it, and I hope to take her to experience more of what Toronto’s entertainment scene has to offer!

Here’s a Youtube video I found of the acrobat troupe rehearsing.

This is Not Cheesecake

I bought this package of Pocky yesterday. I had assumed they were cheesecake flavour based on the colour of the box.

However, I assure you they are not. They were much lighter and lemony tasting. It reminded me of Italian biscotti. That would explain the back of the box:

Why then was there a picture of a cheesecake on the front of the box? I’ll never know, as I cannot read in any Asian language. Maybe one of you know what this box says?

Brazilian Star Steaks and Nova Era Mocha

Another concert trip led us to the unfamiliar territory of Dundas West. There were a bunch of bars and expensive looking restaurants around. I wanted to continue on with my personal goal this year of delving into something new. We opted for Brazilian Star Bar & Grill based on it’s price and quality rating on Yelp.

We ordered the Alcatra (I think that’s what the word was) for 2 for $27. Alcatra is a type of thin steak. It was full of flavour, but a bit difficult to cut because it was fibrous. However, if if you google the definition of Alcatra, that is actually part of the definition, so it wasn’t any fault on their part.

The order came with rice, fries, salad, beans and what I think are bread crumbs. It was like a home-style meal where you just scoop things on your plate and eat it. I wasn’t really sure what to do with the bread crumbs (tell me if you know), so I spread them on top of everything and it had a nice crunchy texture. For the price, it was a lot of food. I assume it’s the kind of things Brazilian people would eat at home with their families. We were probably the least Brazilian people in the restaurant, but it was a pleasant experience.
Brazilian Star Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

After dinner, we were still too early for our concert so we decided to try another random local coffee shop. This led us to Nova Era Bakery. I had a lovely little mocha. We were too full, but I definitely think I want to come back and try one of their pastries!